ArdMoor: the curious story of our name

ArdMoor: the curious story of our name

‘ArdMoor’ is an anglicism of the Scots Gaelic ‘Àird Mhòr’ but its English rendering is more deceiving than you first might think…

Indeed, ‘Mòr’ (pronounced like the English ‘more’) does not refer to a ‘moor’ at all but a versatile adjective which the Gaels use to describe much of the Scottish Landscape.

‘Mòr’ simply translates as big. Hence, ‘Ben Mor’ or ‘Beinn Mhòr’ which translates as ‘the big mountain’, a creative name given to many of our Scottish peaks (for those particularly interested in the linguistic side, the ‘h’ which is added after the ‘m’ is called lenition and is added to adjectives complementing a feminine noun, this ‘h’ transforms the ‘m’ into a ‘v’ sound).

‘Àird’ simply means ‘peak or headland’. So, ‘Àird Mhòr’ means the Great Headland and would be pronounced ‘Arsht Vor’.

So, why this name?

This headland is in fact a real place – a rugged and wave-bitten outcrop which juts out of Scotland’s northern coast into the Atlantic at ‘Am Blàran Odhar’ or Bettyhill, a once again poetical name, translating as ‘Dun-coloured open space’.

A point pummelled into shape by sea and wind, Àird Mhòr certainly has its fair share of rough weather and so seemed a fitting inspiration for our business which would be supplying clothing to combat the wildest conditions.

The Merry Dancers or Northern Lights above Àird Mhòr, Farr Bay, Bettyhill

Unsurprisingly, this strip of coastline has a long history of shipwrecks. A bay just across from Àird Mhòr is overlooked by a graveyard filled with the bodies of Norwegian sailors whose ship was found wedged between two cliffs and plundered by the locals. They say that on stormy nights you can see the sailors wandering between the graves, searching for their homeland and long-dead loved ones, their moans mixing with the wind… 

Indeed, although not derived from moorland directly, the ‘Moor’ in our name is still very relevant as Bettyhill sits in one of the country’s most extensive swathes of peat moor.

This undulating landscape serves as throne to the Queen of Scottish Mountains, Ben Loyal and her sister, Ben Hope, royal purple in summer, the moors wear a cloak of snow-white ermine in Winter. The snow often remains as late as May and it is not unheard of for more sheltered areas of the sea to freeze over as temperatures drop well below 0°C.

It is thus we thought ‘ArdMoor’ an appropriate name for our business: a website which supplies clothing for even the most savage or ‘garbh’ conditions (pronounced ‘garev’, an appropriately harsh sound), weather which this headland endures season upon season.