First published in the Scotsman on 15 October 2016
In certain cases, the Gaelic and English names for a particular place are completely different. In the case of Dingwall, there were originally two separate places which have merged into one with population expansion. Dingwall is a name of Norse origin: Þingvellir meaning ‘assembly field’. The location of this place is thought to be what is now Cromartie Memorial car park. This Norse term is also the origin of the name of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man.
The Gaelic form is Inbhir Pheofharain (Inverferan in 1256) which means ‘the confluence of the River Peffery’. The river-name Peffer or Peffery occurs a number of times in Scotland and is of British origin, meaning ‘bright’ or ‘shining’. The upper reaches of the River Peffery which flow through Strathpeffer was known to the last generation of Gaelic speakers as Peofharag ‘the little Peffery’.
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