Township: Hough

Map Reference: Hough 15

Name Type: hill

Meaning: Another name for Beinn Hògh (Ben Hough), a considerable landmark
in the flat Tiree landscape. This is likely to be Norse as there are similar names throughout the Norse settlement zone of Scotland: Abhainn Roag in South Uist; Roag in Harris; and Little Roag and Roagaland in Unst (SP). Cox suggests the Loch Ròg in Lewis may derive from ON hrók ‘rook; shag’ (Cox 2002b, 333). The name cannot derive from ON hrúga ‘heap’ as this has a fricative -g- (Richard Cox, pers. comm.).
There is a Rokke in Halden, Norway (NG); Rokke and Rokken are farm names in Norway (OR).

Other Forms: Bin how - The map MVLA INSVLA in the Atlas of Scotland, Atlas Novus, by Joan Blaeu, 1654. These maps were largely based on work by Timothy Pont who mapped Scotland between 1583 and 1596. NLS, 123.

Ben Hough - The Turnbull Map of Tiree 1768 and accompanying survey text.

Ben loch - The map of John Ainslie, 1789, NLS

Bentough Hill - Island Mull with Islands Tiri and Coll, M MacKenzie, 1775.

Beinn Hough - OS

Beinn Ròg - Alasdair MacDonald, Druimasadh, Balevullin, 3/94

Related Places:

Information:1. See Na Baird Thirisdeach ed. Hector Cameron, p 177. A poem by John MacLean the Balemartine bard explains the cloven shape:

Nuair rainig Tearlach Mairead-
Is ainmeil e 's gach aite-
Le eallach bhotal den deoch riomhaich
Chuir sa phriosan cach
Le'n bhuille fhuair Beinn Hogh 's an strith,
Bidh lag 'na druim gu brath.

When Charles came home to Margaret /It's well known everywhere /With his burden of bottles of lovely drink /Which put the rest in prison /From the thump Beinn Hogh received in the strife /It will have a hollow in its ridge for ever. [translated by Ronald Black, The Gaelic Otherworld, p387.]

2. Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005):
Hough, Hough Hill (Tiree), page 131.
"It was deemed unlucky by east coast fishermen coming to Tiree (as several boats used to annually to prosecute the cod and ling fishing) to speak in a boat of a minister or a rat. Everywhere it wa deemed unlucky among seafaring men to whistle in case a storm should arise. In Tiree, Heynish Hill (the Highest in the island) was known as a’ Bhraonach, Hogh Hill (the next highest) as A’ Bheinn Bheàrnach no Sgoilte (the Notched or Cloven Hill), and a species of whale as cas na poite (the leg of a pot). It should not be said bhàthadh e ‘he was drowned’ but ishiubhail e ‘he journeyed’, not ceangail ròp ‘tie a rope’ but dean e ‘make it’. In the north it was held that an otter, while in its den, should not be called beist dubh (the ‘black beast’, its common name), but càrnag. It would otherwise be impossible for the terriers to drive it from its refuge."
Footnote 430; A’ Bhraonach is ‘the showery/drizzly/dewy female’ (because of the tendency of Heynish Hill to attract cloud). Beinn Hough, JGC’s ‘Hogh Hill’, is from Norse haugr ‘burial place’ (there are Viking graves there). [This is only part of the footnote].


Local Form:

Languages : Norse, Gaelic, Iron

Informants: OS

Informant 2: Alasdair MacDonald, Druimasadh, Balevullin, 3/1994

Informant 3: John Gregorson Campbell