Originally published in the Scotsman on 18 June 2016
This river, which flows through Buchan and enters the sea near Peterhead, rises as two separate watercourses, now known as the North Ugie Water and the South Ugie Water, before merging into the River Ugie. Nowadays the two waters are denoted by their geographical relation to each other; in the Fifteenth Century however they were known in Scots as the Back Ugie and Fore Ugie, respectively.
Previously, the River Ugie appeared around 1150 AD in the Book of Deer – one of the earliest examples of Scottish Gaelic. There the South Ugie Water is mentioned as dubuci, which in modern Gaelic would be Dubh Uige, that is, the dubh or ‘black’ Ugie. The North Ugie Water is not mentioned but possibly this was the find (modern Gaelic fionn) or ‘White’ Ugie. The name Uige itself is likely of pre-Gaelic origin and its original meaning is not known.