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

Monday, 20 September 2010

Borghasdal & Srannda

Continuing with placenames in the South-Eastern corner of Harris, Iain mac an Tailleir gives us:

Borrisdale (Harris), Borghasdal. "Fort valley", from Norse.

This place nestles between Port Eisgein in the Sound to its West and, over the hill, Borrisdale Bay which features the remains of the fort of Dun Stuaidh on the promontory headland that separates this bay from the neighbouring 'parent' inlet of Loch Roghadail.

A little to the north of Port Eisgein is Port Ungasto which has the remains of another fort, Dun Boraigeo, on its northern side. Another fort, Dun Innisgall is found further along the Sound in the Cairiminis complex of headlands and islands and, although I cannot claim to understand the interrelations between these sites, a pattern emerges of coastal fortifications protecting settlements from incursion via the sea. Srannda (Strond) sits along this coastal strip of fertile soil and is amply defended by the neighbouring forts and its name, according to our same source, is derived thus: Strond (Harris), Srannda. "Beach", from Norse.

Boraigeo is not itemised by Iain mac an Tailleir, but he does give us this place in Skye:
Boreraig (Skye), Boraraig."Fort bay", from Norse.
If these are the same name, then Dun Boraigeo becomes 'Fort Fort Bay' so it seems possible?
Innis Gall, meaning Islands of the Foreigner, was the name used for these islands for many years so how it came to be applied to the fort at Cairiminis is unclear, as is the derivation of Cairiminis itself!
Ungasto remaina a mystery, too, but Stuadh is Gaelic for 'Wave' which seems entirely appropriate if you look at the site on a map...

Note: The links give access to site records for the two dun, another is to be found at Rodel .

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