I'm writing a novel about Cinaed mac Ailpin, the 9th century King of Pictavia (which was to become Scotland). This is a space for recording nuggets of research. Please feel welcome to get involved in the comments. I'm over on twitter too @GUGAW

Sunday, 11 January 2015


My portal to 858AD
I've spent today trying to translate a bunch of maps from Tim Clarkson's book 'The Picts: A History' into one large map I can keep near me as I plot my trail across 9th century Scotland.  I've drawn it freehand so it's a little...sketchy...some areas thicker, some thinner, but it looks vaguely like the Scottish coastline if you can forgive the land masses I may have accidentally lopped off.

Next step is to plot out the key forts, ecclesiastical sites and battlegrounds. I've already begun to pencil these in.  Then comes mountain ranges, lochs and natural 'fortifications'.  After that, and this will be mostly down to imagination, I want to try and plot the movements of key families and cenela (Gaelic for 'tribes' or 'peoples') across the landscape throughout the 9th century and up to my 'present day' of 858 AD.  You see that little cluster of white squares, just in front of the succulents, over to the right hand side?  So that is the most basic game of  'Warhammer' you will ever see.  Small hand ripped and hand drawn squares with family names, recorded Kings, characters I've imagined into being, viking boats, battles and allegiances. But I've never played Warhammer.  I'm no military strategist.  Yet I will foolishly attempt to recreate (if only in my imagination) what could have happened to my characters.  I'm especially interested in the Battle of 839AD (see more here) as this seems to be a key turning point in the fortunes of Cinaed mac Ailpin.  Will update on my progress for critique from those who know more.

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