The Norse origin of many Tiree township names – such as Cornaig and Crossapol – has never been in doubt.

It has long been thought, however, that the Vikings settled the southern Hebrides less intensely, and their influence lasted for a shorter period, than the  islands to the north. This new analysis is based on over two hundred probable Norse place-names. These have been winnowed from over three thousand names collected during three decades of fieldwork on the island. These shed a fascinating new light on Scandinavian settlement.

This analysis suggests that the Norse influence on Tiree was strong and lasted several centuries, profoundly shaping the island in the Early Medieval period as part of the Norse expansion zone.

This second edition examines a number of additional place-names of probable medieval origin and re-analyses the collection.

Dr John Holliday was the general medical practitioner on Tiree for thirty years. Before that he worked for the Pintupi people in central Australia, where his interest in landscape stories took root.

The cover photograph is of The Maze or Tràigh Thòdhrasdail, with kind permission of Malcolm Steel.

To download a copy of Longships on the Sand please click here (7.3MB PDF)