Edderton Place Names
Attribution: unknown or not recorded
G. Eadardan, with accent on eadar. The traditionl explanationis eadar-dùn, between forts. In confirmation of this view may be adduced the various brochs referred to below and the hill fort of Strathrory. The name applies especially to the part near the old church, now the U.F. Church, which stands on the left bank of Edderton Burn, and it would seem that the old name for the district as a whole was Westray; cf. Below ‘Dchynbeg in Westray and Blaeu’s Dunivastra
An luachar mhòr; ‘ The big rashes ‘ (rushes), a large swampy tract of moor.
Cnoc an t-sabhail –
Barn-hill; in the face of it, above Raanich, is clach meadhon latha, mid-day stone. There are two stones, some distance apart, and which of the two is the real mid-day stone is hard to say. The position is such that the sin shines onthem about noon.
G. an ràthanaich ;
the root is ràth, a circular encloseure of fort, the rest being extensions (-n-ach), meaning ‘ place ‘ of raths.’ South of Raanich is baile nam fuaran, well-town.
Ramore; G. an ràth mòr, the treat rath. These raths were, probably, simply farm-houses fortified for security in troublous times. Behind Rmore is an linne bhreac the dappled pool. Near it is
Galanaich, from galian, a standing-stone. There is a striking perched block not far off ; cf. Gallanaich, Argyll ; Achagallon in Arran
An t-uisge dubh; Black water.
Cada nan damh (O.S.M.) Casandamff); Stags’ pass.
Gluich (Meikle and Little) —
G. an glaidhaich ;
Glaodhaich àrd agus Glaodhaich iosad ; from glaodh, glue, E. Ir glaed, with; ach suffix ; hence the soft, sticky, miry place, which applies well to the lower Gluich. There is another Gluich in Altas, Sutherland also wet, and a third in Glencovinth. Local tradition ascribes the name to the ‘ glaodhaich ‘ or lamentation of the Edderton women on occasion of a battle with the Danes, and a similar origin is assigned to Raanich (bhuiad a’ rànail an sin).
G. beul-atha chàrn,
ford-mouth of the cairns, a ford on the Edderton Burn, above Easan tairbh, the bull’s waterfall, which latter is reputed to be the haunt of a tarbh-usisge, water bull.
The Gaelic hesitates between innis an t-samhraidh and innis an t-sea’raigh, but the latter seems tp be the common local form, probably for seann ruigh, old shieling. Innis an t-samhraidh means summer-mead, i.e, a grassy meadow on which cows grazed in summer.
G an ruigh breac, the dappled slope.
G. am bogaradh, a derivative of bog, soft, wet-wet place ; it is a soft place by the water side. Also leathad a’ bhogaraidh, broad slope of the soft place. In 1634 appears on record (Reg. Mag. Sig.) ‘magnus limes lapideus vocatus Clachnabogarie,’ the great march stone called, etc, to the east of Edderton Burn. The stone is still there, and known by the same name, but it is no longera march stone, the burn being now the march.
bay of the curach,
coracle ; possibly currach, marsh.
The Gaelic has certainly been affected by the modern English form. Locally said to have been the landing place of Curry or Carius (v. N. Stat. Acc.), the Danish prince whose prowess caused th ‘glaodhaich ‘ and ‘rànail’ above referred to. Cf. Cambuschurrich on Lochtayside.
G. blàr a’ charaidh ;
caraidh means ‘ grave-plot.’ Cf. clach ‘charaidh,
the name of the fine sculptured stone at Shandwick, Nigg. (see Nigg). There is a sculptured stone on Carrieblair also, still standing and depicted in Dr Stuart’s Sculptured Stones of Scotland,’ near which ancient graves have been excavated. According to local tradition, this stone marks the grave of Carius referred to above.
Edderton Farm –
G. baile na foitheachan (final ‘ a ‘ open).
The formation of ‘ foitheachan ‘ seems parallel with that of Guisachan, etc., and suggests as the base ‘ faidh, ‘ a beech, which in Scottish Gaelic is ‘ faidhbhile,’ beech-tree. The name would thud mean Place of beeches.
Ballinleich, alias Litchstoune 1666 ;
G. bail’ an lighe (also lighich),
Leech’s or physician’s town. Locally said to have been the place where the wounded were treated after the battle of Carrieblair.
G. an t-ard mòr, great promontory.
Rudha nan sgarbh –
Cormorants’ point ; here is a large round cairn.
‘càrn màthaidh, ‘ where mathaidh is perhaps a proper name, near loch nan tunnag, duck loch.
G. ruigh Dhùghaill, Dugald’s slope.
G. poll a’ ghearraidh, pool of the ‘ gearraidh.’
There is no pool here now, but there was once, according to local evidence, a small loch. Gearraiddh is Norse ger_i, a fenced field, borrowed, very common in Lewis, and meaning the strip of land between machair and monadh, plain and upland moor.
G. an garbh-bad, the rugh chump ;
also, coille a’ gharbh-bhaid, Garbad wood.
Meikle and Little Daan –
G. Dathan mhòr and Dathan bhig ;
‘ Dachynbeg in Vestray ‘ was granted circ. 1350 by Hugh Ross to his armiger, William Marescal ; Daane 1429 ; Little Dovane 1578.
These forms may possibly point to its being a diminutive od ‘ dabhach, ‘ the old Celtic measure of land, and at the Reformation Dathan Meikle was three-fourths of a davach, and Dathan Lytle one-fourth-a davach in all. The place, however, stands at the confluence of two streams, and as ther is an 0. Ir. Word ‘ an ‘ water, the ma,e ,au rea;;u be dà-an, two waters. The joint stream is called the Daan burn, and the traditional explanation of Daan is da-àthan, two fords, which is quite possibly right. Near Daan is Torr a’ bhil, edge-hill. Also, ‘ àn dòbhran,’ which seems to be a derivative of O.G. dobur, wate, meaning ‘ the wet place.’
G. bail’a’ bhlair, plain-town ;
near it is ‘ an ruigh bhreac, ‘ spotted slope ;
and east of it ‘ leac and duine,’ man’s flat stone ; and ‘ àrd inhanaidh,’ monks point
Little and Meikle Dallas –;
Doles 1560 ;
G. Dalais mhòr and Dalais bhig.
It is never used with the article. The old form, as compared with the modern Gaelic, shows the common transition from ‘o ‘ to ‘ a ‘ ; cf. Culboky, G. cul-bhàcidh ; -ais is th Epictish ending seen in Allt-ais, etc. (v, Introd.), and the first syllable is to be equated with ‘ dol ‘ in dolmen, used in place-names in the sense of ‘ plateau.’ Dallas is thus a Pictish word, meaning ‘ place of the plateau ‘ which describes its situation ; cf. Dallas, Elgin ; perhaps also Dalkeith.
Dounie – from dùn, fort.
Hilton – G. Bail’ a’ chnuie
Craigroy – a chreag ruadh, red rock.
Cartomie – G. Càthar-tomaidh ; càther, a moss or bog, and tom, hillock ; compounded on the same principle as Balaldie, etc. Introd.)
Polinturk – G. poll an tuire, boar’s pool.
Cnocan na goibhnidh – (O.S.M. Cnoc àl na gamhainn), smithy-hillock, near Polinturk,
G. muighbhlàraidh, spotted plain; locative of magh, compounded with blàr, spotted, with th;idh ending so common in Easter Ross. Blàr is not nearly so frequent in place-names as its synonyms riabhach. breac, ballach.
G. allt na mèinn, burn of ore,
with reference to its irony water. There are strong traces of iron in most of the Edderton burns and wells, and there are even said to have been iron workings in Edderton burn.
G. an t-srùidh ; rathad na Strùidh,
the road from Alness to Bonar, which attains its highest point at Cnoc na Strùidh. Before railways this was the usual route from the south, so John Munro of Creich in his ‘Oran Ducha’ on leaving Glasgow to visit his native place, says-
O thèid sinn, thèid sinn le suigeart agus aoidh,
O thèid sinn, thèid sunu gu deònach,
O thèid sinn, thèid sinn thairis air an t-Srùidh,
Gu nyinntir ar daungm us ar n-eòlais.
Strùidh appears to be best regarded as a contracted form of sruth-aidh, an extension of the root of sruth, stream (‘ t ‘ euphonie). From the base of Cnoc na Strùidh streams flow in all directions ; cf. Struy in Strathglass, which is also a place of streams. At Lòn na Strùidh, moist flat of Struie, is fuaran an òir, well strongly impregnated with iron, and reckoned to possess healing properties, but it has been insulted (chaidh tàmailt a chur air), and is not what it once was ; so called from a gold ring having been lost in it in course of cleaning.
G. leachanaich (Leachanaich àrd and L. iosal) ;
locally interpreted as leth Choinnich, Kenneth’s half, but the presence of the article does not countenance this. The place is a sloping hill-side, and the name is, most likely, Leacanaich (with ‘c’ aspirated, from leac, a sloping hill-face ; v. Macbain’s Dict. , s.v. lethcheann.
G. cnoc leathadaidh, hill of the ‘leathad’ or slope ;
formed like Bal-aldie . Near it is badan binn (‘n) coin, where ‘coin’ as in other cases where it occurs, seems to be the genitive singular of èun, bird.
G. an creagan. The little rock ;
behind it is allt na corrach, burn of the places of corries ; there are three small corries drained by it. Beyond this again, leading towards Fearn, is ‘an cadha iosal, ‘ the low pass, over Struie.
Cnoc an liath bhaid – Hill of the grey clump.
Bein clach an fheadain – Hill of the whistle stone or of the spout (of water).
Carr Dubh – G. an càthar dubh, a hill; càthar, usually a moss or bog, is here used to mean ‘ a rough, broken surface.’
Cnoc Bad a’ bhacaidh – Hill of the moss-clump.
Cnoc an Ruigh ruaidh – Hill of the red slope.
Chulash – A’ chùlais, the recess.
Cnoc Thorcaill – Torquil’s hill.
Cnoc ‘Chlachain – Hill of the clachan, with reference to the Monastery of Fearn, the original site of which was not far off.
Meall na siorramachd – (O.S.M. Cnoc Leathado na siorramachd)
? Shire-hill, on the Kincardine boundary.
Beinn nan oighreagan –
Hill of the cloud-berries ; the usual plural is oighrean, implying a singular oighre, of which oighreag is diminutive.
Easter, Wester, and Mid Fearn –
Feàrn’ àrd, Feàrn’ lochdarach,
literally High Fearn and Lower Fearn, and Feàrn meadhonach.
Blaeu’s Atlas has Faern Iera, Faern Meanach, Faern Ocra ; from Feàrna, alder. The Monastry of Fearn was originally founded ‘near Kintarue, in Strathcharron ‘ (Charon. Of Earls of Ross), probably, therefore, at Wester Fearn, about 1225, and about twenty years later, in the founder’s life-time, ‘ for the more tranquillitie, peace and quietness thereof translated ‘ to the spot it still occupies, where it was called at first Nova Farina, New Fearn, then simply Fearn.
Allt Grùgaig –
The little surly one, the burn of Wester Fearn.
According to the New Stat, Acc. (1840), “there is a complete chain of those round towers called Dunes surrounding this parish ; none of them however, in a state of even tolerable preservation. One of these, situated at Easter Fearn, and known by the name Dune-Alliseaig (from Dùn-fair-loisgeadh, or the beacon watch tower), was about fourteen feet in height within the last thirty years, and had vaults and a spiral staircase within the wall.” It was destroyed for dykes, etc. about 1818. The site is still to be seen, and the name is still current in Gaelic as Dùn Alaisgaig. Falaisg, moor-burning, which seems hinted at in the derivation offered above, suits the phonetics exactly, but the word is probably Norse. Blaeu has it Dun Alliscaig. East of it he marks Dunivastra, i.e., Dounie of Westray, now Dounie, where there are also the ruins of a third, nameless, at Lechanich, said to have been six of seven feet high with chambers, within living memory. Càrn màthaidh, on Rudha nan sgarbh, may have been another.
There are no Norse names in Edderton, except the obsolete Westray, and possibly Dùn Alaisgaig.
Place Names of Edderton Parish
This extract was taken, with the permission of the Trustees, from Prof. W.J. Watson’s – ‘Place Names of Ross and Cromarty’. The most recent edition of this work was published by HIGHLAND HERITAGE BOOKS Tir nan Oran, 8 Culcairn Road, Evanton IV16 9YT
Place Names of Ross and Cromarty p23 onwards