Welcome to Dull: Strangest town names in Britain
EXCITING news: the town of Dull in Perthshire is to be twinned with Boring, a town in Oregon, USA.
It is reported that the idea behind the as-yet-unofficial pairing is to forge closer ties between the two communities and promote tourism. But, we suspect, their respective residents also have a good sense of humour. We would suppose that the same goes for these other curiously-named towns across the UK, starting with some in Scotland...
We all know the colloquial meanings for ‘twat’, so we’ll save everyone reading the indignity of an explanation. The name derives from a Norse word meaning “small parcel of land”. There is, ahem, more than one Twatt in Scotland - its namesake is also found in the Shetlands.
Avowedly not named after the notorious tonic wine, the origins of the town’s name have been at the centre of not inconsiderable debate. Though Buckie is thought to derive its name from its proximity to the sea, more recent research suggests that it comes from the Gaelic word ‘boc’, meaning male deer, but no conclusive evidence has thus far surfaced. But it’s definitely nothing to do with Buckfast.
South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Toilet humour is seldom appreciated at the best of times among civilised adults, and you suspect the case would be no different in Boghead, a small commuter village in South Lanarkshire.
Irrespective of how it’s pronounced, this coastal town in Aberdeenshire looks wonderfully odd written down. And neatly groomed, we daresay.
And here’s the best of the rest...
There’s nothing ironic or clever-clever about Great Snoring’s name - it is, as the name suggests, a quiet rural village with not a lot going on. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There is a nearby village, Little Snoring, which, ironically, has a larger population than its namesake (over 600 people to Great Snoring’s 168).
Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England
An article in the New York Times recounts a wonderful conversation between a reporter and a hotelier in the South Yorkshire town of Penistone, the latter of whom makes several attempts to convey to the reporter that there is nothing phallic about the town. We wish her the best of luck on that one.
Ham, near Sandwich
Ham shares a signpost with a nearby town, Sandwich, which is only a few miles away. Amusingly, due to its small size, Ham is also a designated hamlet.
The longest place name in the UK, and certainly one of the most unpronouncable. Gold star to anyone who can say it three times fast.
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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