Defeat of the NorwegiansThese new troops instantly attacked the enemy upon two points; and their arrival reinspirited the Norsemen, and enabled them to form anew. It was now evening, and the day had been occupied by a protracted battle, or rather a succession of obstinate skirmishes. The Norwegians, although they fought with uncommon spirit, had sustained severe loss; and they now made a last effort to repulse the Scots from the high grounds immediately overhanging the shore.
The impetuosity of their attack succeeded, and the enemy were driven back after a short and furious resistance. The relics of this, brave body of invaders then re-embarked in their boats, and, although the storm continued, arrived safely at the fleet.
During the whole of this conflict, which lasted from morning till night, the storm continued raging with unabated fury, and the remaining ships of Haco were dreadfully shattered and distressed. They drove from their anchors, stranded on the shore, where multitudes perished—struck against shallows and rocks, or found equal destruction by running foul of each other; and the morning presented a beach covered with dead bodies, and a sea strewed with sails, masts, cordage, and all the melancholy accompaniments of wreck.A truce was now granted to the king; and the interval employed in burying his dead, and in raising above them those rude memorials, which, in the shape of tumuli and huge perpendicular stones, still remain to mark the field of battle. The Norwegians then burnt the stranded vessels; and, after a few days, having been joined by the remains of the fleet, which had been sent up Loch Long, their shattered navy weighed anchor, and sailed towards Arran.
In Lamlash bay the king was met by the commissioners whom he had sent to Ireland, and they assured him that the Irish Ostmen would willingly maintain his forces, until he had freed them from the dominion of the English. Haco was eager to embrace the proposal. He appears to have been anxious to engage in any new expedition which might have banished their recent misfortunes from the minds of his soldiers, whilst it afforded him another chance of victory, with the certainty of re-provisioning the fleet; but their late disasters had made too deep an impression; and, on calling a council, the Irish expedition was opposed by the whole army.
The shattered squadron, therefore, steered for the Hebrides; and in passing Isla, again levied a large contribution on that island. The northern monarch, however, now felt the difference between sailing through this northern archipelago, as he had done a few months before, with a splendid and conquering fleet, when every day brought the island princes as willing vassals of his flag, and retreating as he now did, a baffled invader. His boat crews were attacked, and cut off by the islanders. He appears to have in vain solicited an interview with John the prince of the Isles. The pirate chiefs who had joined him, disappointed of their hopes of plunder, returned to their ocean strongholds; and although he went through the forms of bestowing upon his followers the islands of Bute and Arran, with other imaginary conquests, all must have seen, that the success and power of Scotland rendered these grants utterly unavailing.-f- The weather, too, which had been his worst enemy, continued lowering, and winter had set in. The fleet encountered, in their return a severe gale off Isla; and, after doubling Cape Wrath, were met in the Pentland Firth by a second storm, in which one vessel, with all on board, went down, and another narrowly escaped the same fate. The king's ship, however, with the rest of the fleet,weathered the tempest, and at last arrived in Orkney on the 29th of October.