Coastal parts of Scotland, the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, together with the Isle of Man, early came under Viking attack and, eventually settlement.

There were few parts of Scotland which were not affected by Viking activity, where they often intervened on one side or another in native feuds. The Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland came under Viking political control and this remained the situation for centuries after the Vikings in England had acknowledged English sovereignty. On mainland Scotland, Viking settlement tended to be mainly in narrow coastal areas of the south-west, the west and the extreme north, unlike the broad swathe from the Lake District to East Anglia in England.