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Beinn dearg

Re: Beinn dearg

Postby rabthecairnterrier » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:31 pm

Alex W wrote:
Mal Grey wrote: I especially like that Aonach Mor is smaller than Aonach Beag.

It's most likely based on apparent bulk and not height - the summit area of Aonach* Mor is about half-a-mile long whereas that of Aonach Beag is comparatively compact.
* "Aonach" being "slope."
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Lightfoot2017 » Fri Feb 12, 2021 6:51 pm

Good thread. :clap:

Sharing a small office for almost 20yrs with a fluent (and fanatical) Gaelic speaker was often a trial :roll: ....but by a process of unconscious osmosis I picked up a few key words and phrases too. The colours - dearg, liath, ghlas etc - are an obvious one.

But also the shapes and contours of hills can be very descriptive and informative and can really help to enhance your understanding of the landscape - not to mention making map reading a wee bit more interesting.

So, words like Sgurr , Stuc, Stob etc. all describe the landscape really well.

Its worth investing a little time to learn more about this. The rewards stay with us for years. :wink:
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Sunset tripper » Fri Feb 12, 2021 8:26 pm

rabthecairnterrier wrote:
Alex W wrote: I especially like that Aonach Mor is smaller than Aonach Beag.

It's most likely based on apparent bulk and not height - the summit area of Aonach* Mor is about half-a-mile long whereas that of Aonach Beag is comparatively compact.
* "Aonach" being "slope."


Yes I've heard that's the thinking behind the naming but does Aonach not mean ridge or am I missing something?

I always think of Aonach Mor and Beag as one mountain a bit like CMD and Ben Nevis but I suppose with that thought process they could all be considered as one. :D :roll:
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby nigheandonn » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:26 am

Dwelly gives 13 different meanings of aonach, including 'prince', 'galloping' and 'panting for breath' :D I think my favourite is the very specific 'Green plain near the shore on a stony bottom (a machair has a sandy bottom).'

He doesn't actually give ridge specifically, but the primary meaning seems to be a steep place - I think the point is that a ridge has steep ground on either side. (The Faclair Beag, more modern but less detailed, gives 'steep place' and 'ridge' as the first two meanings.)
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby rabthecairnterrier » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:00 pm

Yes I've heard that's the thinking behind the naming but does Aonach not mean ridge or am I missing something?

Colin Mark's Gaelic-English Dictionary gives the meaning as simply "upland" but also - most appropriately - "breathless" or "panting."
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby NickyRannoch » Mon Feb 15, 2021 10:12 pm

Alex W wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:Others are more of a nickname, An Teallach being The Forge, possibly because the corrie felt like a place the gods would forge their weapons? I'm speculating now! There are a few named after legendary figures (Fionn for instance)
Unusually, there are a few summits on Skye named after the people who first climbed them, as this was only a few generations ago.



Would "Fionn" have been named after a person? I had always assumed it would be "blonde". As you say, there are very few hills named after people which is in marked contrast to other mountain ranges. I walked in the High Sierra and always thought that magnificent mountains named after an individual betrayed a large measure of human arrogance.

My Gaelic is not native and not really sufficient, but it's a great pastime matching the mountain to its name. I especially like that Aonach Mor is smaller than Aonach Beag.


Fionn can mean white or fair or it could refer to Fionn MacCumhail but more likely the Fianna. Fionn Bheinn for example is simply white mountain.

Places named after Fionn himself are nothing like as common as paces named after the Fianna and sometimes nam Fiann (Of the Fianna) is mistranscribed as nam Fionn.

rabthecairnterrier wrote:
Alex W wrote:
Mal Grey wrote: I especially like that Aonach Mor is smaller than Aonach Beag.

It's most likely based on apparent bulk and not height - the summit area of Aonach* Mor is about half-a-mile long whereas that of Aonach Beag is comparatively compact.
* "Aonach" being "slope."


Correct, Mòr refers to size or mass, Àird would be the word for height.
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