As unoriginal place names go, Loch Lochy (in Lochaber) has to be at the top of the list. I imagine whoever named it was at the end of a long day of loch naming and said to himself, “fuck it, I’m off to the pub.”
The loch is one of the estimated 31,460 freshwater lochs in Scotland. However, given that it’s 16km long and is the third deepest loch in Scotland (based on mean depth), you’ve got to figure that people were going to notice.
Loch Lochy is located 16km southwest of the far more famous Loch Ness and like its more famous cousin, also has a somewhat famous resident. Folk stories talk of Loch Lochy’s supernatural ‘River Horse,’ that would occasionally overturn boats and entice mares from their pastures.
However, the loch’s major claim to fame is that it was the site of the Battle of the Shirts (also what I call laundry day). Fought in July 1544, between Clan Donald and Clan Fraser, it was a particularly bloody battle with all but 13 of the 800 participants dead at the end of it.
For more have a look at the following books:
- Lochs & Glens of Scotland
- Lonely Planet Scotland’s Highlands & Islands (Travel Guide)
- Scotland of Old: Clans Map of Scotland (Collins Pictorial Maps)
Do you know of any place names less originally named than Loch Lochy? Let us know in the comments below:
Lake Malawi (Malawi means Lake in the local language)
I am rather late, but this isn’t actually true; Malawi’s etymology might actually derive from a word meaning “flames”. That being said, the name given to the lake by David Livingstone (and still apparently used in Tanzania), Lake Nyasa, does seem to mean “Lake Lake”.
River Avon (all of them) as Avon means River..
Loch Lochy is not fresh water…
Jason A Noonan says
😂😂😂 it is 😂😂😂
If you could read maps you’d notice that Loch Lochy is not fresh water…
Definitely fresh water. Try again.
It’s 29m above sea level and the sea water would have to flow uphill through several sets of locks (and some lochs) to get there, so I’d hazard a guess that it’s fresh water…
Of course it is. I’ve been there many times.
Juha Iivarinen says
There is a Water Lake (Vesijärvi) in Finland, and at one of it bays there is a town called Bay (Lahti)…
David Larsen says
And Joensuu (mouth of the river), Finland, which sits, as it happens, at the mouth of a river!
Steve Bennett says
> Loch Lochy should not be confused with Loch Loch, which lies to the east of Beinn a’ Ghlò.
So apparently you can get even lazier in loch naming…
Burt Brooks says
Hatchie River here in West Tennessee. Hatchie means river in the Chickasaw language.
Loch Loch for a start
Jason A Noonan says
Loch Lochy is it’s English name it is actually Loch Lòchaidh pronounced almost the same, Lòchaidh translates to English as dark water, please don’t be ignorant.
Totally agree. This is just another twitish article written by an arrogant, anglocentric clown who can’t speak Gaelic. You have to be a certain level of naive or entitled to look at a Gaelic name and mock it because of what some anglophone anglicised it to on an OS map.
State College, PA
Pendle Hill sits a few miles away from where I grew up in Lancashire, UK. The name is from the Cumbric word “pen” (meaning ‘hill’), the Old English word “hyll” (meaning “hill”) which combined to make Penhyl, later Pendle. Followed by “Hill” (meaning “hill”).
Quite literally “Hill-hill Hill”
Tarjei Vatne says
Vatnevatnet at Vatne, outside Ålesund, Norway. Vatnet means the lake, so the village Vatne, lying next to a lake, probably got it’s name from that. At some point the lake was named after the place whose name it had originally inspired, thus being called Vatnevatnet, the lake at Vatne.
Sian Wade says
Semerwater near Bainbridge, North Yorkshire, UK: its name derives from Old English ‘Sae’ (lake), ‘mere’ (lake), ‘water’ (lake). It is often referred as Lake Semerwater, literally ‘Lake Lakelakelake’.
Jan Willem van Dormolen says
The name of the seaport town Shanghai more or less translates as ‘On the sea’ (shang = on, at; hai = sea)
Cartagena, from Cartago Nova (New Cartago), when Cartago comes from qrt-ḥdšt, literally “new city”, so it would be New New City
Someone missed the opportunity when founding Cartagena de Indias, should’ve named it Nueva Cartagena and the pun would’ve been awesome.