Township: Balephetrish

Map Reference: Balephetrish 38

Name Type: sea

Meaning: On the face of it, this is a Gaelic construction, with sgeir 'skerry' and abhainn 'stream'. Two of the sources semanticise the name to mark the place where An Fhadhail, the stream that divides east and west Tiree, has broken through the northern edge of the island to divide it in two. This is highly unlikely to have happened in any substantial way since the Holocene Marine Transgression 6,000 years ago. ScG abhainn is a common element in Gaelic place-names, but it is rare without a definite article in a phrase name (see section 11.2.1), such as Geàrr na h-Aibhne 'enclosure of the river' in Carloway (Cox 2002, 285), or followed by an ex nomine onomastic unit such as Abhainn Depidale, on Skye (SP). A rare example without is Caol Abhuinn on Islay (SP).
Aven is a common place-name in Norway, occurring ten times (NG). Aven in Høyanger derives from ON ave (NS), or efja fem. 'boggy area' (Jakobsen 1936, 36), 'mud, ooze' (CV, 115) as does Evie (Efjusund in the Orkneyinga Saga), and Evadale (Sandnes 2010a, 96) in Orkney. Speculatively, this is Efjin 'the boggy place', with a post-positioned bound definite article. This is topographically appropriate, with a large wet area inland known as Loch a' Bhrilocanaich.

Other Forms: Sgeir Abhaill - AC

Sgeir Abhainn - HMcP

Sgeir Abhuinn - ONB p54

Related Places:

Information:An Sgeir Abhann marks the northern end of An Fhaodhail - Handbook to the Islands of Coll and Tiree, Hector MacDougall and Rev. Hector Cameron, Archibald Sinclair, p84.


There is a mark on it to guide puffers onto the beach safely. It marks the spot where An Fhadhail came out on the north side of the island many years ago - HMcP.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: OS

Informant 2: Hector MacPhail, Ruaig, 11/1993

Informant 3: Alasdair Campbell, Tullymet, 1/1994