Township: Ruaig,Sothaigh

Map Reference: Soay 300

Name Type: island

Meaning: Ruaig | A large tidal island with a sand tombolo. A featureless area of raised ground in the centre of the island is known as ScG Tobhta na Sinnsireachd 'the ruin of the ancestors' (Alasdair Sinclair, Ruaig, 3/1996). Any stonework may have been robbed from this feature to create a cart track for seaweed collection from ScG An Sgor Mòr 'the large cleft'.

This derives from ON sauðr (genitive plural sauða) ‘sheep' (CV, 515), with ON ey ‘island’: Sauð-ey (CV, 134).
There is a Soa on Coll and Soy Gunna on Gunna (1881 OS 6 inch first edition), a Soay in the St Kilda archipelago, and off Uist (SP): 'Islands are among the first localities to be named.' (Gammeltoft, in in Gammeltoft et al., 2005

Other Forms: Soa Rowaig - 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.

Ruaig Isle - Map of Tiree, reduced from a survey of the island by Langlands, in the possession of His Grace, The Duke of Argyll. Reproduced in The Island of Tiree by William Reeves, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, volume 2, 1854, p 233-244.

Soa-Ruaig Isle - The Turnbull Map of Tiree 1768 and accompanying survey text.

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

Soa - ONB p163

Related Places:

Information:The Gaelic Otherworld, ed Ronald Black, p45:
A boy, a mere child, was left alone for a few minutes in the islet of Soa, near Tiree. The mother was making kelp there at the time, and in her absence the Fairies came and gave the child's legs such a twist that it was lame (liùgach) ever after.

Even in my time [the 1940s] reference was made to fairies in Soay. My easy disbelief in the Brock household was followed in silence by Alasdair Dhomhnaill Bhain which left me wondering if indeed he really gave credence to them - Duncan Grant, Ruaig, 4/2013.

Alasdair Dhòmhnaill Bhàin had a small square dinghy called the Coffin to pick up people stranded on Soay. Alasdair Sinclair, Brock, 6/2004.

Hugh Lamont, postman in Ruaig, was Eòghann Iain Eòghainn na Hongs. Angus MacLean, Scarinish, 9/2008.

Hugh Lamont was collecting wood on Soay, a very good place for flotsam, one day in world war two. Busy in his work he missed the fact that the tide had come in and cut him off. He took off his clothes, tied them up in his braces, and swam to the shore. He had been taught how to swim in school by the teacher Gunn. Donald MacIntyre, Gott, 8/2006.

Hugh Lamont, the postman, ran alongside his bike, often barefoot. He was a very active man. He was very keen on flotsam and would sometimes stay out on Soay all night if there was a good haul, for example pit props or polaichean, to be had, even though the island was overrun with rats. If he saw someone else coming along the beach while he was waiting for the tide to ebb so he could cross to Soay, he would take his trousers off and wade over! Hughie MacKinnon, Torr a’ Bhaile, Ruaig, 6/2008.

Local Form:

Languages : Norse

Informants: OS