As long ago as about 400AD St Ninian began the first large-scale Christian mission to Scotland from Whithorn in the far south-west, converting many Pictish people to the new faith, long before Scotland was a single country.

Iona AbbeyThe great heroic figure of the early story is St Columba, the Irish prince-in-exile who crossed to the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland later in the fifth century.