Identification: Lamlash Bay, on the island of Arran
This name appears in Ptolemy between the Clota estuary, the Firth of Clyde, and the Epidium promontory, generally taken to be the Mull of Kintyre. It is thus most likely to be the name of a bay somewhere on the western side of the Firth of Clyde. The double n in the name is suspect, the original form of the name probably having been Lemandonion. The name probably refers to Lamlash bay on Arran, this no doubt being of interest to the Roman fleet because it is a natural harbour offering good shelter, thanks to the island, called Holy Island, between the bay and the open sea. The name will have nothing to do with elm trees or marshes, as is commonly supposed by scholars. Lemandonion will have been the Clauchlands hillfort (NS 046 338) overlooking the northern end of the bay. The old-style element nd uses the hill-letter n2 and means 'hill summit'. The hill-letters m and l are respectively used in the old-style and the inversion-type manner. Since Ptolemy indicates that the Caledoni extended from the Lemannonius bay to the Varar estuary and since the Caledoni used the hill-letter l1, we can be sure that the initial L of Lemandonion/Lemannonius is l1.
[This page was last modified on 08 March 2021]
[NB. Detailed information as to the different river-letters and as to how they were combined to form compound river-names, together with information as to the four categories of Celtic river-names, is given in Chapter 19: the rivers of Roman Britain. Detailed information as to the different hill-letters is given in Chapter 1 and information as to how the hill-letters were combined to form compound place-names is given in Chapter 2]
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