Township: Caolas

Map Reference: Aird a Tuath 33

Name Type: watercourse

Meaning: A lack of documentary evidence, and the conflicting forms collected orally, makes this name difficult to reconstruct safely. This name was given to a 1920s croft house, which sits next to the old mill site in ScG Bail’ a’ Mhuilinn ‘the town of the mill’. The name was used as part of the address by the informant’s grandfather and uncles writing home from Australia in the 1930s (Alasdair MacDonald, Balevullin, pers. comm.). The folk etymology was that this meant ‘the ridge of machinery, possibly from the old mill nearby’ (AMcD), with ScG asadh ‘anchoring, resting, settling’ (Dwelly).
It is possible, however, that this is a name from ON áss (dative ási, plural ásar), ‘rocky ridge...Ás and Ásar are frequent local names in Iceland and Norway’ (CV, 46; see Asabus in Gammeltoft 2001, 101 and Macniven 2015, 137). A final intrusive consonant -dh is not uncommon. ‘The velar fricative [?] frequently terminates otherwise open final syllables’ (Cox 2002b, 64). The ridge may refer to Beinn Hògh (Ben Hough), the northern end of which rises behind the site.
There is an Assery in Caithness (SP); Assarvika is a place-name in Norway (NG); and Ásar occurs four times among Icelandic farm names (SAM).

Other Forms:

Related Places:

It drains from Crois - WMcI.

There was an old mill on this stream - AMcL.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic, Obscure

Informants: Willie MacIntosh, Caolas, 2/1994

Informant 2: Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 11/1996