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Col vs Bealach

Col vs Bealach


Postby ed_hill » Tue May 07, 2013 8:32 pm

Hi,

Could anyone explain to me the difference between a col and a bealach? or are they much the same?

cheers!
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby coachmacca » Tue May 07, 2013 9:02 pm

I cant wait to see this answer.. I've been wondering too..! According to Tinterweb they are both a "pass" but Bealach is Gaelic and Col from the French.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_pass
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby Circles » Wed May 08, 2013 8:41 am

and we call them a saddle in Oz
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby Border Reiver » Wed May 08, 2013 9:17 am

The references to bealach in Scotland seem to indiacate passes that are or were used by people and animals to cross through mountains. A col is often higher, considerably steeper and often narrow - certainly not used by humans and cattle to pass through mountains.
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby jmarkb » Wed May 08, 2013 12:34 pm

Border Reiver wrote:The references to bealach in Scotland seem to indiacate passes that are or were used by people and animals to cross through mountains. A col is often higher, considerably steeper and often narrow - certainly not used by humans and cattle to pass through mountains.


Although bealach can have a wider sense in Gaelic implying human transit (as road, gateway, passage) I'm not sure this is the case: there are too many bealachs, including in places such as the Cuillin ridge which make no sense as traditional routes through the mountains. The word col is English, imported into the language from French by the Victorians, and doesn't occur in anywhere on a Scottish (or English) map that I can think of, except as a geological term in connection with the Parallel Roads around Glen Roy.
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby NickyRannoch » Wed May 08, 2013 1:01 pm

Pretty much what jmarkb says.

For the purposes of topography in Scotland there is no such thing as a col, or at least it occurs extremely rarely.

Bealach can mean any gap, pass, low point between hills. So whilst all cols are bealachs, not all bealachs are cols :D It also has a wider meaning of a way or passage or a road. For something that is specifically a high mountain pass we also have the word lairig.

Also, can we all stop saying bee-lach :wink:
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby Circles » Wed May 08, 2013 1:40 pm

Also, can we all stop saying bee-lach

Can you tell u show to pronounce it foe-net-ik-a-lee?
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby NickyRannoch » Wed May 08, 2013 1:52 pm

Circles wrote:
Also, can we all stop saying bee-lach

Can you tell u show to pronounce it foe-net-ik-a-lee?


Let me state that i'm not one of these pub/hill bores who insists on the absolute correct pronounciation and some of my gaelic attempts will sound hilarious/infuriating to the ear of a native speaker but bealach is one that interferes with my happiness :lol:

soft b followed by the y in yes or yell and then either the e in hell or in the a in car - however you would pronounce dearg.

b-yell-luch :thumbup:
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby scoob999 » Wed May 08, 2013 4:58 pm

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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby malky_c » Wed May 08, 2013 5:55 pm

It is very similar to the welsh 'bwlch'. 'Mam' is also much used in Gaelic, and you will find 'hause' in Cumberland. I've often used 'saddle' too, but I don't think it appears in any place names in the UK.

Similar background to cwm/comb/corrie/cirque, when referring to a hanging valley.
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby ed_hill » Wed May 08, 2013 6:37 pm

cheers for the replies - an interesting insight into the mountain pass!
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby jmarkb » Thu May 09, 2013 8:01 am

malky_c wrote: I've often used 'saddle' too, but I don't think it appears in any place names in the UK.


I can only think of two: between Goat Fell and Cir Mhor on Arran, and between Cairngorm and Bynack More, and I would guess they are not really traditional local names.
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby footix2 » Thu May 09, 2013 4:02 pm

We say col a lot in Cumbria (well I do anyway). Hause is very common on the maps, but doesn't really get used a lot in speech unless specifically naming the hause. Is it pronounced "house" btw. I always say haws, which is blatantly wrong I realise :D
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Re: Col vs Bealach

Postby Slogger » Thu May 09, 2013 6:28 pm

footix2 wrote:We say col a lot in Cumbria (well I do anyway). Hause is very common on the maps, but doesn't really get used a lot in speech unless specifically naming the hause. Is it pronounced "house" btw. I always say haws, which is blatantly wrong I realise :D


Hause as far as I know is pronounced House. There are also places like on some maps Esk Hawes, pronounced as in Haweswater.
The is at least one Col mentioned on OS maps in Cumbria - Lingmell Col.
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