2007-08-27

Not quite Oslo...

I know I'm supposed to submit photos only from Oslo, but I hope this can count as "a piece of Oslo". This is Oslo Caledonian Pipe Band, the band where I play. This weekend we were at Otta in Gudbrandsdalen, approximately 3,5 hours north of Oslo. Gudbrandsdalen is a beautiful valley! Many tourists go there to see the wonderful nature, and this weekend was really nice as the weather was lovely.

Each year a very special event is marked in this area: The battle of Kringen in 1612. Norwegian farmers ambushed and killed Scottish soldiers marching through their area. Here is a bit of the history:

In 1612 a force of some 550 Scots arrived in Gudbrandsdalen under the command of Colonel Alexander Ramsay with a company of Caithness men lead by Captain George Sinclair of Stirkoke. They were simply passing through the valley intent on reaching Sweden, which was then at war with Norway and Denmark over the territory of Kalmar in the south of Scandinavia. Their passage through Norway had been peaceful since their landing at the Isfjorden on the coast of Romsdal and Møre, and they could not have anticipated what awaited them at Kringen. They did not know that young men conscripted from the valley had been massacred in the Kalmar conflict, and that the farmers from Gudbrandsdalen were determined to resist them. Plans had been laid for an ambush, and the ambush was to be triggered by local girl, Guri, who was to watch the column as it made its slow passage along the old King’s road.

To further distract the Scots from the ambush preparations, a man rode sitting backwards on his horse. Once the right moment arrived, Guri, watching from the mountain top above Otta blew a blast on her lur, a long wooden horn, traditional to the area. Tradition has it that the ambush started with logs and rocks crashing down on the Scots from the steep mountainside and blocking the road preventing advance or withdrawal, and tradition also has it that Captain Sinclair was felled with a silver bullet from a single musket shot fired by Berdon Sejelstad. 450 farmers fell on the Scots with their axes and scythes and fierce hand-to-hand conflict ensued that left the river running red with blood.


It's a bloody story and not a very proud moment, as the farmers later executed most of the captured soldiers. And now, nearly 400 years later the event is remembered with concerts, art exhibitions, music and dance. It has been a tradition for the pipeband to take part, as to symbolise the Scots, I guess.

The photo is taken at Kvam, one of the places we played.

2 kommentarer:

Ackworth Born sa...

no need to apologise for venturing out of the city boundaries from time to time.

this sombre tale though reminds us that with wars still raging around the world, how little we have progessed in many ways.

michelle sa...

Beautiful picture, and a poignant lesson.