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(Mostly) Gaelic Elements in Local Place Names

How to pronounce "Drumnadrochit".
It's "Drum -na- DROCH -it". The "Droch" bit is softened at the end, as in Loch, not as in Lock. It's easy, just breath out through the K sound when you get to it.
Don't overdo it or you'll sound like Gollum in Lord of the Rings...

It's a lot easier to remember the name if you know what it means. Here are some elements to look out for in Highland place names, with their meanings:-

Achadh, Ach, Auch Field
Abhainn, Aven, Avon River
Allt, Alt Stream
an (diminutive ending) see Lochan
Ard High
Baile, Ball, Bal Farm, Settlement, Town
Ban White, Pale
Beag, Beg Small
Beinn, Ben Mountain
Beith Birch
Blair Flat, level field
Breac Speckled
Buchaille Shepherd
Buidhe, Buie Yellow, golden
Cam Bent
Cairn, Carn Hill, heap of stones
Ceann, Kin Head
Cill Church
Clach Stone
Cnoc Hillock, small hill
Coille Wood
Coire, Corrie Hollow, cauldron
Craggan Small rocky hill
Creag, Craig, Crag Rock, cliff
Croit, Croft Croft, smallholding
Cruaidh, Croy Hard
Dal, Dail Meadow
Darach, Darroch Oak tree
Dearg Red
Donn Brown
Doire Grove
Drochaid, Drochit Bridge
Druim, Drum Ridge
Dubh, Dhu Black, Dark
Dun Fort, usually on a steep hill
Eas, Ess Waterfall
Eilean Island
Fearn Alder
Feith Bog
Fionn White, pale, fair
Fuar Cold, chilly*
Garbh, Garve Rough
Garadh, Garry Enclosure
Geal White, bright
Glas Grey/green
Gleann, Glen Valley
Gobhar, Gower Goat
Gorm Blue
Innish, Inch, Insch Island
Inbhir, Inver Confluence, Mouth of a river
Kil Church
Lagan, Laggan Hollow
Lairig Pass through hills
Leacann, Leachkin Slope
Laitir, Letter Large, extensive slope
Liath Grey
Lochan Small loch
Mam Large round hill
Meadhonach Middle
Meall Lump, shapeless hill
Moine Moss, peat
Monadh Extensive hill, moorland
Mor, Mhor Large
na of the
Ros Promontory
Ruadh Red
Sgeir ** Skerry, small rocky island
Sgurr Peak, sharp top
Sneachd Snow
Strath Wide, U shaped valley
Sron, Strone Nose, point
Stac Rocky column, cliff
Tigh House
Tir Land
Tomb, Tom Hillock
Tor, Torr Cone shaped hill, tower
Tulach, Tullich Knoll
Uaine Green
Uachdar, Auchter, Achter Upland
Uamh Cave
Uisge Water

Why is Urquhart not listed? It is in fact a Pictish name, based on the word Carden, which is thought to mean "thicket" and may be connected with the thick vegetation at Urquhart Bay at the Cover, an S.S.S.I. Other Pictish place name elements include "Pit", meaning "portion", or "share", and "Aber" meaning "River Mouth"

Highland place names may also have Norse elements, such as "Dale" meaning valley, "Wick/Vik", meaning a bay, as in Lerwick and Uig, and "Tarbert", meaning a narrow neck of land over which it is possibly to portage a ship. Norse names are, unsurprisingly, usually found near the coast; most Gaelic words relating to the building and sailing of boats are derived from Norse. Most names of mountains which are clearly visible from the sea, and can be used for navigation, are also Norse. The Ordnance Survey website has a useful glossary here.

* Fuar is pronounced very like the French word for cold, froid and is related to it - perhaps another legacy of the Auld Alliance.

**Sgeir is derived from the old Norse word sker, which means a rock in the sea.

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