Thursday, 5 November 2015

Place Names in Farr

Photo Loch Naver, C Stokes

Parish of Farr
In 1897 it was estimated that the parish measured 267,040 acres – an extensive parish. It is naturally divided into three parts by the rivers Halladale, Strathy and Naver. In long gone days the bulk of the population lived in those three valleys.  
The following place names are shown here simply as a guide and are taken from ‘Sutherland and the Reay Country’ Topography, edited by Rev. Adam Gunn, M.A., and John Mackay, 1897

ACHINA, Gaelic Achadh, a ford
ACHNABOURIN, Gaelic achadh and buirghean, bvrgs, field of fortifications
ACHNESS, Gaelic, achadh-an-eas, field of the cascade
ACHREDIGILL, gill is Norse meaning ravine – beginning is Gaelic
ALTNAHARRA, harra Norse for heights and alt Gaelic for burn – high burn
ARDACHY, high field, Gaelic
ARMADALE, from Norse armer, arm of sea and dale
BALIGILL, township in ravine, Norse & Gaelic
BETTYHILL, modern name so called from Countess Elizabeth who build an inn there. The Gaelic name is Blaran-odhar, the dun field
BIGHOUSE, Gaelic an Torr, the heap or fortified place, where of old a castle stood to defend the entrance to the bay
BRA-RATHY, Gaelic Braigh-rathie, upper Strathy
BRAWL, Gaelic Braigh-bhile
CRASK, crossway, Gaelic
CROICK, the hand, from the natural configuration, Gaelic
DALANGDALE, langdale, Norse
DALHALVAIG, dale of the sorrel, Gaelic
DALHAROLD, Norse, Harold’s dale
DALVINA, Gaelic, Dalmhine, smooth dale
FARR, village and Farr Point from which the parish took its name, probably from the Gaelic faire, watching, in ancient manuscripts always spelled Far
FORSINAIRD, high waterfall, Gaelic & Norse
FORSINAIN, low waterfall, Gaelic & Norse
GOLVAL, stranger township, Gaelic
GRUMBEG & GRUMBMORE, sometimes called in Gaelic na grumbaichean, are probably of Gaelic origin.  Grum is a variant of drum, a ridge.
INVERNAVER, Gaelic, mouth of the Naver
KEALSEY, narrow stream, Gaelic
KIRTOMY, Gaelic Ciurstamaidh or Norse Kjors – copse wood
KIRKTON, Gaelic Baine-na-h-eaglaise, was the most important township on the Halladale
LEADNAGUILLEAN, Gaelic Leathad, slope – possibly slope of gullies
MELVICH, sand-bank or links bay, Norse
MUDALE, Norse, muir dale
PILLAORISCAIG, seaside hamlet at the back of Armadale, Gaelic and/or Norse, possible pool a river mouth or small bay
PORTSKERRA, port or harbour, a Skerray, Norse
SKELPICK, Gaelic sgeilpeach, shelvy, terraces
STRATH-HALLADALE, valley of the holy dale – Gaelic & Norse
STRATHNAVER, in old manuscripts sometimes Strathnavernia and often Strathnavern, valley of the Naver
STRATHY, Strath + water or stream – Gaelic
SWORDLY, sward dale, Norse
SYRE, doubtful, Gaelic Saghair, probably Norse settr
TRANTLE-mòr = Trau-dal = the lower ground through which a river runs, Gaelic & Norse – mòr = big
TRANTLE-beg as above but beg is small

updated 28/02/2016

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Brawl, Farr

Brawl is situated close to the north coast of Sutherland.
The latest crofters at Brawl here share their thoughts with us.  Thank you John and Linda.

Brawl, steeped in history, was in the early days, a township and the characters who once inhabited the area, have left their mark on this remote land with many ruins of houses and byres, surrounding.

It is difficult to describe "Crofting today" whereby, we cannot compare today with yesterday, in crofting, except perhaps that we are not connected to the grid for electricity, nor are we connected to the water supply, but we manage just fine. I suppose it could be said that the old way, the traditional way, the crofters were far greener and eco friendly than many modern crofters are today.

On 21st century Brawl, our lives are intertwined and revolving around our croft, the land, our livestock and the small community in which we live.  Some days are an act of being doggedly determined in the art of survival, other days run smoothly and according to plan, such is the life of ourselves in today's small crofting community.

Relatively new to the area, we are actively working toward a certain amount of self sufficiency, whilst still contributing to the local economy and hopefully being in a position of putting back into the community whatever we can by way of produce and co-operation as is the custom.

What we can write with some certainty is that we do practice some of the more traditional methods of cultivation in as much as most of our work is done by hand as opposed to machinery and although we do not believe in the use of chemicals, our land is fertilized albeit in an organic manner.

For myself, I envy those who were born into crofting, I envy their knowledge of their area, the history and the culture.
Apart from the daily routine of feeding and attending to our horses, sheep and pigs, chickens and geese, to mention but a few, no two days are the same, our work on our croft is young, there is still much to do and with each day passing, small but not insignificant changes are taking shape.

We ourselves are history in the making, we love Brawl which has become our home. We love the crofting way of life and we are living our lives to the full in this remote and special place which has offered us the serenity sought after by many, but truly known by only a few.

As the seasons come and go, the changing colours of the landscape never cease to amaze, the deep reds and browns of autumn, deep purple heather in summer, the novelty of snow in winter and the bright yellow gorse flowers in spring.

Although we can not be considered young, there is a spring in our step as we look forward to waking each and every day. This year we have planted many different crops on land which has laid unimproved for years, it is hard work but it is rewarding too and our croft has become our life.

Any person who has an interest in Brawl, or our croft, or how we work are most welcome to call in and introduce themselves, for our part we shall do our level best to answer any questions they may have.
John & Linda
Read more about crofting

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Militia List 1809

Farr Militia List, December 1809
Transcribed by Malcolm Bangor-Jones
Adapted for this page by C Stokes, published here with his permission

Place names are spelled as on original document.

All Mc and Mac names are shown as Mac

This Militia List is certified to be a 'true and correct list of all the males, between the ages of 18 and 45 and liable to be balloted, residing in the Parish of Farr'.

The Parish also contained 119 men who were exempt.  

Surnames are shown alphabetically and below the surname is shown Christian name, occupation and residence.

Alexander, tailor, Daltinn
James, farmer, Gnubmore
William, farmer, Armidale

James, farmer, Syre
William, farmer, Syre

Alexander, labourer, Naver
John, labourer, Naver
Neil, labourer, Naver

Gilbert, shepherd, Achness

Adam, farmer, Skelpig
Mr. William, Gnubeg

Donald, farmer, Daltinn

James, labourer, Garve
Murdoch, labourer, Garve

Donald, weaver, Rossal
George, labourer, Kirstimy
George, piper, Kirstimy
William, farmer, Daltinn
William, farmer, Syre

Mr Adam, Gnubeg
Adam, farmer, Ravigill
Alexander, farmer, Dalharal
Alexander, tailor, Farr
Alexander, Gnubmore
Alexander, farmer, Rossal
Alexander, shoemaker, Tuderscag
Andrew, farmer, Dalharal
Angus, farmer, Achanlochy
Angus, servant, Dinachary
Angus, farmer, Kinkyle
Angus, farmer, Oltnaharve
Angus, farmer, Rossal
Angus, farmer, Syre
Donald, shepherd, Achness
Donald, farmer, Kidsary
Donald, labourer, Kirstimy
Donald, labourer, Syre
Donald, farmer, Tuderscag
Duncan, Irish farmer, Carnachy
George, farmer, Brarathy
George, shepherd, Clibrig
George, farmer, Rhichork
(Oag) George, farmer, Kirstimy
Hector, farmer, Achurah
Hugh, Irish farmer, Brayolthair
Hugh, farmer, Gnubeg
Hugh, labourer, Gnubmore
Hugh, farmer, Ravigill (Bain)
Hugh, labourer, Armidale (McAlister)
Hugh, Strathy
James, labourer, Acople
James, labourer, Gnubmore
John, farmer, Achfriess
John, farmer, Balligle
John, Irish farmer, Carnachy
John, farmer, Inslandy (Inslanely?)
John, labourer, Kirstimy
John, Irish farmer, Langdale
John, farmer, Ravigill
John, farmer, Rhifail
John, farmer, Rossal
John, farmer, Skail
John, labourer, Strathy
John, labourer, Armidale
John, farmer, Rhifail
Murdoch, labourer, Dalharal
Murdoch, labourer, Gnubmore
Murdoch, labourer, Kirstimy
Neil, labourer, Farr
Neil, labourer, Syre
Robert, shoemaker, Kinkyle
Robert, labourer, Syre
Robert, weaver, Tuderscag
Thomas, labourer, Newland
William, farmer, Achnaburin
William, farmer, Dinachary
William, labourer, Gnubmore
William, labourer, Kinkyle
William, farmer, Rhichork
William, labourer, Rhiloisk
William, gentleman, Skail
William, labourer, Skail
William, farmer, Syre
William, servant, Tubeg
William, tailor, Tuderscag
William, servant, Dinachary

Evander, labourer, Rossal
George, labourer, Rhifail
George, labourer, Rossal
James, labourer, Achargry
John, farmer, Tuderscag
Robert, labourer, Rhifail
William, Brarathy

Hugh, Strathy – used name Hugh Macrob, Macrog

James, labourer, Rossal
Murdoch, labourer, Gnubmore

Donald, shepherd, Achness

John, labourer, Dalcharn

John, labourer, Dalnadrot
John, labourer, Gnubeg
John, salmon fisher, Naver
William, shepherd, Clibrig

William, shepherd, Clibrig

William, shepherd, Coirr

James, shepherd, Armidale
updated 28/02/2016