Township: Balephetrish

Map Reference: Balephetrish 40

Name Type: shore

Meaning: There has been some debate about the derivation of this name. It may be an entirely Gaelic construction with the definite article:
• ScG crogan 'muck fork' (Dwelly): Black has argued against this: 'Cladach a’ Chrògain is explained by MacDougall and Cameron [in their 1937 book] as the 'Graip Shore,' referring presumably to the implement (usually gràpa or crogan) used for harvesting seaweed. I do not find this convincing' (Black 2008, 371)
• ScG cròg, 'a large and clumsy hand'. Black proposes instead: 'Cladach a’ Chrògain ... [comes from] cràg, cròg, 'a large and clumsy hand'. An Crògan in southeast Mull ... is said by Gillies to be from cròg 'a claw', 'given as fancifully indicative of the shape of the place', and I believe that is roughly how we should understand crògan here – as a place nestling in the palm of an enormous cròg or hand.' (Black 2008, 371)
It is more plausible, however, that this name derives from ON krókr masc. 'hook, anything crooked' (CV, 356), this time with the post-positioned bound definite article > krókinn.
There is a Crogan on Torosay, Mull (SP); Traichroagan was recorded in Barra in 1823 (Stahl 1999, 132); there is a Crogan Ness, a Stony Crogan and three examples of Crogans in Shetland (SP); Kroken occurs eleven times in Norway (NG); Kroken in Luster derives from krókr (NS); while there are six examples of Krókurin in the Faroe Islands (KO).

Other Forms:

Related Places:

Information:The Gaelic Otherworld ed. Ronald Black, p75:

On the North shore of Tiree there is a beach of more than a mile in length called Cladach a’ Chrògain, well calculated to be the scene of strange terrors. The extensive plain (about 1,500 acres in extent) of which it forms the northern fringe is almost a dead level, and in instances of very high flood-tides, with north-west gales of wind, the sea has been known to overflow it and join the sea on the south side three miles away, dividing Tiree into two islands. The upper part of the beach consists of loose round stones, a little larger than a goose’s egg, which make – when the tide is in, and under the influence of the restless surf – a hoarse rumbling sound, sufficienty calculated, with the accompaniment of strange scenery, to awaken the imagination.

p371. Ronald Black writes in his notes:
Niall M Brownlie tells me that Baile nan Cràganach can only be today's Baile nan Crògan, a township in the village of Cornaigmore. If this is so, the name should also be linked with that of Cladach a' Chrògain, which is two miles east. MacLeod and Dewar give cràganach as 'an in-footed, intoed person,' and no doubt this is the word JGC had in mind - the vowel will be subject to the same variation as in cràg, cròg, 'a large and clumsy hand.' An Crògan in south-east Mull...is said by Gillies to be from cròg, a claw, 'given as fancifully indicative of the shape of the place,' and I believe that is roughly how we should understand crògan here - as a place nestling in the palm of an enormous cròg or hand. In this way we may see Baile nan Cràganach as the 'Township of the Crògan-Dwellers, and it is not surprising to find the name transferring itself to the alleged physical attributes of its inhabiatants.
Cladach a’ Chrògain is explained by MacDougall and Cameron as the 'Graip Shore,' referring presumably to the implement (usually gràpa or crogan) used for harvesting seaweed. I do not find this convincing.





Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: multiple

Informant 2: OS - ONB p54