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A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland

The following is from A Description of the Western Isles of Scotland by Sir Donald Monro:

Firth of Clyde & Southwest

Island Index by Location - Alphabetic

(Isle of) Man

FIRST in the Ireland seas, fornent the poynt of Galloway, neirest betwixt Scotland, England, and Ireland, lyes the first iyle of the saids isles, called in Latin tongue Mona and Sodora, in English Man, in Erishe Manain, whilks sometime, as auld historiographers sayes, was wont to be the seat first ordynit by Fynan king of Scottis to the priest and the philosophers called in Latine Druides, in English Culdeis and Kildeis, that is, worshippers of God, in Erish Leid Draiche, quhilks were the first teachers of religion in Albion, quherinto is the cathedrall of the bishop of Man and Isles dedicate, in the honour of St. Peter the apostle. This ile is twenty-four myles lang and eight myles braid, with twa castellis.

Elsay (Ailsa Craig)

Northwart from this ile of Man, sixty myles off, layes Elsay, an iyl of ane myle lange, quherin is ane grate high hill, round and roughe, and ane heavin, and als aboundance of Soland geise, and ane small poynt of ane nesse, quherat the fishing bottis lyis: for in the same ile is verey good killing, ling, and uther whyte fishes. Fornent this ile layes Carrick on the southeast pairt, Ireland on the southwest pairt, and the lands of Kintyre on the west and northwest pairt; the said Elsay being neir hand midsa betwixt the said marches.

Arran, Flada (Plada) & Molass (Holy Isle)

Be north or northeist fra this ile, twenty-four myles of sea, lies Arran, ane grate ile, full of grate mountains and forrests, good for hunting,with pairt of woods, extending in lenthe from the Kyle of Arran to Castle Dounan southwart to twenty-four myles, and from the Kyle of Drumdouin to the Ness of Kilbride, sixteen myles of breadthe, inhabit onlie at the sea coasts. Herein are thre castils; ane callit Braizay, pertening to the Earle of Arran; ane uther auld house callit the castle of the heid of Lochrenasay, pertyning likeways to the said Earle; and the third callit castle Dounan, pertaining to ane of the Stuarts of Bute’s blood, callit Mr. James: he and his bluid are the best men in that countrey. In Arran is a loche callit Lochrenasay, with three or four small waters: two paroch kirks, the ane callit Kilbride, the uther callit Kylmure. Fornent this ile layes the coste of Kyle in the east and southeist, be ten or twelve myles of sea in the north, Bute, be eight myles of sea in the west Skibness, pertening to the Erle of Argyle.

Upon the shore of this iyle lyes Flada, ane little iyle full of cunings, with ane uther little ile callit the yle of Molass, quherin there was foundit by Johne, Lord of the iles, ane monastry of friars, which is decayit.

Buitt (Bute) & Inche Mernoche (Inchmarnock)

The yle of Buitt lyes, as we have said before, eight myles of sea to the northeist of Arran, ane mayne iyle, eight myle lange from the north to southe, and four myle braid fra the west to the eist, very fertyle ground, namelie for aitts, with twa strenthes; the ane is the round castle of Buitt, callit Rosay of the auld, and Borrowstone about it callit Buitt. Before the town and castle is ane bay of sea, quhilk is a gude heavin for ships to ly upon ankers. That uther castle is callit the castle of Kames, quhilk Kames in Erishe is alsmeikle as to say in English the bay Castle. In this ile ther is twa paroche kirks, that ane southe callit the kirk of Bride, the uther northe in the Borrowstone of Buitt, with twa chappells, ane of them above the towne of Buitt, the uther under the forsaid castle of Kames. On the north and northwest of this ile, be half myle of sea, lyes the coast of Ergyle; on the east syde of it the coast of Cuninghame, besix myle of sea.

On the west southwest of it lyes ane little iyle callit Inch Mernocke, twa myle frae sea, low mayne ground, weill inhabit and manurit, ane myle lange and half myle breadthe.

Cumbra (Great Cumbrae) & Cumbray Dais (Little Cumbrae)

On the eist and southeist lyes ane yle callit Cumbray, inhabit and manurit, three myle in lenth and ane myle in breadthe, with ane kirk callit Sanct Colmis kirke.

Besides this lyes ane iyle callit Cumbray of the Dais, because there is many Dayis intill it.

Avoyn (Sanda) & Carrith Skeathe

Before the south poynt of the promontory of Kintyre, lyes be ane myle of sea, ane iyle neire ane myle lange, callit the iyle Avoyn, quhilk iyle is obtained that name fra the armies of Denmark, quhilkis armies callit it in their leid Havin. It is inhabit and manurit, and guid for shipps to lay one ankers.

Fornent this iyle, one the shore of Kintyre, layes ane iyle with a castle, namet Carrick Skeath, with ane little water, quherin is ane guid havin for small bottis.

Rachlaiun (Rathlin)

On the southwest frae the promontory of Kyntyre, uppon the coast of Irland, be four myle to land, layes an iyle callit Rachlaine, pertaining to Irland, and possessit their money zeires by Clan Donald of Kyntyre, four myles longe and twa myle braid, guid land, inhabit and manurit.

Argyll Islands


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