Auchincally hill

Place-name:Auchincally hill
Suggested Meaning:‘field of the hazel-spot’
1st element:Gaelic achadh ‘field’
2nd element: 1. Gaelic  coll, calltuin ‘hazel’
2nd element:2. Gaelic cailleach ‘old woman, veiled one, nun’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):Auchincally
Location:OS Map Six-inch Scotland 1892-1960
Photo 1| Auchincally Hill (Courtesy (c) Chris Wimbush)


1st element | Gaelic achadh ‘field’

Typically places names beginning with the element auchin- would have started out as field name indicative of ancillary farming activity by Gaelic speaking settlers [1] and is an anglicised form of Gaelic achadh ‘field’.

The name Auchincally is now only found in the parish associated with Auchincally Hill. Coincidentally, or otherwise, the neighbouring hill to the south is Auchintow Hill.

The Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) entry for Auchincally Hill reads –

the summit of the ridge of elevated land lying between Glenshallow and Glenhastel burn, on which is a Trig Station” .

Perhaps the original field, Auchincally, was the elevated land lying between the burns. Or perhaps the field was in the lower slopes of the hill where Auchincally Burn meets with Carcow Burn,

2nd element | 1. Gaelic coll, colltuin ‘hazel’

In close vicinity to Auchincally Hill are Carcow Burn, Monquhill farmhouse and the aforementioned Glenhastel Burn. All these names may have a common element referring to hazels.

Map 1 | OS 1:25,000 (1937-61) By Permission of National Library of Scotland
Carcow: Gaelic caer place ot car coll ‘rock of the hazel’ , Watson explains that ‘oll’ regularly becomes ‘ow’ in Scots [2]. cf. Moscow, AYR [2].
Monquhill:pronounced Mun-whull which Maxwell considers the occurrence of the name in Galloway to be Gaelic moin chuill ‘hazel hill’ [3].
Glenhastel:Could – hastel be a corruption of Scots hassil ‘hazelly’? [4]
Auchincally: The second element of the name -cally may be from Gaelic challaidh ‘hazel-spot’ [2] or Gaelic calltuin ‘hazel’.[5]

If these 4 place-names are related through association with hazels then the names must have been coined at different periods of time (otherwise the names would have similar endings, e.g. Carcow, Moscow, Glencow and Auchincow?).

Hazel, as well as providing hazelnuts as a source of food, is used for making fences and baskets and since the trees can be coppiced they can be harvested every few years. N.B. Gaelic for ‘fencing’ is callaidh, while Watson [2] also offers Gaelic challaidh ‘hazel-spot’. Perhaps the -cally in Auchincally is an anglicised form of challaidh?

There is possibly a 5th place-name with hazel connotations in this neck of the woods. In the lower reaches of Carcow Burn stands McCool’s Craig. A tribute perhaps to Fin McCool of Celtic folklore who absorbed his knowledge from eating the salmon of wisdom which in turn had eaten hazelnuts that had fallen form nine trees round scared pool.

2nd element | 1. Gaelic cailleach ‘old woman, veiled one, nun’

A relatively common-place name element and conisdered to be the old woman or hag, the veiled one of nun or the Cailleach of Celtic folklore.

(see Carsgailoch)


 Photo of Auchincally Hill © Copyright Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

[1] W. F. H. Nicolaisen | Scottish Place-names (1986)
[2] W. J. Watson | The Celtic Place-names of Scotland (Birlinn, 2004)
[3] Sir Herbert Maxwell | The Place-names of Galloway (2001)
[4] Dictionary of Scots Language
[5] Malcolm MacLennan ‘Gaelic Dictionary’
Reprodcued with the permission of The National Library of Scotland
OS Map Six-inch Scotland 1892-1960
Map 1 | OS Map 1:25,000 1937-61
Ordnance Survey Name Books
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49 | Auchincally
Photo 1 |of Auchincally Hill © Copyright Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.