Stroma & Swona


We’re on a roll with these Scottish islands names, finished up the week with a double up of two more with equally fascinating names.

Let’s start with Stroma because she’s one I’ve known of for longer. About two, maybe three, years ago I read a book called Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine. It was a break from the usual genre I indulge in but the main family included children named Jack, Rowan (g) and Stroma. This is a family I think of when I talk about how versatile Jack seems to be as a name. Stroma as a name does not rank, but Jack has enjoyed many years at #1 in England&Wales. To put the pair together in a story seems foolish at first, but they sort of work well together.

At least, that’s what I think.

I remember complaining after I finished the book that I kept reading Stroma as Storma. These days, I seem to have adjusted to the name and no longer suffer from such an issue. But be reminded that some may.

Should that stop you using the name? It’s a tiny little problem really, and depends on your opinion about the name Storma.

Oh, and yes, young Stroma was named after the island.

The island itself is situated in the Pentland Firth part of Scotland’s coastline, and it’s part of the Caithness administration. Anyone else think Katniss when they read Caithness?

Like many names for islands around this region, the name Stroma comes from Nordic origins, and means island in the stream.

What’s worth noting at this point is that there is also a word stroma which related to biological cells. I found this out whilst pursuing a Biology A-Level and it never really affected my take on the name given that a relatively small percentage of the population would actually be aware of this link. It’s also the name of the fluid you find in chloroplast, which deals with photosynthesis.

Those with memories link an elephant may also remember the potato reference I mentioned back in March, with Stroma being a type of potato.

Something about that sentence is hugely amusing to me, but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly it is.

As for Swona, this island is a little closer to the Orkney islands we mentioned earlier on this week. Unlike Stroma, it remains uninhabited.

However, much like Stroma, her origins lie in Old Norse and she possibly means Swine’s Isle.

If you class Swan as a slight GP name for yourself, you may want to really consider Swona.

So there you have another two more islands names to add to the pot. Both have their quirks and drawbacks, but what names don’t?

Categories: Place Names | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Stroma & Swona

  1. I think I prefer Swona to Stroma by sound – but I may be influenced by the fact I know someone named Strom, and I regularly mangle their name into Storm, so I could definitely see Stroma becoming Storma.

    Was Stroma in the book a girl or a boy? I’m assuming Rowan was a boy, perhaps wrongly.


  2. The more I say Stroma the more I like it. I also like Storma as a more feminine use of Storm. But I’ve never heard either in use, so it would be fascinating to meet someone with either name.


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