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The Scottish Nation

ALPIN, king of the Dalriadic Scots, reigned contemporary with his cousin, Drust IX., king of the Picts. He is usually said to have been the son of Achaius, or Eoganan, that is, in the Celtic, Eochy-annuine (the poisonous), but Pinkerton thinks that the name of his father is lost beyond all recovery, and, indeed, the history of the country at a period so remote is so enveloped in darkness as to be considered in many respects fabulous. He succeeded his brother, Dungal the Brown, in 834. His kingdom comprehended the mountainous country of Argyleshire, as far as the mouth of the Clyde, but, anxious to extend his territories, he sailed from Kintyre, and landed in the bay of Ayr, with a powerful force. After laying waste the district between the rivers Ayr and Doon, following the course of these rivers, he penetrated to the ridge which separates Kyle from Galloway, destruction for a time marking his progress. He soon, however, received a check. The chiefs, recovered from their first alarm, and thirsting for revenge, collected their followers, and coming up with the invading army, in the parish of Dalmellington, in Ayrshire, a furious conflict ensued, when Alpin was numbered among the slain. This event happened about 837. The battle was fought near the site of Laicht castle, which derived its name from the stone of Alpin, a gravestone known and recognised nearly four centuries after this last of the Dalriad kings had been slain on the spot. The word laicht signifies a grave or stone, and there are still the remains of an old castle in the parish of Dalmellington, at a place called Laicht, which was demolished by the proprietor in 1771, to enclose some ground. Two farms in the parish are still called Over and Nether Laicht, and several cairns are found which indicate the scene of the battle. It is also remarkable that the foundation charter of the town of Ayr, granted by William the Lion in 1197, when describing the limits of its exclusive trade, names Laicht Alpin, the stone or grave of Alpin, as one of its distinguishing boundaries. Alpin left two sons, Kenneth MacAlpin, under whom the Scots and Southern Picts were united, and Donald II., who succeeded Kenneth. Alpin’s attempt to extend his territories appears, says Skene, from the register of St. Andrews, to have been confined to Galloway, the province of which in those days comprehended Ayrshire, and belonged to the Southern Picts, and it is said by that chronicle, that it was his conquest of that territory which transferred the kingdom of the Picts to the Scots. The latter event is called the Scottish Conquest. Kenneth his son apparently fought but one battle, and that, according to the same chronicle, at Forteviot, in the very heart of the territory of the Southern Picts. (Skene’s History of the Highlanders, vol. i. p. 65.) This Alpin is not to be confounded with another Alpin or Elpin, who was king of the Picts, and who reigned from 775 to 779 — Chalmers’ Caledonia.—Ritson’s Annals, vol. ii.

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