Residents rebel against Gaelic street names

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The Independent Online

The ongoing battle to preserve the Gaelic language was dealt another blow yesterday after residents of a Highland town rebelled against plans to give their streets "unpronounceable" names.

The ongoing battle to preserve the Gaelic language was dealt another blow yesterday after residents of a Highland town rebelled against plans to give their streets "unpronounceable" names.

Defenders of the ancient language, who have been campaigning to get bilingual road signs across the Highlands as a statement of Gaelic identity, suggested that three new streets being built at Kilmallie, near Fort William, should be named after famous Celtic battles.

Local community councillors Bill Clark and Olwyn Campbell, backed by fellow promoter of the Gaelic language and vice-convenor of Highland Council, Dr Michael Foxley, argued the move would give visitors and residents a sense of place and historic Gaelic culture.

But locals living in the shadow of Ben Nevis fear that Inbhir Lochaidh Road (Battle of Inverlochy Road), Ach Do Liubha Road (Battle of Achdalieu) and Na Drochaid Aird Road (Battle of Highbridge) could prove too much of a tongue twister for anglicised ears and make life difficult for residents.

They say unfamiliar Gaelic names are impractical and will cause confusion when filling out forms or giving an address over the telephone.

Instead, the Kilmallie Community Council has called for the streets at Tomonie, part of a Benavie development on the western side of the town, to be named after Britain's highest mountain and local personalities.

The Community Council want Wilson Way, Ben View or Nevis View and Campbell Road.

Dr Foxley, who has been battling for years to promote Gaelic and the culture has admitted to being "disappointed" that residents did not back the Gaelic names.

Final decision for the names now rests with the Lochaber Area planning committee of Highland Council, which meets on Monday.

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