Easter Cairn SLN R NT043934 1 384 355m
ad summitatem del Estyrcarne c.1335 Dunf. Reg. no. 333 [see SLN Introduction]
Easter Cairn 1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn.
Sc easter + en Cairn
The cairns of Easter and Wester Cairn may originally be from Sc cairn ‘pile of stones, burial mound’, in this case marking a boundary, since it is in the context of a boundary charter or perambulation that both first occur (c.1335 Dunf. Reg. no. 333; see SLN Introduction). However, the existence of the place-name Carnebeg in the same boundary charter, which is entirely G, meaning ‘little cairn’, raises the distinct possibility that Easter and Wester Cairn also go back to a G name, with the Sc affixes easter and wester added later. Sc cairn is itself a borrowing from G c?rn. It is difficult to know exactly how to interpret the mixture of Sc and G in a charter from the second half of the thirteenth century, but taken along with other evidence from Fife, it is quite plausible that G was still being spoken in this upland part of west Fife at this time (Taylor 1994; see also PNF 5).
It is clear from the above-mentioned perambulation that (the) Estyrcarne and Westircarne are functioning as hill-names by the later thirteenth century, but they are likely to refer to features on the summits (be they cairns built to mark a boundary, or prehistoric structures) rather than their being an early example of the eastern Scottish Highland usage of c?rn meaning ‘big, rounded hill’ (see PNF 5, Elements Glossary s.v.).
The NGR given is for the site of the ‘fort’ marked on OS Pathf. on the summit of the hill called Easter Cairn.
This place-name appeared in printed volume 1