Beinn, Coire ‘s Càrn

Fàilte oirbh uile – Welcome to all of you.

Thank you for your interest in one of Spòrs Gàidhlig’s interactive Gaelic language sessions for outdoor practitioners.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Gaelic language is the predominant language of Scotland’s recorded landscape. This is evident from even a cursory glance at an OS map of nearly any area of Scotland – Gaelic elements and place-names are to be found in abundance.However,the numbers of speakers have been declining for many years due to a variety of issues. Spòrs Gàidhlig exists to support young people to use the language and our workshops on place-names, are to offer support and learning to others working in the outdoors. 

The Beinn, Coire & Càrn sessions will introduce and develop some basic knowledge of Scotland’s Gaelic landscape, with particular emphasis on the upland environment. 

This will involve a basic overview of the Gaelic language and its historical roots in Scotland, before looking at a selection of common elements found in the hills, their meanings and how to pronounce them. We will then look to put some of these elements together into full place-names that will be recognisable to those who work in Scotland’s outdoors – such as Coire an t-Sneachda, Càrn Mòr Dearg and Liathach – before finally workshopping any names and places whose pronunciation and meaning you might not be sure of.

The “Long Leachas” on Ben Alder – It is actually “Leth-chas”. 

By contextualising these sessions within your own areas of knowledge and experience through interactive learning, we can quickly grow our understanding of Scotland’s Gaelic environment by augmenting our recall of terminology and pronunciation through the familiarisation of common elements and words.

One of the key tenets of professionalism in Scotland’s mountain environment, as encouraged by many national training schemes, is that of good leadership.

We believe that those working in the mountains have a passion for the activity and environment. There is a strong motivation to be more than just a provider of an activity regardless of location. Place means something. To visit a place in different seasons and weathers is to learn about it. That’s what place-names are; they are a desciption of the place based on a deep understanding of it in all weathers. Professionals can be the best when they have the greatest number of tools and experiences to draw on.

In our view, good leadership entails the need for not only a well-informed understanding of each aspect of the environment in which professionals operate, but also the importance of showing respect to the languages and people’s that contribute to and operate within this environment.

Nithear càrn mòr de chlachan beaga! (A big cairn is the result of many small stones together.)



Looking north from Maol Cheann Dearg – The bald red head.


Gearing up below “Belhaven” in Coire an t-Sneachda. Plenty of sneachd in the air that day!

Soundfiles so that you can listen to a pronunciation:

Coire an t-Sneachda

Buachaille Èite Mòr

Aonach Eagach

Bidean a’ Choire Sheasgaich

Meall a’ Bhuachaille

Glas Bheinn

Sgùrr MhicCoinnich

Meall Fuar-mhonaidh

Monadh Mòr

Càrn an t-Sagairt Mhòir

Stob na Broige

Beinn Bhreac

Càrn an t-Sabhail