Place name of the week: The Lomonds - Laomainn/Cuspairean Bhallais

West Lomond, as seen from the western approach to East Lomond.
West Lomond, as seen from the western approach to East Lomond.
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The name of these two distinctive hills in Fife - individually East Lomond and West Lomond (Lomondys in 1315) - are possibly in origin from Pictish *lumon ‘beacon hill’.

Alternatively, the name could derive from Gaelic lom monadh ‘bare hill’. Possibly the name was reinterpreted from the Pictish form by Gaelic speakers. Another scenario is that Pictish cognates of the Gaelic elements were gaelicised as lom monadh. This *lumon form is likely the origin of Ben Lomond in Stirlingshire which is now in Gaelic Beinn Laomainn, after which Loch Lomond, Gaelic Loch Laomainn, is named.

In the Gaelic tradition of Perthshire and Angus, the hills were referred to as Cuspairean Bhallais or Wallace’s Goals. The name was so-called because William Wallace was either supposed to be able to jump from one summit to the other, or throw a stone from one to the other.

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