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From Angus to Isla-Skye: Baby names inspired by Scottish places

What better love letter could you send to Scotland than naming your baby after our country? Emma Morrice investigates
Emma Morrice
A picture of a baby surrounded by Scottish baby names

Have you ever loved a place so much you felt an instant connection to it?

Maybe it’s where your partner and you met, or a holiday destination that means a lot to you.

Do you love it enough to name your child after it?

Scotland is a diverse land with many different terrains – perhaps you’re a big fan of cities, or maybe prefer the peace and quiet of the Highlands.

Maybe you’re more into serene lochs, or are just inspired by Scotland itself –  the possibilities for naming your child are endless.

Meanwhile, other people have taken their inspiration from further afield, such as Florence, which could be named after the picturesque Italian city.

In the past 48 years, some of the names given to newborns have covered all of these.

(Baby) Caledonia you’re calling me

The map below shows all the locations where Scottish babies share a name, or parents could have taken inspiration from.

Click on the popup for more information on the name, how many babies have the name and when they were born. Zoom in to your area to find inspirational local areas.

Read on for more information about names inspired by different regions of Scotland.

Baby names of Tayside and Fife

One of the most popular names is located in Tayside and Fife – Angus. Although Angus is probably more commonly considered a name on it’s own, rather than parents being inspired by the region, it has claimed one of the top spots on the geographical location list with 3,747 people receiving the name between 1974 and 2023.

Other names include Anstruther, a village in Fife; Charleston, a village in Angus; Montrose, a town in Angus; Kinloch in Perth and Kinross; Rannoch like Loch Rannoch, also in Perth and Kinross; Errol, a village in Perth and Kinross; and Atholl; a region beside Blair Atholl in Perth and Kinross.

On the list there’s also a Cupar; a town in Fife, Leven; also a town in Fife, Kelty; a village in Fife and Perth; a city in Perth and Kinross.

There’s also a Fife, if you prefer to pay tribute to an entire area.

A rainbow over the River Tay in Perth
The River Tay in Perth. Picture by Steve MacDougall.

One of the more creative ones that could be linked to Tayside is Tai-River, which potentially could have been inspired by the River Tay, born in 2001. More popular is simply Tay, given to 21 people.

Baby names of the north-east

Unlike some other areas of Scotland, the north-east doesn’t seem to have inspired that many unique baby names.

However, those on the roster include Aberdeen, which despite being the country’s third biggest city, has only inspired one baby so far. They were born in 2017.

Lots of people enjoying Aberdeen beach
Aberdeen beach. Picture by Kenny Elrick

In Aberdeenshire, Ellon, a town, was used for one baby in 1985, the village of Alford was chosen by parents in 1979 and Maud, also a village, has been used 14 times. Ruthven, a village, also made the list with eight babies sharing its name.

Moray has also been popular with parents, with village Findhorn and town Forres both popping up on the list, in 2017 and 2012 respectively.

It also inspired two of the biggest north-east names however, which are Keith and Moray itself.


Baby names of the Highlands

The picturesque setting of the Highlands is a popular travel destination for many, so it makes sense that people would want to capture that within a name.

Some of the monikers that have been selected by parents so far include Argyll-Sutherland, the Sutherland portion being a county in the Highlands; Strathie, a region; Torridon, a village and Tain, a burgh.

Tain town centre in the Scottish Highlands

Nairn, a town in the local authority area, proved the most popular however, and is one of the most popular location-related baby names of all time.

Between 1974 and 2023, there have been 369 babies given the name Nairn.


Baby names of the Scottish islands

The islands around mainland Scotland account for some of the most popular geographical names.

Lewis, like the island in the Outer Hebrides, is by far the most popular name. Although most people who name their child Lewis probably doesn’t have the island in mind, there have been 17,800 babies given the name so it’s fair to assume at least a few of them are have taken inspiration from the island.

Meanwhile Harris, like the island in the Outer Hebrides, is the second most popular geographical name, at 4,469 babies.

Others that have been used include Uist, an island; Tobermory, the main town on Mull and of Balamory fame and Islay, an island in the Inner Hebrides. Cara, an island off the west coast of Kintyre was also a popular choice.

A row of colourful buildings the harbour area of Tobermory

Another one which could have been inspired by a place is Isla-Skye. Both Isla and Skye are popular girls names on their own, as are hyphenated names. However, when spoken it sounds a lot like Isle of Skye, and might have provided some inspiration for the two parents who chose it in 2017 and 2018.

Baby names of the rest of Scotland

Caledonia has been chosen by 37 people between 1974 and 2022, and is the Latin name given to Scotland by the Romans.

Other names include Argyll-Sutherland, where the Argyll portion refers to the county on the west coast; Melrose, a town in the Scottish Borders; Peebles, another town in the Borders; Erskine, a town in Renfrewshire and Girvan, a town in South Ayrshire.

Also on the list is Craigie, a village in South Ayrshire; Glasgow; Livingstone, potentially after Livingston in West Lothian; Johnstone, a town in Renfrewshire; Oban, a town in Argyll and Bute; Stirling and Hamilton, a town in South Lanarkshire.

Others include Denny; a town in Falkirk, Airdrie; a town in North Lanarkshire, Irvine; a town in North Ayrshire, Annan; a town in Dumfries and Galloway, Kelso; a town in the Scottish Borders and Dunbar; a town in East Lothian.

Loch Lomond in Scotland
Loch Lomond

Some of the more popular selections included Clyde, potentially inspired by the River Clyde; Lomond, like Loch Lomond and Paisley, a popular name on its own but also shared with a town in Renfrewshire.

But which name is the most popular?

The chart below shows the top 20 most popular names that are linked to a place or area of Scotland, and shows how many babies have been given that name from 1974 to 2023.

As shown above, Lewis is by far the most popular location-related name in Scotland.

However, Harris, Angus, Cara Iona, Keith, Arran and Alisa all have thousands of babies sharing its name.

Top names Lewis, Harris, Angus and Cara have been used, 17,800, 4,469, 3,747 and 3,686 times respectively.

Iona has been used 3,179 times, while Keith has been used 2,866, Arran 2,816 times, and Ailsa 1,740.

More from our Scottish baby names series

Do you have a unique name? Or an interesting story behind why you picked the name for your baby? Get in touch with us if you’re interested in being featured in future articles in this series –