Craigdarroch, craigdarroch rig

Place-name:Craigdarroch
Suggested Meaning :G. creag darach ‘craig of the oak’
First element:Gaelic creag ‘rock, craig’
Second element:Gaelic darach ‘oak’
Blaeu Coila (1654):Kraig Darroch
OS Name Books (1855-57):Craigbranoech
Location:OS Six-inch Scotland 1892-1960
Early References
Kraig Darroch (Blaeu 1654)
Kraigbrinach, Kraigbyrnoch hil Blaeu (1654) | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Craigdarroch farm nestles at the base of the north face of Craigbraneoch Hill between Blackcraig Hill to the east and Craigdarroch Rig to the west.

Craigdarroch Rig (Robert Guthrie)

The Ordnance Survey Name Books (1855-57) for Craigdarroch and Craigdarroch Rig read –

Craigdarroch: A farm house occupied by John Welch, senior. herd, the property of Mr. John Craig, Polquheys.

Craigdarroch Rig: A high ridge extending from Yarngallows Knowe to Bolt Craig.

In addition the entry for Craigdarroch Rig included some dictionary definitions.

  • darach ‘an oak, oak timber’ and dearg ‘red’ – Gaelic Dictionary
  • rig, rigg ‘a ridge’ – Jamieson, i.e. Jamieson’s Scots Dictionary
Craigbraneoch and its rock faces | Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

First element: Gaelic creag ‘rock’

Craigdarroch Rig does not have the rock faces evident on Craigbraneoch Hill and Blackcraig Hill other than Boltcraig Hill (known locally as ‘The Bowt’) at the northern end of the rig. If this had been named Craigdarroch Hill, it may well have been the source of the craig in Craigdarroch.

Alternatively the farm of Craigdarroch farm may have taken its name from a rock face nearer Craigbranaeoch or Blackcraig and Crigdarroch Rig was named after the farm.

Second element: Gaelic darach ‘oak, oakwood’

As noted in the Ordance Survey Name Books (1885-57) entry for Craigdarroch Rig, the second element is Galeic darach ‘oak, oak-wood’.

Oak Trees, Druids and Christianity

Shirley Toulson in ‘The Celtic Year’ explains, ‘Druids made their temples in oak groves, where the trees supported the sacred mistletoe, and where the oak apples could be ground into a flour that appears to have been used in a ritual meal.’

 Some commentators believe the druids take their name from Greek drys ‘oak’. There is no evidence of an ancient grove at Craigdarroch, but what a stunning location for a sacred, spiritual place. Sacred associations of oaks survived the advance of Christianity perhaps the most notable Celtic examples being in Ireland at St. Brigit’s* foundation at Cilla Dara ‘church of the oak’, i.e. Kildare and St. Colum Cille’s (Columba) foundation Doire Calgaich ‘Calgaich’s oak grove’, i.e. Derry.

References
[1] Shirley Toulson ‘The Celtic Year’ (1993)
Maps
Reproduced with the Permission of the National Library of Scotland
https://maps.nls.uk/
Map 1 Blaeu, Coila Provincia (1654) | Kraig Darroch
Map 2 Ordnance Survey | Craigdarroch
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By permission of Scotland’s Places
Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49| Craigdarroch
Ayrshire O Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49 | Craigdarroch Rig