Bilingual signage in Gaelic and English

Glenshee Ski Centre, along with The Lecht, Glen Coe and Nevis Range, began to use bilingual signage in Gaelic and English during the winter of 2008-2009. This is part of the national initiative to support the usage and acquisition of Gaelic in Scotland and delivered by Comunn na Gàidhlig with funding from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Scottish Government’s Gaelic development organisation.

A considerable amount of work took place with regards to Gaelic orthography, new Gaelic terms for snow sports equipment and research into place-names. In partnership with Glenshee, we hope that people will learn about Gaelic and it’s relevance to the landscape and culture of the area. We have also provided sound files so that you can hear the pronunciation of the sign texts. The following notes provide additional information on various aspects of the project.

We are indebted to Peadar Morgan of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Dr Adam Watson for supporting us in this exercise.

 

“Butchart’s Corrie was named after Col Butchart who was the Secretary to the University of Aberdeen in the late 1940s and early 1950s and was an enthusiastic downhill and cross-country skier. He discovered that the corrie was a good snow-holding hollow, before the Glenshee Chairlift Company was formed. He was Harry J. Butchart.”
Lit. “Butchart’s Arrival Poma”

“T-Bàr” was chosen as the Gaelic for “T-bar”

Cairnwell is An Càrn Bhalg

The established Gaelic for The Cairnwell is An Càrn Bhalg meaning “hill of bags”.

The established Gaelic for Caenlochan is Cadha an Lochain meaning “pass of the lochan”.

Dr Adam Watson:
Caenlochan Tow is not near Caenlochan but is headed in that direction. Caenlochan Glen is the name of the huge amphitheatre at the top of Glen Isla, leading up to the east side of Glas Maol. It is from Cadha an Lochain or pass of the lochan, the lochan being at 177771. Caenlochan Forest is the name of the deer-forest based on Tulchan Lodge in upper Glen Isla. The Nature Conservancy used the name for the Caenlochan National Nature Reserve, which went down on the west side almost to the upper car park at Glenshee and so included the Caenlochan Tow, hence the name for the tow.

Dr Adam Watson:
The name was recorded as Cairn Nuish on the Invercauld estate plan of 1809, and Carn naosh ‘old age’ by Francis Diack, and karn nosh with o umlaut by William Alexander and likewise by me, and I also heard it as Moses’ Cairn from an old stalker. So I went for Carn Aoise, hill of age. Carn an Fhuathais hill of the spectre is another possibility that fits with the Nuish old form. Alison Diack suggested Carn Naoise after the old Irish mythical tales of Fingal, given the other Fingalian associations of the area such as Ben Gulabin, Càrn an Tuirc, and others, and she put this in a leaflet of place names that the Cairngorms National Park Authority commissioned her to prepare, but obviously that is fairly speculative, given the other evidence above.

The established Gaelic for Clayboke is Cladh a’ Bhocaidh meaning “Mound of the Spectre”. 

Dr Adam Watson:
Claybokie Tow was named after the house of Claybokie west of Mar Lodge, where a tow was installed in 1963 as part of the ill-fated ski development. Glenshee Chairlift Company bought the tow from Mar Lodge estate and erected it on the Cairnwell, and hence the name Claybokie Tow. The original Claybokie was well known to Gaelic speakers as Cladh a’ Bhocaidh, meaning mound of the spectre (not grave). The house sits on a mound above the Dee, and was the head stalker’s house for many years.

Cluanaidh is the accepted Gaelic form of several representations in English such as “Cluny” and “Clunie”

The original Gaelic form of this was An Fhionn-Choire meaning The Pale Corrie but through a process of incorrect recording of the name and subsequent developments building upon this, the newer form is An Coire Fionn, the same name but a different representation.To get “poma of the pale corrie” we used the genitive of the Coire Fionn form giving Poma an Fhionn Choire.

Using the accepted form of Glas Maol, to get “poma of the green lump” we get Poma a’ Ghlas-Mheall

Dr Adam Watson:
“The name was A’ Ghlas-mheall, the green lump, a good description of it.”

The genitive form of “Meall Odhar” is a’ Mhill Odhair.

Dr Adam Watson:
“Meall Odhar locally is The Meall Odhar Mòr, hence Am Meall Odhar Mòr, the big dun lump, distinguishing it from Am Meall Odhar Beag which is the lower top at the summit of the hill at Sunnyside. Unfortunately the OS never showed the latter name and omitted the Mòr from Meall Odhar.”

A new Gaelic version. Having thought about the meaning of the name, a slope catching a lot of sun, we used “Deiseal” which usually means having a southerly aspect, which Sunnyside does not, but can mean also to have a sunwards aspect. 

An Tom Dearg – The Red Hillock.

Dr Adam Watson:

“Tom Dearg just red hillock, named by Dave Patterson the former manager, not because it was a local place name on people’s lips or old records, but because it was a heathery hillock and the heather had a reddish hue at times.”

 

 

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The new Glenshee Piste Map was produced in partnership with Comunn na Gàidhlig and VisitScotland. We were aware that some of the place-names appearing on OS maps were not considered to be 100% reliable but that these had in come cases now become accepted and/or appeared in publications. Some features of the ski area are named after nearby topographical features, some after people and some after places further away. We were also keen to make it as easy as possible for non-Gaelic speakers to understand the Gaelic on the signs. The genitive case sometimes caused debate. In all cases we attempted to keep the Gaelic versions as concise as the English.

Where we give “correct Gaelic” forms of existing place-name we refer to the established Gaelic of place-names which sometimes have changed into quasi-English/Gaelic drawing on references from both languages. We give the meanings of the Gaelic forms.