Township: Kilmoluaig

Map Reference: exact location unknown

Name Type: watercourse

Meaning: The small loch of the daughter of Sorley

Other Forms:

Related Places: See Am Poll Crèadha, Barrapol.

Information:Extracts from 'The Gaelic Otherworld' by John Gregorson Campbell, Edited with commentary by Ronald Black, (Edinburgh; Birlinn, 2005) p32-3:

Calum Clark and His Sore Leg

Some six generations ago there live at Port Vista (Port Bhiosta) in Tiree a dark, fierce man known as Calum Mòr Mac a’ Chlèirich, Big Malcolm Clark. He was a very strong man, and in his brutal violence produced the death of several people. Tradition also says of him that he killed a water-horse and fought a banshi with a horse-rib at the long hollow, covered in winter with water, called the Lèig. In this encounter his own little finger was broken. When sharpening the knives old women in Tiree said, Di-Haoine am baile Mhic a’ Chlèirich (“Friday in Clark’s town’), with the object of making him and his the objects of Fairy wrath.

One evening as he was driving a tether-pin into a hillock, a head was popped up out of the ground and told him to take some other place for securing his beast, as he was letting the rain into ‘their’ dwelling. Some time after this he had a painfully sore leg – bha i gu dòirainneach doirbh. He went to teh shi-en where the head had appeared, and finding it open, entered in search of a cure for his leg. The Fairies told him to ‘put earth on the earth’ ‘: Cuir an talamh air an talamh. He applied every kind of earth he could think of to the leg, but without effect.

At the end of three months he went again to the hillock, and when entering put steel (cruaidh) in the door. He was told to go out, but he would not, nor would he withdraw the steel till told the proper remedy. At last he was told to apply criadh ruadh Lochan Ni’ n Shomhairle, the red clay of a small loch in the neighbourhood.

He did so, and the leg as cured.

See p. 10. Port Vista (from Norse vist ‘west’) is in Kilmoluaig, north-west of Loch Bhasapol. The Lèig drains through Kilmoluaig into Loch Bhasapol from the south-west (see note 196). When east coast fishermen came to Port Vista (see Boat Language’, p. 131, and Maclean 1845, p. 215) they called it ‘The Green’. At p. 114 Calum Mòr is described as living in Baile nan Cràganach; this will be Baile Nan Crògan in Cornaigmore. The house must have been somewhere between the two places, where there is only blown sand today. JGC’s ‘six generations ago’ suggests that Calum Mòr lived in the period c. 1700, and this is precisely confirmed by the account of a surrender of weapons at Scarinish on 24 April 1716. Under the heading ‘Beist’ (Bhiosta) we find that he had taken part with the MacLeans in the rising of 1715 (Maclean-Bristol 1998, p.150): “Malcolm Clerk / gave in two guns & a pistol / he is to give in a gun which he did thereafter.”
Niall M. Brownlie tells me that the only Clarks in Tiree in more recent times were in Ruaig, six miles away in the east of the island. For full discussion of the name Port Bhiosta(dh) see MacDougall and Cameron n.d., pp. 93-94.

Footnote 124: “It was painfully sore.”

Footnote 125: Lochan Nighean Shomhairle is ‘the Lochan of Sorley’s Daughter.’ No doubt the name commemorates a drowning. The loch is not known to Niall M. Brownlie, and is not marked on the six-inch Ordnance Survey map of Tiree (1883). Probably, like Clark’s own farm (see p. 114), it had disappeared by then under the ‘Blown Sand & Bent’ – JCg’s ‘blowing sandbanks’ – marked as lying between Loch Bhasapol and the sea. Though unknown nowadays in Tiree, the name Somhairle (‘Sorle’) was widespread there in 1716, see Maclean-Bristol 1998, pp. 123, 127, 128, 145. At the south end of Tràigh nan Gillean on the western shore of Tiree there is a rock on the low tide line called Eilean t-Somhairle; 100 yards further out is a reef called Bogha Eilean t-Somhairle.

Local Form:

Languages : Gaelic

Informants: Rev John Gregorson Campbell