Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Loch na Leitreach

Perfect reflections on a summer morning.

One thing I love about Scottish place names is their meaning. Leitreach means slope, so Loch na Leitreach is slope loch. A strange meaning until I imagine the inhabitants of Carnach at its head naming their loch from this view.

Dominating the scene is Carnan Cruithneachd, a mere Graham of a hill at 729m. Carnan Cruithneachd is usually translated as the hill of wheat which is also a strange one as it is unlikely that wheat has ever been grown in the glen let alone on the hill. But an alternative, and in my mind much more likely, derivation is that the name comes from Cruithne meaning the Picts, the original inhabitants of the west of Scotland before the Norse and Gaels.

The loch lies in Glen Elchaig along which an ancient coffin route runs from Glenstrathfarrar to Clachan Duich on the shores of Loch Duich, the traditional burying place of the Macraes. In the summer the route would also have been used by the folk of Kintail driving their cattle to their pastures higher up the glen. During the Cromwellian occupation of Scotland in 1654, Scots loyal to Charles II under General Monck also travelled the route inland from Loch Duich.

A flashback to June 2009 on this third day of the Corona lockdown.

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