What’s in a name? Gaelic and also Old Norse words in the names of places and cottages, expose glimpses of our heritage, the importance of the landscape and wildlife, and our Highland culture.

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Place name in Skye and also Lochalsh

Many that the names given to our villages, rivers, mountains, and also even our vacation cottages, derive from one of two people Old norse or Scottish Gaelic.

Isle of Skye (Gaelic Eilean a Cheo)

Eilean is the Gaelic word for island and appears in several place names. The Isle that Skye has its origins in the norse word for clouds (‘sky’) through the suffix ‘ye’ an interpretation ‘island’ – literally ‘Island that Clouds’. The Gaelic surname for Skye ‘Eilean a Cheo’ also means ‘misty isle’.

Kyleakin (Gaelic Caol Àcain)

For plenty of visitors come the island, Kyleakin is the very first village after the bridge. Yet how plenty of of girlfriend knew that its surname dates back to the 13th century? Literally definition ‘Straits the Hakkon’, the surname Kyleakin is thought to have from the Gaelic word because that a narrow strait that water (‘caol’) coupled with a reference to King Haakon IV the Norway whose fleet moored there before the fight of Largs in 1263.

Portree (Gaelic Port-an-Righ)

The key town top top the Isle that Skye to be previously called Kiltaraglen from the Gaelic indigenous ‘Cill’ meaning ‘church’. Literally ‘the church in ~ the foot of the glen’. The surname for the village was readjusted in the 16th century following the imperial visit of King James V. Through the king’s watercraft berthed in the harbour, Kiltaraglen ended up being Port-an-Righ (the king Port).


Fiscavaig (Gaelic Fioscabhaig)

Fiscavaig (or Fiskavaig) literally translates as ‘bay the fish‘ native Old Norse. Nearby Portnalong (Gaelic Port nan Long) way ‘harbour the ships’. This community was started by crofters indigenous Lewis and Harris in 1921.

Dunvegan (Gaelic Dùn Bheagain)

You may notification several ar names in Scotland which incorporate the native ‘dun’ indigenous the Gaelic Dùn definition ‘fort’. Dunvegan is just one example. Dunvegan castle (the chair of the MacLeods) has actually a long history. Well prior to the save was developed in the mid-14th century, there had been a ft – or dun. The second component of the name perhaps refers come the vikings chieftain Began, but it could additionally derive native the Gaelic word ‘bheagain’ meaning ‘few’ (The ft of the few).


In Gaelic words ‘ploc’ describes a promontory or bump of land. The name of this exceptionally pretty harbour village translates as ‘town ~ above the promontory’.

Cottage Names

Many that our holiday cottages have names i beg your pardon are simply as interesting!


It is probable not surprising that countless of ours cottages encompass the word Taigh (also Tigh) which is Gaelic for ‘house’. They regularly refer come the original owner or resident. Because that example:- Taigh Uilleim in Roag translates as William’s House, Tigh Anndra in Flodigarry is precise Andrew’s House and Taigh Aonghais (Tarskavaig) is the house that Angus. 

Landscape Names

Hills, streams, lochs and glens all attribute in our cottage names, evoking the variety of the landscape in i m sorry they room situated.

Alt Slapin near the beautiful Loch Slapin take away its surname from the burn running next to the cottage (in Gaelic ‘Allt’ method stream)

The cottage Bonn na Cnoc converts as ‘at the foot the the hill‘ – a an excellent description that its location.

A strath in Gaelic is a low-lying, level land in between hills. That usually describes a vast valley through a flow (larger 보다 a glen) running v it. It perfectly explains the ar of the head Strath Glebe located in the large valley that Swordale (Suardal) the runs in between Broadford and Torrin. This particular day this valley is a quiet place, with only a couple of cottages yet in previous year it contained a marble quarry with workers houses and a railway for transporting the marble to Broadford. Glebe is an area of land in ~ an ecclesiastical parish the was offered to support a parish priest. The head is not much from the ruined Cill Chriosd (meaning ‘Christ’s Church’). This previous parish church remained in use as much as 1840.

The head Creag Bheag in Portree bring away its surname from the landscape. In Gaelic ‘creag’ way ‘rock’.


Translating literally native the Gaelic words ‘the sea side’ or ‘beside the sea’ Taobh na Mara head is perfectly named. Its under on the shores of the tidal Loch Snizort and also overlooks the water.

Water also features in the names of two various other cottages. Laimhrig top top the Shore overlooking Loch Ainort takes its name from the Gaelic word for ‘jetty’ or ‘landing place’. Kinloch Follart dates back to the mid 19th century and also was originally developed as a manse residence offering spacious accommodation because that Ministers who were duty tied to offer somewhere to continue to be to anyone in need. Kinloch means ‘Head the the loch’ and is typically used in location names. The home sits in ~ the head the Loch Dunvegan previously referred to as Loch Follart (or Fallart).


Our cottages top top the mainland likewise have names the reflect their location in the see of Lochalsh. Duirinish Lodge for example is called from the Gaelic Diùranais or Diùirinis meaning “deer headland” and is in part derived indigenous the Old vikings ‘dyr’. Built in 1936 this nation house is collection within 18 acres of magnificent exclusive woodlands and also gardens simply waiting to it is in explored!

Wildlife Names

Waternish is a good place because that bird watching. The overlooks the bay and out in the direction of the Minch. Tystie Cottage bring away its name from the word for a black guillemot. The surname ‘tystie‘ to be originally offered in the Scottish Isles, particularly the Shetlands and also probably derives native Norn tåisti, native Old vikings þeisti.

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History Names 

The head Ard Choille in Portree takes its surname from Scottish clan history.  Ard Choille to be the slogan or the battle cry that the Macgregor clan meaning ‘High Wood’ and referred to a mystery clan meeting place.