On July 30th 1914, Tryggve Gran became the first person to fly across the North Sea. Gran left from Cruden Bay, in north-east Scotland, and landed, just over 4 hours later, at Jæren, near Stavanger, Norway.

The photo shows Gran (flat cap, nearest the propeller, I believe) and his plane at Cruden Bay.

Gran wasn't just a pioneering aviator, he had previously been a member of the Capt. Scott's ill-fated expedition to Antarctica.


Gran was part of the search team that later found Scott's body.

There is a granite monument to Gran's flight situated on the hill above the beach.

The name Cruden comes from the Gaelic name "Croch Dain" which translated means slaughter of Danes. The slaughter was a battle between King Malcolm II of Scots and King Cnut of Denmark. Cnut later became King of England and is known in English as Canute. I wonder if Gran knew what happened to his Viking ancestors.

@fitheach My favourite part of that is the bike next to the plane, with extremely similar wheels.

The whole plane looks very flimsy. I wouldn't fancy flying along the beach in such an aircraft, never mind a few hundred miles across the North Sea. No GPS or rescue services in 1914 to save you. Gran probably did the flight with his tweed jacket and flat cap.


Being from Denmark I can't help but add that the name of said king was actually 'Knud den Store' (In Danish) which would translate to "Knud The Great". He lived to be 45 years old.

As to his children...


Hardeknud was king of Denmark from 1035-42 and of England from 40-42. His invasion of England was delayed by the fact that he had to sort things out with the new Norwegian king after they had shedded the yoke of Danish rulership.

Harald Harefod (Harald the harefoot) was king of England from 37 until 40 when he died just before his littlebrother Hardeknud could invade England

@fitheach Svend Knuttson was king of Norway from 30-35, but the Norwegians hated him and revolted when his father died.

Gunhild of Denmark was married, until her death, to German king Henry III. (whom later became emporer)

Thanks! I used the Old English variant of his name, 'cos I'm writing in English. Likewise, Malcolm would probably have thought of himself as Máel Coluim.

Wouldn't he have been a speaker of Old Norse during this period? If so, wouldn't his name have been Knútr?

Very good point about the language!

I am uncertain of when Norse became Danish. It was kind of a gradual shift, and a lot of the words are (almost) the same (even if they aren't spelled the same). Modern Danish has many words that weren't used just 100 years ago. If you look at old letters and writings, the word: "for" is always "thi" (which is 'because' or 'for')

That said, however, as far as I am aware of, the only language left that is 'almost' Norse, is Icelandic.

The continual development of languages is probably universal. Certainly it is the case for most European languages. Formalisation was accelerated due to the advent of printing, but even then many languages have had major orthography overhauls, even in recent times.

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