Place name of the week: Island I Vow - Eilean a' Bhùtha

Island I Vow (Elanvow in the fourteenth century) is situated at the northern end of Loch Lomond. A survey of Loch Lomond in 1701 refers to it as Ilan a Bou or the Booth Isle. This would suggest the Gaelic form as Eilean a' Bhùtha '˜the island of the shop or booth'.

Island I Vow is on Loch Lomond. Picture: Getty

There are however a number of submerged rocks very close to this island well-known for being dangerous to sailors on the loch. It is therefore possible the original form of the island was Eilean a’ Bhogha ‘the island of the submerged rock’.

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The odd modern form of the name is based on folk-etymology: a fanciful story claims that the name is derived from the Chief of Clan MacFarlane building a castle here and making a solemn ‘vow’ that he would allow no more clansmen hostile to him to pass down the loch.

For more information visit Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba