Having worked collaboratively with the National Park Authority and the School of Welsh at Cardiff University, the Welsh Language Commissioner has now recommended a standard list of Eryri’s lake names.

At a meeting of the National Park Authority yesterday (Wednesday, 15 November), members voted unanimously in favour of professing this standardised list.

The aim of the pilot project is to research and record the National Park’s wealth of historical geographical names so that they are safeguarded, and used extensively in conversations, on maps and in print, so that they are conserved for future generations. The standardised list of Eryri’s lake names is the first of its kind to be recommended by the Welsh Language Commissioner, with work now underway on standardising a list of waterfall and peak names found in Eryri.

When standardising the list, the Commissioner’s Place-names Standardisation Panel considered the history, meaning and origin of the names. In addition, there was a special emphasis on local use and consulting with individuals or experts with a close connection or specialised local knowledge formed an integral part of the process. The National Park Wardens, for example, were a valuable source of evidence. It became evident that many of the names had been incorrectly spelt on maps for many years and therefore this project was an opportunity to rectify them. Principles were also established to assist the work to ensure that the names were dealt with consistently and to establish a pattern for future standardisation efforts. The Panel have national standardisation guidelines to support the standardising work and as a result of this project the principles on the approach used with landscape names have been added to the guidelines.

The Welsh Language Commissioner has held initial discussions with the Ordnance Survey to try and ensure that these standard forms are adopted when updating maps or other materials. By working with the OS as the organisation responsible for geographical mapping on behalf of the UK Government, we are in a stronger position to ensure that Eryri’s historical geographical names continue to be used for generations to come.

Naomi Jones, Head of the National Park Authority’s Cultural Heritage said: “Eryri National Park’s wealth of names for landscape features is a treasured part of our cultural heritage and we’re extremely pleased to see our project with the Language Commissioner and the Cardiff University come to fruition. By recommending the standard list of Eryri’s lake names, the Authority ensures that these historical names are recorded for future generations and used extensively in day-to-day life.”

Dr Eleri James, the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Senior Infrastructure and Research Officer said: “It has been a privilege to respond to the park's request for guidance on how best to spell these important names, and ensure that they are able to benefit from the extensive expertise and experience of the Place-names Standardisation Panel. Prior to this pilot project the Commissioner has focused its efforts on offering advice on how to spell the names of Welsh cities, towns and villages – names that appear on signage. Not many of these lake names will ever appear on signage, so it's even more important to record them accurately on maps to guard them for future generations.”

Dr Dylan Foster, Cardiff University’s Head of School of Welsh said: “Place names are part of everyone's heritage and in a digital age when information is shared online in an instant, having standardized forms of names benefits everyone. Projects like this also draw attention to the richness of our local dialects and folklore, and allow us to share all kinds of stories about the names that are such an important part of the identities of our communities.”

Pam Whitham, Ordnance Survey Strategic Development Manager added: "In recent years Ordnance Survey has greatly increased the number of Welsh names that are recorded within the National Geographic Database and on our mapping products. In many cases this involves including both the Welsh and English versions of the placename.

"As this data is relied on by thousands of customers, including all the emergency services, it is essential that common and used names are accurately recorded. As part our ongoing updates to our database we will be adding the agreed Eryri’s lake names.

"Ordnance Survey aren’t responsible for name changes. Any name changes or additions provided to Ordnance Survey will be considered for inclusion on the mapping with input from authoritative sources.”