Wednesday, 25 June 2008

WHAT’S in a name?

Coming down through Scotland GB and I drove through the Pass of Killiecrankie. I just love that name. The Pass was the site of a battle between the Jacobites and the Orange Covenanters in 1689. In this particular battle, the Jacobites emerged victorious. One of the only escape routes involved leaping across a wide gorge. Some soldiers fell to their deaths but one recorded in his own memoirs that he made the 18 foot leap with Highlanders chasing him with claymores swinging.

Kiliecrankie was just one of many names that caused me to wonder at their origins. They also reminded me of that wonderful book by Douglas Adams, "The Meaning of Liff". Here are some suggested meanings for place names we passed en route:-

Killiecrankie - Where the Highlanders killed some eccentric chaps.
Ard-cheatharnaich – ‘ard to pronounce
Coldwell – aren’t they all?
Findhorn – Where ancient wind instrument was discovered.
Lynchat – Welsh gossiper’s home.
Mislet - Rented off to people who didn't look after it.
Glasgow - Windows get broken
Possil – Where they found a fossilised Possum?
Maryhill - Home of Fanny’s sister?

It sounds like a good game for a boring journey. Not that I found our journey in the least bit boring – though the half hour stuck in a Glasgow traffic jam did get me on the age old game of spotting number plates, starting at 1....

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