Lochcarron Place Names
Attribution: Unknown (Fishermen at Ardaneaskan)
Loghcarn 1275 (Theiner Vet. Mon.);
G. Loch-carrann, from the river Carron, which enters the sea loch after a course through Glen-carron and Strath-carron. There are in Scotland some half dozen or more rivers Carron, all with rough and rocky beds. The root is ‘kars-,’ rough, seen also in ‘carraig,’ a rock, and ‘càrn,’ a heap of stones. Ptolemy’s Carnonacae, on the west coast of Ross, are the ‘men of the cairns’ or of ‘ the rough bounds.’ On the analogy of such Gaulish river names as Matrona, the primitive form of Carron, which is doubtless a Pictish word, would be Carsona; cf. Carseoli in Italy; and for Gaelic ‘rr; arising from ‘rs,’ cf. Marr and the Italian tribe Marsi. But cf. also the G. words barr and earr. The old graveyard at the old parish church is Cladh a’ Chlachain.
G. Cis-orn, Norse ‘keis-horn,’ bulky cape. Blaeu’s Atlas put Combrich at the head of Loch Kishorn, confusing with Applecross.
Tornapreas— G. Treabhar nam preas, bush-stead. The English form is deceptive.
Courthill— Cnoc a’ mhòid: the moot-hill in question is close to the north side of the burying-ground below Courthill House. Behind the house again is Cnoc na croiche, Gallowhill. At the burying-ground was a chapel called Seipeil Donnain, St Donan’s Chapel.
The Dun: quarter of Doun 1495, Doune 1633, near Cnoc na croiche, was evidently once a township. The hill-fort from which it took its name is still traceable, though much broken. G. Lag an Dùin, Hollow of the Fort.
Ach-a-bhànaidh—Auchvanie 1633; probably based on bàn, white, yielding bànach, white place, or untilled field. (Also Achbane 1548, Davach of Achwanye 1583).
Seafield— G. An rudha, the point; also Rudha Nòis; perhaps Rudha ‘n òis, stream-mouth point; it is right opposite Russell Burn, on the other side of the loch.
Sanachan—Tannachtan 1548; Safnachan, 1583; G Samhnachan; G. samh, sorrel, with extensions; Little place of Sorrel.
Arddarroch— Oak-promontory; south-east of it is Ardochdainn, Little Highfield.
Achintraid— Auchnatrait 1623, shore- field; cf. Balintraid in Kilmuir Easter. The stream which enters Loch Kishorn at this point is commonly called the Kishorn river; O.S.M., Amhainn Cuag a’ Ghlinne.
Goirtean na h-Airde— The small enclosure of the point.
Camusdonn— Brown bay; Meall na h-àirde, hill of the promontory.
Loch Reraig— G. Rèaraig, Norse ‘reyrr-vík,’ reed bay. There is another Reraig in Lochalsh. Rerok 1583.
Eilean na beinne— Island of the peak. Beann is here used in its primary meaning.
Ardnaniaskin— G. Aird an fhiasgain, mussel promontory.
Strome— Strome Carranache 1495; Norse ‘straumr,’ a stream, current, race. There are Stròm mór, Stròm meadhonach, and Stròm Carranach.
Bad a’ chreamha— Clump of the wild garlic; behind Strome Castle.
Slumbay— Slomba 1495; Slumba 1633; G. Slumba; probably Norse ‘slaemr-vágr,’ slim or small bay.
Lochcarron Village, or Janetown, formerly Torr nan clàr, Torr of the staves or boards. Referring to its change of name and improved houses, there is a local rhyme, ascribed to the Rev. Lachlan Mackenzie:
Faire faire, Torr-nan-clàr!
Baile Séin’ th’ ort an drast,
Chan ‘eil tigh air an teid fàd [air teine],
Nach bi similear air no dhà.
Out upon thee, Tornaclar!
Town of Jane thou now art called;
Not a house on which goes sod,
That has not chimneys one or two.
Behind Janetown is An Teanga Fhiadhaich, the wild tongue; a very rugged piece of land.
Achintee— Achintee, 1633; Achnanty (Blaeu); G. Achd an t-sithidh, as if from sitheadh, force; sith, an onset; ? ‘Field of the blast’; cf. Achnasheen.
Eas an teampuill—Temple waterfall, a very fine and wild double fall, fifteen minutes’ walk from Strathcarron Station. The ‘temple’ is said to have stood near it on the right bank of the burn, where there are some ruins. A further ecclesiastical trace is found in Alltan an t-sagairt priest’s burnlet, a little to the west, near Achintee. Both are no doubt to be connected with the Clachan at Lochcarron. Blaeu places Clachan Mulruy near Achintee, but west of it. The Temple fall is on the river of Tao’udal, Englished Tweedle; the birch and fir copses fringing its banks are called ‘doire Thaoùdail,’ copse of Taodail; ? Norse haga-dalr, pasture-field, with the usual prefixed t. The dale is of course on the lower reaches of the stream.
Attadale—?N. at-dalr, fight dale; the Norsemen were fond of horse-fights, hesta-at, and this fine level strath would have been a suitable place for that purpose; cf. Attadale in Applecross.
Camallt— Bent burn.
Strathan— Little strath.
Immer— G. An t-iomaire, the rig, or ridge of land; also Càrn an iomair, Cairn of the ridge.
Cnoc nam mult— Wedder hill.
Coulags— G. Na Cùileagan, the little nooks, or back places. Sgardan nan Cùileag, Scree of the little nooks, is a brae on the road near.
Balnacra— G. Beul àth nan crà, Ford-mouth of the cruives.
Arinackaig— Arimachlag 1543; G. Airigh-neacaig; ‘neacaig’ looks like the genitive of Neachdag, feminine of Neachdan, Nectan.
Loch Dughall— L. Dowill (Blaeu); Dougald’s loch.
Achnashelloch— Auchinsellach 1584; Auchnashelloch 1633— Willowfield.
River Lair, Coire Làire, and Farm of Lair: from Làr in the sense of a low place, bottom.
Gorstan— G. an Goirtean fraoich, the small corn enclosure among the heather.
Lòn Coire Chrùbaidh—Moist flat of the bent corry.
Loch Sgamhain— ‘Sgamhan’ means (1) lungs or lights, (2) corn or hay built up in a barn. Local authority connects the name of the loch with the former; when the water-horse devoured a man, the victim’s lungs or liver usually floated to the shore. But the more peaceful alternative is preferable.
Beinn Féusaig— Beard-hill; it is bare on one side, and has long heather on the other.
Coulin, Loch Coulin, River Coulin—Coullin 1633; G. Cùlainn (‘u’ strongly nasal). The word can hardly be other than a locative of ‘conlann,’ meaning either ‘high enclosure’ (‘kunos,’ high), or ‘collection of enclosures’ (‘con, together). ‘Lann.’ enclosure, is found alone, as An loinn, the enclosure; and in composition as An garbhlainn, near Loch Ruthven (Inverness), which appears on the O.S. map as Caroline. The Kinlochewe tenants of old had their shielings where Coulin Lodge now stands. The old name of the spot is still remembered, and appears in the couplet:
Cumain is snàthain is im’ideil
Ceithir thimchioll Lùb Theamradail.
Milk pails and threads and coverings
All round the bend of Temradal.
Teamradal, N. Timbr-dalr, timber-dale.
Torran cuilinn— Holly knoll; at the east end of Loch Coulin.
Loch Clair-–. G Loch Clàir, loch of the level place.
Loch a’ Bharranaich (O.S.M. Loch Maireannach), Loch of ‘barranach,’ very long and strong grass with broad leaves like corn, growing in lochs. Fionnaltan, Whiteburns, is at its head; Lochan an iasgaich, lochlet of (good) fishing; Lochan gobhlach, forked lochlet (has a fork at either end.)
Sgùrr Ruadh (3141)— Red peak; Maol cheann dearg (accented on ‘cheann’) (3060), red-headed brow; Ruadh stac (2919) red ‘stack,’ or steep hill, are all of the red Torridon rock. Na cinn liath, the grey heads are quartzite. Càrn breac, spotted cairn; Fuar tholl, cold hole; Cnoc na h-àthan, kiln hill; Torr na h-iolaire, eagle torr; Glas bheinn, green hill.
Blaad—Bleyat, 1548; Blaad 1633; G. Blathaid; O. Ir. bla, glossed faitche, a green; blà, a place, glossed baile (both apparently the same word); with the suffix seen in Bial-id, Caol-id &c. ‘Place of the green.’ The place is noted for its pasture.
New Kelso—G. Eadar dha Charrainn, between two Carrons. The river Carron makes a large bend round it. Edira-carrain, Blaeu.
Dail Mhàrtuinn— Delmartyne 1633; Martin’s dale, marching with Balnacra.
Dail Charmaig—Cormac’s dale.
Revochan—Where the smithy is, a mile west of New Kelso. Ruboachane 1546; G. Ruigh-Bhuadhchain; near it is Abhainn Bhuadhchaig (O.S.M. Abhainn Bhuidheach); also Buadhchaig; Buadhchain is genitive of Buadhchan, probably Buadh-ach-an, place of victory, or place of virtue (i.e., efficacy); Buadhchaig is merely a variant with feminine termination. The ‘virtue’ may have been in the place itself, i.e., in producing herbs of worth; or in the water of its river. Abhainn Bhuadhahaig, however, means ‘River of Buadhchaig,’ the inference being that Buadhchag is primarily the name of the place, not of the river. Cf. however Ir. river name Buaidnech.
Tullich— G. an Tulaich, the hillock; but of old an Tulchainn.
Brecklach— G. a’ Bhraclach, the dappled place.
Coire Fionnarach—May be a formation from fionnar, cool (Ir. fionn-fhuar, white cold), or it may come directly from fionn, white; cf. ruadh’rach, from ruadh, red; ‘Cool Corry,’ or ‘Corry of the white places ( or white water).’ The river from Loch Coire Fionnaraich is Fionn Abhainn, white river, from the clearness of its water. About midway between the loch and Allt nan Ceapairean is Clach nan Con Fionn, Stone of the White Dogs; a tapering stone about 10 feet high, to which local legend says the hero Fionn used to fasten his dogs. It is all worn by their chains. Probably a trysting place for hunters and their dog-men.
Allt an ruigh’ shleaghaich— (O.S.M. Allt reidh sleighich). Cf. Slioch in Gairloch. It rises in Mòin’ a’ Chrèathair, sieve moss.
Allt Doir-ithigean— West of Cnoc na h-àthan; obscure; perhaps contains a proper name.
Allt a’ Chonais—Burn of Coneas; G. an Conais; this was a homestead by the burn. For Coneas cf. Coneas in Kiltearn, and na Coineasan, in English ‘the Rockies,’ a series of pools and falls in the Gruinard River.
Coire Lìridh— Lìridh is doubtless connected with G. Lìrean, meaning the green slimy stuff that forms in quiet water; cf. the Lïris, a river of Italy; Lïriope, a fountain nymph. Lïridh is probably a Pictish stream name, primitive Lïrios; root lï, smooth, polished, seen in Lat. Limo, polish; G liobh; cf. Glenlyon, G. Lï’un, primitive Lïvona.
Sgùrr nam Feartag—‘Peak of the sea-pinks,’ which grow there (O.S.M. Sgùrr na Fiantag). From it comes Coire Bhànaidh, cf. Achvanie.
Eagon (2260)—A hill; probably a formation from eag, a notch; ‘Place of the Notch, or, of Notches.”
Moruisg (3026)—G. Mórusg; first part is mór, great, the strong accent on which has reduced the second part to obscurity.
Poll Druineachain— On the stream that twice crosses the Dingwall road, near the junction with it of the road from Strathcarron Station. The more easterly of the bridges is Drochaid Poll Druineachain; the other is Drochaid na h-Uamhach, Cave-Bridge. Between that and the head of the loch is Cladh nan Druineach, Burial-place of the ? Druids, where cists are said to have been found.
Peitneane 1563—Now obsolete, shows Pictish influence. There is still Pitalmit in Glenelg, G. Bail’ an Ailm.
Place Names of Lochcarron 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 p192