Place Names of Assynt
This web site is a local voluntary undertaking and aims to collect and collate place names in Assynt. It is a work in progress and not a completed project. It documents the results of a series of local events, run by Assynt Leisure and Learning in conjunction with Comhlan Gaidhlig Asainte with support from the Highland Council. The intent of these workshops is to understand better our sense of place through place names. The work builds on earlier events with local experts. Some early web site development was funded by the Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership.
Impact of COVID: Interested parties have not been able to meet during the pandemic. The nature of the placenames get-togethers is such that it would be difficult to replicate the experience virtually. As such, additions to the place names site have been sproadic over the past few months. Let's hope we will be able to meet safely to discuss our place names again soon.
Please click on the drop-down box under "Notes" above for links to articles and other information. Place names can be browsed by name, or on clickable maps or by local area (collections). Click on search results for a full record, some of which include additional information about the place name. Some records have photographs.
Most place names in Assynt are Gaelic, but many are of Norse origins, and some of Scots. Some place names even combine all three languages. The full record of each place name usually lists the derivation of the place name.
The most sought-after resources for understanding our place names are the people of Assynt. Older folk, especially, have an enviable knowledge of names that may not appear on official maps. Many others have carried out their own research into place names too. Key documentary resources for the information on this site are the Dwelly and Maclellan dictionaries and, of course, ordnance survey maps. Local Gaelic scholars put us right with grammatical details, essential to understanding origins of names. In particulare Claire Belshaw's leadership of workshops is much appreciated for her willingness to share her knowledge, and her gentle steering to keep discussion groups on track.
One key resource is now available on this site: Gemma Smith's research into Assynt place names. See here for more information.
The e-maps on this site are Opentopomap project maps, and are not as detailed as, for example, the ordnance survey, but give an indication of location. Links to resources are under "Notes" above.
Records on the site use the "Dublin Core" metatdata standard, such as Title, Subject, Date, Location, Rights etc.
Please use the Contact form above to let us know of any corrections or alterations. Also please use the Contact form if you are able to contribute place name information.