Loch ma Nàire, Farr

Grid reference

NC 725 537 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

272500 953700

Latitude

58.45327114865567

Longitude

-4.185152370448053

Altitude (metres)

20

County

Sutherland

Nearby places

Loch Chealamy, Farr (2 miles)

Cnoc Chealamy, Farr (2.34 miles)

Farr, parish (5.32 miles)

St Columba's Chapel, Tongue (7.48 miles)

Coomb Island, Tongue (7.64 miles)

Object Classification

Lordship

Is linear feature?

No

Notes

Pont MS no. 2 [Strathnaver & Kyle of Tongue] shows a church or chapel symbol on the west side of the loch. Nothing is recorded by NMRS at this location. The New Statistical Account, circa 1845, records (with all the patronising contempt that the enlightened minister can muster) the following interesting dindshenchas or folk etymology of the lochs's name, together with a description and evaluation of contemporary cult at the loch (NSA (Sutherland) p. 72): 'Connected with the antiquities of the parish, the writer may mention a few particulars regarding a loch in Strathnaver ... to which superstition has ascribed wonderful healing virtues. ... The tradition as to the origin of its healing virtues is briefly as follows: A woman either from Ross-shire or Inverness-shire came to the heights of Strathnaver, pretending to cure diseases by means of water into which she had previously thrown some pebbles, which she carried about with her. In her progress down the strath, towards the coast, a man in whose house she lodged wishes to possess himself of the pebbles: but discovering his designs, she escaped, and he pursued. Finding, at the loch referred to, that she could not escape her pursuer any longer, she threw the pebbles into the loch, exclaiming in Gaelic, mo-nar, that is shame, or my shame. From this exclamation the loch received the name which it still retains, “Loch-mo-nar,” and the pebbles are supposed to have imparted to it its healing efficacy. There are only four days in the year, on which its supposed cures can be effected. These are the first Monday, old style, of February, May, August and November. During February and Novembver, no one visits it; but in May and August, numbers from Sutherland, Caithness, Ross-shire and even from Inverness-shire and Orkney, come to this far-famed loch. The ceremonies through which the patients have to go are the following: - They must all be at the loch side about twelve o’clock at night. As early on Monday as one or two o’clock in the morning, the patient is to plunge, or be plunged, three times into the loch; is to drink of its waters; to throw a piece of coin into it as a kind of tribute; and must be away from its banks, so as to be fairly out of sight of its water before the sun rises – else no cure is supposed to be effected. Whatever credit might be given to such ridiculous ceremonies as tending in any respect to the restoration of health, while ignorancne and superstition reigned universally in this country, it certainly must appear extraordinary to intelligent persons, that any class of the community should now have recourse to and faith in such practices; but so it is, that many come from the shires already mentioned, and say they are benefited by these practijces. It is, however, to be observed that those who generally frequent this loch, and who have found their health improved, on returning home, are persons afflicted with nervous complaints and disordered imaginations, to whose health a journey of forty or sixty miles, a plunge into the loch, and the healthful air of our hills and glens may contribute all the improvement with which they are generally so much pleased.’ NMRS records 'A holy well in the vicinity of Loch ma Naire (Horsburgh 1870) (NC 726 537) had a place in the ceremonies associated with the healing properties which made the loch a resort of sick people from the neighbouring counties as late as the mid - 19th century. NSA 1845; J Horsburgh 1870; Name Book 1873'.

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/

Relationships with other parishes

Within Farr, parish