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Place Names in Meids

Houlastongas, Whalsay, a place name only preserved in the fishing meid Houlastongas, Whalsay, a place name only preserved in the fishing meid Zoom The place names used in meids vary depending on the fishermen's knowledge of the land and their distance from it - sometimes the sea names are distinctively different or more descriptive than the land names. A common tradition was that the use of the "proper" names could bring bad luck when fishing. Therefore new taboo names were created, often describing the appearance of the landmarks when seen from the fishing grounds.

Some place names are forgotten on land, but preserved in meids. Such recorded names include Da Pinewall, Houlastongas and Burgidale, the valley taking its name from the fort situated at Sumburgh Head before the lighthouse was built in 1821.