Snowdon or Yr Wyddfa; what’s in a name?

By Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

28th August, 2022

Snowdon from northwest
Snowdon from Moel Siabod

I gather John Pughe Roberts, a county councillor, called for the Snowdonia National Park Authority to refer to the mountain only by its Welsh name and also to drop “Snowdonia” in favour of the Welsh Eryri. This was back in 2021 according to this article.

Well, I am English with some Welsh roots and I love Wales or Cymru as it is known in Welsh. I have visited Wales on holiday for many years and love the mountains.

But I am not convinced that trying to refer only to Snowdon by its Welsh name only will be necessary. It should not be lost from maps, but its English name is still going to be used by many. As long as we don’t lose the history, I don’t think the Welsh should be too concerned.

In any event, I am aware even the Welsh are not too sure about its meaning anyway. I made the following comment on this website with which I am unaffiliated. I don’t know the site author’s name but having walked the horseshoe myself it is well worth reading the whole article.

“As regards the name Yr Wyddfa, they never seem to be very sure about it. There is a lot of romance in the mountains, the Welsh are very poetic and in fact the mountains can tell a story which no doubt kept people entertained when the TV and radio were not invented.

I consider that Yr Wyddfa is the wide father, rather as in the phonetics of the words. It is after all wide and it is the father of the mountains, the highest of Snowdonia.

As regards not calling it Snowdon, well it does see the snow in winter and it is the don, or lord of the mountains. Thus it is the snow lord in winter. You can even say it gets snowed on or snow’d on!”

I think that is very reasonable.

Interestingly an anagram of wyddfa is ‘dad fwy’. Fwy can stand for freeway which is a wide road. The Llanberis route up to the top of Snowdon is rather like a freeway nowadays as so many use it. As it is on the whole an easy walk, weather permitting, I consider this reinforces my point.

So in my books it is dad’s freeway, the free way to the father of the mountains in Snowdonia (or Eryri if you prefer).

As regards Eryri the Guardian article says this.

Eryri (pronounced Eh-ruh-ree) had long been thought to refer to the Welsh name for eagle – eryr – but is now believed to originate from the Latin oriri, meaning to rise.

The thing is the word is very close to eyrie meaning among other things the nest of an eagle or any high isolated position or place. The latter is due to the high place being aerie or even airy, plenty of air or wind for an eagle’s wings to gain lift.

Snowdonia is airy, a wonderful landscape of high, airy hills where you can have the cobwebs blown away as it were and where you can think away from the smoke and stir of the city.

All these words are good and should not be lost. But there is no need to be too legalistic about it. Just make sure people understand the meaning and poetry of the words. I hope the Welsh would be happy about that.

P.S. If you haven’t seen this link of mine and have an interest in Wales why not take a look.

W is for…..Wales

E is for….England.

By Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

2nd March, 2022

This is a page in World Menu. I have slightly updated it with links to the other pages on the other countries in the British Isles. I wanted to post something and am trying to complete other posts, including one on Vladimir Putin, given he has invaded Ukraine.

Well, okay, not him personally I suppose, but the Russian armies.

20th June 2020

This England. Land of the Angles. Angleland. Or even Angeland. Well, from the BBC website:

It was Bede who first articulated the idea of the English people. In 732, he wrote his ‘History of the English Church and People’, in which he treated the inhabitants of lowland Britain, whether Saxons, Jutes or Angles, as one English nation.

He traces the name back to a tale from the 590s. The story goes that Pope Gregory the Great saw some fair-haired and fair-skinned slaves in a slave market in Italy, and was told that they were Angles. ‘Not Angles but angels,’ he replied.

It was a lovely pun, and somehow created an idea, which one senses in Bede, that the English were a chosen race.

And it does seem we have been especially blessed. A wonderfully varied landscape, all sorts of resources, a ‘moat’ to protect us from our enemies. And eventually a Royal Navy. Which we need even more now to keep the French and Spanish trawlers at bay. Perhaps we can start shipbuilding properly again and revitalise the ports of which there are so many around the coast.

Here is a link to some of the beautiful places of England.

And it mentions pun; the English are very good at puns. Playing with words. Interestingly, much like the Jews who have so many wonderful comedians. Thank you, Mel Brooks, thank you, Tom Lehrer, thank you, Shelley Berman. The last has passed on, sadly.

I love England, and Kipling put it well (makes good cakes too so they tell me).

God gave all men all earth to love,
But, since our hearts are small
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all;

That, as He watched Creation’s birth,
So we, in godlike mood,
May of our love create our earth
And see that it is good.

That’s just a bit of his poem. I had an Atlas of the British Isles when I was 8 years old. Lots of fascinating information. Flora and Fauna (two sisters?) topography, rivers, fish, wartime stuff, place name meanings etc, etc. And lovely maps.

The Ordnance Survey do wonderful maps. The best maps in the world-probably. As an advert once might have put it. Come on, you remember. Poring over them for hours, out walking or cycling with them in my paws, with sweat coming from my pores!

That’s English for you, amazingly versatile, frustrating for the foreigners, many who have come to these shores over the years and stayed. Because it was safe. And they could raise a family, secure that their children could make something of their lives here. Those of us already here may not have always been very welcoming (the English reserve), but with a bit of give and take as they say, it has worked out quite well.

And there’s Scotland and Wales and Ireland that have shared our heritage, and been instrumental in how this land, which we call ours, has been shaped. I have Scottish and Welsh roots as well in England. Sadly, not in Ireland as far as I know. Although my first name might come from there, so perhaps I am wrong. That would be good.

We have left the EU. It has taken far too long. And we should not have joined in the first place. But we like Europe and those who live there. But we want to call them French and Spanish and Italians. Germans, Dutch, Danish. I could go on, and I am sorry if I didn’t include your country if you are not from one of those.

But I will mention what a nurse from the Czech Republic said to me. Joanna I think her name was. She told me that they say ‘Ahoy’ for hello. Like the sailors do. The Vltava river which runs through Prague is navigable well upstream from the city, so sailors from England could travel well inland. So, if you haven’t been to Prague you now know how to greet people.

Coming back to England I sense a dark cloud with this nonsense over Covid 19. Who is trying to exploit it? Those who don’t want us to leave the EU. Well we have, but please Boris don’t pay them any more money. Because I know who is behind this and have done for a while and I am not pleased. More than that I am furious, with a burning blue, intense, hot flame.

And because I died last year, I am invincible. They cannot touch me. And more importantly, I have the Most High just above me, sheltering me. One of his angels, from Angeland. And I am looking forward to you joining me, if you will, to kill the beast/s that threaten this Beautiful Land from inside and out. And purge it of all that is evil and wicked.

And with the One who is the Light of the World in our hearts, so we can be a beacon of light to the world.

P.S. Here are links to the other countries in the British Isles.

W is for…..Wales

S is for…..Scotland

I is for…..Ireland