Did You Know #2: I love words, facts and history, and finding out their relevance. I ‘jaunt’ between London and Capel Curig in North Wales, and so this post, containing some awesome facts, has a distinctly Welsh flavour.
Did you know that:
- the word penguin, though some think it came from the French, Dutch or Spanish, probably comes (and I think it does come) from the Welsh words for ‘pen’ meaning head and ‘gwyn’ meaning white, and
- St Patrick came from Wales, probably, and
- the wettest place in Britain is Crib Goch, a mountain ridge near Llanberis. Over the last three decades that particular spot in beautiful Snowdonia has averaged 4473mm/176.1 inches of rainfall annually, and
- Bala Lake is the largest natural lake in Wales and is home to a white fish called the Gwyniad – found nowhere else on the planet, and
- the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch in north Wales has the longest place-name in the world. Most know it as Llanfair PG, and
- most of the old towns in Wales have names that are descriptive. For instance the town name above means: ‘The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel, near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilio, by the red cave’, and
- the Ceffyl Dŵr, (pronounced kef-all dor) ‘horse (of) water’ is a Welsh mythological creature, said to inhabit mountain pools and waterfalls. Even though it appears solid, it is seen to evaporate into the mist, maybe with an unsuspecting rider on its back who is never heard of again. In one form of the legend the Ceffyl Dŵr, as a horse, leaps out of the water to trample and kill lone travellers, and
- Lewis Carroll is believed to have had the idea of writing Alice in Wonderland while staying in Llandudno, Wales, and
- about three million people live in Wales, but there about are about twelve million sheep in the country, and
- Jack Daniels of American whiskey fame was of Welsh descent. His family came from Aberystwyth, and
- Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium has the largest retractable roof of any sports stadium in the world, and
- St Trillo’s Chapel in Rhos-on-Sea is the smallest in Britain at 11ft by 8ft. The tiny greystone building seats just six people. It stands over a spring where St Trillo established a chapel in the 6th century. The chapel still holds regular services.