HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Carrock, The

Type: Islands & Coasts

Region: Rhovanion/Misty Mtns

Other Names Little Carrock, Lesser Carrock

C. Tolkien mentions the relationship between Tol Brandir and The Carrock: "… thus the 'Great Carrock' [Tol Brandir] would answer to Beorn's 'Little Carrock' or 'Lesser Carrock', itself also rising amid the waters of Anduin but far to the North; …."

The Treason of Isengard, HoMe VII, Ch 14 Farewell to Lorien, Note 2.

Location: A large rock island located in the Anduin at approximately the level of the Mountains of Mirkwood.
Inside cover map, Unfinished Tales

Description:

"But cropping out of the ground, right in the path of the stream which looped itself about it, was a great rock, almost a hill of stone, like a last outpost of the distant mountains, or a huge piece cast miles into the plain by some giant among giants.

There was a flat space on the top of the hill of stone and a well worn path with many steps leading down it to the river, across which a ford of huge flat stones led to the grass-land beyond the stream. There was a little cave (a wholesome one with a pebbly floor) at the foot of the steps and near the end of the stony ford. Here the party gathered and discussed what was to be done."

Gandalf tells the party of Beorn:

"That Somebody made the steps on the great rock-the Carrock I believe he calls it. He does not come here often, certainly not in the daytime, and it is no good waiting for him. In fact it would be very dangerous."

"He called it the Carrock, because carrock is his word for it. He calls things like that carrocks, and this one is the Carrock because it is the only one near his home and he knows it well."

"I once saw him sitting all alone on the top of the Carrock at night watching the moon sinking towards the Misty Mountains, and I heard him growl in the tongue of bears; 'The day will come when they will perish and I shall go back!' That is why I believe he once came from the mountains himself."

The Hobbit, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings

Etymology
Tolkien described the Carrock as "a great rock, almost a hill of stone," about which is looped a stream. The word carrock seems to contain Old English carr, "a stone, rock." Carrock also appears in volume one of The English Dialect Dictionary (1898) compiled by Joseph Wright, where it is found as a variant spelling of currick, "a cairn, a heap of stones, used as a boundary mark, burial place, or guide for travellers."

Tom Shippey has also observed that carrecc is Old Welsh for "rock." And Mark Hooker, in "And Why Is It Called the Carrock? -- Bilbo Baggins" in Beyond Bree, November 2001, has suggested similarities between Tolkien's Carrock and Carreg Cennen, the limestone carreg in the Black Mountains in Carmarthenshire in Wales.

The Annotated Hobbit, Annotated by Douglas A. Anderson, Ch 7, Queer Lodgings, Note 3

Contributors: Lyllyn, 5.29.04; Added etymology: Elena Tiriel 5.29.04

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