Talk:Calton Hill

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Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was Move. Duja 09:32, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Calton Hill, EdinburghCalton Hill — This one is a lot more notable than the SSSI in Derbyshire: Calton Hill, Derbyshire. eg. looking at number of incoming links for both articles, plus all the current links to the dab page are actually referring to the Edinburgh one, which is usually an indication of an inappropriate dab page. (I have put a link to the discussion on the Talk pages of both the Derbyshire article and what is currently the dab page, to allow editors to participate.) Mais oui! 08:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)


Add  * '''Support'''  or  * '''Oppose'''  on a new line followed by a brief explanation, then sign your opinion using ~~~~.

  • Support --Mais oui! 08:59, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support seems reasonable to me give the relative fame of the two. Morwen - Talk 16:35, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
  • Support as above - Beardo 01:00, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


Add any additional comments:

Serge says "Move the current disambiguation page at Calton Hill to Calton Hill (disambiguation) and leave a note/link at the top of this article to Calton Hill (disambiguation)." I really do not think that that is necessary: when we have only one other article to dab, the standard practice is just to put a dab header at the top of the article saying, something like: The article on the SSSI is at Calton Hill, Derbyshire. Unless of course there are several other famous Calton Hill's throughout the planet! --Mais oui! 19:43, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


The American Consulate is nearby, and the hill is also a noted gay cruising area

Is the proximity of the American Consulate in anyway connected to the gay cruising area. Where do the gay peoples' boats cruise?

Please remember to sign your posts, using ~~~~. I have removed the unreferenced claim. --Mais oui! 11:00, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

Well, after 9/11, it is quite impossible to get onto Calton hill, apart from on foot, from the south side because of our 'cousins' diplomatic mission; and whilst walking my dog I did espy a consular official loitering on the path from the summit to Royal terrace. F'narr aside Calton hill has, in the last ten years , been made almost into a 'no-go'area for police, residents and for joe public carrying out their legitimate business, especially after dark. The evidence lines the aforesaid path, discarded sheaths as common as any other litter. RE:Boats, Royal Terrace was known as 'Whisky row'. Some of the more affluent of Edinburgh's merchants took houses on Calton hill, so they might be able to see their trading ships come back to port in Leith.Brendandh 18:18, 15 October 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone know a decent source for the etymology of Edinburgh placenames, or this one in particular? --Mais oui! 19:46, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

For Calton Hill in particular is it not from the Gaelic Cnoc a' Challtainn - Hazel Hill? /wangi (talk) 13:56, 20 February 2009 (UTC) /wangi (talk) 14:00, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

The notion that Gaelic as anything to do with the place name is HUGELY questionable given that Gaelic is not and has NEVER been a language spoken widely in Scotland and most ESPECIALLY not as far South as Edinburgh. Everything regarding the naming is reaching and is baseless speculation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:10, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree. The etymological explanation of the place name Calton on this page is confusing and false. It relies on outdated antiquarian references together with a misreading of the fact that the same place name exists for a separate location in Fife, believed to have a Gaelic origin. I'll attempt to sort and provide a more straightforward explanation. Kim Traynor | Talk 10:34, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
" has NEVER been a language spoken widely in Scotland and most ESPECIALLY not as far South as Edinburgh." - Oh, the usual anti-Gaelic bigotry. There ARE Gaelic place names in Edinburgh, get over it. Why don't you look up Galloway Gaelic that was well south of Edinburgh, and which is well attested? In fact Galloway is the furthest south in Scotland you can go! There are Celtic names in Edinburgh which are Brythonic, those that might be Brythonic or Goidelic, and those that are Goidelic, but are unlikely to be Brythonic. A lot of this has been encouraged by Stuart Harris, who like Jamieson of dictionary fame would do anything to avoid a Gaelic etymology.
Thanks to someone who hates Gaelic, we've now removed any possibility of it as an etymology. Pathetic.
A form of Gaelic was incorporated into place names all over central Scotland e.g. 'Penicuik' (South of Edinburgh) - the 'headlands/hill of of the cuckoo' - from a North Welsh dialect

It is not being helpful to the course of historic truth to deny the historic use of Gaelic and its derivatives in e.g. place names in central and southern Scotland. (Andrew Hennessey) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:17, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

The joke is while "Calton", "Caldtoun" could be an Old English etymology, "Cragge Ingalt" looks suspiciously Gaelic, especially with the "in" particle bang in the middle of it, representing the definite article e.g. Taigh an Droma (Tyndrum), Achadh an Allt (Achanalt), Creag an Dorain (Craigendoran). This is an extremely common element in Gaelic placenames, but much less common in Brythonic ones. I doubt the anonymous critic above has the slightest clue of these things anyway.
If that isn't Gaelic, it's certainly Celtic, probably not Old English.-MacRùsgail (talk) 16:08, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
You are being way too sensitive on this issue. I think you need to reflect more on your own motives for wanting the page changed to reflect your view.As for accusing folks of "the usual anti-Gaelic bigotry", I would also advise caution. You can count me out for a start. I'd feel ashamed if it was true and would wonder why I'm still a big fan of Runrig even when they're singing in a language I don't understand. The point I and another contributor are making is that the south-east Lowlands of Scotland have never been a Gaelic-speaking area in the sense that you mean it, i.e. colonised by Gaelic-speakers (Scots) from the West. Whether Gaelic place names penetrated the area or were adopted later is a separate question, but would not alter the historical record of who lived where. So much depends on what one means by "Gaelic" in the first place. The root 'gal' goes a lot further back than the kingdom of Dalriada, and seems to be a Germanic term designating a foreign neighbour or "other", whether used of Cal-edonia, Galloway, Gaul or Galicia. It may be cognate with 'wal' as in Wales ((French: "pay de Galles") or Wallachia either side of the Teutonic heartland of Europe. Kim Traynor | Talk 17:45, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
No, I'm not. I have lived in Edinburgh for years, and continually have to point out to people that there are Gaelic place names here. They've been told all their lives this is not the case. And when people say that there is no community usage, I have to point out to them that there have been Gaelic church congregations in the city for nearly four hundred years. Highland migrants maybe, but considerably longer than any other minority language community apart from perhaps English, French and Lowland Scots. If you take an interest in Gaelic, they tell you it's not relevant to Edinburgh. If you take an interest in Japanese, you don't get any such comment - despite the fact the latter's got a much shorter history in this city. Oh, and then there's the folk who go on about "Welsh", despite the fact they've never bothered to pick up any of Yr Iaith Gymraeg themselves or to learn much about Brythonic history.
There is considerable anti-Gaelic prejudice in Edinburgh still, whether it's street level in that "Teuchter" nonsense, at official level (the language is available as a subject in under 7% of Edinburgh schools), or high level, where supposedly educated people come out with ill-informed guff with authority.
I put Stuart Harris down in the latter category. He's right to derive many of the names from Brythonic, but he very rarely even entertains the notion of a Gaelic etymology, even when it is a good possibility. A number of the Brythonic etymologies he gives are actually either Goidelic or Brythonic. He shows a very obvious anti-Gaelic bias in his etymologies. (By the way, if you want the other extreme, there's another book called "Gaelic Placenames of the Lothians", if I mind rightly which is pro-Gaelic to the point of stupidity.)
A name like Swanston is almost certainly not Gaelic, a name like Balerno almost certainly is. In the case of Gilmerton, we have both the hybrid Gaelic-English form (and a Brythonic one too which is out of use) - so that one involves all three. In the case of the historical form of Calton Hill, we have something which looks very like a Gaelic name. If it was a few dozen miles to the north west of here, it would have been flagged up as such without question.
And in Midlothian too, where the town of Temple was known as Ballintrodach, meaning "Town of the Warriors", which obviously post dates its takeover by the Templars. There are other names in the Lothians which are evidently Goidelic, and can't be put down to Brythonic. It's amazing I still have to point this out to people.
Southern Scotland was not a Gaelic free zone. Even the Northumbrian Church and Royal Family had notable Gaelic influence on them. One of the Northumbrian kings was a Gaelic poet. The Lindisfarne Gospels were drawn in a Gaelic style. Some of the church dedications bear this out too. The idea that the whole area was free of nasty Teuchter contamination is bollocks. And what's more it both predates, and postdates Lothian's annexation into Scotland. But from about the 1400s onwards in Scotland's royal court, Gaelic language and culture was out of favour, and this carried on down to the lower levels of society in the Lowlands.
"The root 'gal' goes a lot further back than the kingdom of Dalriada, and seems to be a Germanic term designating a foreign neighbour or "other", whether used of Cal-edonia, Galloway, Gaul or Galicia." - Aye, it's a monosyllable, so of course it's old. But this doesn't appear to be relevant to the name of this hill. The Craig Ingalt form makes things more complex. There should at least be some mention of the possibility of a Gaelic etymology here.
"I'm still a big fan of Runrig even when they're singing in a language I don't understand." - There are plenty of night classes etc in Edinburgh if you want to go to one. That said I can't understand most of what pre-Guthro Runrig sings about, because their diction's bad in English and in Gaelic.-MacRùsgail (talk) 12:51, 21 December 2014 (UTC) p.s. The south east Lowlands have a diverse range of sources for place names - Latin (Grange), French (?Burdiehouse), Norse, Flemish etc, even Spanish (Portobello). So why do we have to go out of the way to deny Gaelic etymologies?
A derivation for Cragingalt is given but there doesn't appear to be one for Calton. (talk) 17:31, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
That's because no-one knows the origin or meaning of "Calton", whereas Cragingalt invites speculation based on a likeness in form to Old Welsh. (Since I don't know Old Welsh, that's a presumption on my part.) All we can really do is play safe and give names from their earliest appearances on maps. Kim Traynor | Talk 19:36, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
From what MacRùsgail says above ("Cragge Ingalt" looks suspiciously Gaelic, especially with the "in" particle bang in the middle of it) and also the nearby example of Craigentinny which is said to have a Gaelic derivation, does this not invite speculation on a likeness in form to Gaelic? And where is there a likeness in form to Old English? (talk) 16:19, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

The Calton Hill[edit]

A user altered the text to refer to it as "the Calton Hill" but this is not accurate as all current reliable sources refer to it simply as "Calton Hill." RafikiSykes (talk) 10:49, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree. In over a half century of living in Edinburgh, I have never heard it referred to as "the Calton Hill." It's always called "Calton Hill." "The" Calton Hill by Kim Traynor is just plain wrong and should be reverted.SylviaStanley (talk) 07:10, 17 October 2011 (UTC) See for example, Edinburgh World Heritage (, The City of Edinburgh Council ( and Fodors Travel Intelligence (

'The' Calton Hill[edit]

Thanks to all for correcting my apparently idiosyncratic habit of referring to (the) Calton Hill with a definite article that is "just plain wrong". I too have lived in Edinburgh for over half a century and have persistently repeated this error based on the fact that I grew up on the slopes of the hill and heard every adult in my childhood use the article when referring to it. No one ever said, "I'm going up Calton Hill" for that would have sounded more like Yorkshire dialect. However, I do appreciate that the article never appears on map references and rarely in print, and shall just have to get used to the idea that its use was an affectation of local peasants who lacked superior knowledge of the kind exhibited by an English journalist at the Financial Times, an American publisher of travel guides and an alphabetically-led Edinburgh City Council computer. I shall, however, continue to resist the current trend of all incomers, particularly from England and Glasgow, to change the local pronunciation of the name; just as I shall continue to disparage the burning of Viking longships on the hill as unhistorical.

Wikipedia versus The Rest[edit]

Since my last post I have taken the trouble to consult the following sources which all refer in print to 'the' Calton Hill: Hugo Arnot (Edinburgh's foremost 18thC chronicler), Robert Louis Stevenson (another local), James Grant (Edinburgh's foremost Victorian chronicler), and the classic Muirhead's (more locals) and Ward Lock travel guides. It seems clear therefore that if Wikipedia is correct, all these authors fell victim to the same error as myself. I shall, however, prefer to remain in their company rather than accept someone born in Egypt, educated in the USA and currently living some of the time in Belgium declaring them all "plain wrong" and calling - successfully, as it turns out - for the reversion of my attempts to save Wikipedia from error.

Note also that the painter and photographer whose works are currently represented on the page (not to mention the great painter Turner) also got it wrong.

Note I did say current in my talk page post here. I've checked various scottish newspapers and they don't use the in front of Calton Hill. I reverted as your actions were those of one user in conflict with long term consensus. If you think titling should be different please present your evidence on the talk page and gain consensus before putting in the major changes. Page titling and how something is refered to otherwise generally reflects how something is most commonly refered to in in modern English.RafikiSykes (talk) 13:27, 28 December 2011 (UTC),1654675&dq=calton-hill&hl=en Glasgow Herald in the 1970's. That mirrors what I have been finding from all the sources from the 20th century onwards.RafikiSykes (talk) 13:38, 28 December 2011 (UTC),3338291&dq=calton-hill&hl=en Glasgow Herald in the 30's so not really reflecting the computerisation argument for the evolution of the language in this case. RafikiSykes (talk) 13:43, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Once again you present a source you assume to be reliable, not realising it is from someone on a Glasgow newspaper who knows no better. Let me tell you that Glaswegians cannot even pronounce the name of the hill properly. They say it with an open 'a' vowel, as in 'father', whereas the correct pronunciation sounds like the word 'all'. I am telling you that historically the name of the hill is 'the Calton Hill' and every local knows that. Look, for example, at the caption of the photograph posted by Andrew Bossi where he has quite naturally used the correct name. I suppose you'll revert that too? The reason for the consensus you talk about is simply because everyone repeats the mistake, in the same way that most people say 'less' when they usually mean 'fewer'. It gets my goat that someone has the audacity to claim that she has lived in Edinburgh for over half a century and has never heard anyone say 'the Calton Hill'. Computer and index entries drop the article, which is probably the root of the problem. Your unwillingness to accept the correct version amounts to yet another erosion of my cultural heritage (I'm equally fed up with outsiders insisting that Burke and Hare were bodysnatchers or mispronouncing Jekyll as in 'Jekyll and Hyde'). Your attitude and that of the contributor calling my version 'just plain wrong' makes me realise this is a lost cause. You have already rejected the testimony of umpteen sources from Edinburgh in favour of out-of-town journalists. It seems I can do nothing to convince you that when the Royal Commission writes "The various skyline observatories and monuments on the Calton Hill form a memorable group" they are not being idiots! Who are you to say they are outside the consensus? What authority would you accept? What do the cultures of aboriginal peoples matter once neo-imperialists decide to rewrite their history? Kim Traynor (talk) 16:15, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I used the Herald to demonstrate how far I can see this going back. The Edinburgh based Scotsman also reflects the modern terming. :: :: ::
The various historic images retain their titles with the in front as that is how those works are titled. It shouldnt't really titled "the" on the Bossi image as commons demonstrates he himself described it simply as Calton Hill reflecting modern wording.RafikiSykes (talk) 17:37, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Surely you have to ask yourself why the painters and photographers entitled their works in this manner? I am trying to tell you ad nauseam that they are right and you persist in acting as if they are wrong. You cannot claim that theirs is an historical usage if I am telling you it is still the term used by people in Edinburgh (apart from your Egyptian-born supporter, that is). Your choice of a newspaper merely strengthens my argument that outsiders don't know any better, regardless of the fact that it is from the 1830s. I have at no point denied that there may be people who don't use the article and I've explained the reasons. Why are you not addressing the Royal Commission evidence? How can their inventory state "In 1806 the citizens of Edinburgh replaced the existing 'telegraph' upon the summit of the Calton Hill by a monument in honour of the victor of Trafalgar". Do you think the authors were semi-literates? This issue, trivial though it may seem, involves a point of principle regarding the validity of local usage and I think it should go to some form of arbitration. Meantime I have made a request on The Village Pump for others to join in, though I am not confident anyone will see it and act upon it. Kim Traynor 21:46, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Whilst what our friends and relatives may use is not a suitable reference for here what I have seen and heard matches Sylvia, I have plenty of Edinburgh born friends and relatives who do not use "the" for this name including roughly double your age who has lived in Edinburgh all of her life-I did not get into this as it is not of use for verifying encyclopedic content. Please show some reliable up to date sources showing your preferred wording. Wikipedia has to work on what is verifiable rather than what any of us say or feel is right or wrong.RafikiSykes (talk) 22:00, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, if what you say is true, I'll just have to conclude that this must be an old-fashioned British social class issue. The working class of the Calton Ward where I grew up all said 'the'. I take it that the Edinburgh-born people you are referring to are the same middle-class folk who call Broughton 'Brotton'.

I have now consulted the Collins Encyclopaedia Of Scotland published by HarperCollins in 1998. This is the most comprehensive and up-to-date encyclopaedia on Scotland available at the present time. Its first paragraph on Edinburgh on p.281 states '...the renowned 'Edinburgh Volcano', which comprised the Castle Rock and Arthur's Seat, erupted and poured forth lava flows such as the Calton Hill and then became extinct". Its entry on the Hill itself on p.294 begins "The Calton Hill is a remnant of the 'Edinburgh Volcano' [see Arthur's Seat]".

In view of this, it seems utterly ridiculous that I am having to go to such enormous lengths to make a simple point in the face of what just seems like stubborn ignorance. I therefore intend to reinstate the articles which have been misguidedly deleted from the Calton Hill page. Kim Traynor 22:16, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I find it absolutely outrageous that you did in fact alter Andrew Bossi's caption. That seems like an unnatural level of control you are exerting over this page which flies in the face of all the evidence I have given you on the matter. Kim Traynor 22:39, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

That is a single source that you seem to prefer simply because it agrees with what you say I asked for sources plural to show that what you prefer is genuinely the common usage. All this is coming only from yourself and does seem related to various issues and concerns of yours other than the article as a whole. I altered the caption to remove "the" as it never had it before you yourself added it.RafikiSykes (talk) 23:08, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I beg your pardon? The article had a painting, a historic photograph and a contributor's posted photograph all showing the correct term. I have offered a range of sources starting in the 18thC and ending in 1998, including official statements from two separate HMSO sources by the government body responsible for the monuments on the hill. What more do you want? I think you are the one who has an issue, not me. By whose authority are you allowed to act as gatekeeper to the page? Kim Traynor 23:28, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

I have repeatedly asked for you to give multiple reliable sources showing this widespread modern usage of the term I am not disputing the historical terminology. Please comment on content not contributers.RafikiSykes (talk) 23:34, 29 December 2011 (UTC) I have asked for a third opinion.RafikiSykes (talk) 23:46, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm commenting here having seen the request for input at Wikipedia:Village pump (miscellaneous). The relevant policy in this area is WP:Article titles, which instructs us to 'use common names' (WP:COMMONNAME). Unfortunately it's not always easy to work out what the 'common name' of something is. All we can do is look at the available English-language sources and see what they use. In this case, it seems there may have been a change in style over time. While older sources use 'the Calton Hill', more recent sources seem to prefer 'Calton Hill'. I just did a quick Google search, and looking at recent sources only, 'Calton Hill' seems to be used by The Scotsman [1], BBC News [2] and The Independent [3]. On the other hand, the Herald uses 'the Calton Hill' [4]). It's clear there isn't a consensus here, but I would say we should prefer 'Calton Hill' as that seems to be what is used by a majority of the sources. (As an aside: I studied for four years at the University of Edinburgh not so long ago. When I was there, the people I knew referred to it as 'Calton Hill'. That's just an anecdote, though - we should really go by what the sources say rather than personal experience.) Robofish (talk) 00:17, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Here we go again! I have already pointed out that the majority of sources get it wrong because, as outsiders, they repeat the same mistake over and over again, like English people who talk about Cape 'Roth' when they mean Cape Wrath. It is not a change of usage from the historical to the modern. It's a result of modern communicators not using the proper term because they don't know it. Students at the University of Edinburgh are probably the least reliable source for establishing the correct form of Edinburgh place names. The BBC in Scotland is too Glasgow-centric to be taken seriously. (I apologise, however, to Robofish for my lack of good grace, because I do appreciate your taking the trouble to contribute a comment intended to calm troubled waters.)

As for supplying reliable sources, I have already complied with your request, to no effect. What do you mean by 'multiple'? Ten, twenty or thirty? I have a whole library of books here, but I am not going to waste my time listing all those that contain the phrase "the Calton Hill". Where would you want me to start? John Wesley preaching on the Hill? Dorothy Wordsworth climbing it with her brother? Come off it! If you are not prepared to accept the HMSO or the HarperCollins encyclopaedia as authoritative sources, you won't be persuaded by any others.

Here are the references contained in the Insight Cityguide for Edinburgh, published in 1990: "...National Monument to commemorate Waterloo built on the Calton Hill."; "The Royal High School... situated on the Calton Hill."; " of the clutch of buildings that bedecks the Calton Hill."; "...past York Place, Broughton and Gayfield up the Calton Hill..."; "On the crest of the Calton Hill...". (There then follows a section entitled The Seven Hills Of Edinburgh which leaves out the article. I deduce therefore that this section has been written by a different contributor and I'll bet he was not native to Edinburgh.) This does show that variation exists, but I note that references with the article are more numerous than those without. I really can't spend this much time for the benefit of Wikipedia readers, especially when my improvements are being constantly obstructed. It is their loss, not mine. It just makes Wikipedia look wrong to those in the know (though not to yourself and others who fail to use the correct term). As I said before, I shall remain with those like Sarah Murray who wrote in 1799, "There scarcely can be a finer view than that from the Calton Hill, which rises from the town of Edinburgh." What a shame that she foolishly spoilt her piece by including a definite article which you tell me should not be there. Mind you, even that eminent authority on Edinburgh, Lord Cockburn, was still making the same mistake in his Memorials a whole generation later, the sad man. Kim Traynor 00:39, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Goodness me! Even the authoritative Third Statistical Account for the City of Edinburgh, published in 1966, talks of winds being concentrated "by funnelling through the gap between the Calton Hill and Arthur's Seat". Then the Geology section describes "the volcanic lavas and ashes of Arthur's Seat and the Calton Hill" as sedimentary. Is there no end to this madness? Kim Traynor 01:33, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Apparently not! Joyce Wallace in Historic Houses Of Edinburgh, John Donald 1987, wrote "Built on the southern slopes of the Calton Hill is a row of houses now obliquely overlooking Waterloo Place..." What can she have been thinking about when she forgot to remove the superfluous article? Kim Traynor 01:49, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Consensus Vote[edit]


Thanks. Might I suggest we compromise by beginning the article, "Calton Hill, also referred to, especially colloquially, as "the Calton Hill"...? That's a concession on my part, because I don't think the civil servants at the Royal Commission would be very pleased to think they were being colloquial. Meantime, it might be useful to consult the usage in Chapter IX (The Calton Hill) of Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1879) which subsequent authors acknowledge as a classic portrait of the city. Kim Traynor 11:25, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I apologise to Kim Traynor for saying that the article was "flat wrong." I admit that was not polite. Please note Kim Traynor that I spent only two weeks in Egypt after my birth and I did a two year masters degree in the USA. My family (and my spouses) family have lived for generations in Edinburgh and we have owned property on Calton Hill since 1961. "I'm going up Calton Hill" (or "I'm going up to Calton Hill") would be a perfectly natural thing to say. To include the definite article would be an indication the person was a foreigner (English? European?) or using an excessively quaint or formal way of speaking. Unfortunately I am travelling in Europe and the Far East until the end of February, so I don't have my normal library of reference books with me at the moment. Nevertheless here are a few references that I remember that refer to Calton Hill without the article: Anne Mitchell's book (1993), “The People of Calton Hill”, Mercat Press, James Thin, Edinburgh, ISBN 1873644 183; City of Edinburgh Council (2005), "New Town Conservation Area Character Appraisal" ISBN 1 85191 072 7 ( ; UNESCO World Heritage Site Listing (1995) "Old and New Towns of Edinburgh" ( ; Professor Youngson's book (2001): “The Companion Guide to Edinburgh and the borders”, Chapter 9 (Calton Hill), Polygon Books, Edinburgh, UK, ISBN 0 7486 6307 X  ; Ian Gordon Brown (1991) "David Hume's Tomb: a Roman mausoleum by Robert Adam" Proc Soc Anliq Scot, 121, 391-422 ( And, as mentioned above, a mass of articles in the local papers "The Scotsman" and "The Edinburgh Evening News" which mention Calton Hill without the article. In retrospect, it may be, that at one time the definite article was used. So maybe in the introduction we could include "(formerly called the Calton Hill)".SylviaStanley (talk) 12:56, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

I think I shall have to bow to the weight of the evidence you have presented, but to state that it was "formerly" called the Calton Hill, when I and others still use the article, would be, forgive me, "just plain wrong". I'll just remain excessively quaint, if you have no objections. Kim Traynor 13:30, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

The archived discussion above says "Calton Hill" was decided on. Are you going to repeatedly debate this until you get the answer you want? It's of extreme unimportance to the article whether or not some people say "the". Most English speakers will know when to use the word "the" and when not to. This is a classic example of Wikipedia:Avoid Parkinson's Bicycle Shed Effect. --Colapeninsula (talk) 15:58, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

If you check the history of these postings, you will see that the above proposal predates the vote which was inserted above that section by an administrator. No-one is prolonging the debate as you assume. Kim Traynor 17:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

People generally address things that they are in close proximity to with a "the". So, a resident of Glasgow (since that god-forsaken place has been mentioned :) ), or a foreign visitor to Edinburgh, would probably not refer to the hill as "the Calton Hill", but a resident of Edinburgh might well do. There seems to be indisputable evidence that it was called "the Calton Hill" in literary and literate sources in the past. Also, if the Gaelic name origin is correct, a "the" would be appropriate as part of its title (a lack of that "the" might suggest the hill is named after a person or an event). Why don't we just say in the lead section that it is also referred to as The Calton Hill. Saying "formerly" is both OR because nobody has sources to back that claim up, and incorrect because Kim Traynor has pointed out a number of modern sources that do use "the Calton Hill". Meowy 19:26, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Elevation and prominence[edit]

What's the source of the elevation and prominence, as quoted in the infobox? The trigpoint has a height of 100m (Newlyn datum), but its clearly not the highest point on the hill. The base of the acropolis is a few metres higher than that, then the Nelson Monument is about 5m higher again. So maybe closer to 110m? And for the prominence, where is the col? --Vclaw (talk) 13:38, 9 March 2013 (UTC)

Calton Gaol or Calton Jail?[edit]

Oh, how I hate this article because of the way contributors avoid familiar terms in their descriptions! I've been disagreeing with another contributor, who hides his/her identity behind an IP address, as to whether "Gaol" or "Jail" is the more appropriate term to use for the prison. I agree it isn't a black and white choice. My preference is simply for the term which I encounter most in the literature, but it has been pointed out that the alternative spelling appears frequently in several reliable sources. Now that the latest edit tells me the great Hugo Arnot used the spelling "Jail", I am prepared to yield. How can one not be impressed by someone who died in 1786 describing the opening of the Calton Gaol in 1817? Kim Traynor | Talk 10:12, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

I have no idea what is meant by "contributors avoid familiar terms" but with regard to the snide comment "hides his/her identity behind an IP address" I would merely refer to Wikipedia:Tutorial/Registration where it states "Everyone can contribute to Wikipedia, regardless of whether they choose to register." The article on Calton Hill has referred to Calton Jail since Brendandh's edit in December, 2006. If it isn't a black and white choice between "jail" and "gaol" why change it? Apparently, it was changed on the basis that gaol was the traditional spelling (as it was a proper name...). Writers of the time who might be expected to use "traditional" spelling seem to use "jail". Hugo Arnot never uses "gaol". As far as the proper name is concerned, all maps, on the NLS website, from 1817 give "Calton Jail", never "gaol" until terminology changes to "prison". (talk) 21:32, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
That first phrase refers more to an earlier discussion than the latest one. On the second point, I prefer seeing someone's identity to anonymity. As for the recent little bone of contention, the page had "jail" in the main text and one image caption, but "gaol" in another image caption. I thought I was bringing the terms on the page into line and merely happened to choose the term with which I'm more familiar. I can see there is an equally good case for using "jail", though I wouldn't myself. Yes, Arnot uses "jail" (though I was trying to point out that he died well before the Calton Gaol was built). It's really no big deal. It can be either or. Kim Traynor | Talk 22:04, 21 March 2014 (UTC)
Jail is the American spelling, though much naturalised in the UK, because it's a lot more logical.-MacRùsgail (talk) 16:19, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
The point at issue is what was it actually called particularly during its existence and more particularly at the time it was built. The Google Ngram shows that there can be no disputing that the answer is Calton Jail with Calton Gaol hardly appearing before 1870. (talk) 20:38, 18 February 2015 (UTC)[1]
Yes, that seems conclusive. Kim Traynor | Talk 01:46, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

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  1. ^ "Google Books Ngram Viewer". Retrieved 2015-02-18.