It came to my notice a few days ago via Judith, Reader in the Wilderness that there is a mountain in this world of ours which goes by the ‘name’ of Eleventh Mountain, it’s in the Adirondacks as Judith is too. In upstate New York if that means anything to you. Apparently when that area was first surveyed some of the mountains were just given numbers, there’s even one called Thirteenth Mountain, poor wee soul that it is. Here are some images for Eleventh Mountain.
I thought to myself that the Native American/First Nation people must surely have given that mountain a better name when they were roaming the region. Maybe something like Mountain of the Shining Pines. I discovered that the Mohawk and Algonquin travelled through there and named the Adirondacks which means ‘place where people eat bark’. Ouch, I suppose that means that even they found it to be a challenging place to survive in.
Anyway, I’m not what you would call a romantic person, especially as romance in fiction nowadays usually means – running off with someone else’s husband – but I do find nature romantic, which is why I love authors who describe the natural surroundings well. In fact I like a bit of purple prose when it means that I can imagine a place of natural beauty.
But honestly if there was a society for the prevention of cruelty to mountains I would report Eleventh Mountain to them and petition them to give it an apt descriptive name. People are cruel to mountains you know, they quarry them for hardcore to make yet more motorways. According to the internet, people seem to go to the Eleventh Mountain area for romantic breaks, I can just imagine a woman saying to her friend: He proposed to me at the weekend! And the friend says: Where did he pop the question? Answer: On the top of Eleventh Mountain. Well to me that sounds like such an anti-climax. Or even worse – people in Scotland anyway often want to have their ashes scattered on a beautiful mountain – scatter my ashes on Eleventh Mountain just doesn’t sound right somehow.
Schiehallion is the name of one very popular mountain in Scotland and that Gaelic name translates as Fairy Hill of the Caledonians.
Ben Lomond is Beacon Mountain presumably because beacons have always been lit on it for celebration and signalling purposes.
Dumbuck Hill which I grew up close to means sacred hill. And the even closer Dumbuie Hill means yellow hill fort.
I do hope that whoever surveyed Eleventh Mountain originally wasn’t a Scot, and if he was shame on him for not bothering to think up a decent name for it. It all reminds me of that 1960s TV programme which has a cult following The Prisoner. I imagine Eleventh Mountain saying: I’m not a number, just as Patrick McGoohan did.
Have a look at some Scottish hill/mountain names here.
Mind you, I’m not impressed with the name Fifth Avenue either!