Photo 4028 Sunset over Loch Ewe and Isle of Ewe, Wester Ross

Listed below are all the place names (beginning with F-L) referred to on this website and for each an explanation, where possible, of it's origin and meaning. Click one of these links to access other place name lists for A-B, C-E and M-Z

Following the notes for most place names are reference numbers indicating with reference to the source list the source(s) of the information provided. This is an ongoing project and not all the source reference numbers have been updated to each place name. The source list is displayed on the introductory place name page.

The names given in the list below in bold are the names as they appear or Ordnance Survey maps, and in the case of Gaelic and Norse names the map names are often a corruption of their true Gaelic and Norse names. The notes for each place name will, where possible, supply the proper Norse or Gaelic name.

The place name indexes are a work in progress and will be updated as new place names appear in my photographs. There are comment boxes at the end of each place name page and I welcome any thoughts you might have about the place name lists.


Fain; Gaelic na Fèithean meaning ‘the bog channels’. [1]

Fannich; Fannich Hills, named from the loch of that name. Gaelic Fainich the meaning of which is uncertain. Watson has this to say:- In spite of its Gaelic ring Fainaich is rather an obscure and difficult word. Assuming that the ‘f’ is radical and does not represent an aspirated ‘p’ we may compare it with Welsh gwaneg a surge, gwanegu, to rise in waves, Welsh gw corresponding to Gaelic f, as in Welsh gwern, Gaelic fearn, alder. Another step backward would lead us to an early Celtic van- or ven-, which suggests a comparison with the Gaulish Lacus Ven-etus, now Lake of Constance, and the two Gaulish tribes of Veneti, both maritime. But the name is one in which it is unsafe to be positive. [1]

Faolin; Gaelic An Fhaoilinn meaning ‘the beach field’. [10]

Fionn Loch; The white loch [1], the fair loch [4]

Firemore; See An Fhaighear Mhóir.

First Coast; The authoritative sources I rely on are in conflict over this name. Firstly Professor Watson simply says that in Gaelic it is called an t-Eirthire or t-Eirthire shios but does not offer any translation of these Gaelic names. The Scottish Parliament website states that the Gaelic name is An t-Eirtheaire Shios meaning ‘the lower coast’, this seems to be a good fit because the village of First Coast is at a lower level than Second Coast.

However, J H Dixon’s ‘Gairloch and Guide to Loch Maree’ says that the Gaelic name for First Coast is Bad an t’ Sluig but, confusingly, goes on to give two different meanings for this name. Firstly, in the glossary of place names he states that it means ‘Grove of the miry puddle’ from the Gaelic Bad, a grove, and sluig, possessive of slug, a miry puddle. Secondly, in chapter 12, page 339 he states that Bad an t’ Sluig translates as the ‘clump of the gullet’.

It seems to me that Watson is the reliable source for the actual place name and that the Scottish Parliament definition of its meaning is the more reasonable but if anyone can clarify this confusion I’d be glad to hear from them. I was told that the place names ‘First Coast’ and ‘Second Coast’ arose as a result of ‘confusion’ on the part of Ordnance Survey when they first mapped this area, which may be true, but I have found no evidence to support this. Given that the Gaelic names for both places (as per Watson) contain the Gaelic word for ‘coast’ (Eirthire) it is not unreasonable to consider that informal local names for these two adjacent villages would be First and Second Coast, but in Gaelic obviously. [1,14]

Flowerdale; Refers to the area in Gairloch around Flowerdale House. According to Professor Watson the Gaelic name is Baile Mór which he says translates as ‘Big-stead’. To me this implies it is referring to Flowerdale House, the seat of the Mackenzies of Gairloch, originally built in 1738 and at that time it was called Tigh Dìge, ‘the Moat House’.

Professor Watson then goes on to say that at the time of writing his book ‘Place Names of Ross and Cromarty’ (1904) the house is called Tigh Dìge nan Gorm Leac, that is ‘Moat House of the blue flags’, i.e., roof slates, it was the first house in the area to be roofed with slates. Osgood Mackenzie (1842-1922), writing in 1922, explained the origin of the name Flowerdale. He said that the name was given by tourists on seeing the profusion of wild flowers in the Baile Mor Glen (Big Town or Village) but that during his life the house was only ever called Tigh Dige and the place in which it was situated Am Baile Mor. [1, Osgood Mackenzie]

Foinavon; Gaelic is Foinne Bheinn meaning ‘the wart mountain’ in reference to the several protuberances on its summit. This definition was obtained from the ‘Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness Volume XVI 1889-90.

Fraoch Eilean; Heather island. From the Gaelic elements fraoch, heather, and eilean, island. [12]


Gairloch; Gaelic, village named after the loch of the same name, Loch Gairloch, An Gearr-loch, the short loch. [1]

Glas Mheall Liath; the blue grey round hill, part of An Teallach [12]

Glas Mheall Mór; One of the An Teallach peaks. No references found to this name but I translate it as the ‘big grey (or green) hill’.

Gleann Leireag; Gaelic, meaning ‘Larch Glen’. [7]

Glen Coe; The following information was gleaned from Wikipedia. In Gaelic it is written as Gleann Comhann. Due to the massacre that took place there in 1692 the name Glen Coe is often said to mean "Glen of Weeping", however, Gleann Comhann does not translate as 'Glen of Weeping'. In fact the Glen is named for the River Coe which runs through it, and bore this name long prior to the 1692 incident. The name of the river itself is believed to predate the Gaelic language and its meaning is not known. One possibility is that it was named for a tribe once living in the area; however this remains speculation. It is also possible that the name stems from an individual personal name.

Glen Docherty; Listed by Professor Watson as Glen Docharty; Gaelic Gleann Dochartaich, from the negative prefix do and cartach, ‘scoury’, or ‘place of scouring’; ‘Glen of evil (i.e., excessive) scouring’ which describes it well.

Glenelg; From my own researches there is much debate about the meaning of this name with no great certainty accorded by any of the theories. My own notes are based on the explanations given on the Glenelg & Arnisdale development trust website where a more comprehensive explanation is to be found. The name is derived from Gleann-eilge or Glinn-eilge where the first part refers to Glen or Glens, however the eilge portion is more difficult to explain. Some suppose it is of Norse origin and derived from Ealga, a Norse princess alleged to have been buried on Skye. Professor Watson points out that ealga means the same as , a pig. The pig was apparently a sacred animal to the old Gaels. Ireland was called Muc-innis or Innis-ealga (island of boars or of the torc). [1, and as mentioned]

Glen Kerry; Gaelic is Gleann Chearraidh derived from the Norse kjarr-á meaning ‘copse’, this continues to be an excellent description of the landscape at this place. [1]

Glenmore; The Great Glen.

Groban;  Probably a grooved rock, from grobadh, to groove. Grudidh, more correctly Gruididh. I could find no other source for this name other than Dixon's Gairloch. [14]

Grudie River; Gaelic, Abhainn Grùdidh. Professor Watson gives the following explanation; The root is most likely ghru, gritty, which is at the bottom of such words as grothlach, a gravel pit; grùdair, a brewer; grùid, the liver; allied with English grit, Welsh grut, grit or fossil. To sum up probably translates as ‘gravelly river’. [1, 10]

Gruinard Bay; possibly from the Norse grunnfjörðr meaning shallow firth. [1]

Gruinard River; named after Gruinard Bay. Gruinard is possibly from the Norse grunnfjörðr meaning shallow firth. [1]

Gruinard Island; named after Gruinard Bay – see Gruinard Bay. [1]


Harris; In Gaelic it is called Na Hearradh. The name has two possible meanings, both derived from the Norse language. One possibility is that the name is derived from the Norse Haerri meaning ‘higher’ referring to the high hills of Harris compared to the lower ground of Lewis to the north. Alternatively it may have been derived from the Norse Hérað meaning an administrative district. [1, Wikipedia]

Hebrides; The following etymology is quoted from the Wikipedia article on the Hebrides. The first reference to a name similar to the modern Hebrides is by Ptolemy, who called the islands Αἱβοῦδαι = Haiboudai in Ancient Greek. Later texts in classical Latin, by writers such as Solinus, use the forms Hebudes and Hæbudes. The old Norse name, during the Viking occupation, was Suðreyjar, which means ‘Southern Isles’. It was given in contradistinction to Norðreyjar, or the ‘Northern Isles’, i.e. Orkney and Shetland.

Ironically, given the status of the Western Isles as the last Gàidhlig speaking stronghold in Scotland, the Gaelic language name for the islands - Innse Gall - means "isles of the foreigners" which has roots in the time when they were under Norse occupation and colonisation, and in reference to the Norse-Gaels, known in Gaelic as the Gall-Ghaidhil (meaning Foreign Gaels).

Holm Island; There are many islands in Scotland containing the word Holm. It is derived from the old Norse holmr meaning ‘a small and rounded islet’. [Wikipedia, OS Guide to Scandinavian origins]


Incheril; a small hamelt near Kinlochewe. I have been unable to track down the meaning of this name. If you know what it means add a comment below. Please including any link you may have to online sources that provide information about the name.

Inchina; From the Gaelic Innis an àth meaning ‘haugh or water meadow of the ford’. [1]

Inner Sound; This is the sound between the Applecross peninsula and the Isle of Raasay. It has caused me some difficulty in that the sources I rely on for place names have nothing to say about this. A number of web sites give its Gaelic name as An Lighe Rathairseach but they are not authoritative. Assuming they are right the next difficulty is in determining the meaning, Rathairseach refers to the Isle of Raasay so that seems reasonable but An Lighe presents a problem.

On page 26 of Professor Watson’s book he refers to An Lighe in another context and ascribes the meaning ‘physician’. However some of my Gaelic dictionaries ascribe the meaning ‘spate’ or ‘flood’ to An Lighe which seems more reasonable. Perhaps some kind etymologist will settle this discussion and provide the answer?

Inveralligin; Gaelic Inbhir-àiliginn which proves Alligin to be a stream name. The name Alligin is usually connected with àilleag, a jewel, a pretty woman which may possibly be correct but Professor Watson says the single l in àiliginn is a serious difficulty. [1]

Inveran; In Gaelic it is Inbhirean, meaning the ‘little’ estuary where the waters of Loch Kernsary fall into the northern end of Loch Maree. [1]

Inverasdale; Village on the western shore of Loch Ewe. The following notes are by Professor Watson. In Gaelic it is Inbhir-asdal. A hybrid name; from Gaelic, inbhir, estuary; from Norse, aspi-dalr, Aspen-dale, from osp, the aspen tree. The old forms, together with the independent authority of Blaeu (a 16th century Dutch mapmaker), prove that the modern Gaelic is a contraction with compensatory lengthening of the vowel a. [1]

Inverbain; Listed as Inverbane by Professor Watson. In Gaelic Inbhiriu meaning the ‘white estuary’. [1]

Inverewe; In Gaelic it is Inbhiriu, meaning the ‘mouth of the Ewe’, referring to where the River Ewe enters Loch Ewe. [1]

Inverianvie River; Written as Inverianvenie River by Professor Watson. Gaelic Inbhir-riamhainnidh, also Allt Inbhir-riamhainnidh flowing out of an Gleanna garbh, ‘the rough glen’; riam-hainnidh is probably based on the root seen in the Gaelic riamh, riadh, a course, running (in modern Gaelic ‘a drill’). The suffixes may be compared with Ptolemy’s Lib-nios. A Pictish name. [1]

Inver Tote; A hybrid Gaelic/Norse name Inbhir Thobhta meaning ‘the river mouth at the house site’. [7]

Isle Ewe; Gaelic is Eilean Iu. See Loch Ewe for further information. [1]

Isle Maree; See Loch Maree.

Isle Martin; Gaelic is Eilean Mhartainn; a burial place in it is called Cladh Eilein Mhartainn. Although Professor Watson does not provide an explanation for the name of this place, he does indicate with regard to other place names containing the martin root that they were named after St Martin of Tours. However this idea must remain uncertain in the case of Isle Martin until some evidence can be found to confirm it. [1]

Isle of Skye; see Skye.


Kernsary; Professor Watson gives a lengthy explanation of the origin of this word by comparing it with another place name Smiorsair. The origin is Norse and Professor Watson goes on to explain that he feels the last part ar, is from erg, a shieling, borrowed from Gaelic. The first part Cearnai’s may be kjarni, kernel, denoting also ‘the best part of the land’; or it may be kjarr, a copse. In the former case the s has to be explained; the latter theory leaves nas to be accounted for.

J H Dixon explains the word as follows; spelt in Gaelic Cearnsair, a corruption, probably from carn, a cairn; airidh, a shieling. [1, 14]

Kinlochewe; Ceann Loch Iubh. "The end of the rock". "The head of the Loch Ewe" [1]

Kyle of Lochalsh; Kyle is derived from the Gaelic Caol meaning ‘narrow’ generally referring to areas where waterways narrow. For the meaning of Lochalsh see Loch Alsh. [1]

Kylesku; Gaelic Caolas Cumhang meaning ‘the narrow strait’. [8]


Laide; In Gaelic it is An Leathad meaning ‘a slope’. [1]

Lairg; From the Scottish Parliament website; In Gaelic it is An Luirg meaning ‘shank’. [8, 11]

Laxford; In Sutherland. Norse, derived from Lax meaning ‘salmon’ and fjörðr meaning ‘fjiord’. According to the ‘Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness Vol. XVI (1889-90)’ its Gaelic name is Luis-ard from the Gaelic luis ‘herbs’ and ard ‘height’, that is the ‘height of the herbs’. [8]

Leacan Donna; No source explains this place name which refers to a rock on the Rubha Mor peninsula by Loch Ewe in Wester Ross. However Leac is a Gaelic word referring to a flat ledge of rock and Professor Watson, referring to another place name, translates an donnaidh as ‘a mishap’, so perhaps this name means ‘the flat rock of the accident’.

Leac an Ime; this is a small promontory near the head of Little Loch Broom and not far from Stattic Point. Leac is Gaelic for a flat rock or rock ledge but the meaning of Ime to date remains a mystery. Do you know?

Leacnasaide; Gaelic Leac nan Saighead meaning ‘Flat Rock of the Arrows’. The story of the slaughter of the M’Leods by archery from this place is given in J H Dixon’s ‘Gairloch and Guide to Loch Maree’. [1]

Leac Tressirnish; Leac is a Gaelic word referring to a flat ledge of rock but I have been unable to ascertain the meaning of Tressirnish.

Ledmore; In Gaelic it is An Leathad Mór meaning ‘the big slope’. [8]

Lewis; Can also be written as Lews. In Gaelic it is Leòdhas or Leòdh’s and it appears in the Norse sagas as Ljóðhús and Ljóðus. There is some doubt about the true origin of this name but most toponymist’s have decided it is of Norse origin, derived from Ljóða-hús meaning ‘house of songs or lays’, in other words a céilidh house. According to Professor Watson some Lewis scholars favour it being derived from Ljót-hús, ‘Leod’s House. [1]

Liathach; the light grey one [4]

Little Gruinard; This is the name of the area around the estuary of the Little Gruinard River where it enters Gruinard Bay. There is also another nearby river called the River Gruinard and the term ‘Little’ is added to the smaller river to distinguish the two. The rivers themselves are named after the bay into which they flow, Gruinard Bay, Gruinard being derived from the old Norse grunnfjörðr meaning ‘shallow firth’. [1]

Little Loch Broom; Gaelic an Loch Beag according to Watson, i.e. ‘the little loch’. He does not explain the origin of its anglicised name and I assume it is derived from its nearby neighbour, Loch Broom, being small in comparison to it. The name Loch Broom is an anglicised version of its true Gaelic name which is Loch Bhraoin. Bhraoin means a 'drop of water or rain' and is named after the river that flows from Loch a' Bhraoin high in the Braemore (Am Braigh Mor). [1]

Liathach; Gaelic, ‘the hoary place’.

Loch Achaidh na h-Inich; I have found no sources providing a meaning for the name of this loch. However achaidh is Gaelic for field and h-Inich can mean ‘solitary place’, or ‘moor’, or ‘mountain top’. I would suggest that due to loch’s location on high ground near the crags overlooking Duncraig castle that ‘moor’ or ‘solitary place' are the more appropriate.

Loch a’ Bhraoin; means a 'drop of water or rain' and also gives its name to the river that flows from Loch a' Bhraoin high in the Braemore (Am Braigh Mor). [1]

Loch a’ Chàirn Bhàin; In Sutherland. None of my preferred souces mention this name but other sources on the web consistently state that it means ‘Loch of the White Cair’ from the Gaelic Bhàin meaning ‘white’ and Chàirn meaning ‘Cairn’.

Loch a' Chroisg; Gaelic; listed as Loch Rosque in Professor Watson’s book ; 'Place Names of Ross & Cromarty' ’Chroisg from crasg, a crossing. The crossing referred to is that from Kinlochewe through Glen Docharty (now Docherty), and so on to the low lands.

Loch Alsh; In Gaelic it is Loch Aillse reputedly meaning ‘foaming lake’ or ‘loch of spume’. However, Professor Watson traces its roots back to Ptolemy who called it Volsas or Volsas Bay. The Professor states that the modern Gaelic favours an origin from Volsas, and that Dr A MacBain would connect it with a root vol, to roll, as a wave. [1,8]

Loch a’Mhuillin; The loch of the mill. [1]

Loch an DraingTobar an Draing, at the south end of this loch points to the name being Gaelic, perhaps a personal name or nick-name. [1]

Loch an Nid; Lochlet of the nest ; from its situation ; cf. the Nest in Fannich. [1]

Loch an Tiompain; A loch on the hills north of Corriehallie. Meaning uncertain, perhaps the sounding loch given that a Google search Clach an Tiompain means the sounding stone.

Loch Assynt; Named after the parish of Assynt – see Assynt.

Loch Bad an Sgalaig; Professor Watson spells this as Loch Bad na’ Sgalag meaning the ‘Loch of the clump of the farm-workers’. [1]

Loch Bad na h-Achaise; The loch of the arm pit, according to Professor Watson achlais is very common in place names. [1]

Loch Borralan; In Sutherland. I’ve been unable so far to find any reference to explain this name. It may be from the Norse Burra, ‘a fortification’ , but I’m not qualified enough that anyone else should quote this.

Loch Broom; The name Loch Broom is an anglicised version of its true Gaelic name which is Loch Bhraoin. Bhraoin means a 'drop of water or rain' and is named after the river Abhainn Bhraoin that flows from Loch a' Bhraoin high in the Braemore (Am Braigh Mor). [1]

Lochan a Choire Dubh; The loch of the black corrie [4]

Lochan Fada; The long loch [4]

Lochcarron; The village is named after Loch Carron, which see below. Loch Carron; Named after the River Carron which enters this sea loch after a course through Glen-carron and Strath-carron. In Gaelic it is Loch Carrann, Carrann meaning ‘rough’. The root is kars-, rough, as seen in , a rock, and càrn, a heap of stones, referring to the rough stony bed of the river. [1]

Loch Clair; Gaelic is Loch Clàir, ‘Loch of the level place’. [1,10]

Loch Cill Chriosd; On Skye, not listed in any authoritative source but a range of other sources translate it as ‘The Loch of Christ’s Church’ which seems fitting due to the ruined church and graveyard nearby.

Loch Corrie Mhic Fhearchair; The loch of the Corrie of Farquhar's Son [4]

Loch Droma; Gaelic; the Ridge Loch. [1]

Loch Druim Suardalain; This is a compound Gaelic-Norse place name. The only reference I could find to its meaning was in the ‘Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness Volume XV’ published in 1888-89. The transactions state that Druim is Gaelic for ‘ridge’ but that Suardalain is of Norse origin. Norse svarda for ‘sward’ and Norse lain for ‘land’. Therefore the name means ‘the loch of the ridge of the sward land’.

Loch Duich; In Gaelic it is Loch Dubhthaich and is named after St.Dubhthaich, an eleventh century bishop of Ross. [The West Highlands of Scotland by W. H. Murray, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland]

Loch Ewe; Professor Watson said “that he had taken iu, with hesitation, from the Irish eo, thus ‘Loch of the yew tree’; the fact that Tobar na h-Iu in Nigg showed the article is practically decisive in favour of iu being there at least a Gaelic word. No Pictish name is accompanied by the Gaelic article. But the Ewe may be a Pictish name derived from the same root, or from a totally different one.” [1]

Loch Fada; Fada is the Gaelic word for ‘long’. [12]

Loch Gairloch; Gaelic An Gearr-loch, the short loch. [1]

Loch Gorm; The blue loch [12]

Loch Harport; Possibly from old Norse Hafra-fjord meaning the ‘he-goat fjiord’. [Place Names of Highlands and Islands of Scotland by Alex. MacBain]

Lochinver; A town in Sutherland, named after Loch Inver, which see.

Loch Inver; In Sutherland, Gaelic Loch an Inbhir meaning ‘the loch at the river mouth. [8]

Loch Kanaird; Gaelic Loch Cainneart from the Norse kann-fjörðr, Can-firth. The Can was doubtless the broch, now ruinous, near the entrance to the loch on its western side, called still Dun Canna, in English Dun Can. [1]

Loch Kernsary; Professor Watson gives a lengthy explanation of the origin of this word by comparing it with another place name Smiorsair. The origin is Norse and Professor Watson goes on to explain that he feels the last part ar, is from erg, a shieling, borrowed from Gaelic. The first part Cearnai’s may be kjarni, kernel, denoting also ‘the best part of the land’; or it may be kjarr, a copse. In the former case the s has to be explained; the latter theory leaves nas to be accounted for.

J H Dixon explains the word as follows; spelt in Gaelic Cearnsair, a corruption, probably from carn, a cairn; airidh, a shieling.

Loch Kishorn; From the Norse keis-horn, bulky cape. [1]

Loch Leven; According to one source it is written in Gaelic as Loch Lìobhann but so far I have been unable to determine the meaning of Lìobhann with certainty. Another source states that Leven is the anglicized version of the Gaelic word leamham meaning elm.

Loch Long; Long is Gaelic for ship so Loch Long translates as ‘ship loch’. [1]

Loch Maree; Gaelic Loch-Ma-rui(bh), Loch of St Maelrubha, an Irish monk who came to Scotland in 671A.D founding a church in Applecross before coming to Loch Maree where he founded another church on the island now known as Isle Maree. Professor Watson writes in his ‘Place names of Ross & Cromarty’ on page 230 “That Loch Maree was formerly called Loch Ewe is clear from the fact that the River Ewe issues from it, that Kinlochewe (meaning ‘Head of Loch Ewe’) stands at its upper end, and Letterewe on its north side”. [1]

Loch na h-Àirigh Fraoich; Gaelic; Loch of the heather shieling. [4]

Loch na h-Oidhche; The Loch of the Night [1]

Loch nan Dailthean; Loch of the Dales from the Gaelic Dail, a dale, a meadow. [1]

Loch na Sealga; Gaelic, written as Loch na Sealg by Professor Watson meaning ‘loch of the hunts’. [1]

Loch Nedd; In Sutherland, Gaelic, Loch an Nead, ‘the loch of the nest’. [1,8]

Loch Odhar; The dun coloured loch [1].

Loch Scavaig; No reliable references to the name of this sea loch on Skye have been found. In most cases of West-highland names ending in aig the suffix is derived from the Norse vík meaning ‘bay’. I have no explanation for the prefix Scav.

Loch Shieldaig; In Gaelic it is Sìldeag derived from the Norse síld-vík meaning ‘herring bay’. [1]

Loch Stack; Named after Ben Stack which see.

Loch Tollaidh; Gaelic; ‘loch at the place of the holes’, there are also Tollie Farm, Tollie Bay, Tollie Rock, and Tollie Burn. [1]

Loch Toll an Lochain; The hollow of the lochlet [1]

Loch Torridon; Professor Watson gives a detailed account of Torridon starting with the recorded history of this name – Torvirtayne 1464; Torrerdone 1584; Gaelic Toir(bh)eartan compare with the Irish tairbheart, to transfer, carry over, the infinitive of tairbrim. This would give the place the meaning of ‘place of transference’ with reference to the portage from the head of Loch Torridon through Glen Torridon to Loch Maree. The name applies specially to the strip of land at the head of the loch. [1]

Lonbain; Listed as Lonban by Professor Watson. The name Lonban is derived from the Gaelic An Lòn Bàn meaning the white damp meadow. [1]

Lonemore; Part of Gairloch. Gaelic; an Lòn Mór meaning the ‘great damp meadow’ according to Watson and ‘the big meadow' according to Apamapa. [1, 10]

Longa Island; From the Norse Lung-ey meaning the ‘ship isle’. The passage between it and the mainland is called An Caol Beag, ‘the little narrow’. [1]


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