Township: Caolas,Cornaigmore

Map Reference: Cornaigmore 92

Name Type: machair

Meaning: Township of the large hands - IMcK
John Gregorson Campbell collected this story on Tiree in the nineteenth century. ‘On the north side of this loch, which has been already mentioned as a haunt of the water-horse, there was a farm where there are now only blowing sandbanks, called Baile nan Cràganach (‘the Town of the Clumsy Ones’) from five men who resided there having each six fingers on every hand. They were brothers, and it was said the water-horse came every night in the shape of a young man to see a sister who staid [sic] with them. With the tendency of popular tales to attach themselves to known persons, this incident is related of Calum Mòr Clark and his family. Calum had three sons, Iain Bàn Mòr (‘Big Fair John’), Iain Bàn Òg (‘young Fair John’) and Iain Bàn Meadhonach (‘Middle Fair John’). The four conspired to beguile the young man from the loch – who came to see the daughter – into the house, and got him to sit between the two of them on the front of the bed. On a given signal these two clasped their hands round him and laid him on his back in the bed. The other two rushed to their assistance; the young man assumed his proper shape of a water-horse, and a fearful struggle ensued. The conspirators cut the horse in pieces with their dirks, and put it out of the house dead’ (Black 2005, 114).
ScG baile ‘farm or township’ + cràganach ‘in-footed or in-toed person; splay- footed person’ (Dwelly)

Other Forms: Bàile nan Crògan - AMcD, ICMcK

Baile nan Cràganach - JGC

Baile nan Cràgan - John MacLean, SA1975/208

Related Places:

Information:Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005, p114.

On the north side of this loch, which has been already mentioned as a haunt of the water-horse, there was a farm where there are now only blowing sandbanks, called Baile nan Cràganach (‘the Town of the Clumsy Ones’) from five men who resided there having each six fingers on every hand. They were brothers, and it was said the water-horse came every night in the shape of a young man to see a sister who staid with them.

With the tendency of popular tales to attach themselves to known persons, this incident is related of Calum Mòr Clark and his family. Calum had three sons, Iain Bàn Mòr (‘Big Fair John’), Iain Bàn Òg (‘Young Fair John’) and Iain Bàn Meadhonach (‘Middle Fair John’).

The four conspired to beguile the young man from the loch – who came to see the daughter – into the house, and got him to sit between the two of them on the front of the bed. On a given signal these two clasped their hands round him and laid him on his back in the bed. The other two rushed to their assistance; the young man assumed his proper shape of a water-horse, and a fearful struggle ensued. The conspirators cut the horse in pieces with their dirks, and put it out of the house dead.

Note 367, p371: An account of the surrender of weapons at Scarinish on 24 SApril 1716 lists three sons of this Malcolm Clerk or Clark, none of whom had taken part in the previous yera's rising, and only one of whom was called John....On the other hand, in an account of the feats of stregnth attibuted to Malcolm Clerk of Kilmoluaig, whom he calls 'one of the remarkable men of Tiree', Donald Bane and Charles.


Just north of the road opposite the windsurfing hut. He remembers ruins there as a boy - IMcK.

The OS has "Settlement Site" here.

He found middens here where the road goes past the windsurfing hut - Archie MacKinnon, Cornaigmore, 8/1994.

Baile nan Cràgan - John MacLean SA1975/208. He could see foundation stones when he was young.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Alasdair MacDonald, Kilmoluaig, 1990

Informant 2: Iain Chaluim MacKinnon, Kilmoluaig, 1/1994

Informant 3: Rev JG Campbell