Monday, February 6, 2017

The Lord of the Isles Ancient Internet

I've been reading Kevin Byrne's wonderful book on Colonsay - Lonely Colonsay (House of Lochar, 2010). In it I've learned that, 1000 years ago, the Lords of the Isles had their own Instant Messaging service, their own Twitter, their own wireless communication. At the speed of light they could send a warning from near their great Hall of Dun Eibhinn on Colonsay, to an outpost 15 miles away on Islay, near their capital at Finlaggan.

If you look at the 1:25000 OS map of Colonsay, you'll find a hill called Cnoc an-t-Samhlaidh at NR 3832 9264, a mile south of Dun Eibhinn. And on the map of Islay, at NR 3335 6961, you'll find another Cnoc an-t-Samhlaidh, three miles northwest of Finlaggan.

Cnoc an-t-Samhlaidh means the hill of reflection. Using some type of mirror, signals could be sent at night between the summits. Next time I'm on Colonsay or Islay I hope to climb one of these hills of reflection. I'd camp on the summit at night, kindle a fire, send a signal, and see if anyone replies.

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