bealach na h oidhche solved
Wed, Apr 27, 2011
There’s a pass between Beinn Sgritheall and Beinn a’Chapuill called Bealach na h-Oidhche with attendant features such as Creag Bealach na h-Oidhche, Loch and Allt Bealach na h-Oidhche and today I learned why they’re all called “of the night”. It was a lovely day at work and I bumped into a colleague outside and while gazing across to Beinn Sgritheall he mentioned he’d been told why by a relative who’s ancestor was a drover. Apparently drovers used to take cattle from Tormore on Skye, up the Sleat peninusla, past Leitir Fura to Kylerhea, where they swam them across to Glenelg then drove them on to Arnisdale. It was there they headed up the hill and the first overnight stop was at Bealach na h-Oidhche. Hence the name. Pass of the night. Apparently it was a good place to stance cattle overnight. Good grazing and crags to hem them in. I’ve seen another meaning for Loch na h-Oidhche (the night loch) as well. Apparently it means the fishing is good after dark according to Roddy MacLean’s excellent booklet Gaelic in the landscape [PDF]. You might find this booklet interesting too. Gaelic and Norse in the landscape [PDF].