Township: Kilmoluaig

Map Reference: KIlmoluaig 5

Name Type: watercourse

Meaning: The loch of the farm of the loch

Other Forms: L. Bassbol - 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.

Bassapole - Inhabitants of the Inner Isles 1716, Scottish Record Society 21, ed . Nicholas MacLean-Bristol, 1998. A settlement in its own right.

Bassapoll - Tiree Rental 1747.

Loch Vassapoll - The Turnbull Map of Tiree 1768 and accompanying survey text.

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

Loch Chill Mo Luag - AMcK

Related Places:

Information:Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005)

p 114:
Loch Basibol, Tiree
On the north side of this loch, which has been already mentioned as a haunt of the water-horse, there was as farm where there are now only blowing sandbanks, called Baile nan Cràganach (‘the Town of the Clumsy Ones’) from five men who resided there having each six fingers on every hand. They were brothers, and it was said the water-horse came every night in the shape of a young man to see a sister who stayed with them.
(Footnote 366; Niall M. Brownlie tells me that Baile nan Cràganach can only be today’s Baile nan Crògan, a township in the village of Cornaigmore. If this is so, the name should also be linked with that of Cladach a’ Chrògain, which is two miles east. MacLeod and Dewar (1811, p.193) give cràganach as ‘an in-footed, intoed person’ and no doubt that this is the word JGC had in mind – the vowel will be subject to the same variation as in cròg, crag, ‘a large or clumsy hand.’ An Crògan in south-east Mull, the birthplace of the poet Lachann Dubh a’ Chrògain (for whom see MacDonald 1995, p.67, and Lobban 2004), is said by Gillies to be from cròg ‘a claw’ (1906, p.110), ‘given as fancifully indicative of the shape of the place,’ and I believe that is roughly how we should understand crògan here – as a place nestling in the palm of an enormous cròg or hand. In this way we may see Baile nan Cràganach as the ‘Township of the Crògan-Dwellers,’ and it is not surprising to find the name transferring itself to the west side of Salum Bay in Tiree, and an Crògan Sgithich ‘the Hawthorn Bush’, p.80, in both of which cases I believe a similar shape is indicated.
Cladach a’ Chrògain is explained by MacDougall and Camerson (n.d., p. 87) as ‘the Graip Shore’, referring presumably to the implement (usually gràpa or crogan) used for harvesting seaweed. I do not find this convincing.)

With the tendency of popular tales to attach themselves to known persons, this incident is related of Calum Mòr Clark and his family. Calum had three sons, Iain Bàn Mòr (‘Big Fair John’), Iain Bàn Òg (‘Young Fair John’) and Iain Bàn Meadhonach (‘Middle Fair John’).
(Footnote 367; See Introduction, p. Xliii, and notes 123 and 444. An account of the surrender of weapons at Scarinish on 24 April 1716 lists three sons of this Malcolm Clerk or Clark, none of whom had taken part in the previous year’s risings, and only one of whom was called John (Maclean-Bristol 1998, p. 151): “Donald Clerk his son/gave in his gun & sword & pistol/ Lachlan Clerk his son / he has no arms / John Clerk his son / he has no arms.” On the other hand, in an account of the feats of strength attributed to Malcolm Clerk of Kilmoluaig, whom he calls ‘one of the remarkable men of Tiree,’ Lord Archibald Campbell (1885a, pp. 254-55) mentions two sons, Donald Bane and Charles. In one of the tales MacInnes the factor brings his bully for a wrestling match; Malcolm refuses the challenge but puts on forward his son Donald in his place. The two men prove equal, swearing at this son, Malcolm tells him to stop fooling and throw the bully into ‘the hottest place in the house,’ with the result that ‘he pitched the bully to the fire, and scattered the embers, so that he nearly burned the bully, the factor and the house.)
The four conspired to beguile the young man from the loch – who came to see the daughter – into the house, and got him to sit between the two of them on the front of the bed. One a given signal these two clasped their hands round him and laid him on his back in the bed. The other two rushed to their assistance; the young man assumed his proper shape of a water-horse, and a fearful struggle ensued. The conspirators cut the horse in pieces with their dirks, and put it out of the house dead.
Not far from the south end of the same loch there is a place called Fhuaire na h-Aon Oidhche the One Night’s Watch’), said to derive its name from an incident of which the water-horse was the hero, similar to that told of the urisk of Gleann Màili (see page 106)
Footnote 368: This is a curiosity. Since JGC describes the water-horse as the ‘hero’ of the incident, it must be a simple story of how it recognised a man dressed in woman’s clothes, as at p.106 above (SHIS 197). However, Fhaire na h-Aon Oidhch’ is hard to dissociate from Àirigh na h-Aon Oidhche (‘the One Night’s Sheiling’), the location of a vampire tale similar to ‘MacPhie’s Black Dog’ (pp.58-64 above); indeed a version from Bwenbecula published by Bruford and MacDonald (1994, pp. 318-19, 470) consists of the vapire story with the dog as an additional character, while JCG himself once remarked as ‘MacPhie’s Black Dog’ (‘Campbell 1885b, p. 263): “It is known in the Western Islands as the ‘One Night’s Watch’ (Aire na h-aon oidhche).”

The place of the sixteen women in ‘MacPhie’s Black Dog’ is usually taken in the Àirigh na h-Aon Oidhche stories by a water-horse or some other terrifying supernatural creature. JGC tells the story in a few words at p. 114 when he describes how the girl who encounters the water horse is sometimes ‘one of a band of women assembled at the summer shieling – the rest are killed and she makes her escape.’ There are no shielings in Tiree, but the stress being on aon in any case, it is easy to see how àirigh might become subject to to reinterpretation in that island as aire ‘attention’ and spuriously linked with fàire ‘watch.’ The purpose, of course is to explain why some isolated dwelling-place should have been abandoned after only one night of use. The Tiree Àirigh na h-Aon Oidhche is in Cornaigmore, south-east of Loch Bhasapol. See Robertson 1904 – 07, pp. 268-69l; Mac Calum 1913; Mac Milan 1968, p. 365; Tocher 27, pp. 182-83; Burnett 1986, pp. 131-32.

There was a small boat house belonging to the estate on the north east shore of the loch - John Donald MacLean, Crossapo, 5/1996.

His uncle Calum was drowned in the loch and a small cairn in his memory was erected on the east side of the loch. It is no longer there - IMcK.

Before the mill was built the loch emptied into a stream to the north of the mill lade. In dry weather you can still see the course - Archie MacKinnon, Cornaigmore, 8/1994.

Local Form:

Languages : Norse, Gaelic

Informants: Iain MacKinnon (Iain Chaluim), Kilmoluaig, 1/1994

Informant 2: Alexander MacKinnon (Sandaidh Ghobhainn), Kilkenneth, 2/1996