Largs is known as the last stand of the Vikings, whose King Haakon lost to Scotland's King Alexander in 1263. The event, to the Norwegians, was but an inconclusive skirmish tangled by bad weather etc. To the Scots, it was Battle. Haakon planned further fights, but died in the Orkney Islands. Both sides then negotiated rather than fight on and on, and the western Islands, Hebrides and also Argyll on the mainland, were ceded by the successor King Magnus in 1266 to the Scots. The event is commemorated annually, see http://www.largsvikingfestival.com/. By way of update, the 2013 celebration is shown at that site. Go in September and enjoy.
A look at the geography of northern Europe shows navigable waterways, even for distances, seas, and islands that could be, and were, hopped-skipped-and sailed across by early Norse. The Spring 2013 issue of Scottish Life, see http://www.scottishlife.org/CurrentIssue.htm; does not seem to show the article on page 22 about how and when all that happened -- migrations because of overpopulation on sparse arable lands, and later, incursions by Christian zealots intent on unifying all under the Christian Soldier Banner. Soldier? Really? Who was it that turned that down in the first instance?
1. Course began with the closest, Shetland and Orknay;
2. The Northern and Western Isles, Hebrides;
3. Northern areas of Caithness, Sutherland, Inverness.
In Edinburgh is an exhibition called Vikings! with artifacts and displays showing life in those days. Vikings were traders long before their anti-Christian response to the incursions of militant Christians in the late 700's - 800's and the centuries following. But horned helmets be they none. A fiction. So sad.