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Coigach Gazetteer

This file is one of many that link from my website that focusses on genealogy and history of Coigach;

http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~coigach

Any suggestions for additions or edits please email me,

Donald MacDonald-Ross




Introduction

The following placenames, translations, and site descriptions were compiled from many sources.

Primary as first source available to me was the web page of Andrew Muir, who is married to a third cousin of mine and now lives at Polbain; CONTACT INFO

Though digitized and available to me long after composing this file a major source, having influenced secondary sources I did consult, was;

TITLE: Place Names of Ross and Cromarty
AUTHOR: William John Watson, Rector of the Inverness Royal Acadamy
PUBLISHED: 1904 at Inverness by the Northern Counties Printing and Publishing Company
DIGITIZED: online by Internet Archive at http://www.archive.org/details/placenamesofross00watsuoft

Other sources include my cousin Donald MacLeod in New Zealand (CONTACT INFO), and the book "Achiltibuie" by Ann Barnes (SOURCE).

Maps used include the 1894 Ordnance Survey map. The copy I have is one inch to a mile scale (1:65,560), titled "ULLAPOOL 101", and was reprinted in 1987 by Caledonian Books in Aberdeenshire.

Another map used as a source for this file is the 1976 Ordnance Survey, Sheet 15, Second Series, titled "LOCH ASSYNT". It's scale is 1:50,000 and it includes a few placenames not on the earlier map. Of course it also misses a few, and has different spellings for others.

From the Ordnance Survey map I am slowly adding National Grid references to all the places mentionned in this file. I have created a small file that explains the National Grid, and how you can use it to calculate distances between places, see howfar.htm

Less helpful in detail, but useful to set Coigach in context of the rest of Scotland is the Michelin "Great Britain Scotland" map, #401 of their series. The copy I have is 18th edition, 1998/1999, and its scale is 1:400,000. The map includes an index, though of course given the scale only the larger Coigach communitees and features are included.

A great help in understanding the english meaning of the gaelic placenames is MacBain's Dictionary. This online source includes a searchable index!

My mother learned gaelic at school in Ireland, and enjoyed long chats with her father in law (my grandfather) on differences between Irish and Scottish dialects of the language. Mom has been my advisor on placename meanings, and how the spelling was reflected in pronounciation.

The Spring 1999 Newsletter of the Irish Sea Kayaking Association "Treasna na dTonnta" has a great article by Brian Wilson about the Summer Isles of Coigach (SOURCE INFO), from which I have lifted lots of useful data.

A few of the places that follow are from the neighboring Parish of Assynt, as one of the sources I have used for this file is the book "Suilven's World" (SOURCE), which dealt with both areas. The people of the two districts were well known to each other, and had many intermarried families.

The place names were spelled many different ways in the records up till the twentieth century, and any genealogist looking through records must be prepared to sound out names of people and places, and expect the unexpected! In some cases I have provided alternative spellings I have found in records.

The Ordnance Survey has recently put its own Gazetteer back on line! It includes National Grid referances, longitude and latitide, and info on ordering maps. It has a very fast search engine, and covers all the U.K. Unfortunately, though it is based on the 1:50,000 map, it omits many of the smaller Coigach features, and it shortens grid referances to 1 kilometer accuracy. Still a great resource though; Ordnance Survey Gazetteer

Genealogy notes are in other files, and where there are places in this file that have genealogy notes in others I have included a link at the end of the geographical information noted for that place.

I have scratched together a small history of Coigach, that file is here; history.htm

If you see any Coigach places, or spelling variations that I have missed, please email me the data at; don_niagara@yahoo.ca


Index by Gaelic roots

Spelling was not standardized in the 19th century, and even today it is not unusual to find places spelled different ways on contempory maps or books. What is, and has always been, standard is the meaning behind the names.

Most of the Coigach place names, when traced to their gaelic roots serve as a description of the geography of the area. The people spoke gaelic, and the place names were spoken long before they were either written in gaelic, or transferred to maps by people whose language was english. A few of the place names have norse or english roots as well of course, but even those words represent "adoptions" into the local gaelic dialect.

The following index is broken down into sections, each starting with definition of a word, then links to placenames in the file that use that word as root.

Acarseid :

"Anchorage". See :Acarseid Eilean a'Chleirich

Achadh :

"A field". Normally all Coigach placemes that begin "Ach" have this as a root. See :Achadh' a Bhraighe, Achiltibuie, Achduart, Acheninver, Achlochan, Achmelvich, Achnahaird, Achnancarian, Achvraie (See notes at Achadh' a Bhraighe),

Allt :

"A stream or burn". See: Allt Achadh' a Bhraighe (See notes at Achadh' a Bhraighe), Allt a' Choire Reidh (see an Choire Reidh), Allt an Dhu (variant spellings include Altandhu, and Altandow), Allt an Loin Dubh (and variant spelling of Allt an Loin Duibh), Garbh Allt, Allt Gleann an Strathan, Allt nan Coische, Allt nan Uamh

Aird :

"A Point". See :Achduart, Achnahaird

Buidh :

"Yellow". See :Achiltibuie,

Chleirich :

"Cleric", refers to a priest or monk. See :Eilean a'Chleirich

Choire (Corrie):

"Choire" means a kettle or cauldron, when referring to geography the expression describes a steep walled valley, usually near the top or between mountains, often with a small loch, and usually having a small stream exiting. See :an Choire Reidh and Corrie.

Dubh :

"Dark". See :Achduart, Allt an Dhu (variant spellings include Altandhu, and Altandow), Allt an Loin Dubh (and variant spelling of Allt an Loin Duibh)

Eilean :

"A small island" (in size larger than an Iolla though!). See :Eilean a'Chleirich

Gilly :

"Boy". See :Achiltibuie

Gleann :

"A glen". A glen was a valley usually with steeper sides than a strath, which were usually more flat bottomed. See :Gleann an Strathan,

Inver

"A river mouth or inlet". See :Acheninver

Lochan

"A small loch" (plural is "Lochanan"). See :Achlochan,

Mealbhan

McBain's Dictionary gives the definition as either "sea bent (Suth.)", or "sand dunes with bent (W.Ross)", I think the second definition is closer to the meaning of the one place in this gazetteer with the word as a root. Bent is a type of grass. See Achmelvich

Tighe :

"House". See :Achiltibuie

Trŕigh :

A beach. See notes at Isle Ristol

Uamh

"Cave". See Allt nan Uamh


Start of Entries


Achall:
National Grid: NH 172 952

NH1895 : Loch Achall by Ian Capper
Loch Achall
On the shore of Loch Achall with Beinn Ghobhlach in distance
  © Copyright Ian Capper and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Achall is at the south-east of Coigach, on Loch Achall above Ullapool. Watson notes the Gaelic names Loch Acha-challa and Loch Acha-calla, from Loch of the field of hazel.

Three separate tack farms bordered Loch Achall before the start of crofting in the 19th century; Corrie, Glasstullich, and Dalkinloch. The part of Corrie fronting on Loch Achall was known as Calascaig, it does not appear to have had settlement there in the 19th century (small settlement of Corrie was on Lochbroom, close by Braes of Ullapool), Glasstulich at the north-west end of Loch Achall, Dalkenloch at the east. Today Rhiddorach Lodge is on the north shore, in the area that was part of Glasstullich Farm.

Crannog on Loch Achall:
National Grid: NH 165 953

On Loch Achall is an island, said once to be inhabited, a "crannog". An article titled "ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS IN THE HIGHLAND AREA" in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland, February 10, 1913 includes a paragraph;

Loch Achall, Ullapool.-- Mr Hay Mackenzie, National Bank of Scotland, reports: "There is a small island or cairn of stones in Loch a Chal, Rhidarrock Forest, two miles from Ullapool, which is said to be artificial. . . . There is a path, now covered with water, leading to it, but which can easily be seen when the water is clear."

A contemporary referance notes to it as home of Torquil MacLeod, presumably Torquil Cononach MacLeod, the last MacLeod Baron of Coigach. Matthew Shelley working on his University thesis in 2006 studied the "Gordon Maps", digitized online by the National Library of Scotland at http://www.nls.uk/digitallibrary/map/index.html He notes them as "drawn up in the mid-17th century but relying on survey work from the 1580s-90s". Matthew notes the map shows a structure on Loch Achall and has text;

"Avon Challoskag in ye yle wereof Torhill McLoyd dwelleth is ye march between Loch Brym and Coigach. ye said river pleasant wt woods and plentifull in salmond."

The book "The Earls of Cromartie; their kindred, country, and correspondence (Volume 2)" written 1876 by William Fraser, online at http://www.archive.org/details/earlsofcromartie02fras discussing duns in Coigach includes on pages 441-2;

"There was another castle of defence in Loch Achall in the glen of Rhidorach, of which the walls appear when the loch is very low in summer. There is a secret place still pointed out where the owner of the castle concealed his boat when he came ashore."

Alex Eaton of the Ullapool Museum noted in a 2008 email;

"Regarding the island, a survey of Glen Achall & Rhidorroch was carried out by Dr Thomas C Welsh 3rd August 1992. The survey notes an island, which just shows on the surface of the loch about 300m east from the south bank of the River Ullapool, to which it is linked by a submerged causeway."

Examination of sattelite photographs show the island about eight meters across, with a larger submerged area suggesting the original diameter may have been about eighteen meters, also visible is the submerged path to the coast at the west end of the loch, where the Ullapool river exits.


Genealogy notes for
Achall


Priest Island,
photo from the Robert Moyes Adam Collection,
held in the Library Photographic Archive of the University of St.Andrews,
http://special.st-andrews.ac.uk/saspecial/index.php?a=indexes&s=item&key=IYToxOntpOjA7czo2OiJyb3dpbmciO30=&pg=2

noted as; "landing place on the north-east side with Hugh Rae in boat", taken 24 May, 1927

Acarseid Eilean a'Chleirich:
National Grid: NB 927 023

"Anchorage of Island of the Priest". See Eilean a'Chleirich. Not a common gaelic expression, the only other occurance I can see on my 1894 Ordnance Survey map is up-loch from Ullapool, on the other side of the loch, where the small bay in front of the village of Loggie is referred to as An Acarseid ("The Anchorage"). The harbour on Tanera Mor is called "The Anchorage", which is probably an anglicisation of the expression.


NC0405 : Achvraie, Achiltibuie by Chris Eilbeck
Achvraie
  © Copyright Chris Eilbeck and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Achadh' a Bhraighe:
National Grid: NC 045 059

Watson notes the name in Gaelic as "Achd a' Bhraighe", Field of the upper part.

Achadh' a Bhraigh is a small community, never more than a handful of households on the south side of Coigach, its nearest neighbors are at Acheninver on the coast, and at Badenscallie, just to the north-west. Modern maps shorten its gaelic name to "Achvraie", in the 1841 census it was "Achdavray". No houses are noted there in Roy's map of the late 1740s.


Genealogy notes for
Achadh' a Bhraighe


NC0503 : Achduart by Anne Burgess
Achduart
  © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Achduart:
National Grid: NC 049 037

Field of the dark point (?)

Achduart was a small community of seven households on the south side of the Rudha Dubh Ard ("Cape of the Dark Point or Promontory"). Its nearest neighbors were Culnacraig to the east, and Achnancarian on the other side of the point to the north-west.

No homes noted there in Roy's map of the late 1740s, the peninsula noted as "Dowart". In 1820 records it was spelled Achdubhaird, which closely translates as field at the dark promontory.


Genealogy notes for
Achduart


Strath Kanaird from an old postcard
Strath Kanaird from an old postcard
NC1401 : Strathcanaird by Anne Burgess
Strathcanaird
Cul Beag rises to the north of the scattered cottages of Strathcanaird.
  © Copyright Anne Burgess and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Achendrean, Strathcanaird:
National Grid: NC 146 014

Today people refer to Strathcanird as the community that was in the 19th and earlier centuries known as Achendrean, whereas the Strath itsself includes several other communities from Kenachulish at the shore of Lochbroom to up above Langwell.


Genealogy notes for
Achendrean, Strathcanaird


Acheninver Youth Hostel,
  photo courtesy of Gareth Harper,
  http://www.photoecosse.net

Acheninver:
National Grid: NC 043 054

Field of the inlet (or river mouth)

This small village is on Horse Sound, opposite Horse Island. The "inver" part of its name refers to the mouth of the river Allt Achadh a'Bhraighe. The village of Achadh a'Bhraighe is quite close, just inland. Other near neighbours are Badenscallie to the north-west, and Achnancarian to the south-east.

Today the Scottish Youth Hostel Association has a hostel there, see http://www.syha.org.uk/hostels/highlands/achininver.aspx


Genealogy notes for
Acheninver


Achiltibuie, from Isle Tanera,
  photo courtesy of Dave Warburton, see his webpage;
  http://www.dj.warburton.btinternet.co.uk/

Achiltibuie:
National Grid: NC 025 085

Field of the yellow haired boy or "gilly" (not universally accepted, other sources suggest it might be a corruption of Achadh Tighe Buidhe; Field of the Yellow House).

The largest village in Coigach, it is on Baden Bay (see notes at Badentarbet), across from Tanera Mor. Its nearest neighbors were Badentarbet to the north east, and Polglass to the southwest.

Local legend has it that three brothers settled Coigach; the gilly referred to in the name was presumably blonde, possibly a cultural memory of the norse settlements?

One of the other brothers was "Sgal", for whom Badenscallie is possibly named. I assume the third brother was Gille Dhuibh, the dark lad commemorated by a small cape at Acheninver named Rubhan a Ghille Duibh. The brothers used to meet at a great stone in the moor about equal distance from all three called Clach-na Comhalach, Trysting-Stone, that I have not found listed on the Ordnance Survey maps.


Genealogy notes for
Achiltibuie


NC0206 : Ruined house at Achlochan by Russel Wills
Ruined house at Achlochan
  © Copyright Russel Wills and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

This ruin is built into and partly using the stones of the wall of a prehistoric broch,
a "vitrified fort", the view is back across the peninsula to Polglass.

Achlochan:
National Grid: NC 025 070

Field of the little loch. It is on a small peninsula just west of Polglass, named "Rubha Dunan". The swampy ground between Achlochan and Polglass is labelled as "Loch Pollan Dunain". Dunan is the gaelic diminitive for Dun, so I assume there was a small "Dun", or hill fort at Achlochan. In the 1851 census all the familys at Achlochan were enumerated as part of Polglass.


Genealogy notes for
Achlochan


Achmelvich:
National Grid: NC 058 247

Field of the sand dunes.

This village and bay are in Assynt Parish, across Enard Bay from Coigach. Though beyond Coigach it has a nice name, and there is a youth hostel there, good enough reason to be included in this gazetteer!


Achnahaird,
  photo courtesy of Albert Amgar, see his blog at;
  http://amgar.blog.processalimentaire.com/?p=11008

Achnahaird:
National Grid: NC 007 135

Field on the point. It is on the north coast of Coigach, the small Achnahaird Bay opens off the larger Enard Bay, across which is the Parish of Assynt in SutherlandShire. The sand dunes are said to be quite beautiful there, and today there are a campground and trailer camp.


Genealogy notes for
Achnahaird


NC0404 : Moorland at Achnacarinan by Dave Fergusson
Moorland at Achnacarinan
  © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Achnacarinan:
National Grid: NC 045 048

Uncertain translation of the name, though the "Achadh na" part clearly refers to a field, the rest is vague. This small community is on the path between Acheninver and Achduart on the south west coast of Coigach. In the 1881 census it was enumerated as "Cammasnacarrian", Cammas refering to the bay on Horse Sound below the village.

MacBain's dictionary does not clearly suggest a translation, however there are three possible roots for the second part of the name;

  1. "Cairnean" = an egg-shell
  2. "Cairn" = a heap of stones
  3. "Cairnag" = a she-terrier, used for hunting a small fish found in stony shores at ebb-tide (amongst the cairns).

Less likely is that the name comes from Beinn nan Caorach ("Mountain of the Sheep"), one of the spine of mountains above the coast.


Genealogy notes for
Achnacarinan


Allt a' Choire Reidh:

See an Choire Reidh


Allt Achadh' a Bhraighe:

See Achadh' a Bhraighe


Allt an Loin Dubh:
National Grid: NC 160 092

Stream (or burn) of the dark glade.

This stream drains the area between the mountains Cul Mor (2786 feet, 849 meters), An Laogh (546 meters), and Cul Beg (2523 feet, 769 meters). The valley it flows through is known as Gleann Laoigh.

Three small Lochs feed it; Loch an Laoigh, Loch nan Ealuchun, and from them into Lochan Dearg. From there the river continues on to Loch Gainmheich, added to by a small allt that falls spectacularly from the tiny Lochan Dearg a' Chuill Mhoir. The waters then flow down into the large Loch Skinaskink, and from there down the Polly river to the sea at Enard Bay on the north side of Coigach.


NC0404 : A view over the shoreline at Altandhu and onwards across Loch an Alltain Duibh to the Summer Isles by John Allann
A view over the shoreline at Altandhu and onwards
across Loch an Alltain Duibh to the Summer Isles

  © Copyright John Allan and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Allt an Dhu:
National Grid: NB 984 126

Black (or dark) stream (or burn). Spelled many ways in the records, including on the 1894 Ordnance Survey map as "Altandow", I have used in these web files the most common 19th century spelling; "Altandhu".

There was a schoolhouse at Altandhu from at least the 1841 census.

Altandhu was across Loch Altain Dubh from the Isle Ristol, and was the closest community to Reiff (excepting hamlets of a few crofts like Camusglassellan).


Genealogy notes for
Altandhu


NH1096 : Passing Place Sign, Road to Rhue
Passing Place Sign, Road to Rhue
Overlooking the stream Allt an't Srathain. In the distance, across Loch Broom, stands the 635m
high Beinn Ghobhlach.
  © Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Allt an t-Srathain:
National Grid: NH 109 968

The name means stream of the little strath, it drains the area of moor behind Cnoc na Moine. Occasionally records note familys at Strathan, I think likely they refer to the Household where the Strath meets Loch Broom at Luib.


Allt nan Uamh:
National Grid: NC 268 170

Stream (or burn) of the caves. (an Assynt location that has crept into this Gazetteer) Though not a Coigach placename it illustrates use of the Gaelic word "Uamh" for caves. The place is near Inchbadamph, for photos and description see webpage at http://www.barbersasa.co.uk/scotland/assynt/uamhcave.htm


Ardachadail:

See Rhue


Ardmair from an old postcard
NH1097 : Abandoned Croft, Ardmair by Mick Garratt
Ardmair,
  from an old postcard
Abandoned Croft, Ardmair
  © Copyright Mick Garratt and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Ardmair:
National Grid: NH 110 980

Watson notes;

Gaelic Ard Mheara, Finger promintory; with fine beaches. The spit of land projecting into the sea and covered at high tide is called an Saothair.

A small peninsula points from Ardmair to Isle Martin, labelled on the 1894 Ordnance Survey map as "Rubha Beag", which means small cape.


Genealogy notes for
Ardmair


NB9908 : Ardnagoine by Ian Capper
Ardnagoine, Tanera Mňr
Ruined cottages above Ardnagoine, with Suilven in the background
  © Copyright Ian Capper and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Ardnagoine:
National Grid: NB 995 070

Watson notes the Gaelic root of the place-name;

Ard na Gaimhne Promontory of the stirks ; from its good pasture.

It is one of the two communities on Tanera Mor.


Genealogy notes for
Isle Tanera


NC0306 : Badenscallie by the mother of Julia Campbell, Acheninver
Lovely drawing of old croft houses at Badenscallie,
by the mother of Julia Campbell, Acheninver, courtesy of Julia.

Badenscallie:
National Grid: NC 037 063

Possibly the name means "Thicket of the spirits", but there is some disagreement between sources. Local tradition derives the name from Sgal, one of the three brothers who settled Coigach. The second was Gille Buidhe the yellow lad who settled at Achiltibuie. I assume the third brother was Gille Dhuibh, the dark lad commemorated by a small cape at Acheninver named Rubhan a Ghille Duibh. The brothers used to meet at a great stone in the moor about equal distance from all three called Clach-na Comhalach, Trysting-Stone, that I have not found listed on the Ordnance Survey maps.

The burial ground at Badenscallie was the main one for Coigach, though some burials also happened on Tanera Mor.


Genealogy notes for
Badenscallie


NC0109 : Old anchors by the shore of Badentarbat Bay by Dave Fergusson
NC0109 : Badentarbat by Bob Jones
Old anchors
by the shore of Badentarbat Bay
  © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Badentarbat
There used to be a thriving community at Badentarbat; now all
that remains is a pier and a handful of houses. The winch was
formerly used to haul fishing boats up the stony beach, on to
the grassy sward beyond.
  © Copyright Bob Jones and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Badentarbet (Badentarbat):
National Grid: NC 013 102

Some sources suggest the name comes from the thicket on the isthmus, Watson says it is from "the clump of the portage", noting there are lochs an easy portage distance behind. This village of a few crofts is situated between Achiltibuie and Polbain, with Loch Bhatachan behind, and Tanera Mor across the bay in front. In 1842 the Tacksman and his subtenants were cleared for persistant rent arrears, and the land put over to a sheep farm. The photos above show a salmon fishers bothy and other items from that small industry (the anchors were to hold bag nets). The reedy area back from the shoreline was used for ice, the ice-house survives.

The Bay in front was shown as "Baden Bay" on the 1894 Ordnance survey map, the 1974 version names it "Badentarbet Bay".


Genealogy notes for
Badentarbet


Beinn an Eňin:
National Grid: NC 105 065

"Hill of the bird" A mountain of Coigach at 1973 feet. Loch Lurgainn wraps around it on the north.


Beinn nan Caorach:
National Grid: NC 080 053

Mountain of the Sheep

A mountain of Coigach between 2000 and 2,100 feet. It shares cliff faces on the north-east with the larger Ben More Coigach. Below those cliffs are Lochan Tuath.

Part of the mountainous spine of Coigach, a number of allts (rivers) flow from its flanks, and between it and the neighboring summits down to Lochbroom. Shown on my 1894 Ordnance Survey map are Allt Achadh a' Bhraighe to the north-west, Allt a' Choire Reidh just west of Culnacraig, and Allt nan Coische to the right of Culnacraig, draining more from the flank of Ben More Coigach.


Loch Bhatachan:

See Loch Vatachan


Blairbuie by Reiff Steading
Blairbuie the collection of houses at center. Reiff is at left of the photo, the little bay on upper left
is Camusglassellan.
  Courtesy of Chris and Ann MacLeod, see their website, "Reiff Steading"

Blairbuie:
National Grid: NB 973 141

"The yellow moss". It is spelled "Blairbuidhe" on the 1894 Ordnance Survey map. This small collection of houses appears in census records as "Blair of Reiff", it is just east of the village of Reiff.


Genealogy notes for
Blairbuie


NC1301 : Bridge over River Runie by Trevor Littlewood
Bridge over River Runie
The bridge carries an estate road originating at the end of a minor public road over the River Runie.
A hillwalkers' car park can be seen beyond the bridge as can the house at Blughasary.
  © Copyright Trevor Littlewood and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Blughasary:
National Grid: NC 136 013

Never more than a few houses, it is at confluence of the Runie and Canaird rivers, the road continues north into Coigach and Assynt, and the Postman's walk leaves westward along the coast.


Genealogy notes for
Blughasary


NB9501 : Bottle Island by Richard Webb
Bottle Island
Southern shore, seen from the ferry to Lewis.
  © Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Bottle Island:
National Grid: NB 954 020

One of a collection of islets and rocks in the middle of Lochbroom, part of the Summer Isles archipeligo.

Watson notes two Gaelic names for the place; Eilean a' Bhotuil, and Eilean Druim-briste meaning broke backed isle, referring to a depression in the center.


Cammasnancarrian:

See Achnancarian.


NC0015 : Crofts at Camascoille - Rubha Mor by Peter Gamble
Crofts at Camascoille - Rubha Mor
  © Copyright Peter Gamble and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Camuscoille:
National Grid: NC 002 156

Bay of the woods.

This collection of a few crofts on the north coast of Coigach was one of the furthest north in Coigach. Faochag is to the northwest, and Achnahaird to the south-east.

Not a very large bay, the peninsula to the northwest is not named on my maps, and to the south-east is Rubha a' Chairn.


Genealogy notes for
Camuscoille


NB9615 : Camas Eilean Ghlais by Gordon Hatton
Camas Eilean Ghlais
Attractive small bay seen from the NW side. The bothy of Camas a Ghlais'lean can be seen left of centre.
  © Copyright Gordon Hatton and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Camusglassellan "Camas Eilean Ghlais":
National Grid: NB 968 155

Bay of the little grey island. 1894 Ordnance Survey map calls it "Camas eilean ghlais".


Genealogy notes for
Camusglassellan


Caolas a Mhill Ghairbh:
National Grid: NB 978 080

"Channel (or Firth) of the Broken (or Rough) Pieces". This channel passes between Tanera Mor on the east, and several of the smaller Summer Isles on the west, including Tanera Beg. The name probably refers to the clutter of small rocks and stones.


Carn Deas:
National Grid: NB 964 025

The name possibly translates as "The Southern Cairn". It is one of a collection of islets and rocks in the middle of Lochbroom, part of the Summer Isles archipeligo.


NB9502 : Rocks of Carn Iar by Toby Speight
Rocks of Carn Iar
This looks like an old intrusive dyke that has later folded.
  © Copyright Toby Speight and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Carn Iar:
National Grid: NB 961 025

Watson notes the name means the west cairn. It is one of a collection of islets and rocks in the middle of Lochbroom, part of the Summer Isles archipeligo.


an Choire Reidh:
National Grid: NC 086 053

The smooth corrie.

A corrie is a steep walled valley, usually near the tops of mountains, presumably this one lacked the craggy rocked sides common to the other Coigach corries! It is between the peaks of Beinn nan Caorach and Sur an Fhidhleir, and from it an allt (Allt a' Choire Reidh) flows down to Lochbroom just east of Culnacraig.


an Coire Gorm:
National Grid: (have not found on the map yet!)

The grey corrie.


NB9502 : Clais by &q;nutsandroutes&q;
Clais
Clais ruin that lies on higher ground just beyond the eastern shores of Lochan na Claise. The original
building seemed to consist of two main rooms and an outbuilding.
  © Copyright nutsandroutes-co-uk and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Clais:
National Grid: NC 138 138

Clais was a Shepherd's Station in the 1861 and 1871 censuses, placename in 1871 as "Clash".


Genealogy notes for
Clais


NH1492 : Point of Corrie from Shore Street, Ullapool
Point of Corrie from Shore Street, Ullapool

Corrie:
National Grid: NH 144 923

Corrie is the south-east farm of Coigach, Ullapool borders to the west, and Lechmelm to the east, it stretches back from Loch Broom to Loch Achall. The part of the farm bordering Loch Achall was known as Calascaig.


NB9502 : Culnacraig by Bob Jones
Culnacraig
A holiday let at Culnacraig, located beyond the end of the minor road from Achiltibuie.
  © Copyright Bob Jones and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Culnacraig:
National Grid: NC 066 035

Culnacraig means "Behind or back of the rock or cliff", an appropriate name, as the village is set between Lochbroom and the cliff face of Ben More Coigach, which rises to a spectacular 2438 feet!

In the 19th century the house in the photo was occupied by a MacLeod family, see Culnacraig 91-3. Today the house has been refurbished as a self-catering holiday cottage, see http://www.173culnacraig.com


Genealogy notes for
Culnacraig


NB9502 : Finfish Farm at Dalpolly
Dalpolly
"Finfish" fish farm on the River Polly
  Photo courtesy of Undiscoverd Scotland, see their file at
  http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/lochinver/inverkirkaig/index.html

Dalpolly:
National Grid: NC 074 134

Dalpolly was a farm on the Polly River, above Inverpolly. When the MacKenzie family lost Tack of Achiltibuie in 1768 they moved here. See file; Mackenzie of Achiltibuie


Mackenzie of
Achiltibuie


Doire Dubh:
National Grid: NC 138 104

The dark copse. This wooded area is on the south shore of Loch an Doire Dhuibh, on the north flank of the mountain Cul Beag.


NB9810 : Dornie and Meall Dearg by Chris Eilbeck
Dornie and Meall Dearg
Dornie is the hamlet and Meall Dearg the 163m hill behind to the left.
  © Copyright Chris Eilbeck and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Dornie:
National Grid: NB 988 103

Dornie, also spelled "Dorney", today is said to have the best harbour in Coigach. Around the coast to the north, on the other flank of the small mountain (526 feet) called Meall Dearg (the red knob or rounded hill) is the village of Old Dornie.

Isle Ristol, one of the Summer Isles, is quite close, as is the village of Polbain.


Genealogy notes for
Dornie


Nc1605 : Drumrunie - abandoned house by Sylvia Duckworth
Drumrunie
abandoned house
  © Copyright Sylvia Duckworth and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Drumrunie:
National Grid: NC 169 056

A mostly rural farm on the north-east of Coigach, drained by the River Runie. The single track roadway into the peninsula of Coigach branches there off the Ullapool-Lochinver road.


Genealogy notes for
Drumrunie


an Dun by John Alasdair MacDonald
an Dun at Reiff
Alasdair notes;

"The rock in the center is "Dun Reiff". It was the traditional Rhu Coigach parliament
site. The men would meet there to discuss and deal with any problems that arose. The
man is Angus MacLean of Achnahaird. He was a cousin of my grandmother, who had
spent most of his life in California and returned to Coigach when he retired.
"

  Photo courtesy of;
  John Alasdair MacDonald

an Dun:

In 1955 Calum MacLean of the School of Scottish Studies recorded an interview with the local Factor of Coigach, Murdo John MacLean, part of tapes SA1955/160-2. Murdo said of the Dun of Reiff (in Gaelic);

… there was a custom in the village in my own lifetime, and a long time before then, and until the population declined, there was a custom in that township that every man in the township would meet sometime in the evening at the Dun - that was their meeting house.

That agrees with the Ordnance Survey description of it as a “local parliament”, and closely is similar to the old Norse institution of “Thing”, which name has devolved in many ways and places, example “Dingwall” or “Tinwald”, “field of the Thing”, or “Althing”, the parliament of all of Iceland.

Other Norse place descriptors survive in the area, and I think rather than a “Dun” or hill fort, the name and use represents a rare Scottish continuation of a Norse cultural activity, “Thing” into the early 20th century.


Priest Island,
photo from the Robert Moyes Adam Collection,
held in the Library Photographic Archive of the University of St.Andrews,
http://special.st-andrews.ac.uk/saspecial/index.php?a=indexes&s=item&key=IYToxOntpOjA7czo2OiJyb3dpbmciO30=&pg=2

noted as; "landing place on the north-east side with Hugh Rae in boat", taken 24 May, 1927

Eilean a'Chleirich:
National Grid: NB 925 020

This is one of the larger Summer Isles, and is situated in the middle of Lochbroom. The high point is marked as 78 meters. It often appears in records and maps with the english translation of its name as "Priest Island" (Chleirich was a gaelic name for priest, and was pronounced similar to the english word cleric).

Brian Wilson has described the geography of this Island in his article on the Summer Isles in the Spring 1999 Newsletter of the Irish Sea Kayaking Association (SOURCE INFO) as follows;

"Rock strata tilted and cliffs contorted into a random jumble of broken ramparts, cave, and blow-holes, the island looks like an automobile's crumple-zone after a crash."

Wilson goes on to mention how though the island is very exposed to the weather and sea swells, it has a lush damp interior, with drinking water in the small lochans, and a very populous natural environment of birds and marine animals, appropriately the island is now owned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

A bay on the east side of the island is called Acarseid Eilean a'Chleirich, acarseid means an anchorage, and though there are no easy landings on the island, Acarseid was probably the ancient harbour.

The Island has a long prehistory, with ancient midden heaps found in some of the caves, stone circles, signs of cultivated ground, and the ruins of a small church that probably was used by the priest the island was named for; likely an Irish or Celtic follower of St. Columba in the 6th century.

Wilson's article says that after the failure of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion the French landed a crew on the Island, to assist the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Coigach came out during that Rebellion in favour of the Stuarts, and the people suffered greatly from government repression for decades after; probably the Hanoverians were aware of the escape attempt and used it as part of their justification. In the end, Bonny Prince Charlie escaped further south, leaving from an island off Skye.

Wilson also mentions "The Outlaw" who was banished to the Island in the 18th century as a punishment for stealing sheep. The exile prosperred, and his family were there till the mid 19th century!


NB9703 : Eilean Dubh by Ian Capper
Eilean Dubh
Taken from MV Summer Queen
  © Copyright Ian Capper and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Eilean Dubh:
National Grid: NB 973 035

Eilean Dubh, "the Dark Island", is one of the Summer Isles, toward the center of Lochbroom. The only inhabitants today are an American couple who stay part of each year there.


NB9511 : Eilean Mullagrach
Eilean Mullagrach, from Reiff, 2006

Eilean Mullagrach:
National Grid: NB 957 116

One of the Summer Isles, photo is from Reiff. This small island is just west of the larger Isle Ristol. It rises to 46 meters. Far as I am aware, it was uninhabited during the 19th century. The article in the Irish Sea Kayaking Association Newsletter of Spring 1999 (SOURCE INFO) says it is "a roughish tussocky lump used mainly for sheep grazing".


NB9717 : Faochag by Ron MacKenzie
Faochag
  Photo courtesy of Ron MacKenzie

The MacKenzies at Faochag had a mill on the Totaig burn. This photo one of the houses.

Faochag:
National Grid: NB 975 173

The name means "periwinkle", a type of shellfish.

I have recently created a small file on Faochag, see faochag.htm.


Genealogy notes for
Reiff (includes Faochag)


am Fuaran by John Alasdair MacDonald
Am Furan in ruin
Alasdair notes the photo was from his 1971 holiday;

"Am Furan in ruin. This is how it looked when I last saw it. The house next to it
belonged to Seany Danny. His wife, Bean Sean Danny (I believe they were MacLeans)
died a few months before I took the picture. Their daughter, Alice, was still living
there at that time. Inside the house was bright and nicely decorated - I wouldn't
mind living there today.
"

  Photo courtesy of;
  John Alasdair MacDonald

am Fuaran:

"The well (or spring)". The name of the pub at Altandhu! Apart from the symbolic relavence of naming a pub for a spring, the Lochan (small Loch) above Altandhu is named Lochan Fhurain Mhoir, "the small Loch of the great spring". The pub is still held by family members, they began the business in 1976. See website of the bar at http://www.amfuaran.co.uk


NB9605 : Garadheancal by Bob Jones
Garadheancal, Tanera Mňr
The remains of an old croft lie up the hill above the anchorage.
  © Copyright Bob Jones and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Garadheancal:
National Grid: NB 995 070

I have not yet tried to translate this placename. It is one of the two communities on Tanera Mor.


Genealogy notes for
Isle Tanera


Garbh Allt:
National Grid: NC 095 027

"The rough stream". This allt drains the southern cliff area of Ben Mor Coigach. The area where it reaches Lochbroom is known as Geodha Mor.


Geodha Mor:
National Grid: NC 083 023

"The great creek". Though this name is given to the coast area between Ben More Coigach and Beinnan Beaga, the Great Creek referred to is called "Garbh Allt"; the rough stream.


Glas Leac Beag:
National Grid: NB 926 051

This small island is one of the Summer Isles, and is the last past by the ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway in the middle of Lochbroom. Its' name translates as "The Small Green Slab". Glas Leac Mor is far off to the north-east, but within view.


Glas Leac Mor:
National Grid: NB 953 095

"The Large Green Slab" is one of the smaller Summer Isles, south-west of Isle Ristol, and north west of Tanera Beg. Far as I am aware it was uninhabited through the 19th century. The smaller island, Glas Leac Beag, is off to the south west, closer to the center of Lochbroom.


Horse Island,
  photo courtesy of Maureen Fraser

Horse Island:
National Grid: NC 024 043

The name of this island is unusual, as it seems to be of English origin, rather than Gaelic or Norse like the other Summer Isles. The Canmore website refers to it as both Horse Island though, and as "Eilean Eich".

This 169 foot (60 m.) high island was uninhabited through the 19th and 20th centuries, even though it is one of the larger Summer Isles; understandable as there is no fresh water. There is a possibility there were some familys there in the 18th century though, as the list of prisoners taken 1746 from Cromartie's Jacobite Regiment included Duncan (or Donald) Gowan from "Aich", and Evander MacIver who lived at "Inishish" with his father.

The island is across Horse Sound from Polglass, Badenscallie, Acheninver, and other smaller communities.

No horses, but the northern part of the island (separate at high tide) is named Meall nan Gabhar "Hill of Goats", and the height of land (60m) is Sgurr nan Uan "Lambs Peak". Carrying on the animal theme, a small isle 2.5km SSW is called Meall nan Caorach "Rounded Hill of the Sheep"!

There are rumours of a hastily buried Spanish Galleon on the island! A cache of possibly Spanish coins was discovered there in the 19th century.


Horse Sound:
National Grid: NC 035 045

Name of this sound clearly takes its name from Horse Island, one of the Summer Isles off the southern coast of Coigach.


NC0614 : Inverpolly Lodge by Stan Campbell
Inverpolly Lodge
  © Copyright Stan Campbell and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Inverpolly
National Grid: NC 060 144

Inver means an inlet or river mouth (most famous use is in the name "Inverness"), and Inverpolly was located where the River Polly enters Polly Bay (which itself opens off the larger Enard Bay).

According to testimony before the Napier Commision in 1883 the people of Reiff used to summer pasture their ponys at Inverpolly up to the 1820s, when the land was rented to southern sheep farmers. The 1841 census has only a Shepherd family living there, the parents not born in the County, but the oldest child was 10.


Genealogy notes for
Inverpolly


Isle Martin by Manfred Peukert
Isle Martin from Ardmair
  Photo courtesy of Manfred Peukert,
  See his website, Ardmair Bay Cottages

Isle Martin (Eilean Mhŕrtainn)
National Grid: NC 090 997

This island thought to be named after Saint Martin, who possibly began a monastery there in the fourth century, little of course remains from those early centuries, though there is an interesting ancient carved cross.

Very little arable land, though a good harbour, in the late 18th century a fishing establishment was begun there, an influence on the later founding of Ullapool, the fishing station continuing into the early 20th century. In the 19th century the island was divided into crofts, which given the rocky soil depended heavily on fishing. The crofting also ended in the 20th century, and today the island is a nature sanctuary.

There are lots of great photographs, background, and history of Isle Martin on the webpage;

Isle Martin Trust


Genealogy notes for
Isle Martin


Kenachrine:

Watson refers to the place name as "an Ceanna-chruinn", meaning "the round head".

Before crofting began in the 19th century Kenachrine was a tack farm of Coigach, it bordered Ullapool and Glastulloch on the west. Also part of Kenachrine were Rhue, Luib and Morefield


Genealogy notes for
Kenachrine


NH1299 : Inverpolly Lodge by Ike Gibson NC1200 : South Keanchulish by Ike Gibson
North Kenachulish
Taken from Ardmair Point. Now owned by the Buklmer
family but still well known as "Viner's House" after the
previous owner Col. Viner
  © Copyright Ike Gibson and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
South Keanchulish
Overlooking the mouth of the River Kanaird
  © Copyright Ike Gibson and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Kenachulish
National Grid: NC 120 000

Name means head of the channel, place is noted in the book Mackenzies of Balone as "Ceann-a-Chaolas" in 1801.


Genealogy notes for
Kenachulish


NC1802 : Langwell House, courtesy of Malcolm Ferguson
Langwell House,
  Courtesy of Malcolm Ferguson

Langwell
National Grid: NC 186 021

"Langwell" has Old Norse rather than Gaelic roots. Descriptively it means "long field", as it extends up the shallow river valley of Strath Canaird.


Genealogy notes for
Langwell


Leum an Fheidh:
National Grid: NC 084 016

The deer's leap.

Evocatively named! It is on the "Postman's Walk", a pathway along the cliffs between Beinnan Beaga and the sea, about a kilometer and a half north of Isle Martin. You can just imagine the 19th century postman surprising a deer on the path, and watching with dismay as it leapt to the rocks below!


NC1209 : View towards Beinn an Eoin by Nigel Brown
NC1209 : Linneraineach by Andrew Walker
View towards Beinn an Eoin
Looking across Loch Lurgainn to the mountain, from the stalkers'
path to Doire Dhubh.
  © Copyright Nigel Brown and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Linneraineach
After WW2 the house was leased from the Inverpolly Estate by the JMCS
London Section as a Mountaineering hut till 1959, now it is long abandoned.
  Photo courtesy of Andrew Walker, JMCS London Section
  see http://homepage.ntlworld.com/chris.bashforth/History.htm
The house in the second photo is a few hundred meters from the photographer in the first; the path dips so the house and the single track roadway
into Coigach are not visible.

Linneraineach:
National Grid: NC 124 091

The pool of the ferns. 1976 Ordnance Survey spells it as "Linneraineach".
There was a Shepherd and his family here in the 1841 census. This shepherd's station is on the north shore of Loch Lurgainn, the road from Drumrunie into the Coigach peninsula passes Lineranich (as it was spelled in 1841).


Genealogy notes for
Linneraineach


Loch Broom:
National Grid: NC 000 000

Loch of the showers.


Loch Camus an Fheidh:
National Grid: NB 993 117

A small loch, it drains through a short river between Old Dorney and Altandhu, I assume the small bay on Loch an Alltain Dubh that the river drains into is known as Camus an Fheidh. Loch Camus an Fheidh translates as "Loch of the bay of the deer".


Loch eader dha Bheinn:
National Grid: NC 116 033

The loch between two mountains. The mountains referred to are Ben More Coigach at 2438 feet, and the smaller Beinnan Beaga at 902 feet. From this renote little loch a stream runs down through Loch a'Chlaiginn to the River Runie.


Loch Lurgainn:
National Grid: NC 115 090

The shank loch. Possibly so named because its elongated shape, it is wrapped around the north side of Beinn Eun, facing Stac Polly and Cul Beag. It is one of the largest of the inland Lochs of Coigach.


Loch na Beiste:
National Grid: NC 004 125

A small loch between Achnahaird and Altandhu. I think the name mean "Loch of the animals".


Loch Poll an Dunain:

see note at Achlochan.


Loch Vatachan:
National Grid: NC 018 109

Loch of the copses. Also spelled "Loch Bhatachan". It and the neighboring Loch Raa divide Rhu More from the rest of Coigach. The nearest community to this inland Loch is Badentarbet to the south.


Lochan Fhionnlaidh:
National Grid: NC 128 097

The small, pale loch.

This small loch is at the top of the saddle between the mountains of Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh, it drains north to Loch an Doire Dhuibh though a small allt. Loch Lurgainn is to the south.


Lochan Fhurain Mhoir:
National Grid: NB 989 128

See am Fuaran.


Lochan Gainmheich:
National Grid: NC 139 115

The small loch of the fine sand.

Situated with three of the larger Coigach mountains around it; Cul Mor, Cul Beag, and Stac Pollaidh, it drains Loch Lon na h-Uamha, Loch an Doire Duibh, and the Allt an Loin Duibh through a channel into Loch Sionascaig.


Lochan Tuath:
National Grid: NC 105 055

Translates as either "The small loch of";
  1. The People
  2. The Left
  3. The North
My guess is that it refers to the north, as this small loch is on the northern flank of the largest mountain in the district; Ben More Coigach.


NH1096 : Ruins by the shore
Ruins by the shore
At the mouth of the Allt an t-Strathain.
  © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
See also a closer view of the ruin, by Richard Webb at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1856116

Luib:
National Grid: NH 103 968

"Luib" means bend, I do not know what differences it from the Gaelic word "camus".

Nice location where a small sream, Allt an t-Srathain, empties into Lochbroom. The small community of Rhue starts close by the other side of the allt.


Genealogy notes for
Luib


Meall nan Caorach:
National Grid: NC 012 013

The rounded hill of the sheep.
This tiny island is in in the middle of Lochbroom, the ferry to Stornoway passes within a kilometer. Its nearest neighbors are the slightly larger isles of Carn nan Sgeir a few hundred meters to the north.


Meall nan Clachan:
National Grid: NC 133 024

The rounded hill that has a pile of rocks.

This rather steep hillside falls from Beinnan Beaga across the Runie river from the village of Strath Kainaird. A small river drains Loch a' Chlaiginn down the slope to the Runie.


Meall Dearg:

There are two features in Coigach with this name, which means "The red knob or rounded hill".

National Grid: NB 986 106

This first Meall Dearg is a small mountain (526 feet, 163m.) On the coast of the northside of the mountain is the community of Old Dornie, and on the south side is the village of Old Dornie. Across a narrow strait is Isle Ristol. See notes at Dornie.

National Grid: NC 148 087

This second Meall Dearg is a lower peak of the mountain Cul Beag.


Meall Leathad an t-Sithein:
National Grid: NC 045 102

The side of the rounded hillside where there is venison. This small hillside (595 feet) is part of the height of land between the north and south of Coigach.


NH1195 : Morefield from the Stornoway - Ullapool ferry
Morefield
from the Stornoway - Ullapool ferry
The view across Loch Broom towards Morefield and the impressive south eastern flank
of Ben Mor Coigach.
  © Copyright Gordon Hatton and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Morefield:
National Grid: NH 110 950

A string of crofts, just west of Ullapool. The name seems an odd combination of English and Gaelic; mor is the Gaelic descrptive word for big or large, but field is a clearly English word. A better all Gaelic description of the geography of the community might have been "Achmore", but that name was already in use for a small community on the far side of Lochbroom, on Annat Bay. John Cameron of Australia has ancestors at Morefield, see his webpage at http://youbelong.info/public/Three_Clearances_and_a_Wedding John notes the name is a corruption of "Morechyle", noted in the Mitford manuscript; "some arable at Morechyle, now Morefield". Possibly that second sylable was a corruption of "Coille", meaning woods.


Genealogy notes for
Morefield


NB9811 : Old Dorney by Dave Fergusson
Boats in Old Dorney Bay
The sheltered bay is a haven for small craft.
  © Copyright Dave Fergusson and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Old Dornie:
National Grid: NB 985 115

See notes at Dornie.


NB9909 : Coastline, Polbain by Chris Eilbeck
Coastline, Polbain
Looking N from offshore, the village behind.
  © Copyright Chris Eilbeck and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Polbain:
National Grid: NB 995 102

The white pool. This small community is on the road between Altandhu and Achiltibuie. Andrew Muir (CONTACT INFO) lives there today, his webpage includes photos and details on the letting cottage he rents out there!


Genealogy notes for
Polbain


NC0307 : Diabaig, Polglass by Russel Wills
Diabaig, Polglass
126 Polglass on the right and the track to the broch on the left.
  © Copyright Russel Wills and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Polglass:
National Grid: NC 033 074

The gray (or pale) pool. This is a small community between Achiltibuie and Badenscallie.


Genealogy notes for
Polglass


Port A Bhaigh  by John Alasdair MacDonald
Port A Bhaigh
Alasdair notes;

"This was Porst a Bhai where the Altandhu people pulled up their small boats. From the
left are: Iain MacLeod, Donald Mor, and Donald MacLeod
[all descendants of the Reiff
MacKenzie family Alasdair also descended from]

"Except for the red boat all had belonged to the MacLean family. The old blue one was
named "Bata uaine" (the green boat, although it looks blue), was my grandfather's
lobster boat. The local bard composed a gaelic song (now lost) about it, which my
mother and uncle could sing. It usually won the informal races on the loch.
"

  Photo courtesy of;
  John Alasdair MacDonald

Port A Bhaigh:
National Grid: NB 984 175

The name means "Port of the bay", it is the place the Altandhu crofters launched their boats from. Today the owners of the bar am Fuaran have established a campsite there. See their website at www.portabhaigh.co.uk


Priest Island:

See notes at Eilean a`Chleirich.


NB9614 : Reiff
Reiff
An abandoned home at Reiff in the year 2000, note 'lazy bed' plantings across the Loch of Reiff, as shown
225 years earlier on 1775 Morrison map

Reiff:
National Grid: NB 965 144

The cape or promontory. The gaelic spelling is rubha, and many points along the coast use the word as part of a descriptive placename.

The village of Reiff is westernmost on the peninsula of Coigach, the area is generally referred to as "Rhu Mor"; The big cape. At Reiff is a small sea-loch, Loch of Reiff, which acts as harbour. In various records the communities of Blairbuie, Camusglassellan, and Faochag, are included as part of Reiff.


Genealogy notes for
Reiff


NC0916 : Rhegreanoch by Tom Pennington
Rhegreanoch
Track to roadside cottage near Loch Buine Moir
  © Copyright Tom Pennington and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Rhegreanoch:
National Grid: NC 095 166

Watson suggests the name meant sunny slope.

This place is where the road fom Badnagyle to Inverkirkaig crosses the small river (allt) galled Allt Gleann an Strathan. It was a Shepherd's Station in the 1841 census spelled "Regreinach". The Russel family living there had a three year old child not born in the County, and a one year old that was, indicating they were new comers of a few years at most.


Genealogy notes for
Rhegreanoch


NH1795 : Boat House at Loch Achall by Anna and Goetz Gerhardt
Boat House at Loch Achall
  © Copyright Anna and Goetz Gerhardt and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Rhidorroch:
National Grid: NH 170 950

Watson notes the name from Gaelic an Ruigh Dhorcha, meaning the dark hillslope.


Genealogy notes for
Rhiddorach


Rhu Coigach:
National Grid: NB 980 180

"The Cape of Coigach". This cape is the north-west most point of Coigach, just above the small community of Faochag.


Rubha Dunan:

See notes at Achlochan.


Rubh' a Mhadaidh-ruaidh:
National Grid: NB 983 100

"The Cape of the Fox". Literally a mhadaidh-ruaidh was a red dog, and the expression was used to describe a fox! This small cape is half a kilometer west of Dornie.


NB9605 : Isle Ristol from the mainland by Gordon Hatton
Isle Ristol from the mainland
Looking south from the Reiff road towards the sandy beach of Traigh an t-Sean Bhaile on Isle Ristol.
In the far distance are the peaks of An Teallach.
  © Copyright Gordon Hatton and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Isle Ristol:
National Grid: NB 970 113

The Summer Isle closest to the mainland, it is no longer inhabited, except by a number of sheep. Today like most of the other Summer Isles it is under care of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Till the middle of the 19th century it was a fish drying base, with a handful of families, and a small inn for visiting seamen.

One source on the web says at low tide there is a causeway from Old Dornie on the mainland, but another source refers to a five minute paddle by sea kayak; I suspect if you plan to walk out tall wellies would be a must! The sandy beach on the north of the island, visible in the above photograph, is said to be especially fine, it's name "Trŕigh an t-Sean Bhaile", means beach of the old townland.


Genealogy notes for
Isle Ristol


Rhubha Mor:
National Grid: NB 985 145

"The Great Cape". This name is given to the northwest area of Coigach.


NB0997 : Rhue by Richard Webb
Rhue
Crofting township on a peninsula in Loch Broom. Beyond is Isle Martin and the sandstone
hill Ben Mor Coigach.
  © Copyright Richard Webb and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Rhue:
National Grid: NH 099 972

The name a contraction of Ruardachadail, Watson notes Ardachadail means sleep-promintory.

Before crofting began in the 19th century this was part of the tack farm of Kenachrine, which bordered Ullapool on the west. Also part of Kenachrine were Luib and Morefield

The end of the small peninsula is known as Rubha Cadail, today there is a lighthouse there.


Genealogy notes for
Rhue (Kenachrine)


Ruadh Loch:
National Grid: NC 008 139

"The red loch" is a small loch between the Brae of Achnahaird, and Achnahaird Bay.


Ruardachadail:

See Rhue


Rudha Dubh Ard:
National Grid: NC 043 038

Rudha Dubh Ard means "Cape of the Dark Point or Promontory" It is a small cape between Culnacraig to the east, and Achnancarian to the north-west.


An t-Sail:
National Grid: NC 070 071

Possibly the name means "The Heel". It is a wide topped mountain of 1,605 feet between the communities on the south shore of Coigach, and the central lochs.


NB9605 : Sgeir an Aon Iomarit by Toby Speight
Sgeir an Aon Iomarit
My dictionary has "thrifty" for "iomartach", so this is the Skerry of a single thrift. As you can see,
there's nothing growing but a belt of weeds in the tidal range.
  © Copyright Toby Speight and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Sgeir an Aon Iomarit:
National Grid: NB 965 055

Sgeir an Aon Iomarit, Toby's name explanation with his photo above looks likely to be right. This skerry in the middle of Lochbroom is part of the Summer Isles archipeligo.


Coulmore & Loch Sheanaskaig
Sionascaig ruins, courtesy of Malcolm Bangor-Jones
Coulmore & Loch Sheanaskaig,
  from an old postcard
Sionascaig ruins,
  courtesy of Malcolm Bangor-Jones

Loch Sionascaig:
National Grid: NC 115 144

Spelled many different ways, I have recently read the name originally meant "the split hillocks".

One of the largest of the Coigach inland lochs, it is in the northern area of Coigach, above Stac Pollaidh and Cul Mor. Today it is surrounded by the Inverpolly Forest, and the Inverpolly National Nature Reserve. The 1894 Ordnance Survey spells it as "Skinaskink", and the 1841 census had a Shepherds family living somewhere there, with the place spelled "Shiniskaig".


Genealogy notes for
Sionascaig


NB9505 : Stac Mhic Aonghais by Colin Smith
Stac Mhic Aonghais
29 metre high stack rising out of the sea close to the Summer Isles.
The mountains of Wester Ross are in the background.
  © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for
  reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Stac Mhic Aonghais:
National Grid: NB 954 057

This is one of several rocks or "Stacs" rising from the ocean that the ferry from Ullapool to Stornaway passes. An article on the Summer Isles in the Spring 1999 Newsletter of the Irish Sea Kayaking Association (SOURCE INFO) gives an interesting tale about Aonghaiss Care, who left on the Stac as a punishment, later stole his captors boat and escaped!

In 1955 a folklore collector, Calum MacLean from the School of Scottish Studies, taped an interview with the Coigach Factor, Murdo John MacLean. Among the tales Murdo told was of how the first MacLean came to Coigach. Captured in a cattle raid into Gairloch his life was spared by the MacKenzie Laird of that place, as MacLean had great skill as a blacksmith and armourer. MacLean became to close to the Laird's daughter, and so was banished to a skerry in Lochbroom. He hid in the seaweed, and when his captors visited stole their boat, though lacking oars, eventually drifting to shore at Altandhu in Coigach. A few years ago the tale was transcribed and published by the Achiltibuie Piping School as "An Gobha Leathanach", illustrated by my cousin, Diyanne Ross of Reiff. See https://lsh507.securepod.com/gaelicbooks.org/merchantmanager/product_info.php?products_id=1014


Stac Pollaidh:
National Grid: NC 108 107

The pitted stack, or the steep hill of the peat bog. It is a spectacular mountain rising to 2009 feet on the northwest side of Coigach. Some sources spell it as "Stack Polly".


Strathan:

See Allt an t-Srathain


Summer Isles:

Uncertain origin, but thought to be from "Simmer Skit" in old norse, in early 18th century as "Simmer Isles", from an expression meaning boundary isles, marking them as the last of the Hebrides.

Mostly uninhabited by humans today (save Tanera Mor), they have a large population of seals and birds.

"Treasna na nTonnta", the newsletter of the Irish Sea Kayaking Association is available at their website (SOURCE INFO), the Spring 1999 issue (#17) includes a great article by Brian Wilson describing the area, his article has helped explain many of the barely legible placenames on my 1894 Ordnance Survey map.


Tanera Beg:
National Grid: NB 964 074

This smaller island takes its name from Tanera Mor, whose name comes from old norse as "Hawarymoir" - Island of the Haven. Though small in size, at 768 feet it is highest of the Summer Isles, and the panoramic view from the top is said to be extrordinary!


Tanera Mor:
National Grid: NB 990 070

Known in Viking times as "Hawarymoir" - Island of the Haven. It is the largest of the Summer Isles, and is the last one still permanently inhabited, with a schoolboat, cafe, and post office that issues its own stamps! The fish farm in the harbour is the major employer today. Nearby is the smaller island Tanera Beg (Mor means large or great in gaelic, beg means small).

Tanera has a large natural harbour, and was before Ullapool in the late 18th century set up as a fish processing station for the Coigach district. The uncertain herring shoals were less kind to the Island Tanera than the mainland Station at Ullapool, and it went from boom periods when 200 boats and ships from across Scotland would crowd the harbour, to struggling periods when there was hardly enough fish for the permanent residents.

When ships laden with fish went to Ireland they returned with stones and dirt as ballast. That explains why a part of the island is called "Ireland Park", as the soil there originated in Ireland!

Tanera was noted for its stills, and in 1900 was bought by Captain MacDonald; "a notorious local smuggler". Of course my own MacDonald ancestors at nearby Reiff were good people, and so I am sure the Captain was an incomer to Coigach!

There is a 19th century picture of the pier at Tanera on the Tate Gallery website; Tate Gallery


Genealogy notes for
Isle Tanera


Ullapool by Donald MacDonald-Ross
Ullapool
  Shore Street from the pier, 2006

Ullapool:
National Grid: NC 045 059

Ullapool was a tack farm on the Coigach estate, sold 1789 to the British Fisheries Society for founding of a "model" town.


Genealogy notes for
Ullapool



INCOMPLETE ANNOTATION, MORE ITEMS TO FOLLOW


This file, and others dealing with history and genealogy of Coigach, links from my homepage at:

http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~coigach

Any suggestions for additions or edits please feel free to email me,

Donald MacDonald-Ross, at:

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