Local Place & Ochil Hill Names
in general to Clackmannanshire and the Ochil Hills in Central Scotland. Meanings
Gaelic unless otherwise stated
Airthrey - 'Aithre' - place of cows
Allan (River Allan, also called 'Allan Water') - 'aluinn' (Celtic) - Beautiful or pleasant
Alloa - 'allmhagh'- Alveth 1357. 'Rocky plain'.
Alva - 'allmhagh'- Alweth 1489. 'Rocky plain'.
Andragannel is a hill which overlooks the Gannel Burn - from the Gaelic 'An Sruth Gainmheil' - the sandy bottomed burn -(Tillicoultry Glen) /OR the Gannel Burn and Andragannel might be named after a man who lost his life thereabouts about 1860, but many people dispute this.. I remember when this hill was not marked on the OS map. We called it Andragannel then. Nowadays it is marked on the OS map as Andrew Gannel Hill.
Ashentrool -'Als an t-Struthail' /or 'Lios an t-Struthail', hill /or enclosure of the wee burn
Auchlinsky Hill - Auchlinsky House - Auchlinsky Burn - Nether Auchlinsky - possibly from 'Achad an Fhleasgaich' - Field of the young man or hero - this hill overlooks Glen Quey - see below - Was a battle beween Scots and Vikings possibe hereabouts?
Balqhuarn - 'Baile a' Chairn' -
Cairn steading or township
Banchory - from 'Bangor' (Irish and Welsh) - a centre where religious education was carried on with a view to training the Celtic monks who went out to the country round about to evangelise the people
Ben is from Beinn meaning a 'a mountain, a hill or a pinnacle'
Ben Buck - Beinn Buac .... buac means the brow of a hill.
Ben Cleuch - Ochils highest hill. The name is perhaps from 'Clach' or 'Clioche'- Stony peak - it has rocks at the top - or cleuch (scots) after the ravine below it - the Daiglen - or from 'cliatach' - a slope
Ben Ever - 'Beinn Eibhir' - Granite peak - there is a rocky outcrop on the Silver Glen side.
Ben Gengie - 'Beinn-an-Teanga' 'Hill of the tongue' - it looks like a vertical tongue from the Alva Glen side.
Ben Shee - 'Beinn Sithean' - fairy hill. Sithean is pronounced as 'shee an'. This hill overlooks Glen Eagles and Glen Sherup
Birken Glen - Glen of the birch trees - there actually are some birch trees there.
Blairdenon - The first part of this hill name comes from the gaelic word 'Blàr', which can mean a flat place, a field, or a battle site. It has a fairly flat top, which is very easily missed when it's misty. I don't know what 'denon' means.
Blairingone - 'Blàr-na-Gobhainn' - field of the blacksmith - in medieval times it was a place where weapons were made.
Blairlogie - 'Blàr Lagaigh' - Land of the hollow
Borland Glen - from the old name given to a farm supplying the laird's table or 'board' - 1358 - 'ly bordland de Glendovan - the Borland Glen is part of the route of the old drove road from Dollar to Auchterarder.
Burn is from Bùrn meaning 'water, fresh water - a stream - not applied to salt water'. - Menstrie Burn, Alva Burn, Cameron Burn, Gannel Burn etc are all burns in the Ochils Glens, but no local would ever call them streams or brooks or somesuch - they are all burns.
Cambus - 'camas' - 'camais' - channel, bay, harbour .
- the name cambus may also indicate a promontory or bank, enclosed by a crooked
stream from the celtic 'cam' meaning crooked
Care - maybe from Caer - a castle - A burn in Dollar Glen -- Dollar castle - The two burns which flow in deep ravines either side of Dollar Castle are called 'Care' and 'Sorrow'!..... the local story is that a maiden who was kept prisoner in the castle named the two burns.
Carnbo - Rock of the cattle
Castle Hill - see Easter Downhill below.
Clackmannan - 'Chlach Mhannainn' - the 'Clach' or stone of 'Manau' (a sea god) - Manau was also the old name of the district - the Stone of Mannan (Manau) is displayed, to this day, next to the ancient Tolbooth, in the main street of Clackmannan.
Coalsnaughton - The name of this village is derived from Collie Nechtan - the wood of Nechtan - possibly after the famous Pictish King Nechtan Macderile.
Colsnaur - from 'cùil ' which might mean here - the back of - with an unknown second element
Crag or Craig is from Creag meaning a rock.
Craig Rossie & Rossie Law - from 'ros' a promontory or wood. Law is the scots word for a hill.
Craigentaggart - 'Creag an t-Sagairt' - crag of the clerk or priest
Craighorn - - horn may be from crùn - a crown/ or càrn or c(h)àrn. - nobody knows
Craigleith - 'Creag Liath' - Blue crag - some people call this hill above Alva 'Big Torry'
Craigonish - 'Craigomas' - Craig of the Moss
Culross - from 'cuilionn' (holly) and 'ros' (promontary or wooded promontary) to mean the holly promontary or place of holly
Daiglen - 'Daimh Ghlean'
- glen of the stag /or buck
Delph - from an Anglo-Saxon word 'delvan', meaning 'to dig'
Devon - 'Duhb-Abhainn' - Black River
Dug Linn - a pool in Menstrie Burn above the Washing Linn possibly from 'Dubh Linne' meaning black pool/ oR it may be of Scots derivation and it means 'Dog Pool'.
Dollar - (Brittonic) Black / cultivated ground OR/ Dal - a valley + ard - a hill
Doune - probably from 'dùn'- a Fort or hill - a Roman fort has recently been found there
Dron Hill - 'Dronn' - a ridge
Drum - druim - ridge
Dumyat - pronounced 'Duh-my-at' - from 'Dùn Maeatea' meaning 'Fort of the Maeatae' ... after the southern Pictish confederation who fought the Romans. The Maeatae are mentioned by Dio Cassius in the early third century. There were two confederations of Pictish tribes who fought the Romans - the Maeatae and the Caledonians.They were always Rome's enemies. The remains of the Pictish fort are on the western top, where there is a cairn - archaologists from Stirling University have investigated the fort. - OR - the name is from 'Dùn-ma-chit' meaning 'fort of good prospect'. Either or both names are feasible. The hill name used to be written as 'Demyat', which is perhaps nearer to the way it is pronounced.
Dunblane - Dùn Bhlàthain - Dumblann c.1200 - from 'Dùn Blaan' meaning 'Blaan's fort'. - Dunblane was founded in 602 by the Celtic missionary St. Blaan who had a monastery in the dùn (hill fort) behind the present town. Work on building Dunblane Cathedral did not begin until after St. Blaan's death in 640. It was not until 1240, with the arrival of the eighth bishop there, Clement, that building began on the Cathedral as it is seen today
Dunning - probably from 'dùn' - 'a fort' - has a native fort and a Roman Camp nearby. Because of the prescence of the Native Fort and the Roman Camp (possibly two Roman Camps overlying each other), around Dunning has been offerred as one of the possible sites of the battle, in circa 81 A.D., of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonians. Nearby to Dunning, at Forteviot (Fothair Tabhaichtis), was the ancient Pictish and Scottish Royal centre . Forteviot is located at the geographical and historical heart of Scotland.
Easter Downhill - also known as Castle Hill - in Glendevon, overlooks the Castle Hill Reservoir (1977). As for the name Easter Downhill - Down is an obvious corruption of Dun, meaning Fort, after the Dun or Iron Age Fort on top of the hill. The flat top has room for a few iron age roundhouses. This hill is associated with witches. I was once told that there was a witches cave on it somewhere, but I've never found it. At least two people from Glendevon were burnt as witches. This is a prominant hill, being easily seen from as far away as Rumbling bridge.
Finglen - 'Fionn Ghleann'
- white or beautiful glen
Forth - The Celtic river name probably means 'the slow flowing one'. /OR it may mean'boundary'
Fossoway - 'fasachfheidh' - the desert of the deer
Fossachie - or Fossaquhie - above Blairlogie on the side of Dumyat - Goats used to be kept there - from Fos or Fas - a stance or dwelling place - perhaps with Achadh - a field or piece of cleared ground. Robert Loius Stevenson used to holiday as a child in Blairlogie - he was a sickly child - he was brought there for the mountain air and the goats milk
'a valley or dale'.
Glendevon - 'Gleann-Duhb-Abhainn' - - Glen of the Black River
Glen Bee - 'Gleann na Bighe' - Glen of the pillar or post - its on the old packhorse route from Tillicoultry to Blackford - perhaps there was a post or stone there at one time to mark the route
Glenfarg - Glen of anger /OR the warrior - perhaps from 'fearg' meaning violence or 'ferg' - a warrior
Glen Tye - 'Gleann Tigh' - Glen of the house
Glen Eagles - Gleann na h-Eaglais/Gleann Eagas) Gleninglese
c.1165, Glenegas 1508 is a glen which connects with Glen Devon. The name's
origin has nothing to do with eagles, and is a corruption of eaglais or ecclesia,
meaning church, and refers to the chapel and well of Saint Mungo, which was
restored as a memorial to the Haldane family which owns the Gleneagles estate.
Eagle is 'iolair' in the Gaelic.
Glen Quey - 'Glean Coimich' - the stranger's or foreigner's glen. Glen Quey is near Dollar on the old drove route from Dollar to Glendevon and Auchterarder. In 875 AD, a Scottish army led by King Constantine, son of Kenneth McAlpin, was defeated in a battle with Vikings at Dollar. 'Gall' is the Gaelic name for a Stranger, a Saxon, a Gaul or a Viking. 'Dubhgaill' (black strangers) was the old Irish name for Danish Vikings, or it might be that 'strangers' refers to the drovers - the Highlanders, who used to bring their black cattle through this glen along the drove road to markets in Stirling and Falkirk. -
Glen Sherup - 'Glean Sior Abh' - glen of the long lasting river - not prone to drying up or perhaps that it is a long glen - it is - I was recently told, by a fisherman I met there, who was adamant that the name Glen Sherup meant - the hidden Glen
Harviestoun seems to have originally been Harwisdawoc or Hervysdawac
or some variation on that, dating back to the 15th century. The owner then was
called Drysdale / Drisdale. Presumably the original owner was called Harvey
(or similar) and the "davoch" was the measure of his land. This became
Harviestoun. Harviestoun was on the east bank and Elliestoun or Ellertoun (earlier
Elliotsdawac / Ellokisdavok etc.) on the west bank of the Harviestoun Burn.
The settlement was also later known as Easter Tillicoultry. John Tait bought
land and a small mansion house around 1770 and he and his son Craufurd extended
their estate, clearing the cottages in the settlement to build a new mansion
house, farm steading and walled garden. - from Janet Carolan, Dollar Museum
Inchna - 'Innis an Adha'
- island of the ford - in Menstrie Glen - other occurances of
Innis or inch meaning an island - Tullibody Inch,
Alloa Inch etc - islands in the Forth
Innerdownie - (a hill between Glen Sherup and Glen Quey) the name means - mouth of the Downie burn
Kincardine - Gaelic/Brittonic - Bend of deep/head of
King's Seat's name comes from - 'head seat' - perhaps from 'cean' meaning head and 'suidhe' meaning seat. I was always told that it was from this hill (above Dollar) that King Malcolm Canmore (Canmore means 'big head') watched the hunt going on
Kips - Tufts or tussocks.
Kirk Craigs - - (Gaelic or Brittonic) - Fort of the rocks
Law - the scottish word for a hill - see The Law
Loch - There are no Lochs in the Ochils, although there are a few Reserviours. There is only one Lake in Scotland, the Lake of Menteith.
Loss - 'leis' - - a cultivated enclosure (Loss Dam & Loss Hill in Menstrie Glen behind Dumyat )
Menstrie - (Brittonic) Mestryn 1261, Mestry 1315. 'Farmstead
in the plain'. - from P-Celtic - 'Maesdref'
- hamlet on the plain
Muckhart - - 'Muc Airde' - pig height - after the wild boars that used to live in the woods there.
Mundie Hill - 'mòine dia' - mòine = a moss, a mossy place; peats, turf ; dia=God - may have something to do with Lindores Abbey, which is about 8 miles away.
Myretoun Hill - - (English/Old Scots) Boggy farm township
Nebit - see The Nebit
Newbiggin - English/Old Scots)Newbigging - New Buildings
Newtonschaw - English/Old Scots) New town of Schaw
Ochil - 'Uchel or Uxellos' (Brittonic or Celtic) meaning High - Oychellis 1461, Ocelli montes 1580. 'High ones'.
Sauchie - (old names - Salaketh or Salchay or Salachothe)
probable from the Gaelic 'seileach' meaning 'willow trees' - Old Sauchie was
by the River Devon near Fishcross where there is an old ruined tower house
Seamab Hill - 1574 - the Hill of Schemobe - 1783 - Seamab Hill - 1855 - Sea Mab Foot. - the 1574 form perhaps implies the gaelic Sith or even 'Sithean' - a fairy hill. Sithean is pronounced as 'Shee an.
Sheriffmuir - from 'Siora' (Long) Moor OR/ (English) Sheriff's Moor - (Sheriff comes from old words meaning the Thane's Share) .
Stirling - (modern Gaelic name- Sruighlea) - Strevelin 1124, Sterling c.1470. Meaning uncertain. The name may have originally been that of the river, now the Forth, on which Stirling stands.
The Law - Law is an old Scots name
for a hill. I've heard people call the Law the Law Hill, which is silly.
That's calling it Hill Hill!
The Nebit - Scots - 'Nebit' - nosed, beaked - this hill is called 'Middle Hill' by some people
Tarmangie - from torr - mang - - hill of the fawn or goat
Torry - Mound or knowl ( Big Torry is another name for Craigleith above Alva)
Tullibole - - Hill of danger
Tillicoultry - 'tulach cùl treabh' - Tulycultri 1195, Tullicultre c.1199. Possibly means 'hill at the back of the settlement'.
Tullibody - said, traditionally, to be from 'Tirl Bothy' meaning -'oath of the crofts' - but 'Tirl' is not a gaelic word that I can find, although the gaelic for oath is 'bóid'- and 'both' or 'bothy' is a cottage or hut. The name Tullibody more probably comes from.- 'tulach' -a knoll or hillock - and 'both' or 'bothy' - a cottage or hut - so that the name means the 'hut on the hill'. Although it is quite possible that both meanings are correct. The village has various names in old records, as Tullibothy, Tullebotheuin, Tullibodeuin, and Dumbodenum.
Washing Linn - In Menstrie Glen - it's
the pool before the burn goes into the gorge before Menstrie - it's the first
pool you come to coming from Menstrie.
Wharry Burn - - used to be called 'Auld Wharry Burn' - Auld (scots for Old) is perhaps a corruption of 'Allt' - the gaelic for a fast flowing stream. The original name may have been 'Allt a' Charraigh' - burn of the rock, pillar or standing stone. This burn has different names along its length. There are standing stones (The Wallace Stone) near it on Sheriffmuir. This burn is said to have flowed red with blood after the battle of Sheriffnuir in 1715.
The Ochils - Placenames, History, Tradition by Angus Watson - Perth and Kinross District Libraries 1995 - ISBN 0-905452-16-X
THE GREEN HILLS - Stories of the Ochils by Rennie McOwan - Clackmannan District Libraries 1989.
CLACKMANNAN AND THE OCHILS - An illustrated architectural guide - Adam Swan - Scottish Academic Press - ISBN 07073 0513 6 1st Edition 1987
Gaelic Dictionary Gaelic-English/English-Gaelic MALCOLM MACLENNAN. Published jointly by ACAIR and ABERDEEN UNIVERSITY PRESS - 1991 - ISBN 0-08-025712-7