Let battle commence!

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The millennial celebration of the Battle of Cruden was re-enacted at Cruden Bay when teams from Norway and Denmark ‘invaded’ the course to take on the Scots in a golf match.

Much of the original battle was fought on the area of land that is now the links and there are several connections to that historical event as golfers play their way around the course. In glorious sunshine, perfect for low scoring golf, the Scandinavian teams were led onto the field of play by Keith MacRae, the Danish Vice Consul whilst Brem Forbes, captain of Cruden Bay Golf Club was leader of the local teams. It was a close fought affair and the aggregate scores of the Scottish teams won the day but it was the visitors who had the two leading teams in the ‘battle’.

Of the three main sponsors Nexen, the Expro Group and Maersk FSPO it was the latter who produced the best golf of the day when both of the teams representing the Danish business conglomerate finished in first and second place. The best placed local team was Steadfast Scotland who were third overall.

After the sporting event the teams retired to the clubhouse to celebrate or lick their wounds. Brem Forbes congratulated everyone on their fair play and expressed the hope that many of our visitors would return to do ‘battle’ with the course in the future. He also thanked the sponsors for their generous donations and stated that the proceeds from the day would be donated to the local Community Association to help fund various ongoing projects in the village.

On behalf of the visitors Keith MacRae thanked the hosts for their warm welcome and kind hospitality which was in stark contrast to the hostilities that took place a thousand years ago even if the result was the same … a Scottish victory! He made mention of the many good links that have now been forged between the previous warring nations and the shared values which they upheld.

The day concluded with the opposing teams coming together to enjoy a ‘feast’ in celebration of the historic occasion.

Crochdane (Hole 2)

The name derives from “Croch-dane” meaning ‘killing of the Danes’. Also “Croju-dane” translated as ‘battleground of the Danes’.

Bluidy Burn (Hole 6)

This hole is named after the burn which runs across the fairway in front of the elevated green. It is said that the burn ran red with blood in the aftermath of the battle. Indeed an historic poem describes this aspect of the battle in quite graphic detail:

Saint Olla’s burn, for more than seven hours,

O’erflowed with blood, which blasted all its flowers,

The human blood in torrents vast did pour,

Which long continued in a putrid state,

Expressive of the base invaders’ fate

Ardendraught (Hole 8)

The Viking longships were drawn ashore on the sands in the Bay of Ardendraught prior to the warriors establishing a settlement on the high ground above the bay now known as the Bay of Cruden.

Hawklaw (Hole 9)

Up on the headland above the present 8th and 15th greens the invaders, allegedly as many as ten thousand men, readied themselves for battle. Their campsite stretched from the present 9th tee the length the fairway to 10th green as well as inland. Another derivation of the name Cruden, “Croo-Dane” meaning ‘the enclosure of the Danes’ refers to a castle that the Danes built to the north of Hawklaw. The ruins of this castle were still in evidence until the mid 19th century.

Bilin’ Wallie (Hole 17)

There are two physical landmarks on this hole that are directly linked to the battle. Firstly the pool of water found 150 yards beyond the tee on the left of the path is St Olave’s Well (also St Olaf’s). St Olaf is the patron saint of Norway. Also the mound in the middle of the fairway which allegedly is the burial ground of many of the warriors slain in the battle.