Gairloch Place Names
Attribution: Iain Sinclair (World War 2 lookout next to Loch Ewe)
G. an Gearr-loch, the Short Loch;
A well by the roadside at the mouth of Abhainn Ghlas, Gray River, is affirmed to have been the original Gairloch.
G. Diabaig; N. djup-vik, deep bay. Oirthir Dhiabaig, Coast of Dibaig.
G. a’ Chreag, or Creag Rulgh Mhorgain; the Rock, or the Rock of Morgan’s slope. Morgan is a Pictish name; Old British, Morcant, ‘ seabright ;’ Gaulish Moricantos. The Craig river runs through Braigh-Thaithisgil, upper part of Taisgil. In Taithisgil the latter part is N. gil, a ravine; the first part, is perhaps genitive of haf, sea, with prefixed t, giving t-hats-gil, sea-ravine.
Allt, Meall and Loch na h-Uamhach –
Burn, Hill and Loch of the Cave. Between the burn and Allt na Criche, Boundary Burn, is a stone pillar called An Nighean Liath, the gray girl. Near the mouth of the little burn is Oirthir an Rudha, Coast of the point, off which is Sgeir an Trithinn, Trinity Skerry, a rock in the sea with three humps.
Allt Saraig -Burn of Saraig; N. saur-vik, mud-bay.
Red Point-G. an Rudha dearg; but sometimes called an Rudha lachdunn, the dun or swarthy point.
Port an Fhaithir Mhoir–
Harbour of the great shelving slope. Faithir, a sharp slope with a flat place at top, is in very common use in Gairloch and Lochbroom; ? Ir. fachair, a shelf in a cliff; cf. Foyers, Inverness, G. Foithir, the same word. On the West Coast faithir is applied typically to the steep slope between the old raised beach, about 30 feet high, and the present shore. The north-west point of this peninsula is a’ Chreag Luathann, Rock of Ashes, with a peculiar genitive form, seen also in Cnoc na h-athan (single n) in Lochcarron; Tom na h-athainn, Strathnairn; Mullach na h-Eagann (eag, a notch), the highest point of Ben Alligin.
G. am Baile Shios, the Lower township, as opposed to am Baile Shuas, the Upper township.
Allt a’ Chaol-doire – Burn of the narrow copse.
An Tarbh -The Bull, primarily the name of a knoll, but extended to designate the coastland from Bailesios to Erradale.
South Erradale -Erredell 1638; G. Earradal Shuas or Earradal a Deas; N. eyrar-dalr, gravel-beach dale. Great banks of gravel extend from here to Bailesios.
Allt Uamh a’ Chleibh -Burn of the Creel-cave; also Creag Uamh a’ Chleibh and Achadh Uamh a’ Chleibh, Rock and Field of the same.
An t-Seolaid -A skerry north of the mouth of Abha~nn Ruadh, Red river. There is another Seolaid near Fearnmore, Applecross. Based on seol, sail, with extension as in Bial-id; Place of sailing, i.e., requiring careful navigation; or, Sailing mark. On the shore adjacent are am Faithir Mor and am Faithir Beag, the big and the little shelving declivities.
Openham -G. na h-obainean, the little bays; G. ob, borrowed from N. hop.
Creagan na Mi-chomhairle -Little rock of bad counsel. Two men quarrelled and fought here. One wished to stop fighting, but the other would not, and both were killed.
Cnoc nan Carrachan -Hill of wild liquorice.
Sroin a’ Charr -Nose of the projecting rock; cf. Carr Rock in Kintail.
Camas nam Ploc -Bay of the lumpish promontories.
Uamh Fhreacadain -Cave of the watch.
An Camas Raintich -Fern Bay; by-form of raineach.
An Sguman -The stack; the northernmost point west of Port Henderson.
Port Henderson -Called by natives Portigil, N. port-gil, gate-gully; by others Port an Sgumain, Haven of the Stack.
A’ Chathair Dhubh -The black fairy knoll; between the above and Loch nan Eun, Bird Loch. N.E. of Port Henderson is Cnoc an Sgath, Hill of the fright.
Sron nam Mult -Nose or point of the wedders; Na Muilt, the wedders, are three skerries that appear at ebb off the coast.
Badantionail -G. Bad an Inneil; Clump of the tackle, or instrument.
Badachro -G. Bad a’ Chrotha, Clump of the Fold. Also Caolas, Meall, Abhainn, Eas and Loch Bad a’ Chrotha, Sound, Hill, River, Waterfall, and Loch of the same.
An Uidh -The outlet to the sea of Loch Bad na h-Achlaise, Loch of the arm-pit; achlais is very common in place-names.
An Caochan Fearna -The alder brooklet; caochan, from caoch, blind, denotes a stream so small as to be almost covered by the heather. It is common in Gairloch.
Loch nam Breac -Athar-Loch of the sky-trout, i.e., trout that were supposed to have fallen in a shower; cf. Creachann nan Sgadan. (O.S.M., Loch nam Breac Odhar).
Badaidh nan Ramh -Little clump of the oars. Badaidh, which must be a diminutive of bad, is common. Ramh, a root (Arran), long root as of a tree (Perthahire); not so used in Ross.
Loch Clair -Loch of the flat.
Loch Sguata Beag and Loch Sguata Mor; cf. Sguataig.
Glac na Senshesen, which appears on some maps, is Glac nan seani(nn)sean, hollow of the old haughs or inches; cf. Loch na Shanish, Inverness.
Doir’ an Eala -Swan copse; also Lon Dhoir’ an Eala, Marsh of the same, and Abhainn Dhoir’ an Eala.
An t-Allt Giuthas -Fir burn; the formation is the regular one on the west coast here.
Doireachan nan Gad -The copses of withes.
Braigh Thoiriosdal -Upper part of Horrisdale, i.e., N. Thorir’s dale. Also Loch and River of the same.
Beinn Bhric -Dappled hill.
Bus-bheinn -G. Badhais-bhinn (or baoghais-bhinn, ao short). The phonetics do not admit the popular explanation ‘ Forehead Hill,’ G. bathais. The name is probably a hybrid of the same type as Suilven, Blaven, Goatfell, G. Gaota-bheinn, where Norse fell, a wild hill, has been translated into G. beinn, the first part being left untranslated. The G. of Loch Boisdale is Loch Bhaoghasdail, or, Loch Baoghasdail.
Nead an Eoin -Bird’s nest; a safe anchorage.
Camas na h-Eirbhe -Bay of the fence or wall. Eirbhe is in O. Ir. airbe, meaning (1) ribs (2) fence. It occurs often in Ross and Sutherland, e.g., Altnaharra is G. Allt na h-Eirbhe, burn of the wall. Further examples will occur later. On examination it will be found that wherever this name occurs there are traces of an old wall stretching through the moor; some of these walls are of great length.
Leac nan Saighead -Flat rock of the arrows. The story of the destructive archery practice made from it is to be found in Mr Dixon’s ‘ Gairloch.’
Camasaidh -The little bay; cf. badaidh above.
An Cobhan -The little recess; it is a sea nook; cf. Cavan, in Ireland.
Shieldaig -G. Sildeag ; N. Sild-vik, herring-bay; cf. Shieldaig, in Applecross. Also the hybrid name Aird-shildeig, Promontory of Shieldaig.
Kerry River -River Kerrie 1638; G. Abhainn Chearraidh, N. kjarr-a, copse river, still as descriptive as ever. Also Inverkerry, G. InbhirChearraidh, and Loch Kerry. But Kerrysdale is in G. a’ Chathair Bheag, the little fairy knoll or seat.
Loch Bad na’ Sgalag -Loch of the clump of the farm-workers.
Loch na h-Oidhche -Night loch, with large trout which take only at night.
Beinn an Eoin -Bird-hill; common.
An Didh Phlubach -The ‘ plumping channel,’ between Loch Bad na Sgalag and Feur-Loch, grassy loch.
Loch nam Buaineachan (also Buannachan), Loch of the Reapers.
Meall Aundrary -G. Meall Andrairigh; a Norse formation; possibly Andrew’s shieling, Andreserg (erg borrowed from Gaelic airigh). But this should give Andrasairigh.
Charlestown -G. Baile Thearlaich.
Ob Cheann an t-Saile-Kintail Bay. This Kintail is a tiny estuary, and at the bridge there was formerly a change-house.
Flowerdale -G. am Baile Mor, Big-stead.
Flowerdale House -The old house of Gairloch was called an Tigh Dige, Moat House, from its having been surrounded by a ditch. The present house is called Tigh Dige nan Gorm Leac, Moat House of the blue flags, i.e., slates. Dialectically Tigh Gige.
Port na h-eile; eile is most probably eibhle, genitive of eibheal, a live coal; ‘ Port of the Ember ;’ the reference is lost.
An Dun-The Fort; there are traces of such.
Caisteil na Cloinne -The Children’s Castle; a rock full of holes in which children play.
An Crasg-The crossing; a ridge crossed by the road.
Gairloch Hotel -Its site is in G. Achadh Deuthasdal, Field of Deuthasdal, an obscure N. word.
An Cachaileath Dearg -The red gate.
Creagan nan Cudaigean – Cuddies’ Rock.
Achtercairn – Auchitcairne 1638; G. Achd-a’chirn, Field of the Cairn; with hardening of -adh to -ag in achadh, and contraction.
Leac Roithridh – Ryrie’s flag-stone; in the bay. Roithridh is a personal name still in use, and stories are told of Coinneach mac-Roithridh. Cf. Creag-Roithridh and Toll-Roithridh. The MacRyries were a sept of the Macdonalds.
Poll an Doirbh – Pool of the hand line; a deep pool at the mouth of the stream here. N. dorg.
Loch Airidh Mhic Criadh – G. Loch Airigh MacGriadh, Loch of the shieling of the sons of Griadh.
Strath – G. an Srath
Meoll with the mill 1638;
G. Miall (two syllables);
Norse mjo-vollr, narrow field. It is the higher ground of which Strath isthe lower; cf. Miavaig, Lewis.
Smithstown -G. Bail’ a’ ghobha.
Lonemore -G. an Lon Mor, the great damp meadow.
Big Sand and Little Sand –
The two Sandis 1638;
G. Sannda Mhor agus Sannda Bheag; N. Sand; cf. the common Shandwick or Sandaig. Near Big Sand is Cathair a’ Phuirt, Fairy Knoll of the harbour.
Longa Island -Lunga (Blaeu); N. lung-ey, shipisle. The passage between it and the mainland is An Caol Beag, the little narrow.
North Erradale -G. Eirradal Shios or Earradal a Tuath. For the usage of sios, cf. Bailesios above, and for meaning, South Erradale.
Na Feannagan Glasa -The Green Rigs. Feannag, from G. feann, flay, was a ‘ lazy-bed.’ (O.S.M., Fannachain glas).
Senabhaile -Gl. an Sean-bhaile, old-town.
Peterburn -G. Alltan Phadraig.
Camas nan Sanndag -Sand-eel Bay.
A’ Chipeanoch -The name of the shore lands from Peterburn (or perhaps from N. Erradale) to Altgreshan; a derivative of G. Ceap, a block, a piece of ground.
Altgreshan -Auldgressan 1638;G.Allt Ghrisean, i.e., grisionn, or gris-fhionn; ‘Brindled Burn;’ cf. Inverbreakie.
melr denotes bent grass, or a sandy hillock overgrown with bent grass; vik, bay. From melr we get the G. Mealbhan, sandy dunes with bent grass, common on the west. In Portmahomack ‘mealbhan ‘ means bent grass. Also G. mealach, full of bent grass; cf. Lochan Mealaich between Strathy and Armadale, in Sutherland.
Port nan Amall -Harbour of the yokes.
An Rudha Reidh -The smooth point; the northwesterly point of the peninsula.
An t-Seann Sgeir -Old Skerry, is the north point of Rudha Reidh. The sound of the sea on this rock is sometimes heard, it is said, in Glen Docharty, Kinlochewe.
Camustrolvaig -A hybrid; N. troll-vik, goblin bay, with G. Camas, a bay, prefixed. It is still counted a most uncanny place.
Abhainn nan Leumannan -River of the leaps. Abhainn, river, is often applied to quite a small stream if its course is comparatively smooth.
Locha Dring -(O.S.M. Loch an Draing); Tobar Dringaig, at its south end, points to the name being Gaelic; perhaps a personal name or nickname.
Achadh nan Uirighean -Field of the couches or beds. There is, I think, a Fingalian tale attached.
Bac an Leith-choin -Moss of the Lurcher.
Fura Island -G. Eilean Futbara; Fura also heard; final -a is Norse ey, island; first part obscure.
Sgeir Mhaoil-Mhoire -Myles’ skerry.
Am Bodha Ruadh -The red sunken rock, a very dangerous shoal skerry.
Rudha an t-Sasain -A wild promontory just as one enters the Minch. Sasan is from sas, a hold or grip, and means metaphorically ‘a place or thing that grips,’ i.e., a point difficult to get past; or, where lines get entangled.
Cove -G. an Uaghaidh; the north part of Cove is Achadh na h-Uaghach, meaning ‘ Place of the Cave’ and Field of the Cave respectively.
Smiuthaig -N. Smuga-vik, Cave bay. Am Faithir Mor and am Faithir Beag, the big and little shelving declivity; also Gaineamhach Smiuthaig, Sands of Smiuthaig.
An t-Eilean Tioram -Dry Island, off the latter.
Creag Bean an Tighe -Housewife’s Rock; a good place for fishing.
Sguataig -To be connected with Loch Sguata, which is inland from it. There are three lochs of this name in Gairloch, all of which have tail-like ends or promontories, which suggests N. Skuti, to project. Sguataig is Sguat-bay.
A’ Chathair Ruadh -The red fairy knoll.
Stirkhill -G. Meallan a’ ghamhna, the Stirk; an Gamhainn is a rock.
G. Inbhir-asdal, a hybrid;
G. inbhir, estuary;
N. aspi-dalr, Aspen-dale, from osp, the aspen tree. The old forms, together with the independent authority of Blaeu, prove that the modern Gaelic is a contraction with compensatory lengthening of the vowel a.
Coast – G. an t-Eirthire.
Faithir an Roin -Shelving declivity of the seal.
Feith Chuilisg -Bog of Cuilisg. Cuilisg was a witch who ran off with the kettle of the Feinne. Caoilte caught her here, and the kettle spilled in the struggle, causing the ‘ feith.’ The Fenian ‘ coire ‘ was kept in the Feadan rnor, the big runnel.
Brae-A’ Bhruthaich; behind it is an Leith-chreig, half-rock; also Creag Chomhaidh.
Loch a’ Bhadaidh Shamhraidh -Loch of the little summer clump. An Gead Dubh, the black rig, is near Brae; also Gead a’ Chois, Rig of the nook.
Naast -The Nastis 1638; G. Nast; doubtful. We may compare the Irish Naas, derived from nas, a fair; t would easily develop. Norse naust, a boat-place, would land in G. nost, hardly nast, unless we could suppose a change from o to a. Also Platach Nast, the flat place of Naast; and Dun Nast, Fort of Naast.
Boor -G. Bura; N. bur-a, bower-stream. Also Loch Bhura, from which comes Allt a’ Chuingleim, Burn of the narrow leap (Coylum); Sgeir Bhura, Boor skerry. Torran na Cle, ? Hillock of the Hurdle; it is haunted. Above Boor is Torr a’ Bhiod, Torr of the Point.
Poolowe -G. Poll-iu; the village is called by the natives Abhainn Iu, Ewe River. That Loch Maree was formeIly called Loch Ewe is clear from the facts that the River Ewe issues from it, that Kinlochewe stands at its upper end, and Letterewe on its north side. Blaeu’s map makes it Loch Ew, yet Lochmaroy 1638. Iu is difficult, but may be Ir. eo, Welsh yw, a yew tree; c Tobar na h-iu in Nigg.
Tollie -Tolly 1638; G. Tollaidh, Place of the Holes; there are the farm, bay, rock, burn, and loch of Tolly. Common; this Tolly is a place of knolls and hollows.
Slattadale -G. Sleiteadal; N. Slettr-dalr, Evendale.
Talladale -Alydyll 1494; Allawdill 1566; Telbadell 1638; G. Tealladal; N. hjalli-dalr, ledge-dale; hjalli is a shelf or ledge in a mountain side.
Beinn a’ Chearcaill -Hill of the circle, from the lines of stratification running round it like hoops.
Grudie River -G. Abhainn Gruididh; cf. Grudie, in Contin.
Ru Noa -G. Rudh’ ‘n Fhomhair, Giant’s point.
Tagan -Taag 1633; G. na Tathagan; Fear nan Tathag, the goodman of Tagan. The singular nom. is thus Tathag, as in the 1633 spelling, a diminutive in form, which I take to be a loan from N. taoi, fem., an in-field, homefield, Tathag thus means the small in-field; na Tathagan, the small in-fields.
Asancaun -G. ath-nan-ceann, ford of the heads.
Cromasag -G. sn Cromasag for Crom-fhasadh, bent or crooked dwelling.
Beinn Eigbe -File peak, from its serrated outline as seen from Kinlochewe. The upstanding rocks which form the teeth of the file are called Bodaich Dhubh Binn Eighe, the black Carls of Ben Eay. The sides of this wild mountain are one mass of shingly screes, ever slipping, whence it was said: ‘S i mo run Beinn Eighe, Dh’fhalbhadh i leam is dh’fhalbhainn leatha. My love is Ben Eay, She With me and I with her would go.
A’ Ghairbhe -The Garry; the river from Loch Coulin; G. gairbhe, roughness, which describes it. The Inverness Garry is in Gaelic Garadh.
An Giuthas mor -The great fir wood; a relic of the indigenous forest. Also Mam a’ Ghiuthais, Breast or round Hill of the Fir-wood.
Bruachaig -Little bank, locative of bruachag. Also Abhainn Bruachaig, Bruachaig River. Opposite Bruachaig is Cruchoille, Horse-shoe wood, where the stream makes a complete bend like a horseshoe. Also Cathair Chruchoille, Fairy knoll of the same.
Eilean a’ Ghobhainn -The Smith’s isle, with a burying-ground. Adjacent is the farm of Culinellan, Back of the Island.
Am Preas Mor -The big thicket; here preas, which usually means ‘bush,’ must mean ‘thicket.’ It is a loan from Pictish, and in Welsh means brushwood, covert.
Beinn a’ Mhuinidh -So called from a waterfall in its face, called Steall a’ Mhuinidh; cf. the Continental Piss-vache.
Fasag -G. am Fasag for fasadh, the dwelling. Also Abhainn an Fhasaidh, River of the dwelling. Site of old ironworks.
Claona -G. an claon-ath, the wry ford; the vowel of ath is shortened by the strong accent on the prefixed adjective.
Beinn Lair -To be taken in connection with Ardlair; there are two rocks near this promontory in L. Maree called an Lair, the mare, and an Searrach, the foal. The meaning is thus Marehill, and Mare-promontory.
Slioch -G. an Sleaghach; the adjective ‘sleaghach’ is common, in conjunction with ‘ coire,’ a corry; and ‘ ruigh,’ a sloping stretch. Here ‘ sleaghach ‘ is a noun. The base can hardly be other than sleagh, a spear, but the application is far from clear. Slioch is a truncated cone, almost void of vegetation, with many water-worn gullies on its steep slopes.
Smiorasair -So in G., where a final -igh has been dropped; Blaeu writes Smirsary, and cf. Smearisary, Moidart. Smior is the N. smjor, butter; ary is N. erg, shieling, borrowed from G. airigh at an early stage. The as after smior is all that remains of some Norse word, which can only be guessed at. Norse compounds of this type (with three parts) are specially liable to ” telescoping” in Gaelic.
Rigollachy -G. Ruigh-ghobhlachaidh, sloping reach of the forked field.
Coppachy -G. Copachaidh; cop means knob, foam; probably ‘ foam-field,’ as it is on the shore of Loch Maree.
Furness -G. an Fhuirneis, the Furnace. There were extensive smelting works here. Also Abhainn na Fuirneis, River of the Furnace.
Folais -For fo-ghlais, sub-stream, small stream; also Allt Folais, Burn of Fowlis, a reduplication or tautology vrhich shows that the name Folais has long ceased to be significant. Cf. Fowlis.
Inishglass -G. an Innis-ghlas, the green haugh.
Meall Bheithinnidh -Probably based on G. beithe, birch; also Bealach Bheithinnidh, Gap of tbe Birch-place.
Binn Airigh a’ Charr -Pronounced quickly with accent on first and last syllables, and shortening of a of airigh; hill of the shieling of the projecting rock or rock shelf.
Ardlair -G. Ard-lair v. Beinn Lair above.
Poll Uidhe a’ Chro -Pool of the water-isthmus of the fold; joined to Loch Kernsary by a narrow neck.
Kernsary -Kernsery 1548; G. Cearnai’sar; of same formation as Smiorasair, above. The last part is N. erg, shieling, borrowed from Gaelic; the first part may be kjarni, kernel, denoting also ‘the best part of the land ;’ or it may be kiarr, copse. In the former case the s has to be explained as in Smiorasair; the latter theory leaves nas to be accounted for.
Inuisabhaird -G. Innis a’ bhaird, the poet’s mead. The poet in question was the ‘ Bard SasuImach,’ a descendant of one of the English-speaking ironworkers on Loch Maree side.
Loch Ghiuragairtaidh also Achadh-ghiuragairtidh -Probably from giuran, a plant resembling the wild hemlock, and gart, an enclosure; cf. Achadh-ghiurain in Glenshiel.
Inveran -G. Inbhirean, the little ‘ inver,’ or estuary, where the water of Loch Kernsary falls into the lower end of Loch Maree. It does not seem to have the article prefixed in Gaelic, and this is the case also with the Sutherland Inveran, on R. Shin.
A’ Phlucaird -The Lump-promontory, a locative of ploc-aird. Inverewe House, which stands in its lee, is called Tigh na Plucaird.
Loch nan Dailthean -Loch of the Dales.
Coille-eagascaig -Wood of Eagascaig, which is Norse eikir-skiki or eiki-skiki, oak-strip. A’ Ghlac Dharach, the oak dell, is in it, or at least very near it.
Tuirnaig -Towrnek 1548; G. Turnaig; a difficult name; -aig looks like N. vik, bay; but Turnaig in Strath Oykell, far inland, is seriously against it; and the first part turn is not readily explained from N. sources. Perhaps locative of G. tuairneag, a rounded thing; boss, hillock; which would suit the places. Platach Thuirneig, fiat of Tuirnaig, is the stretch of moor between Suil Mill a’ Chrotha, Bog-eye of the hill of the fold, and Loch a’ Bhaid Luachraich, Loch of the Rush-clump. There are also Loch, Burn, and Point of Tuirnaig.
Cois Mhic ‘Ille Riabhaich -Nook or recess of the son of the brindled lad. Also, Eileach of the same. Eileach, which usually means a mill-lade, is used in the west in the sense of an artificial narrowing of a stream for the purpose of catching fish by means of the ‘cabhuil,’ a sort of creel. There are legends wlth regard to the worthy referred to in these and other Gairloch names which may be found in Mr Dixon’s ” Gairloch.”
An Slugan Domhain -The little deep pit.
Aultbea -In G. an Fhain, the gentle slope, locative case of am Fan. The real Aultbea, G. AlltBeithe, Birch burn, is some little distance from the village. The Aultbea Coast is in G. an t-Eirthire Donn, the brown coast.
Badfearn -G. am Bad-fearna, the alder clump.
Tighnafiline -G. Tigh na Faoilinn, House of the Shore-field.
Cnoc nan Culaidhean -Hill of the Boats (O.S.M. Cnoc nan Columan).
Culchonich -G. a’ Chuil-choinnich, mossy nook.
Ormiscaig -G. Ormascaig; N. orma-skiki, snake strip; possibly Ormr, a proper name meaning ‘ snake.’
Buailnaluib -Fold of the bend.
Mellon Charles -G. Meallan Thearlaich, Charles’s little hill.
Camas nan Dornag-Bay of the rounded pebbles; cf. Dornie.
An Fhaithche -Pronounced an Fhothaigh, almost one syllable; the green; also Allt na Faithche, burn of the green; cf. Foy Lodge, Lochbroom.
Slaggan -In G. an Slagan odhar, the dun rounded hollow. Slaggan is the name for the hollow ot a kiln; for sense cf. Loch Hourn, G. Loch Shuirn, Kiln-loch. Slaggan is noted as the resiclence of the Big Bard of Slaggan, Bard Mor an t-Slagain.
Sian na h-Eileig -Sian for sithean, a fairy hillock. ileag, I think, was a V-shaped arrangement, open at both ends, into the wide end of which deer were driven and shot with arrows as they came out at the narrow end.
Greenstone Point -Row na Clach-moin (Blaeu); G. Rudha na Cloiche uaine.
Obbenin -G. na h-Obainean, the little bays; cf. Oban. Near it is an Fheodhail, a shallow estuary, a dialectic form of an Fhaodhail, meaning ‘an extensive beach’; cf. na Feodhlaichean, in Lochbroom.
An Carr Mor -The great rocky shelf; also an Carr Beag and Camas a’ Charr, Bay of the rocky shelf, or projecting rock.
Feith Rabhain -Pronounced, as usual, Rawain; rabhan is a very common element in names, often coupled with feith, a bog-stream; also with bad, a clump, e.g., Allt Bad-a-rabhain in Dunrobin Glen. It has been explained as wrack left by a spate or tide. But ‘rabhagach means ‘certain weeds at the bottom of a lake or stream,’ also, ‘water lily,’ and rabhan is doubtless practically the same word.
Udrigle – ? Udroll 1638; G. Udrigill (u): N. utarrgil, outer cleft or gully. Also Meallan Udrigle, little hill of Udrigle.
Am Fiaclachan -The little place of teeth; sharp jagged rocks on the shore; cf. an Fhiaclaich, Coire na Fiaclaich.
Laid-An Leathad, the broad slope; Laid House, G. Tigh an Leathaid; cf. Laid in Sutherland.
Allt Ormaidh -N. orm-a, snake stream; also Bad Orrnaidh, copse of Ormy.
Loch na Cathrach Duibhe -Loch of the Black Fairy Knoll.
Sand -G. Sannda, N. sand-a, sand-stream, as is proved by the presence of Inbhir-Shannda, estuary of Sandburn. The burial place is Cladh Inbbi,shannda.
Am Pollachar Mor -The big place of pools or holes; also am Pollachar Beag, and Cois na Pollacharach, foot of the place of pools; for Pollachar from poll, cf. Beannachar from beann. Here is an t-Saothair, a common term on the west, applied to a bank between an island and the shore which is bare at low tide, or to a spit of land projecting into the sea, covered at high tide and bare at low tide. Probably for saobh-thir, false-land, i.e., land that is not real dry land.
First Coast -G. an t-Eirthire or an t-Eirthire shios.
Second Coast -G. an t-Eirthire donn, or an t-Eirthire bhos.
Loch Maoil na h-Eileig -Loch of the round bare hill of the ‘eileag’ (O.S.M. Loch Moine Sheilg).
Strathanmore -G. an Srathan mor, Big Littlestrath; a curious but not uncommon narne.
Am Fionn Loch -The white loch.
An Dubh Loch -The black loch; vowel of dubh lengthened by accent. Also am Fuar Loch, the cold loch.
A’ Mhaighdean -The maiden; a hill.
Loch Maree –
Loch Ew, Blaeu;
Locb of St Malruba;
v. Poolewe. In it is Isle Maree, G. Eilean Ma-rui’ with a holy well and ancient burying-ground, whence, doubtless, the change of name in the case of the Loch. On the north side is Ach’ ruigh ‘n fheadhail, Field of the sloping reach by the shallow water. An old name for the Loch itself was Loch Feadhal feas, but what feas means is uncertain.
Loch na Fideil -Loch of the ‘ Fideal,’ a certain dangerous water monster. Near Loch Maree Hotel.
Glen Docharty -G. Gleann Dochartaich, from the negative prefix do and cartach, scoury, or place of scouring; ‘ Glen of evil (i.e., excessive) scouring,’ which describes it well. Cf: the Rivers Cart.
Loch Doire na h-Eirbhe -Loch of the copse of the fence. An old wall is stated to run from Loch Maree to Loch Torridon, but I have not ascertained whether it runs near this loch, which is near the south-west side of Loch Maree.
G. a’ Chliubh;
G Tigh na Cliunbha; there are also Meall na Cliubha and Bruthach na Cliubha, all at Poolewe. A very steep rocky hill rises just behind. N. klif, a cliff, would answer as to meaning, but it appears in G. as cliof (H.S.D.), which is exactly parallel to N. rif, a reef; G. Riof in Coigach.
Place Names of Gairloch 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 p220