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English nameBrackletter
Gaelic nameA' Bhreac-Leitir
Meaningthe speckled slope
Genitive formna Breac-Leitir

Location and type of place name

LocationLochaber, Highland
Local authorityHighland ~ A’ Ghàidhealtachd
Parish post 1891Kilmonivaig
County post 1891Inverness-shire ~ Siorrachd Inbhir Nis
Topographical feature typeSettlement ~ Tuineachadh
Postcode areaPH34
Relevant main roadsA82
OS sheet number400
OS grid referenceNN185825
Type of namePlace ~ Àite


Element meaningG breac ~ speckled; leitir ~ slope,
Element typelawtopography

External Resources

OS mapsGazetteer for Scotland

Further Information

Language notesG fem. nom. sg. def. art. a' (leniting) + lenited nom. sg. preposed adj. of breac, `speckled' + nom. sg. leitir fem. `slope' = `the speckled slope'.
Brokletter 1610 RMS vii no. 255
Brackleter 1636-52 Gordon 37
Braelach 1820 Thomson
Brackletter 1874 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
Letter = Leitir Dwelly 1912
Bràc-leitir 1971 MacMillan
Brac Leitir ‘rough broken up slope’ 1973 MacKinnon
Am Breac Leitir Mac an Tàilleir 2003
Additional infoThere are three possibilities for the first element, bràc, brac and breac.
The noun bràc, ‘reindeer’, seems to have been favoured by MacMillan. Whilst this is a possibility, structurally it is rare to have two nouns combining in this way in Gaelic and generally occurs only in very old place-names. I can find no corroboration for the term brac, favoured by MacMillan, which in dictionaries means ‘rich, fatty’. The adjective breac, ‘speckled’ is a much more common element and therefore more preferable. That the combination of these elements is viable in Gaelic toponymy can be seen in the name ‘Coire na Breac Leitir’ (NM948833) in Glen Finnan. Moreover, other names with the element leitir generally have adjectives rather than nouns, such as Gairletter (geàrr, ‘short’), Lettermore (mòr ~ large).
No informants were certain whether the article was in use in this name. Each informant did not quote the article in list form, but when asked whether it had an article agreed. Since the name is transparent it is advisable the article should be added.
Gordon’s Brackleter is not in the correct location at the current place marked on the map; it is near the confluence of Allt a’ Mhulinn and River Lochy, whilst the actual Brackletter is at the confluence of the Lochy and the Spean. The mistake is understandable however and he makes similar errors elsewhere, such as confusing River Coe with the River Leven
PrinciplesThe hyphen concurs with GOC principle 10 B.
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