Township: Barrapol,Ceann a’ Bharra

Map Reference: Kenavara 55

Name Type: cliff

Meaning: Sloc na Creig Tharsainn means gully with a rock accross it.

Kenavara | A deep cleft at the highest part of the cliff face, in whose shelter hundreds of sea birds nest

The folk etymology for this toponym is that the gully was named after an old man from Kilmoluag who was shepherding on Kenavara. His daughter brought him dinner one day and then left him. He was never seen again; all that was left was the ScG mias 'bowl' at the cliff edge. He was presumed to have slipped, fallen down this gully and drowned (David McClounnan, Balephuil, oral source).
This is most likely to be a Gaelic name with ScG sloc 'gully' + mhic 'son of' + a personal name. Names with this form are very common in Scotland, and in Argyll in particular: for example Eilean Mhic Ghille-ghleidhidh in Mull (SP). The next cleft in the cliffs to the north is called ScG Sloc mhic Fhionnlaigh 'the gully of the son of Finlay', or, more recently, Sloc mhic Stìridh after the son of 'Steery', the nickname of a Balemartine man, who fell here (and survived) in the 1890s. Cnìthealum is otherwise unattested as a personal name.
Very speculatively, this might be a prepositional ON name *sl?kk 'crevice' (Cox 2002, 110) + í 'in' + OI kría (genitive kríu) 'tern' (CV, 356) + ON hólmr ‘islet’. This could refer to one of several rocks at the base of this cliff where kittiwakes, a tern-like gull, often rest (John Bowler, pers. comm.). See Greatharum and Mo-Lì.

Other Forms: VickCrelim - The Turnbull Map of Tiree 1768 and accompanying survey text.

ONB p.219 gives Sloc Mhic Cnithealum with Cnialum crossed out. "No meaning got."

Sloc Mhic Stiorraidh DMcN. The word 'stearadh' involved knocking down the birds with long sticks, as they flew against the wind. Mary Campbell, Vatersay, SA1960.99.B6.
Stèaradh: 'The operation of stunning birds with a rod as they fly overhead, the pole-man sitting on the edge of a cliff.' (Dwelly)

Sloc na Clach Tarsainnn - WMcL

Sloc na Creig Tharsainn - Hugh MacLean, Barrapol, collected by Ailean Boyd

Sloc Mhic Crithealaim - Bailtean is Ath-Ghairmean, Niall M Brownlie, Argyll Publishing, 1995, p154.

Related Places:

Information:Sloc MhicCnìthaluim is the older name for this feature. It was named after an old shepherd from Kilmoluaig who looked after animals on Ceann a' Bharra. His daughter brought him dinner in a bowl one day and just after this he slipped and fell down this sloc and drowned - David McClounnan, Balephuil, 2/1996 (see Sloc mhic Fhionnlaidh).

Gillies from St Kilda used to have his lunch sitting on this rock halfway down the sloc. His family had to take his ropes off the old man eventually - Hector MacPhail, Ruaig, 3/1996.

Sloc MhicCrithealum is the old name. The man was herding on Kenavara. One afternoon his daughter brought him his dinner in a wooden bowl, or mias. After lunch he must have gone down the cliffs with his bowl to collect uighean fhaoillainn, seagulls’ eggs. He was never seen again. Davie McClounnan, 9/2004.

Eachann Nèill Chòrnaig fell 200 feet down Sloc mhic Cnìthaluim and landed on a pile of seaweed unhurt - SSS card index B1 75/67/A1c.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

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

Informant 2: OS

Informant 3: Willie MacLean, Balinoe, 7/1997