Township: Balephuil

Map Reference: Balephuil 6

Name Type: hill

Meaning: Cnoc 'hillock'
ON grœnn ‘green’, with ON hóll ‘rounded hill’ is topographically likely, but possibly also ON v?llr ‘field, meadow’ (see Manal)
If this derivation is correct, grœnn > the diphthong grian- six times on Tiree, possibly with lexical substitution under the influence of Gaelic. Place-names in Grian- and Greine- are common on the west coast of Scotland. Names with a Norse origin have to be disentangled from those deriving from the ScG grian fem. (genitive grèine ‘sun’); grianach ‘sunny’; grianan ‘sunny spot, summer house, green place where peats dried’ (Dwelly) and ScG grian masc. ‘gravel’ (Márkus 2012, 552). Grianan and An Grianan occur ten times as place-names in Argyll, and Grianach is a common specific, as in ScG An Camas Grianach ‘the sunny bay’ in Ardnamurchan. Names of the form X na Grèine are also common (SP), as in Cnoc na Grèine (Cox 2002b, 235). ON grœnn ‘green’ has become græn in Icelandic names (SAM). There is a Creagan Grianail on Islay (Macniven 2015, 155); there is an Eilean Grianal on North Uist, and a Grianal in Stornoway (SP); Grænhóll occurs five times as a farm name in Iceland (SAM).
Grianal occurs four times on Tiree.

Other Forms: Cnoc Grianal - ONB, p224, "significance 'Sunny Hill'."

Related Places: A' Chachaileith Bheag

Information:Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005) p56:

"A herdsman at Balephuill, in the west end of Tiree, fell asleep on Cnoc Ghrianal, at the eastern base of Heynish Hill, on a fine summer afternoon. He was awakened by a violent slap on the ear. On rubbing his eyes and looking up, he saw a woman – the most beautiful he had ever seen – in a green dress, with a brooch fastening it at the neck, walking away from him. She went westward and he followed her for some distance, but she vanished, he could not tell how."

The elves sometimes took care of neglected children. The herd who tended the Balephuil catttle on Hynish Hill sat down one day on a green eminence (cnoc) in the hill which had the reputation of being tenanted by Fairies. His son, a young child, was along with him. He fell asleep, and when he awoke the child was away. He roused himself, and vowed aloud that unless his boy was restored he would not leave a stone or turf of the hillock together. A voice from underground answered that the child was safe at home with its mother, and they ('the people') had taken it lest it should come to harm with the cold.

There are two ruined houses, tobhtaichean, and a well on the top of Cnoc Ghrianail. David McClounnan, Balphuil, 3/2007.

Donald MacArthur (Domhnall a’ mhinisdeir) and Bodach na Cuiltean went up to Cnoc Ghrianail and buried their pipes when they became Christians. David McClounnan, Balephuil, 6/2005.

On the east shoulder of Ben Hynish, on Cnoc Ghrianail there are traces of the foundation of an ancient building. People suspect this must have been the site of Mo Bhì's chapel - Bailtean is Ath-Ghairmean, Niall M Brownlie, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p82.

Local Form:

Languages : Norse, Gaelic

Informants: Eilidh Kennedy (Eilidh bheag), Balevullin, 2/1994

Informant 2: OS

Informant 3: SA1973/135/A18