An Ardnamurchan Village
Most of Ardnamurchan’s little villages are scattered around its coasts, and many have a very long history. The one in this picture, Ormsaigbeg, tells some of its story through its name. Ormr is snake in Norse, vic means bay in the same language, and the beg suffix means small in Gaelic. Since the Vikings were in and around Ardnamurchan some 1,000 years ago, the village is a millennium old.
Running from right to left, from the heather-clad common grazings in the hills to the coastline, are the croft lands, each strip being a separate croft. The picture gives some idea of how pitifully small each of these little farms is. Created some time after about 1830, they replaced a village or ‘clachan’ which existed in the area marked with the arrow. In those days, the villagers lived close together and held the fields in common, and this system almost certainly went back well beyond MacIain times – read more about this in the section called The MacIain People.