Strathard Heritage Digital Archive





Notes on Some Place Names of Uncertain Derivation by Louis Stott.

    This is one of several articles written by Louis Stott who generously offered local aspects of his scholarship to the archive of Loch Ard Local History Group–our thanks to Louis and his family for this material.

      Loch Ard

    àird nf. g.+e; pl.+ean, height or promontary

       Curiously this loch is always translated as ‘the high loch’. In fact, it is not a particularly ‘high’ loch. However, of all Scottish lochs it is one of the most indented. Thus ‘the promontory loch’ is an appealing alternative.

      Blairuskin Lodge

    blàr  a field (or clearing), battle, peat-moss; from blàr, spotted, hence a “spot”.

    ùruisg  a. Brownie; from uisge = air+uisg.

    uisg, uisge water, Irish uisge, Old Irish uisce,

       A former owner of Blairuskin Lodge thought that the name was connected with the fairies. ‘A watery moss’ derived from water rather than directly from fairies is probably correct. The ‘Blairuskins’ included Blairuskinmore, Blairuskinbeg, (the earliest settlements) Bulburn (or ‘The Teapot’), and Blairuskin Geal. The terms ‘more’ (big) and ‘beg’ (little) may distinguish between a pair, or refer to the extent of land held.


    binn a.melodious; bun nm. bottom-end, stump, mouth

    tigh (for taigh), a house

        The Gartmore Gazetteer suggests the following: ‘the foot or end of the lordship or territory‘ (perhaps, ‘of the estate’). Boninty was also the site of an alehouse, perhaps it was situated beside ‘the melodious burn’.

       Dunverig Wood (Fairy Knowe, Aberfoyle), and Dunvarig (Loch Chon)

    dùn a heap, a fortress, Irish, Old Irish dún,

    meirg rust Irish meirg; dearg red; darach oak

    barraich a. surpassing, pre-eminent, topmost

       Dunverig and dunvarig are probably the same. ‘Dun’ is widely used to denote a ‘hillock’ often, or supposedly, a fortified site. Meanings for the second part of the word may include ‘red’ or ‘rusty’ (dearg – from local sandstone, or iron ore), but the (often unreliable) Gartmore Gazetteer suggests that Dunverig is ‘brushwood hill’ (barraich – the topmost branches); a link with the oak is also tempting i.e. it may be the same as ‘dundarach’.


    raineach nf. g.d. -ich, fern, brackens; also, roineach

        Thomson’s Atlas map (1827) gives ‘Gartnerenich’, probably ‘the bracken enclosure’.

       Gartnabrodnick  or Gartnabrodruaig

    braonan an earth-nut (bunium flexuosum); perhaps from braon, a bead

          The derivation of this name is obscure.

        Creag Innich

    innich or inich a. neat, tidy, lovely, handy

           In the light of these meanings Creag Innich suggests ‘the pleasant crag’.

        Bad Malio and Dail Malio

      The OS name book suggests that this name is derived from St Molaise. Born in Ireland, Saint Laserian died about April 639. The Celtic prefix of endearment makes his name Molaise, and in Scotland it is so accentuated that he is usually known as Molios.  His local connection is that he may be a distant relation of Aeden mac Gabhran

        The MacLeishes (Mac Maol Iosa) are an ancient Perthshire family, and appear from their name and arms to be the descendants of one of the earls of Strathearn that bore the Royal name of Malise (Latin for “Maol Iosa” – “tonsured servant of Jesus”) in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century.

        Lochan Spling

    spang thin plate of metal, spangle, splang  a. sparkle Irish splanc:

            Often stated to be of unknown derivation, but probably ‘the sparkling loch’.

        Rinzoorach Burn

    rinn a point, or promontory, Welsh rhyn;

    surag shamrock or sorrel

        It has been pointed out to me that the letter ‘z’ does not occur in Gaelic. However, ‘n’ followed by ‘s’ might well be anglicized as ‘z’. ‘Rinn’ is often applied the spur or promontory at a confluence between two burns; thus ‘the sorrel spur’ might fit.

         The common names, sometimes confused, of oxalis acetosella include Cuckoo-Sorrel, Gowk’s clover, Poor Man’s Lettuce, Samh (shelter-where it grows; summer), Shamrock
    Sheep Soorag, Sookie-Sourach, and Wood Sorrel (sealbhag).