History

A brief history of the area around Edderton can be found in the recently published (July 2015) book produced by the Kyle of Sutherland Heritage Society.

The Kyle of Sutherland - A Brief History - 12 10 2015

The book costs £10.00 and copies can be obtained from the Kyle of Sutherland Heritage Society by contacting the Society on

www.kyle-of-sutherland-heritage.org.uk

or

secretarykoshs@hotmail.co.uk.

The book was produced with financial assistance from:

Ardgay & District Community Council

Creich Community Council

Edderton Community Council

Beinn Tharsuinn Wind Farm

Brief summary of the Picts in Northern Scotland

Human activity in Northern Scotland has been shaped, as elsewhere, by invasion, colonisation and the movement of people. Nomadic tribes became more settled. Gradually emerging from the indigenous inhabitants of Northern Scotland that existed in Roman times, the Picts became the dominant culture. The Picts were a mysterious people and not much is known about them. There are no written records.   Much of the evidence of their existences lies in the elaborately carved stones and place names that can be associated with them, such as Pitlochry in Perth, Aberscross near Golspie and Pitgrudy near Dornoch – Aber and Pit being attributed to Pictish origins.

Their name came into being possibly because the Romans had referred to them as Picti – or the painted people. The Romans made the first reference to the Picts in 297 AD, describing them as a strange people who decorated themselves with dyes and tattoos. The Picts inhabited northern and eastern areas of Scotland, but gradually disappeared as a recognisable people around 900 AD. Viking incursions and settlement played a part in the displacement of the Pictish culture, as did the growing influence of Gaelic immigrants from Ireland. As an entity, the Picts were in existence for 600 to 700 years. A mysterious people whose culture and language remains obscure.

One of the most common legacies of the Picts were the carved stones; two of which are located in Edderton: The Class I Clach Charaidh near Balblair Distillery; and a Class II Pictish standing stone in the churchyard of Edderton’s Old Church.  Class I stones are natural rocks or boulders that have symbols carved onto them. Class II stones have been shaped and dressed before being adorned with carvings, often in relief form and with Christian symbols as well as the earlier Class I symbols. The symbols that were carved onto these stones are similar to Pictish carvings elsewhere, but they remain meaningless at the present time.

Sources: A Wee Guide to The Picts – Duncan Jones

The Picts: A History – Tim Clarkson

The Lowland Highlanders – Alan G R Robertson

 

The Battle of Carrie Blair – A Possible Reconstruction

Reay Clarke – August 5, 2005

The following is a brief summary of Ray Clarke’s booklet by Ted Venn.

This was a battle fought over 1000 years ago in the Ninth Century between Picts defending their land and invading Danes (or Vikings). It took place between Cartomie and Balblair Farm on flat stony land close to the present day village of Edderton. The Clach Charaidh standing stone remains a feature of that flat stony land and is clearly visible from the village.

Edderton was a Pictish settlement and was guarded by a number of forts to the east, west, southeast and southwest. The Danes (Vikings) had advanced south through present day Caithness and Sutherland and occupied the land north of the Dornoch Firth.

It would seem that the Danes (Vikings) landed in strength on the beach below Cartomie and established a bridgehead. The defending Pictish infantry attacked the bridgehead but were pushed back to the stony ground around the Clach Charaidh standing stone, where they then rallied. The beach landing and stand off at the standing stone had been observed from the fort on Struie Hill and a messenger rode the two and half miles to Cnoc an Laochroich (due west of Edderton) to alert the concealed Pictish cavalry of the attack by Danes (Vikings). The Pictish cavalry forded the Craigroy Burn, lined up near the present day main road (A836), and then charged into the rear of the attacking Danes (Vikings). Having been caught between two Pictish fighting forces, the Danes (Vikings) retreated from the stony ground to their boats and returned to the northern shore of the Dornoch Firth. The leader of the invading Danes (Vikings), Carros, the Prince of Demark, was killed in the fighting and was subsequently buried by the Picts beside their Clach Charaidh standing stone.

Although a victory for the defending Picts, success came at a cost, with many killed and injured. Local place names record the price of that victory.   Carrie Blair refers to the field of Carrie (or Carius). Balleigh (or Lidston as Balleigh was previously named) means leech’s or physician’s town (the place where wounded were tended after the battle). Gluich means lamentation, and Rhanich means the place of crying or wailing.

The Clach Charaidh standing stone can still be seen in the Stony Field. Another reminder of this battle is a carved cross slab in the graveyard of Edderton Old Church, which depicts the unarmed rider on a horse who rode to summon the Pictish cavalry. The churchyard cross slab also shows two armed horsemen to represent the Pictish cavalry that counter attacked the invading Danes (Vikings) and forced them to retreat.

The accompanying maps by Reay Clarke illustrate the battle and locate the various place names that relate to the Battle of Carrie Blair.

Map of the Battle of Carrie Blair

Battle of Carrie Blair - Map of Edderton showing place names and places of interest - 10 12 2015