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Battle of The Raith 596 A.D.


IN THE YEAR 596 AN IMPORTANT BATTLE TOOK PLACE IMMEDIATELY TO THE WEST OF KIRKCALDY. ALL THE RACES THEN CONTENDING FOR MASTERY IN THIS COUNTRY SEEM TO BE REPRESENTED.

ALONG THE SHORE LAY THE GALLEYS OF THE INVADERS(CHIEFLY ANGLES) ON THE LOW GROUND WERE SPREAD THEIR HOSTS,AND ON THE HIGH GROUND BEHIND RAITH WERE THE DEFENDERS -PICTS,SCOTS,AND BRITONS, UNITED UNDER THE KING, AIDAD OR(AEDHAN) ONE OF THE ABLEST RULERS THAT THE COUNTRY EVER HAD . THE RESULT WAS AS DRAMATIC AS THE OCCASION WAS IMPORTANT.THE STORY OF THIS EARLY BATTLEHAS NOT YET FOUND A PLACE IN OUR BOOKS ON SCOTTISH HISTORY,BECAUSE THE SPOT HAS ONLY BEEN RECENTLY IDENTIFIED. FULL DESCRIPTIONS HAVE LONG BEEN KNOWN TO EXIST IN THE POEMS OF A WELSH BARD NAMED HANERURIN(HONORINUS)WHO WAS HIMSELF PRESENT.BUT THE STORY BEARS THE NAME CATRAETH AND THERE IS NO SUCH NAME ON THE MAP"CAT" IS THE ANCIENT IRISH AND GAELIC WORD FOR "BATTLE" AND THE WHOLE WORD APPEARS TO MEAN "BATTLE OF THE RAITH" ITS IDENTIFICATION WE OWE TO THE LATEMR  E. W. B. NICHOLSON.
 
BODLEYS LIBRARIAN, OXFORD, WHO MADE A CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF THE LOCALITY.A REFERENCE WILL BE FOUND IN THE WORKS OF THOMAS GREY THE POET OF THE "ELEGY"IT BEGINS:-
TO CATTRAETHS VALE IN GLITTERING ROW
TWICE TWO HUNDRED WARRIORS GO
.
THE DEFENDERS AND INVADERS,FACED EACH OTHER IN THIS PART OF FIFE FOR NEARLY A WEEK. THEN ONE NIGHT KIND AIDANS ROYAL ESCORT,CONSISTING OF 303(SOME SAY 363)RICHLY-CAPARISONED BRITISH HORSE MEN   INDULGED IN A DRINKING FEAST ALL NIGHT IN A HALL AT RAITH HILL, AND THEN AT DAWN,WITHOUT TROUBLING ABOUT SUPPORTERS FROM THE MAIN ARMY THEY CHARGED DOWN AMONG THE HOARDESOF THE INVADERS. THEY WERE SIMPLY SWALLOWED UP,AND ONLY THREE ESCAPED ALIVE. ONE WAS THE POET,WHO WAS AFTERWARDS RANSOMED AND TOLD THE TALE. AIDAN HAVING THUS LOST HIS ESCORT ,THIS MISFORTUNE BY SEVERAL VICTORIES,AND HE DIED AT CANTIRE IN 606.ACCORDING TO THE POEMS THE CHARGE OF THE 300 MEN WAS FROM RAITH HILL BY THE WEST OF THE MILL DAM AND ALONG BY THE COARSE OF THE TIEL. THERE ARE MANY LOCAL REFRENCES IN THE VERSE.KING AIDAN WAS A FRIEND OF COLUMBA AND ADAMNAN THE BIOGRAPHER OF THAT SAINT RECORDSTHAT ONE NIGHT COLUMBA SAW IN SPIRIT A PERILOUS BATTLE IN WHICH AIDAN AND HIS PEOPLE WERE ENGAGED,THAT THE BARBARIANSULTIMATELYFLED,BUT AIDAN LOST 303 MEN.ONE RESULT OF PARTIAL SUCCESS OF THE ANGLES IN THIS BATTLE WOULD BE SETTLEMENTS ALONG THE SHORES OF FIFE. THEY HAD ALREADY GAINED A FIRM FOOTING  BEYOND THE FORTH AND LOTHIAN.
 
 
Our thanks to Sandy Falconer for sending this in and do visit his web site at http://clik.to/raithlake

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