• Viking Farmers and Shepherds in Uig

    by  • 6 August 2008 • History, Placenames, Vikings • 1 Comment

    from Donald John Macleod, Enaclete and Aberdeen

    We look upon the Vikings as seafaring rovers who spent their lives raiding and plundering. However, it is evident from place names that some Vikings settled in Uig where they cultivated the land and tended their sheep and cattle. The following Uig placenames are of interest in this respect.

    Ardfenish (ON prob Fe-nes) – sheep promontory
    Bastair (bolstadhar) – where cows and people live
    Cro (kro) – a small sheep pen
    Dirass Beinn (dyr-ass) – deer ridge
    Cruim a Mhiasaoid (mjo-seta) – a ridge where cattle are herded between two lochs
    Gearraidh/Timsgarry (gerdi) – a walled or fenced piece of land or garth. In Lewis this was often pasture land between the shoreland and the moorland.
    Griosamul (grissa-muli) – the hill brow of the ewes
    Fiavig (fjar-vik) – sheep bay
    Fivikgiaras (fjar-vik-gja) – the cattle grazing ridge of the bay with the rift
    Kirraval (kyr-fjall) – a hill where cows graze in summer
    Laimrig na siorraid (sjovar-rett) – sheep landing place of the sea bay fank
    Leumadair (lembd-aer) – where ewes were put ashore
    Lochan an Lumadal (lombadr) – ewes with lambs
    Loch Beinnsvat (bein-vatn) – bones loch
    Loch Bhuinavat (brynna) – watering cattle loch
    Loch Cro-criosdaig (kro-griss-hag) – a crook of land for pig grazing
    Loch na Fairf (fiovi) – possessions, such as sheep or cattle
    Loch Lomhainn (lodhinn) – ewes with unfleeced lambs
    Mol Chuir (kviar) – beach of the fank
    Mol Peitag (beit-hag) – beach of the grazing or heather ridge
    Morsgail (mos-sgali) – moor shieling; Morsgail was used for summer grazing from Viking times.
    Naidaval (nauta-fjall) – cattle hill
    Phutharol (buthar-hol) – both at the hill of the summer grazing
    Rudha Bhugaire (byggar) – headland of the farmer’s house
    Rudha Brataig (brattr-hag) – the point of steep grazing
    Siacanis (sja-kaf-nes) – point where the cattle were led to the sea to swim to an island
    Traigh Foishader (fjori-setr) – shieling above the ebbing sands
    -bost, -shader and -sta (bolstad, setra, sta) – all signify a dwelling, farm or steading

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