Ochils ~

    Sliabh nOcel 800 x 900 CGSH §722.106 [St Serf’s church at Culross (Cuilendros) ‘in Strathearn hi Comgellaib between the Ochil Hill and the Forth’ (hi Sraith Erenn hi Comgellaibh eter Sliabh nOcel acus muir nGuidan)][10]
    usque ad montem qui dicitur Okhel 13 th c. Macquarrie 1993, 140 [in Life of St Serf Adomnán meets Serf at Inchkeith (ad insulam Ked) KGH and tells him that he and his familia will hold the land of Fife (terram Fif) ‘from the Hill of the Britons [11] to the hill which is called Ochil’ (a monte Britannorum usque ad montem qui dicitur Okhel)]
Ochtell 1471 x 1478 Wallace vol. i, 11 [‘Syne throw the Ochtell sped thaim wondir fast’]
    the Oychall 1471 x 1478 Wallace vol. i, 85 [‘Through the Oychall thai had gane all that nycht’]
    Ochill 1630 RMS viii no. 1513
    lie Ochillis 1632 RMS viii no. 2044
    Ochellis 1632 RMS viii no. 2089
    lie Ochill-hilles 1636 RMS ix no. 446
    lie Ochill 1642 RMS ix no. 1219 [‘and its hilly ground’ (et hillie ground ejusdem)]
    lie hillie sive Ochill grund 1643 RMS ix no. 1475 [‘the hilly or Ochill ground’]
    Ochall hills 1722 Geog. Coll. i, 304 [Black Cairn Hill (the Black Kairn) NBH is ‘reckoned by some the beginning of the Ochall hills’]

Pictish or British *uchel

The word underlying the name of this, one of the most dramatic and conspicuous hill-ranges in southern Scotland, is cognate with Welsh uchel ‘high, tall’ (as well as with G uasal ‘noble, high’), from Celtic *uxel(l)o- (see Watson 1926, 209, Rivet and Smith 1979, 482). The same element appears in the place-name Ochiltree (second element British *trev ‘farm’), which occurs three times in southern Scotland (AYR, WLO and WIG; see Taylor (forthcoming) (Pictish PNS)). Catochil,[12] a small settlement in the Ochils near Abernethy PER FIF), is more likely to contain the name of the hills as an existing name, the first element of which is probably Pictish *cēt ‘wood’.

    For centuries the name had a singular form, adopting the Sc plural ending –is from the early seventeenth century.

    Both the western and eastern limits of this hill-range are ill-defined. Angus Watson, in his book on the Ochils and their place-names, writes: ‘Some would say that the Ochils area proper excludes Sheriffmuir [in the west] and extends no further East than Glen Farg. Others call Norman’s Law, well into Fife, the last of the Ochils’ (1995, 10). The area he himself took for his book includes Sheriffmuir and goes as far east as Collessie Den. I would in fact maintain that the Ochils stretch as far east as Lucklaw Hill and Straiton Hill above Leuchars, although in general the name is used much more frequently for the higher, western end of the range, which lies in STL, PER, CLA and north-west FIF. It is for this reason that no spatial details are given beside the head-name, above.

    Ben Cleuch (Angus Watson’s and OS Explorer form, also sometimes spelt Ben Cloich) north of Tillicoultry CLA is the highest point, at 721 m. The highest point in Fife is Norman’s Law DBG at 285 m (q.v.), with Lumbennie Hill PER, a few metres west of the FIF-PER boundary is 284 m (NO216155).

/ðəˈoxəlz/ or /ðəˈoxɪlz/, always with the definite article.

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4