Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A vision of venison in a once-wooded place...

Somehow, when I was scanning through this document of Gaelic placenames
composed by Iain Mac an Tailleir I somehow missed the very one I was seeking:

Dieraclete (Harris) Diricleit, 'Deer Cliff', from Norse.
The 'Deer Cliff' is the nearer line of hills in this view taken from the Tarbert-Uig ferry.

Delighted as I am to have now  found this, at the time I was working on the idea that Direcleit might be a contraction of 'Doire nam Cleit' or Oak Grove (of the) Cliff.

Dirnanean in Perthshire apparently derives from Doire nam Eum, Oak Grove of the Birds, and Diriebught in Inverness from Doire nam Boc, Oak Grove of the Bucks!

As an aside, I recently came upon this interesting note on the flora of the area:

Coastline from Tarbert dock to Direcleit hosts a broad range of native tree species including Aspen, Downy Birch, Hazel, Grey willow, Sallow Willow, Rowan, Holly.

The name 'Craobhag' is given to the place that lies between Tarbert and Direcleit and means 'Small Oak'. In fact these are stunted English Oaks, NOT Sessile Oaks,indicating that the site was recognised in the past for its woodland activity.

Ref: WI Native Woodland Restoration Survey Report
http://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/woodlands/nativewoodlands.asp (Native Woodland Report PDF)

You can see how this helped fuel my 'Oak Grove' conjecture, but alas, I couldn't see the wood for the trees.

Incidentally, the sequence of names from Tarbert round the coast runs as follows:

Diren - Another contraction of 'Doire'?
Cadha – Pass/Cliff?
Craobhag – Small Oak
Direcleit - Deer Cliff
Ceann Dibig -Head of the Deep Bay?

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