Township: Barrapol,Ceann a’ Bharra

Map Reference: Kenavara 70

Name Type: cliff

Meaning: This is a Gaelic construction with ScG camas 'small bay', very common in Argyll. The specific may be ScG sùil fem. (genitive sùl and sùla) 'eye' in the topographic sense: this is used as a generic in Sùil Dubh Chuidhbhig in Carloway which Cox derives as 'the black eye of Cuidhbhig, of a hole through a section of cliff' (Cox 2002, 376); elsewhere, it is used as a specific: for example, Cnoc na Sula on Islay, Loch na Sula Bige in Ardnamurchan, Sgeir na Sula Cruthaich in Uig, with an Allt na Sula and an Airidh na Sul in Lochs (SP). However, there is no obvious 'eye' in the rock on the Tiree headland here.
Lacking a Gaelic definite article, the second element is, on balance, more likely to be a Norse ex nomine onomastic unit. This could be derived from either ON súla in its topographic sense of 'pillar' rather than 'gannet' (CV, 605). Or this could be a cognate of the modern Norwegian sula, translated as kløft 'cleavage', the derivation of Sula in Norway and first recorded in 1430 (NS). Both are topographically appropriate here. A prominent vertical cleft in the cliffs nearby, now known as ScG Beum a' Chlaidheimh 'gash of the sword', was used as a local fishing meid. This is a common name in the Norse expansion zone. There is a Sula Skerry, Skye, a Sula on Unst, and a Sula Stack, Sula Geo, and Sula Skerry in Shetland (SP: some of these may derive from súla in its sense of 'gannet'); there are eighteen examples of Sula and two of Sulen in Norway (NG); while Súlu- occurs four times a specific, among Icelandic farm names, for example Súluholt (SAM). See Ùlastac.

Other Forms: Camas Ul or Camas Sùl - Niall M Brownlie, Bailtean is Ath Ghairmean, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p152

Related Places:


Local Form:

Languages : Obscure

Informants: Donald MacNeill (Dòmhnall an Tàilleir), The Land, 1/1994

Informant 2: Niall M Brownlie, Bailtean is Ath Ghairmean, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p152