There’s a pass between Beinn Sgritheall and Beinn a’Chapuill called Bealach na h-Oidhche with attendant features such as Creag Bealach na h-Oidhche, Loch and Allt Bealach na h-Oidhche and today I learned why they’re all called “of the night”. It was a lovely day at work and I bumped into a colleague outside and while gazing across to Beinn Sgritheall he mentioned he’d been told why by a relative who’s ancestor was a drover. Apparently drovers used to take cattle from Tormore on Skye, up the Sleat peninusla, past Leitir Fura to Kylerhea, where they swam them across to Glenelg then drove them on to Arnisdale. It was there they headed up the hill and the first overnight stop was at Bealach na h-Oidhche. Hence the name. Pass of the night. Apparently it was a good place to stance cattle overnight. Good grazing and crags to hem them in. I’ve seen another meaning for Loch na h-Oidhche (the night loch) as well. Apparently it means the fishing is good after dark according to Roddy MacLean’s excellent booklet Gaelic in the landscape [PDF]. You might find this booklet interesting too. Gaelic and Norse in the landscape [PDF].
I’ve always wanted to tarp on the Cairngorm plateau before the midges come out, so I’ve taken the plunge and contacted a couple of superb UK outfits to get some lightweight gear. Ordered on Sunday, both sets turned up today. Not bad! Pacerpoles and a SilTarp1 from Backpackinglight. I really wanted a MicroTarp but they’re out of tarps at the moment other than the Integral Designs SilTarp1. I sat down and watched the Bob Cartwright “how to put up a tarp and tie the knots” DVD, which was good fun. I gave up on the figure of eight slip knot thingy and the taught line thingy as they’re just about impossible to follow but the others were fine. Bowline, clove hitch both normal and slippy. By the time I’d sorted that lot it was blowing a gale outside!
Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) have sold off three of their wind farms. However, in the best Monty Python tradition, they’re buying the electricity back from the company they sold one of the wind farms to. Presumably as that means it “comes out of the monthly current budget and not the capital account” (cue rapturous applause)
The First Generation Environment enters our modern consciousness with the Picts, Vikings, Highlanders and sundry other groups to whom the environment was a source of fear. A place to be hurried through and not to be caught out at night. Devils, demons, gods, nymphs and sprites inhabited every rock, pool and hill. Places were named after the effects of the environment. Names like Carn Gluasad (moving), Aonach Air Chrith (shaken), Sgorr Gaoith (wind), Sgurr an Fheadain (chanter, from the noise of the wind). They also reflected the later conflicts of the First Generation. Names such as Meall an Fhudair (gunpowder), Coire a’Mhusgein (muskets), Beinn a’Chleidheimh (sword) and the politics, Sgurr nan Spainteach (Spanish), Stob Coire an Albannaich (Scotsman), Drium an Eireannaich (Irishman). (more…)