|Elevation||570 m (1,870 ft)|
|Prominence||488 m (1,601 ft)|
|Location||Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland|
|Parent range||Southern Uplands|
|Topo map||OS Landranger 84|
Criffel is a hill in the historical county of Kirkcudbrightshire, Dumfries and Galloway, south-west Scotland. It is 570 m (1,870 ft) high but appears higher because of its great isolation and high prominence. It is a prominent feature in many of the views from the northern Lake District on a clear day. It is surrounded by a host of satellites, including Long Fell, Maidenpap and Bainloch Hill. The slopes of Criffel feature the upland vegetation of heather, bog cotton and blaeberry and are inhabited by skylarks. Loch Kindar sits at the foot of the hill. A new path to the summit is currently finishing construction.
The name Criffel is recorded in 1273 as Crufel. The second element, -fel, is either Older Scots or Northern Middle English fell or Old Norse fjall 'mountain'. Because Old Norse fjall had been borrowed into Middle English by the twelfth century, it is not possible to determine whether or not the name was coined by Scandinavian speakers. There have been a number of proposals for the etymology of the first element. The name is recorded as Crofel in 1319 and in 1330 as Crefel. (Drummond also gives the form Crafel in 1330; it is not clear if this refers to the same source.) In 1892 Johnston proposed Gaelic crich 'boundary' + Icelandic fell in Place-Names of Scotland. However, by the second edition of 1903 he thought a derivation from Icelandic kryfja 'to split' was more probable. In the third edition in 1934 this is the only derivation offered. Mills also takes the name to be Old Scandinavian kryfja + fjall but adds that the first element is 'doubtful'. In 1930 Maxwell proposed Scandinavian kraka fjall 'raven's or crow's hill' or Lowland Scots Craw Fell. William J. Watson rejected a derivation from kraka fjall on the grounds that it would develop into a form like Crackel. Geoffery Barrow suggested that Criffel incorporates the name Cro, which also appears in Desnes Cro, the name of a deanery located between the rivers Nith and Urr. Here Cro represents the Gaelic word for sheepfold.
- "Criffel". hillbagging.co.uk. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
- https://www.visitscotland.org/news/2020/dumfies-and-galloway-rtif-criffel-path[bare URL]
- Brooke, Daphne (1987). "The Deanery of Desnes Cro and the Church of Edingham: Churches and Saints Before 1120 AD" (PDF). Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society. LXII: 61. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2019.
- Brooke, Daphne (1987). "The Deanery of Desnes Cro and the Church of Edingham: Churches and Saints Before 1120 AD" (PDF). Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society. LXII: 48. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2019.
- Mills, A. D. (2011). A Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 138.
- Maxwell, Herbert (1991) . The Place Names of Galloway: Their Origin & Meaning Considered. Wigtown: G. C. Book Publishers Ltd. p. 94. ISBN 1872350305.
- Johnston, James B. (1892). Place-Names of Scotland. Edinburgh: David Douglas. p. 77.
- Drummond, Peter (2010). Scottish Hill Names: Their origin and meaning (Revised 2nd ed.). Scottish Mountaineering Trust. p. 176. ISBN 978-0-907521-95-2. OCLC 148288097.
- Johnston, James B. (1903). Place-Names of Scotland (Second ed.). Edinburgh: David Douglas. p. 89.
- Johnston, James B. (1934). Place-Names of Scotland. London: Wakefield, S.R. Publishers. p. 145. ISBN 9780854096343.
- W. J. W. (1932). "[Review of] The Place-Names of Galloway: Their Origin and Meaning Considered by Herbert Maxwell; Scottish Place-Names by W. C. MacKenzie; Place-Names of Glengarry and Glenquoich and Their Associations by Edward C. Ellice". The Geographical Journal. 79 (5): 419. doi:10.2307/1783944. ISSN 0016-7398. JSTOR 1783944.
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