Celebrating the place-name heritage of Inverness

16 June 2021

NatureScot has today launched a new guide to the place-names of Inverness and the surrounding area. 

The publication celebrates the cultural and natural heritage of the Highland capital by identifying and explaining the meaning behind many of the area’s place-names.

Building on NatureScot’s successful Gaelic in the Landscape series, it draws on local knowledge to gain a richer understanding of the names that connect people to the land, environment and community.

The guide was researched and written by the award-winning local broadcaster and storyteller Roddy (Ruairidh) Maclean, whose work centres on the connections between the Gaelic language and Scotland’s environment. Roddy said: “The place-names of Inverness and its surrounds reflect the area’s variety of habitat and topography, ranging from peat-clad moorlands to gentle shorelines, and including farms, villages and features within the city’s urban landscape. As in most of the Highlands, the Gaelic language is dominant and I have attempted in the book to explain how Gaelic place-names work and to encourage locals and visitors alike to explore the language in order to appreciate the richness of our cultural heritage.”

The project also received support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the principal public body for promoting Gaelic development in Scotland. Steven Kellow, Funding and Projects Officer, said:  “Gaelic placenames are an important part of the heritage of the language and often what sparks an interest for people to start learning Gaelic.  We were delighted to support this project to promote the Gaelic heritage around Inverness and we are sure that this will inspire those in the area to learn the language.”

The publication can be downloaded from NatureScot’s website and a limited number of printed copies are available via the Gaelic Books Council’s website. A free virtual lecture of the research findings is scheduled for September and will be publicised in due course.

Read the full Gaelic version.