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Cape Wrath

The Turning Point
The ‘Sons of Death’ had come to kill, enslave and destroy

IT WOULD have been a sight to make your blood run cold. Viking dreki, dragon ships, appearing round the headland making for shore. Your shore. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. And no mercy shown. In 794 the first wave of Viking raids hit Scotland. The ‘Sons of Death’ had come to kill, enslave and destroy.

In time these Norsemen returned as settlers and gave Norse names to much of the north of Scotland: including Cape Wrath. To the Vikings the Cape was a navigational signpost: a maritime crossroads where the north and west coasts of Scotland met.

Whether on their way south-west to ransack the Outer Hebrides and the west coast of Scotland, or heading north-east and for home, Cape Wrath told them it was time to turn. Given the ferocity of the Atlantic breakers that batter this remote coastline, you could be forgiven for believing the name Wrath to be an apt elemental description of this far-flung corner of Sutherland. But in fact, it comes from the Old Norse word hvarf, meaning ‘turning point’, with the Gaelic name for this area, Am Parbh, coming from the same Norse source. And the arrival of the Vikings was certainly a turning point in the lives of the people of this land.

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About iScot Magazine

iScot Magazine April 2017 - issue 28 116 quality pages from THE ONLY TRULY INDEPENDENT PRO SCOTTISH MAGAZINE PUBLISHER HQ'd IN SCOTLAND. "The one with 'Blaze the mountaineering dug' front cover" Featuring the best writers in Scotland today Robbie Dinwoodie, Tom Morton, Derek Bateman, Will MacLeod, Wee Ginger Dug, Jennifer Harper, Grousebeater, Major Bloodnok, Zoe Weir, Vivien Martin, Dave Bowman, Mary Edward, Alyn Smith MEP, Peter A Bell, Dr Steve McCabe, Ann MacKinnon, Angela Robb, David MacKenzie, and Jason Michael McCann