- Grampian Mountains
There is probably more confusion about the extent of The Grampians than any other mountain range in Scotland. The reasons for this can be partially explained by the fact that the name Grampian was used by the local independent television station Grampian Television, as well as being used to designate a large area of the north-east of Scotland following the Regionalisation of Scotland in 1975. Largely for those reasons – at least in the minds of people from outside the area – the name of the mountain-range has become synonymous with the area served by Grampian Television, and that administered by the former Grampian Region.
Map makers too - being outsiders - have often added to this confusion by stretching the name across large sections of eastern Scotland. Local writers however, such as Wyness (1968) and Watson (1975) – for example, suffer no such confusion. In the introduction of Wyness (1968) the author, writing about Deeside, puts the northern-edge of the Grampians at the River Dee when he writes:... until comparatively recent times, Deeside was an isolated and little frequented region and the reason for this is the extensive mountain barrier of the Grampians which begins in a low range on the sea-coast immediately south of Aberdeen and rise through various intervening heights such as Cairn-mon-earn (1,245 ft), Kerloch (1,747 ft), Mount Battoch (2,555 ft), Mount Keen (3,007 ft), Lochnagar (3,786 ft), Beinn a' Ghlo (3,671 ft), to Beinn Dearg (3,304 ft)—Wyness (1968) (p. 1)
Clearly, then, Wyness defines the Cairngorm as being the range of mountains running from immediately south of Aberdeen’ westward to Beinn Dearg in the Forest of Atholl.
In Watson (1975) the author – while defining the extent of the Cairngorms – specifically excludes the range south of the River Dee, writing:The other main hill group is the long chain running from Drumochter in the W almost to the sea just S of Aberdeen. Many maps and books have given its name as ‘the Grampians’ but although children have to learn this at school, they do not learn it at home and nowhere is it used in local speech. Some map-makers have confused the issue by printing ‘Grampians’ over the Cairngorms and Strath Don hills as well!—Watson (1975) (p. 19)
This is clearly poorly researched by Watson and anyone local or familiar with Aberdeen know the hills on the southern outskirts of the town (now a country park) as 'the Gramps', a clear contraction of Grampians.
Both Wyness and Watson roughly agree where the eastern, northern, and western limits of The Cairngorms lie.
The Grampians extend southwest to northeast between the Highland Boundary Fault and Gleann Mòr (the Great Glen), occupying almost half of the land-area of Scotland. This includes the Cairngorms and the Lochaber hills. The range includes Ben Nevis (the highest point in the British Isles at 1,344 metres above sea level) and Ben Macdui (the second highest at 1,309 metres).
A number of rivers and streams rise in the Grampians: the Tay, Spey, Cowie Water, Burn of Muchalls, Burn of Pheppie, Burn of Elsick, Cairnie Burn, Don, Dee and Esk. The area is generally sparsely populated.
History and name
The name Grampians is believed to have first been applied to the mountain range in 1520 by the Scottish historian Hector Boece, an adaptation of the name Mons Graupius, recorded by the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus as the site of the defeat of the native Caledonians by Gnaeus Julius Agricola circa 83 AD. The name of the battle was rendered as Mons Grampius by Francis of Puteoli in the late 15th century. The spelling Graupius comes from the Codex Aesinas, believed to be mid 9th century.  The actual location of Mons Graupius, literally 'the Graupian Mountain' (the element 'Graupian' is of unknown significance), is a matter of dispute among historians, though most favour a location within the Grampian massif, possibly at Raedykes, Megray Hill or Kempstone Hill.
In the Middle Ages, this locale was known as the Mounths, a name still held by a number of geographical features. Up until the 19th century, they were generally considered to be more than one range. This view is still held by many today, and they have no single name in the Scottish Gaelic language or Doric dialect of the Lowland Scots. In both languages, a number of names are used. Grampian Region was translated into Scots Gaelic as "Roinn a' Mhonaidh".
- Watson, Adam (1975). The Cairngorms. Edinburgh: The Scottish Mountaineering Trust.
- Wyness, Fenton (1968), Royal Valley : The Story Of The Aberdeenshire Dee, Alex P. Reid & Son, Aberdeen
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