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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
pdtempan
2009-04-02 16:39:45
Vanishing lakes and re-appearing cows
Simon's comments in the latest newsletter about the Lough Firrib's tendency to disappear reminded me of experiences as a youngster on Dartmoor, when, as part of a Scout group, I took part in two walks to Cranmere Pool on successive years. This pool, which is the source of the West Okement and very near the source of the East Dart, is one of the remotest places on Dartmoor and was notoriously difficult to find (I imagine it's a lot easier these days with a GPS). The first year the weather was awful and we trudged round and round in the mist and rain, thinking that every puddle on this featureless landscape must be it. A year later we came back, and in fine weather we found the pool marked by a pillar without any bother, and wondered how it could have been so difficult. As for Lough Firrib, it is no wonder that this lake has a tendency to vanish and re-appear. Patrick McKay, discussing the Donegal name Inishbofin (Inis Bó Finne, 'island of the white cow') in his Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, explains that a number of places bearing this name have legends about a white cow appearing above the water as a symbol of fertility and regeneration. John O'Donovan took Lough Firrib also to be a name with a bovine origin, i.e. Loch Firb, 'lake of the cow', but it seems in this case the twist is that the lake itself shifts between this world and the Otherworld. I firmly believe in quantum foam too. Just don't ask me what it is!
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