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Gaelic in the Landscape

START: 17 April 2017
END: 21 April 2017
COST: £300

Course Tutor: Ruairidh MacIlleathain (Roddy Maclean)

***This course is now fully-booked.  Please ask to be added to our waiting-list.***

Gaelic place names cover very large areas of Scotland – this course aims to provide non-Gaelic speakers with tools that will allow them to interpret the Gaelic landscape for themselves.

This course is suitable for those who have little or no Gaelic but who have a desire to learn the language in the context of its relationship to environment and place-names; particularly suitable for mountain and outdoor guides and rangers. Fluent speakers and Gaelic learners at all stages are also welcome. The main language of class instruction will be English, with both languages used on excursions.

Participants must be capable of walking up to 5 miles on a well-constructed track (with little climbing).

The course will centre around reading and interpreting Ordnance Survey maps, but will include exercises and daily excursions to look at landscape features. There will be some straightforward walking involved, so participants should be reasonably fit and should bring suitable clothing, for example walking boots, waterproofs (and midge nets!).

The course will be led by Ruairidh MacIlleathain (Roddy Maclean), an award-winning Inverness-based Gaelic journalist, broadcaster, educator and writer, and author of several publications on Highland place names. He is also an avid hillwalker, Nordic skier and sailor.

Much of Ruairidh’s professional life is concerned with assisting Gaelic learners to reach fluency and on promoting an understanding within the wider community of the close relationship between the Gaelic language and Scotland’s natural heritage.

Students are encouraged to bring the following:

  • OS maps (Landranger/Explorer) of your favourite areas in the Highlands.
  • Gaelic-English dictionary. The best is Dwelly’s Illustrated Gaelic-English dictionary (now available in print form, published by Akerbeltz, available from the Gaelic Books Council and Amazon Marketplace).
  • Laptop computer with internet connectivity.
  • Notebook and pen.
  • Some participants may wish to bring an audio recorder to make some recordings of names or words in order to assist their pronunciation afterwards.
  • Outdoor clothes.

The week’s itinerary is expected to consist of classroom-based learning in the mornings, with local area excursions in the afternoon (weather permitting). The course will finish by lunchtime on Friday.


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