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Beinn dearg

Beinn dearg


Postby Gimbob » Wed Jan 27, 2021 7:15 pm

Hi quick question that I'm sure has been asked before-sorry.
Why are there so many beinn deargs, what is the meaning of this name and which one is the best?
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Coutts94 » Wed Jan 27, 2021 8:09 pm

According to walkhighlands Beinn Dearg means red hill/red mountain, cant say which is best because I have only done one, but the one up North is a great day out!
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby jmarkb » Wed Jan 27, 2021 8:40 pm

There are several very good ones (especially if you count Beinn Dearg Mors and Beinn Dearg Beags) but my favourite is the Torridon one.

Image
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby iain_atkinson_1986 » Wed Jan 27, 2021 9:07 pm

Same reason there's so many Geal Charns.
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Sunset tripper » Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:18 pm

There are a load of Carn Deargs also which means the same thing pretty much. Carn Mor Dearg is a fine hill and is actually quite red.

Carn Mor Dearg - Big Red Hill 24th July 2020 :D
20200724_125430.jpeg
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Arthurs Eat » Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:11 am

Could it be that with the clan system, hills in each area were given descriptive names. So oneclan might name the tallest hill Beinn Mor or big hill/mountain (of which there are many) so people of the clan all knew where they were going. The clan next door may have done the same and so on.
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby nigheandonn » Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:34 am

I think you see all across the country (or countries) that people living in one valley or area (who may or may not be a clan) name the features which are important to them, and don't know (or maybe don't care) about hills they rarely or never see in another part of the country.

Names like Esk which are just 'River River' always make me think that they must have been named by people who had only seen one river in their life, and never expected to come across another!

There's Stob Dearg on BEM, too - it is at least definitely pink when seen from a height, although quite grey from below.
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby jmarkb » Thu Jan 28, 2021 2:22 pm

The locals in Glen Roy seem to have been very unimaginative - there are 3 Carn Deargs within a few miles of each other. Or maybe they were just trolling the map makers!
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Sgurr » Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:55 pm

I think a lot of these hills got their names from map makers asking the locals what they were called, so there are a lot of big ones, gray ones and red ones. If I remember correctly, as well as hazarding who actually did a first ascent of many Munros, Ian Mitchell in The Mountains before the Mountaineers discusses this

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Ian+Mitchell+The+MOuntains+before+the+Mountaineers&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby prog99 » Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:48 pm

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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Mal Grey » Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:21 pm

As mentioned above, most Scottish hill names are basically descriptive names of the hill in Gaelic. Spelling can vary a little too.
So there are Bald Hills (Cheann?), Grey Hills (Liath), Green Hills (Ghlas?), Big Hill (Mor/Mhor), Little Hill (Beag/Bheag), Middle Hill, Rough Hill (Garbh) all things that meant something to the locals. Dearg is red/reddish, so where hills have a reddish tinge to their formations, its often applied. Add to this a few things like "corrie of the fox", "glen of the cattle", "speckled slopes", "Notched ridge" (Aonach Eagach).
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.

Torridon's Beinn Dearg probably has a good claim as one of the best Red Hills, though the one near Ullapool is a magnificent hill too, and bigger.

The whole subject is fascinating to me, and I really ought to look into it a bit more; the above just comes from my climbing of hills over the years and wanting to know what they mean.
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby NickyRannoch » Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:04 pm

Mal Grey wrote:As mentioned above, most Scottish hill names are basically descriptive names of the hill in Gaelic. Spelling can vary a little too.
So there are Bald Hills (Cheann?),
The whole subject is fascinating to me, and.


Ceann would be head. A bald head would be maol e.g. Glas Maol

We also get surnames like Mulholland/Mulhearn/Mulraney where Maol = servant/follower of, referencing the bald tonsure that monks would have.

People didn't travel much in those days so the big hill/red burn/ green loch etc would be ample description as someone in Glen Nevis wouldn't need to differentiate from a hill in Glen Roy.

When names were being collected the OS had a rule that they could only take evidence from "educated men" eg ministers and teachers and would not be allowed to take evidence from shepherds or ghillies. This meant many local names were lost and many, but not all, names related to the Fianna or other non Christian names were lost.

The OS record of all submissions, including from uneducated men (only men obviously :lol: ) was kept in paper records in Southampton until the Luftwaffe saw to them. I would give my eye teeth to have sight of them.

There are lots of innacuracies which have survived into modern usage e.g. Càrn an Rìgh - rocky hill of the king, in Perthshire, which is far more likely to be Càrn an Ruighe - rocky hill above the flat pasture below the slope as evidenced by the number of ruigh names around the hill.

I find a basic grasp of Gaelic can enhance enjoyment of the hills but can also be practically useful too. When climbing Sgùrr na h-Ulaidh this summer I was able to be pretty confident finding the point to climb up from the Glen up to the bealach between Aonach Dubh a' Ghlinne and Stob an Fhuarain because the of the obvious black rock in Coire Dubh
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Alba Bhoy » Sun Jan 31, 2021 6:44 pm

Scottish Hill Names, Their origin and meaning, by Peter Drummond, is an excellent guide to the origin and meanings of Scottish hill names. A wonderful book full of fascinating insights.
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Mal Grey » Sun Jan 31, 2021 7:49 pm

NickyRannoch wrote:
Mal Grey wrote:As mentioned above, most Scottish hill names are basically descriptive names of the hill in Gaelic. Spelling can vary a little too.
So there are Bald Hills (Cheann?),
The whole subject is fascinating to me, and.


Ceann would be head. A bald head would be maol e.g. Glas Maol



Ah yeah, getting my Maols and Ceanns mixed up. Maol Chean Dearg being one I was thinking of, remembering it was something like bald red head.
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Re: Beinn dearg

Postby Alex W » Fri Feb 12, 2021 4:25 pm

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.
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