Sike, Syke

Place-name:Sike, Syke
Suggested Meaning:‘sluggish stream’
Scots sike, syke ‘sluggish stream’
Blaeu Coila (1654):No Entry
OS Name Books (1855-57):See Table below
Location:See Table below

the sheughs and the sykes

Laird of Logan “Colin Dulap”

A Sike or Syke is described as –

A small stream, rill or water-course, especially one that meanders through a hollow or across flat or boggy ground and is freqently dry in summer

Dictionary of the Scots Language

Map Notes
Cameronsike BurnPersonal Name: Cameron
Unable to identify the person Cameron that gave their name to the sike. See Cameronsike
Gullet SikeScots gullet ‘deep channel’
Mitchell’s SykePersonal Name: Mitchell
Mitchell’s Sike flows into the Beoch Lane which in then flows to meet the Nith passing the original property of (Old) Craigman. In the early 17th century Daniel Mitchell of Craigman married Marion Cathcart the daughter of Allan Cathcart of nearby Waterhead Castle. Was Mitchell’s Sike a boundary of the Mitchell land.
Otter SikeNamed no doubt at a time otters were pevalent here
Palmsike BurnPalm?
Peat SikeProbable because the sike was peaty.
Sandy SikePerhaps from sandy peat which is said to a be ‘a peat containing a good deal of earthy matter
Stot SykeScots: stot ‘ young castrated ox, a steer, bullock’
Sunny SykeSunny or possibly sandy as in sandy-peat
Whitelaysyke Bridgewhite + Scots layground which has been tilled and is now in pasture’

Peat Sike, Mitchell’s Sike and Gullet Sike

All feed into the Beoch Lane.

Peat, Mitchell’s, Gullet | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Palmsike Burn, Otter Sike and Stot Sike

In the north-east of the parish either side of the Martyrs’ Moss.

Otter Sike, Stot Sike | Reproduced with the permission of National Library of Scotland

 Whitelaysyke Bridge

The sike is not named on the Ordnance Survey map or referenced in Scotland’s Place. However the bridge under which it passes was named as Whitlaysyke Bridge – now incorporated into the A76 trunk road.

Whitelaysyke Bridge | Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland

Lay may be a variant of lea, ley which is ground that has been left fallow for a time and later covered by natural grass, under the field rotational system. The Dictionary of Scots Language gives the following Ayrshire based reference to lay

Of all the rotations hitherto discovered, the best for Ayrshire appears to be from lay, oats or beans.

Ayr. 1793 W. Fullarton Agric. Ayr. 25

Whitelay may be a reference to the colour of the field during the lay rotation.

The upper reaches of the sike are linear in fashion and resembles aman-made ditch or sheuch (see also Cameronsike Burn). The syke flows into the channel that flows form Loch O’ the Lowes to the River Nith.

In 1951 it was proposed that the New Cumnock by-pass (east bound) would start at Whitelaysyke Bridge and rejoint the A76 at Marchburn. The plans came to nothing. The Tam O’Shanter Transport Cafe that one stood nearby has also disappeared. The ariel photograph gives a glimpse of a small section from Whitelayske.

Whitelaysyke with behind Trnasport Cafe (Photo, Alex Jess, New Cumnock Liaison Group)


[1] The Laird of Logan, Or, Anecdotes and Tales Illustrative of the Wit and Humour of Scotland
[2] Dictionary of the Scots Language | sike, syke
[3] Dictionary of the Scots Language | gullet
[4] Dictionary of the Scots Language | stot
[5] Dictionary of the Scots Language | sandy peat
[6] Dictionary of the Scots Language | lea, ley
from Fullarton, William ‘General View of the Agriculture of the County of Ayr. 1793 (Ayr.)

Reproduced with the Permission of National Library of Scotland 
Ordnance Survey 6 inch (1892-1960) 
See table above
Ordnance Survey Name Books
By Permission of Scotland’s Places
Ayrshire OS Name Books (1855-57) Vol. 49|
Gullet Sike
Mitchell’s Syke
Otter Sike
Palmsike Burn
Peat Sike
Sandy Syke
Stot Syke
Sunny Syke
Whitelaysyke Bridge (No Entry)