Outcry as Ordnance Survey uses English names on official maps of Eryri national park
Ordnance Survey (OS) has been criticised for using invented English names, including “The Mushroom Garden” and “Milestone Buttress” for locations across Eryri national park.
The OS, the UK Government’s national mapping agency for Great Britain, has caused an outcry among locals, with Nant Peris resident, Eilian Williams, leading the fight locally and nationally.
Nation.Cymru has been given access to just one of the complaints made by Eilian to the OS, where he makes clear his dismay at the denial of the original Welsh names in favour of recent English monikers, mostly coined by visitors and hikers.
Examples include “The Mushroom Garden” for ‘Coed Carreg y Fran’, ‘Senior’s Ridge’ for ‘Crib y Clogwyn Du’ and many more such as ‘Far South Peak’ and ‘Heather Terrace’.
Eilian also points out that many Welsh names have not been included at all, adding them in the letter in the hope that they might be included before more English names are christened.
Ordnance Survey (OS) has been urged by Eilian to replace the extensive number of “offensive” names with their true, original Cymraeg ones – many of which were recorded by local shepherds.
He has also dealt extensively with Gwynedd council, Eryri National Park and the Welsh Language Commissioner but, as yet, found no resolution.
Eilian writes: “I am horrified that the premium online map has many examples of new English forms which were never used until the massive outdoor industry started producing books and websites with their own invented names for large rocks, gullies etc. as well as their climbing routes.
“Let me give you the long-standing incorrect names first. I suspect that the only evidence for their use was in the literature of the proposers without any local verification.. So it would be unfair to ask us to provide evidence to change these names back to the original form.
“In April 2022, I started a Facebook Group “Eryri Wen” to collect and disseminate the correct Welsh names for the features of Eryri (specifically around Yr Wyddfa and Y Glyderau between Beddgelert, Waunfawr, Bethesda and Capel Curig and Dolwyddelan).
“You are welcome to join to learn how these names were collected. Let me give you examples of incorrect names. The most notorious of course was adding ‘The nameless Cwm’ to Cwm Cneifion near Glyder Fawr.”
“Please delete this ridiculous name as you already have its Welsh name on your map.
“Please delete ‘Upper cliffs of Glyder Fawr’ as this is a made up name from climbing books. There are two Welsh names. ‘Trigfylchau’ is the name for the whole area of the northern cliffs and cwms of the Glyder Fawr. Specifically the northern cliffs are called ‘Clogwyn Du Ymhen y Glyder’.
“Climbing websites have started to use ‘Senior’s Ridge’ to describe the ridge going to Clogwyn Du but ‘Crib y Clogwyn Du’ is the only name, not ‘Senior’s Ridge’.
Similarly I think Chasm or ‘Cliff of Glyder Fach’ is on the Premium Website. It is Diffwys y Glyder Fach (not Cliff or Chasm). Remember that nobody is even thinking of changing the Gaelic origin names of Scottish mountains to English so why should it happen here!
“On Tryfan you still have ‘Heather Terrace’ when it has an original Welsh name, ‘Y Llwybr Gwregys’ (the only name). Please delete Heather Terrace.
“On the premium website you have ‘North Peak’, ‘South peak’ etc but there are already Welsh names for the ridges or peaks of Tryfan. Closest to the northern side is ‘Ceg y Benglog’ – ‘Trwyn y Benglog’ is in the middle. ‘Ceg y Benglog’ is the most southerly peak of the 3.
Far South Peak & The Mushroom Garden
“Further south you have ‘Far South Peak’ on your map. This is a made up name for ‘Bryn Tryfan’.
“Near Tryfan you have ‘Bochlwyd Buttress’ on your map (any name with buttress on it has been made up by climbers). Its real name is ‘Clogwyn Crach’.
“You also have ‘Milestone Buttress’ between Tryfan and the road (A5). This is ‘Craig y Foty’.
“You add unnecessarily ‘Gribyn Facet’ to ‘Clogwyn Tarw’ near Llyn Idwal. Please delete this too.
“Above it you have ‘Sub Cneifiion Rib’ for ‘Clogwyni Idwal’. Another ridiculous made-up name.
“Further north you have ‘The Mushroom Garden’ for the correct ‘Coed Carreg y Fran’.
“Further north you add unnecessarily the made-up name ‘Pillar of Elidir’ to Clogwyn Cwrwgl. ‘Pillar’ is not needed – in Nant Peris, the problem is different. The climbers have changed the traditional names to new names that they devised.
“‘Craig Nant Peris’ is called that by nobody. It‘s called ‘Clogwyn Sgyrfil’. ‘Craig Geifr’ has been changed to ‘Clogwyn y Grochan’ on your maps by climbers. The position of ‘Esgair Felen’ is incorrect. It should be slightly more west and lower down.
“Many important rocks and other features are missing. On the south side is Y Glyder, Yr Olau Fawr, Pen yr Olau Fawr, Cernia, Braich Llwyd, Bryn Melyn Rhos, Llyn y Cwn Rhinfa, Cwm Nadroedd, Nant Cra, Llech Llwynog, Cwm Cwn, Cwm Cerwyn, Clogwyn Mawr, Cwm Cerwyn, Rhiwiau Clogwyn Du, Rhiwiau Esgair Maen Gwyn Clogwyn Blaen Coed, Maen Bugail, Pendys, Ysgafell Greigddu and Llwybr Yr Ysgar, Llwybr Llusgo Llwybr Main. Llwybr Carw should be there, as well as Clogwyn Mawr Cwm Ffynnon and Maen Cerlain.
“Now onto Yr Wyddfa. Please delete the made-up name ‘The Horns’. These are small rocks in Cwm Brwyn.
“If you must name them, they are ‘Clogwyni Cwm Brwyn’. Yr Wyddfa is noted by the omissions. Between Gorffwysfa (which you name ‘Pen y pass’ and ‘Garreg Walch’) is ‘Cwm Garw’. To the right of Garreg Walch is Cwm Brwyn and the rocks there are called Diffwys.
“What you mark as ‘Dinas Bach’ is ‘Bost Ddu’ above Cwm Drosgol/Cwm Beudy Mawr is Clogwyn Mawr Cwm Beudy Mawr, and ‘Diffwys Criafol’ to its left.
“There is ‘Cymoedd Bychan’, ‘Cwm Garreg Wen’ near. In the northern side of Grib Goch the moraine is called ‘Doman Goch’ and ‘Sbarion Gwynion’/’Pentre Bach’.
“Under Y Grib Goch from the left is Bwlch Geifr Cwm Lloua, Diffwys Dwr, Castell, Rhiwiau Gwartheg, y Gwter Fawr, Diffwys Du. Between Grib Goch and Clogwyn Person is Bwlch Coch, Bwlch Nuoedd, Castell Bwlch Nuoedd.
“Then Padell Clogwyn Person and Trwyn Clogwyn Person towards Nant Peris is Gyrn Las, Bwlch Chwarenog, Adwy Chwarenoog, Simne Sion a Sian, Cwm Main, Bryn Pen Llyn. Clogwyn Rysgwydd, Bwlch Maen Llus, Cwm Gorllwyn Pen Bol Du, Ysgar Llan, Tryfan Bach below Tryfan.
“Around Tryfan are Bwlch Llannerch Cloch and Bwlch Gwynt. I think that these significant features should be on the OS map.”
Struggling to understand why the OS are considering putting recent made-up names on maps of Eryri. Gribyn Facet Heather Terrace and Far South Peak already have names- Clogwyn Tarw, Y Llwybr Gwregys & Bryn Tryfan. No group of Cagoule-clad visitors have the right to rename our land
— Myfanwy Alexander (@lodeslan) January 22, 2024
Following Eilian’s campaign which is now gaining traction, a number of social media users have grown equally incensed, with Myfanwy Alexander writing on X: “Struggling to understand why the OS are considering putting recent made-up names on maps of Eryri.
“Gribyn Facet Heather Terrace and Far South Peak already have names – Clogwyn Tarw, Y Llwybr Gwregys & Bryn Tryfan. No group of Cagoule-clad visitors have the right to rename our land.
“If OS is really considering using climbers’ nicknames to replace existing historic Welsh place names, shall we return the compliment?
“Suggestions please. Pwll Diwaelod for London, Y Garthffos for the River Thames, Porthcaethweision for Bristol, Tre Arwerthwyr Tai for Shrewsbury?”
Responding to his campaign reaching a wider audience, Eilian told Nation.Cymru: “I feel that by giving English names all over the sacred home of our nation, that is the final stage of colonisation.
“Many of the names refer to our past sacrifices, others are poetic names of great beauty.
“Eryri was where we lost our independence and it is the last stronghold of our culture… It represents our resistance to English rule.
“We do not use guns against the English occupation, only our language. It is our last arm to maintain our distinctness and to resist assimilation.”
An Ordnance Survey spokesperson said: “As the national mapping service for Great Britain, Ordnance Survey maintains the national geographic database for the nation. Our remit is to capture and maintain names for both the natural and manmade environment, including buildings and natural features.
“Ordnance Survey makes enquiries and consults appropriate authorities in order to establish, with as much authority as possible, the most suitable name, form, and spelling for all places shown. This often involves working closely with the Welsh Language Commissioner, the National Parks, local councils and the landowners.
“A recent example of this process was the work with the National Park Authority, the School of Welsh at Cardiff University and the Welsh Language Commissioner to adopt a number of standardised Welsh place names for lakes for Eryri (Snowdonia) into our database. Further information on this project can be found here – https://authority.snowdonia.gov.wales/news/article/?id=27602
“In line with our Welsh names policy we are happy to work with our colleagues across the relevant authorities to investigate this recent enquiry.
“Ordnance Survey is committed to holding authoritative versions of Welsh place names within its mapping datasets. We offer a range of maps of areas wholly or partially in Wales at different scales in digital and paper format that have bilingual covers and legends where appropriate.” More information on our Welsh names policy can be found here – Welsh names policy (ordnancesurvey.co.uk)
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