THE PER­FECT PRE­FIX

Scottish Field - - LETTERS -

My wife and I re­cently en­joyed a hol­i­day in Gran­townon-Spey, with good weather, though just be­fore the very hot spell. We know the area quite well, and thor­oughly ap­pre­ci­ated the town, with its lovely wide main square, its shops, its wood­land walks, even though we are 'get­ting on a bit' as we are now in our late 80s. We were some­what dis­mayed, though, to see the pre­fix 'Strath' dis­ap­pear­ing. Strath is a very Scot­tish pre­fix, so Strath­spey it is, not Spey­side or Spey Val­ley. So far we do not talk of the Pef­fer-side or Val­ley, but Strath­p­ef­fer, and so it is for Strat­hearn, Strath­tay (though Tay­side is creep­ing in, par­tic­u­larly in the lo­cal Health Board). The Strath­spey Rail­way at Boat of Garten is the Spey­side Rail­way now, and even in Gran­town it­self, of­fi­cial sign­posts in­di­cate Spey­side walks. This is a plea to re­tain the old names – Strath­spey, (name of a very fine, el­e­gant dance too) Strath­conon, Strat­hearn, Strath­fil­lan and many more. To me, 'side' al­most sug­gests rib­bon de­vel­op­ment and 'val­ley' is re­ally just an Angli­ci­sa­tion of the word 'Strath'. I’m sure vis­i­tors to this de­light­ful part of the High­lands would pre­fer to call these places 'Straths' rather than 'sides' or 'val­leys.' So please, keep the 'Straths' – it is, af­ter all, part of our her­itage. Niall Iain MacLean, Ar­gyll

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