The Vikings were sea invaders from Scandinavian countries (Norway, Denmark and Sweden). The invasions began in the late 8th Century with raids from Norway followed by the establishment of raiding bases in the Northern and Western Isles. Colonization came in the 9th Century and included parts of England and Ireland.

The main focus in Scotland was Shetland and Orkney but on the north east mainland place names suggest settlement and administration e.g. Dingwall (Thingvollr meaning Place of the Thing or Parliament); Sutherland comes from Southland which suggests a Viking viewpoint; in the immediate area there are several other names of Viking origin, Swordale, Katewell, etc.

The settlements probably followed invasions in 9th and 11th Centuries. During the latter, a decisive battle was fought at Tarbat Ness (Torfness) c1030 and the region was abandoned by the Vikings shortly after the death of their leader Thorfinn c1065, but was not wholly integrated into the kingdom of Scotland until after the establishment of the Earldoms of Ross (c1215) and Sutherland (c1235). The Western Isles remained under Norway until the Treaty of Perth in 1266; and the Northern Isles by agreements in 1468 and 1469 merged with the Scottish Crown in 1472.

For Further Information see:-

Barbara E. Crawford Scandinavian Scotland 1987