Mountain Journeys

We are often asked what the names of mountains and places actually mean. Many words originated from 'Old English' or 'Old Norse' (Viking) and do have a meaning attached. Here's a few that we know of, more will follow over time so do check back if interested.

Many want to know about the sheep too. These are known as Herdwick and are native to the Central and Western fells of the Lake District. They are the hardiest breed in the UK. 

Ambleside - this partly originates from a persons name (the first part of the word), and would probably have been a summer pasture for that person or family.

Black Sail Pass - a mountain pass or col that is dark & boggy / marshy.

Buttermere - Lake by the dairy pasture

Elterwater - Swan Lake.

Fell - The Lakeland fells, probably the most commonly heard word in these parts. Meaning hill or mountain.

Force - Waterfalls

Garth - a farm or enclosure

Ghyll (Gill) - a narrow ravine with waterfalls

Herdwick - this originates from a grazing or pasture farm as opposed to an arable farm. Herdwick has now become the predominant grazing sheep of the region.

Holme - an island or piece of land mostly surrounded by water.

Howe - a pointed and rocky formation but not a mountain summit.

Langdale - Long valley. Langstrath gives a similar meaning, but may add to that a long & boggy valley.

Pike - a pointed and rocky summit.

Raven crag - a crag / cliff where Ravens have historically frequented. There are many such crags in the District.

Rigg - a ridge.

Scafell Pike - a bare and rocky, pointed summit.

Sour Milk Ghyll - a stream with many cascading waterfalls that produce a milky appearance, especially when in spate.

Tarn - a small upland lake.

Thwaite - a clearing.

Yewdale - valley of the Yew tree.

Wasdale - Valley with a lake

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