Creagan, Aibhnichean is Minn a’ Leum / Crags, Rivers and Leaping Kids

Tha minn a’ nochdadh gu tric air aghaidh na tìre air a’ Ghàidhealtachd /  Young goats appear in many places in Scotland’s Gaelic landscape.

Creagan, Aibhnichean is Minn a’ Leum

Ann an monadh Chinn Tìre, deas air an Tairbeart, tha abhainn bheag air a bheil ainm mòr. Is e sin Abhainn Leum nam Meann – agus nach brèagha na h-ìomhaighean a tha an t-ainm sin a’ brosnachadh! Tha gobhair a’ nochdadh fad, farsaing is minig air mapaichean na h-Alba, agus uaireannan ’s iad an fheadhainn òga – na minn – a th’ air an ainmeachadh.

Feral goats. The Isle of Colonsay.©Lorne Gill/SNH

Feral goats. The Isle of Colonsay. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

Gu tric tha minn agus gobhair co-cheangailte ri creagan, agus tha an t-ainm-àite Creag nam Meann a’ nochdadh ann an grunn àiteachan, leithid ann an Arainn, Loch Abar, san Eilean Sgitheanach agus air Mòinteach Raineach. Tha Gleann nam Meann faisg air Gleann Fhionnghlais anns na Tròisichean, le Coire nam Meann beagan tuath air, faisg air Loch Bheothail. Faisg air Fisinis ann am Muile, tha Beinn nam Meann, agus tha Sgùrr nam Meann deas air Camas Shanna ann an Àird nam Murchan. Siar air Gleann Moireasdan, tha Sròn Badan nam Meann – ged nach eil e soilleir an e minn-earba no minn-ghobhair a thathar ag ainmeachadh an sin.

Tha dà ainm le ‘meann’ a tha doirbh a mhìneachadh. Is iad sin Bogha nam Meann agus Sgeir nam Meann, a tha faisg air a chèile far cladach a deas Eilein Alltanaigh ann an Asainte. ’S dòcha gun do dh’èirich na h-ainmean à seann sgeulachd no naidheachd.

Rum-LC-0025_jpg_JPEG Image Original Size_m41078

Feral goats, Isle of Rum NNR, © Laurie Campbell / SNH

Chithear a’ Mhinn cuideachd air aghaidh na tìre. Tha dà loch ann an Earra-Ghàidheal air a bheil Loch a’ Mhinn, agus tha Suidh’ a’ Mhinn sa mhonadh faisg air Cill a’ Bhacstair ann an ceann a tuath an Eilein Sgitheanaich. Agus tha am facal minnean againn, a’ ciallachadh ‘meann òg’ – an dà chuid aig earba no gobhar. Mar sin, chan eil e soilleir dè an t-ainmhidh a th’ air ainmeachadh ann an Coille Mhinnean air cladach Loch Fìne, ach tha dùil gur e an earba a th’ ann.

Crags, Rivers and Leaping Kids

In the hills of Kintyre, south of Tarbert, there is a small river with a big name. It is Abhainn Leum nam Meann ‘the river of the jump of the kid goats’ – whose name surely conjures up some bucolic images! Goats are a significant toponymic feature of the Scottish landscape, and in some places it is the young of the species that are named – the word meann ‘MYOWN’ being conspicuous.

Rum-LC-0027_jpg_JPEG Image Original Size_m41344

Feral goats, Isle of Rum nnr.© Laurie Campbell / SNH

Goats are often associated with crags, so the place-name Creag nam Meann ‘the crag of the kid goats’ is not uncommon, examples being found in Arran, Lochaber, Skye and Rannoch Moor. There is Gleann nam Meann ‘the glen of the kids’ near Glen Finglas in the Trossachs, with Coire nam Meann ‘the corrie of the kids’ a little to its north. Beinn nam Meann ‘the mountain of the kids’ is near Fishnish on Mull and Sgùrr nam Meann ‘the rocky peak of the kids’ is close to Sanna Bay in Ardnamurchan. West of Glen Moriston is the highly descriptive Sròn Badan nam Meann ‘the nose [hill-end] of the small copse of the kids’.

Less explicable, however, are the sunken sea rocks off Oldany Island in Assynt, Sutherland, called Bogha nam Meann ‘the sunken rock of the kids’ and the adjacent Sgeir nam Meann ‘the skerry of the kids’. Are their names perhaps related to an old story or legend involving goats?

RoeDeer-D9015_JPG_JPEG Image Original Size_m33863

Roe deer doe,  Invereshie and Inshriach NNR, ©Lorne Gill/SNH

The genitive singular form of am meann is a’ mhinn [uh VEEN] ‘of the kid goat’, a form which pops up in some place-names – such as two lochs in Argyll called Loch a’ Mhinn ‘the loch of the kid’, and the intriguing Suidh’ a’ Mhinn in Trotternish, Skye which means ‘the sitting place of the kid’ ie the place where humans would sit and watch a kid goat! Again, there might be a folkloric context to this name.

There is one other related word for a kid goat we find in the landscape – minnean [MEEN-yan] – but it can also refer to the young of the earba or roe deer (as can meann on occasion). Thus, Coille Mhinnean on the north shore of Loch Fyne is either ‘wood of young goat kids’ or ‘wood of young roe deer’. The habitat suggests that it is likely to be the latter.

This entry was posted in deer, Folklore, Gaelic, SNH, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.