Township: Hynish

Map Reference: Hynish 31

Name Type:

Meaning: Hynish | Marked on the OS first edition as the most seaward of three elevations on the south side of the valley ScG Lag na Cleite 'hollow of the hill', today more usually known as Happy Valley. Looking down from the slopes of Beinn Haoidhnis, it is seen as a strikingly conical, steep-sided hill. It is smaller and lower than Cleite Mòr and Cleite Beag to the east.

This may be a Gaelic construction from an initial adjective ScG mòr 'large' and the loan word cleit 'rock' < ON klettr. However, it is smaller than the other two hills. In addition, ScG mòr is relatively rare in the initial position, occurring in purely Gaelic names in Mor Eilean, Assynt; Mor Laggan, Kilmonivaig; Mor Shron, Braemar; and Mor Mhonadh, Lochs (SP). It does not occur in this initial position in Carloway (Cox 2002, 410). Interestingly, two of the seven Mor-initial names on SP occur on Tiree (see also Moireabhal or Mor-Mheall).
This is more likely, however, to be a Norse name derived from ON mjór 'narrow ... tapering ... in local names ... Mjó-sund' (CV, 433). This is topographically very plausible.
Meathacleit in Lewis derives from mjó-klettr (Watson 1996 (1904), 269); the well-known Shetland place-name Mavis Grind derives from mjór-eiðs grind 'gate of the narrow isthmus', and there are three examples of Mioness in Shetland (SP); a Norwegian farm name is Mjovassæteren (OR); Mjosundet in Norway is derived from mjór sund 'the narrow sound' (NS); and the element occurs in several Icelandic farm names, such as three examples of Mjóanes (SAM).
The generic is ON klettr 'rock': Mjóklett. The whole name has then been gaelicised by substituting ScG mòr 'large' for ON mjór 'tapering', and leniting the second element, /k/ > /ch/. See Cleit.

Other Forms: An Cleit Mòr - WL

The OS gives the following: Cleit Mhòr furthest away from the sea; Cleit Bheag in the middle; and Mòr Chleit at the shore.

ONB p244-5 gives the same, with the fort on Cleit Bheag.

Related Places:


Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Willie Lamont, Mannal, 9/1995

Informant 2: OS