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New map celebrates Welsh and Gaelic place names

15 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Welsh map by Slow Ways

The Welsh and Scottish Gaelic languages will be celebrated together in a brand-new map charting the walking network across Britain.

Created by Slow Ways, the comprehensive map aims to recognise the stories behind each name and their connection to local heritage and the surrounding landscape.

Slow Ways was established during the lockdown of 2020 and has become a network which connects 2500 communities with their neighbours, by identifying the most direct and enjoyable walking routes.

The objective is to enable people to explore and discover their surroundings in a slower more thoughtful way that walking or wheeling allows.  

The network is created by people who walk and check the routes across the country every day.

Following efforts of thousands of volunteers there are now around 120,000Km of mapped paths within the network.

As a crowd-sourced, community-verified resource, the company felt it was important to reflect local understanding of the land – this meant using the original native place names, preserving the connection to the local environment.

Thrilled

Hannah Engelkamp, the culture lead at Slow Ways said: “We’re thrilled to be unveiling our new map this week and believe it’s the most extensive network of routes to be published in both these languages together.

“We’ve worked with the Welsh Language Commissioner and Ainmean-Àite na h-Alba (Gaelic Place Names of Scotland) to make sure we get it right and that we’re true to local use of the names.

“For a long time, there’s been a trend of changing and losing original place names but more recently there does seem to be an indication that things might be shifting, with a newfound confidence in embracing our heritage and local names. Our work contributes to this, helping people find their way in their language of choice.

“The network is dependent on grassroots efforts and the knowledge people have about their own communities. So, as well as reflecting our mission as an organisation, it was natural for us to publish these maps in Welsh and Gaelic. It is right that the names on the maps reflect the diversity of the three countries of Britain.”

The launch coincides with the Slow Ways Summer Waycheck between 16th on the 25th of June.

Taking its inspiration from the old ‘beating the bounds’ tradition, when people would walk the boundaries of their parish – the event aims to get as many as possible to walk, run and wheel their local routes and to record them on the slowways.org website.

Ultimately the goal is to connect as many places as possible with different types of routes that are accessible for as many people as possible.

Hannah said: “During the midsummer Waycheck, we encourage individuals to explore as many Slow Ways as they can over the ten extended daylight days of midsummer.

“We rely on people, no matter where they are located, to walk, verify, and review routes. Once a pathway has received at least three positive reviews, it becomes an officially verified part of our national walking network.”

The new maps have been designed and produced in collaboration with Charlie Peel at Urban Good. Future versions of the map are planned which will include Scots and Cornish places names.


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Riki
Riki
10 months ago

You mean Gallic, which the Brythonic people are. The term “Welsh” is English terminology and shouldn’t be used in my opinion. The Irish are Gaelic and Britons are Gallic.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

This site has chosen to use the English language,in English the correct term is ‘welsh’.I won’t enter the additional debate of ‘English is a Welsh language’.

Riki
Riki
10 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen

You were forced to become “foreign”!, on your own island…and you are fine with this? The fact that you refuse to understand the evolution of why people are called “Welsh” shows your contempt for the place. Irony being ofcourse, seeing how the English are Anglo, they are more “Welsh” than the people of Wales. Why are you so against keeping your ancient identity of Cymro-Briton?

Last edited 10 months ago by Riki
Chris
Chris
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

I agree the disenfranchising of the welsh and Scotish in the English region needs to stop

Pmb
Pmb
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Contempt ? Really ? There are far more important events in the world to worry about irrelevancies.

Ziggy
Ziggy
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

What a boring boring pleb! Who gives a ####?

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
10 months ago
Reply to  Riki

The terminology is confusing, right enough. It used to be that Welsh was included in the category of Celtic languages with the extinct language Gaulish as the Gallo-Brythonic languages. These days, Gaulish is considered to have been part of the Continental Celtic languages and Welsh part of the Insular Celtic languages. There are two branches of Insular Celtic: Brythonic (or P-Celtic), which includes Welsh, Cornish, Breton and the extinct languages Brittonic, Cumbric and Pictish; and Goidelic (Q-Celtic), which includes Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx. To confuse things further, Gaidhlig is the Scots Gaelic name for itself and is pronounced “Gallic”,… Read more »

Riki
Riki
10 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I know, but it’s obvious that Brythonic is based on geography, rather than cultural connections. you can clearly see that British (Welsh) is Gallic (The Gal appearing everywhere along their migration path). Wales is known as land of the Gauls by many European nations. As for being Welsh, It’s only existed as of the mid 1800s when The Britons were forced to became “Welsh” via being forced to speak English. The result being, Welsh are one of the youngest cultural groups in the world. If you subscribe to being Welsh then you are not Britons. Ofcourse some “Welsh” are fine… Read more »

Frank
Frank
10 months ago

Quote: “using the original native place names, preserving the connection to the local environment.” That should confuse our neighbours even further. They cannot get their tongues around the ones we’ve got now. But you have to remember that we have only been neighbours for over a thousand years. We have to give them time to learn after all.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Will the map include England, as there are loads of Welsh/Brythonic names there which ought to be celebrated. Caer Caradoc and Pen Y Ghent show it clearly, but Eccles (from Eglwys, itself of Latin origin) and the Coombes Valley (near Stoke on Trent and tautologically being from Cwm and meaning Valley Valley) are two of countless examples that have only mildly obscured roots in the native British language. The more people who live in or near such places in England who know that there is a common cultural root with their home and the native language of these Isles the… Read more »

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