Louise Boulanger


master in sail, william murchison (1996)

Location: Applecross and Loch Carron
gaelic language and placenames, archaeology, shipwrecks

The bodach beag

In Gaelic, a bodach is an old man and beag means little, or small of stature. So, a bodach beag is a little old man. A bodach beag used to live – apparently – under the bridge at a place called the Caman, where the roads linking three townships in the south of Applecross all meet. You could say he might have been something similar to a troll? People in times past were afraid of the bodach beag even although he never appeared to do them any direct harm. They were scared because it was said that he was an omen of bad news. One tale recounts that he seen rushing to post a letter by a man from the south end of Applecross. Later, the same man received a letter telling him that his son had been lost at sea when his sailing ship went down.

However, it is also said that no-one spoke of the bodach beag once the old pub in Milltown had been shut down on the orders of the Applecross landowner, Lord Middleton, in the 1870s or 1880s.

Whatever the truth, the little slope leading away from the place associated with him is still known today as Bruthaich a’ bhodaich bhig, the slope of the little old man.

More information on visiting the area can be found here.