Talk by Dr Colleen Batey, University of Glasgow
Knowledge of the Viking movements around the coastal waters of Scotland shows that the North West was a crucial location: Cape Wrath was the navigational correctional point on the major seaway between Scandinavia via the Orkney Islands, through the Western Isles and into Irish Sea and was the location of the navigational beacon, the derivation of the place name. Archaeological investigations in the region have found evidence of coastal calls, the Viking grave at Balnakeil on the northern coast and the boat grave on Ardnamurchan for example.
The landscape includes names derived from the Scandinavian language, but finding places where these travelers settled on the mainland of Scotland is challenging, especially in the more remote regions. On the Caithness coast at Freswick Links there is strong evidence for Norse activities in the form of large-scale fishing, but elsewhere in the northlands one has to look to the Orkney Islands for settlements.
Thanks to the Ardnamurchan Transitions Project for the cover photo of the Swordie Bay Boat Burial