Place Names in Durness

 

Until 1724 the parish of Durness extended from Kyle Sku on the west to the water of Borgie, thus including modern Tongue, Durness and Eddrachillis. It is divided by arms of the sea into three sections, the Moine district, including Eriboll, Durness proper, between the Kyle of Durness and Loch Eriboll, and the Parph district, between the Kyle of Durness and the Atlantic. Its place-names are mainly of Scandinavian origin.

DURNESS (Norse, deer and nes point, point of the deer) – in old manuscripts it is always written Dyrnes.

If anyone can add information to this list especially the last known date people actually lived in these places please contact me and I will be happy to add the information.
Please also note that there is good information on the place names of Durness on their Community Website including the districts of the parish and a useful map.


ACHINS from the Gaelic Achadh, a field or meadow
ACHCHAIRN
ACHLOCHY
ACHIMORE (Achumore, Achmore, Achiemore) – Gaelic, large field – Burial Grounds, 1873
ACHNAHUAIGH - see Tongue Parish
ACHNAHANAID
ACHNAHUNAT
AUCHUCHARN
AUCHUGARSAID
ALTNABAD
ARD NEACKIE – Loch Eriboll
ARNABOLL – Norse, township of the eagle – part of Bighouse Estate in 1819 when there were 4 tenants
AUCHHAH-ANAITE – small hirsel on Eriboll farm
AUCHNALOCHIE
AUCHUCHARN (Achuohoran?) – burial grounds 1799
AUCHUGARSAID
AUCHUNAMAR
AULDANDIRG
AULTAN
AULTCOIRFRASKEL – Aultcorifraisgil – 1809 militia list
AULTNACAILLICH – the stream of the old woman – (Aultnacealich, Alt-na-Caillich, Alt-na-Callich, Aultnakalich; Auldncaillich)
BADAMNEAIR
BADILHAVISH (Badlihavas) – burial grounds 1840
BADNAHACHLASH
BADVOIR (Badvoer)
BALVOLICH Gaelic Baile a’nhullich, the homestead at the top – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
BALMHULICH
BALNAKEIL (Balnakil, Balnakeel) – Gaelic, Baile na Cille, settlement of the church – by 1840 was turned into a sheep farm – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
BALVOOLICH – probably Balvolich
BALVULICHMORE
BALBULICHBEG (Balvulichbeg)
BLAID – 1809 militia list
BORALIE – ancient township which had disappeared by 1840
BORLEY – is this same as Boralie?
BRESGILL (Braesgill, Bregisgill)
BUAILEBHIG of KEOLDALE
CAMAS an DUIN
CAPE WRATH – Am Parbh or An Carbh – the Gaelic and English names come from a Norse word for ‘turning’ where ships would turn south after passing along the north coast – the big pass 9 - Clo Mor (great cloth) is the highest vertical sea cliff in mainland Britain - now used by the Ministry of Defence as a bombardment range – there was once a lively community in this area with about 35 people living on the Cape Side and apart from the lighthouse keepers all the men were shepherds – there was a side school
CARBRECK – on the cape side of Durness
CASHEL DHU – small hirsel on Eriboll farm - we know there was a family living here in 1901 and at least a shepherd here in 1918 - Cashel dhu is at the south end of Loch Hope. On some maps there is a path marked from Eriboll Farm to Cashel dhu.
CEANNABEINNE – end of the mountains – a township on the Rispond Estate – prior to 1841this was the biggest farm town on the Estate – there were fourteen houses and a school – in September 1841 the people of Ceannabeinne were told they had to leave – well documented riots followed – in May 1842 after an investigation the people had to leave their homes
CLASHCARNACH (Clasnanach) – 1809 militia list
CHASHNEUCH (Clashneach, Clarknaugh) when there was 1 tenant – burial grounds 1820
CRAIGIEMHULIN (Craggywillin)
CRANNACH
CROSPOLL Loch of the Gallows – Poll-na Croich, the gallows were near the shore of the loch. Females convicted of witchcraft and other crimes were drowned in the loch – females were never hung – the ancient township of Croispol had disappeared by 1840
DAIL AN ANAIRT
DAILL – Dall – 1809 militia list – on the cape side of Durness – shepherd family here in 1843
DAINAHAROW
DALNADUN
DALNAHARVE (Dalnaheru) – 1809 militia list
DRUMBASBIE – 1910 burial grounds
DUN DORNAIGIL
DURINE (Durin) – Gaelic, an Durinn – the principal township in the parish, name comes from Gaelic, black field – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
EILEAN CHORAIDH – an island in Loch Eriboll – was once inhabited but now only used for grazing sheep from Eriboll Farm
EILEAN HOAN (Ellanhoan) from the old Norse How-ey, the burial island – at the mouth of Loch Eriboll – last occupied in the early 1800s – ruined crofts visible – 1809 militia list – now a nature reserve
ELANAREAR (Elanroiar) – 1809 militia list
ERIBOLL – Norse, pebbly-beach township – large farm which incorporated small hirsels where families lived – by 1840 was turned into a sheep farm
FARAID (Farrid Head) – Gaelic, an f hairid, am faire aite, the watch place - Faraid Head is behind the beach at Balnakeil, a narrow headland with dunes, coastal grasslands and steep cliffs
FILINE – 1809 militia list
FRESGILL (Freisgill, Fraskil) Norse, a noisy ravine – burial grounds 1887
GEODHA-NAHAIRBHE
GEODH CHREMHA (Geodha-nahairbhe)
GLASHBHINIOCHDARRACH
GOBERNUISGACH Gaelic, Gob an Uisgach, the beak of the water shed or place
GRUDIE – 1809 militia list – burial grounds 1922
GUALIN Gaelic, shoulder
HEILIM (Hilliam, Heilam, Hunleam, Huileam) – Norse, an islet, often a rock detached from the mainland – small hirsel on Eriboll farm – part of Bighouse Estate in 1819 when there were 7 tenants - Heilam is on the east side of Loch Eriboll where the A838 road from Tongue to Durness turns south – it was the site of the ferry to Port-na-con and an important stop for north coast travellers
HOPE – Hope comes from Norse, hop, a bay or inlet – part of Bighouse Estate in 1819 when there were 7 tenants – by 1840 was turned into a sheep farm
INVERAN
INVERHOPE – see Hope
KEARVAIG (Kervaig) – on the cape side – close to Cape Wrath
KEMPIE
KEOLDALE – Norse, Kyle dale – by 1840 was turned into a sheep farm
KINNABIN – 1809 militia list - this may be the same as Ceannabeinne
KNOCKBREACK
LAID – Gaelic Leathad, slope – close to Loch Eriboll – a township created in 1832-1835 to settle some subtenants from Eriboll and to relived congested settlements established elsewhere after evictions. For some of the original inhabitants of Laid this was their second enforced movement within a few years. A long defile of single and one and a half storey cottages set on a rugged and rocky coastline – many now ruins
LANLISH
LERINBEG (Lerinbeag) the small half of a point – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
LERINMORE (Leirinmore) the large half of a point – a hamlet beyond Rispond heading west – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
LOCH ERIBOLL home on a gravely beach
LOCHSION – Lochsian – 1809 militia list
LUBAIN (Lubvain)
MERKAN
MUSSEL (Muisel) – 1898 burial grounds
PARPH – Norse, receding, turning away
PHOALIN
POLLA – Gaelic, a ford – 1886 burial grounds
PORT CHAMUILL (Portchamil) – on Loch Eriboll – ferry originally ran from here but there was no slip way – the ferrymen here also built boats
PORT ODHAR
PORTNANCON (Port-na-con), port of the dogs – ferry stop for Heilam ferry - pier built about 1189
RHIGOLTER – shepherd families here around 1843
RISPOND – Norse, copsewood or bay with small sloping hill
SANGO
SANGOBEG – Norse, sand bay or the small sands – a hamlet beyond Rispond heading west – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
SANGOMORE – Norse, sand bay or the large sands – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
SARSGRUM (Srascrim, Sartigrim) – there were tenants here up to 1805 when thereafter only a shepherd – cleared! – 1809 militia list shows shepherd
SHININISH (Shinins) – 1809 militia list
SLAINES – near Durness, may have been absorbed into Clashneach or Borley
SMOO – Norse, gole or cleft – one of the small settlements dotted along the coastline that have survived to become Durness Village
STRATH BEG – small hirsel on Eriboll farm, Strathbeg, Strabeg – situated at the upper end of Loch Eriboll, a narrow but fertile vale - see our Strathbeg People page
STRATHMORE – cleared in 1808 – 1846 burial grounds
STRATHURRADLE
UAIGHEHAICHIE
UIBEG
WEST MOINE

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page last updated 17th July 2010