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Updated 05/08/2013


Muir of Ord
George J. McLennan

A Muir is the Scots word for moorland, and Scots Gaelic for sea, and is the etymological origin of the surname and Clan Muir/Mure/Moore in Scotland and other parts of the world.

Traditionally, overland travel north of Inverness was, at best, difficult. Two particular obstructions were the River Beauly where it flows into the Beauly Firth near Beauly, and the Rover Conon, where it flows into Cromarty Firth. The two rivers were only crossed, by the Lovat Bridge and the Conon Bridge, both built by Thomas Telford in 1814. This brought increasing traffic to the main coastal route north that ran between them, and led to the growth of a village called Tarradale, which lay at the junction of that road and the main road into the Black Isle.  The result was that from abut 1820 huge trysts or cattle markets began to occur on land a little north of Beauly, then later on a better site a little further north, just south of Tarradale. The trysts became known by the name of the site, at Muir of Ord. 

In 1862 the Inverness and Ross-shire Railway was built with a station at Tarradale. However, the railway company called their station Muir of Ord, after the site of the cattle trysts still taking place a mile to the south. And within a relatively short time "Tarradale" was but a fading memory, and the settlement that gradually filled in the gaps between the distillery, the railway station and the site of the trysts, became known as Muir of Ord.