Land of 10,000 Nicknames

I was recently looking at a map of northern Scotland, was endlessly amused to see that a goodly number of northern Scottish towns have names that could also be nicknames for 1930s gangsters on the lower rungs of the gangster hierarchy and/or young men at a very WASPy prep school in the mid 1980s. To wit:


  • Scrabster
  • Broubster
  • Slickly
  • Gills
  • Thrumster

And of course, the incredibly excellent:

  • John o’ Groats

On another part of the map, not pictured, are “Laid” and “Tongue,” which are the nicknames you get after either you scrape the dregs of the gangster barrel, or the prep school boys sneak a bottle of peppermint schnapps into the lounge.

As someone who originates in the town with what is, quite literally, the most boring name in the entire world (“Old Bridge”)*, I am in awe what I assume is a magical land of quirky men and molls with wonderful brogues, who are wearing spats at all times and routinely accuse one another of pinching the hooch***. You don’t want to cross Slickly and John o’ Groats! We all remember what happened to Scrabster.

The world is a wonderful place, and I thought you all should know.

*In our defense, the local state park was named “Cheesequake,” AKA The Best Kind of Quake; does that mitigate anything?**

**If you’re going to leave a comment telling me that actually, for Scotland, these are all really mundane names, please let me have the fantasy for another day or two.

***Or whatever the Scottish equivalent of “pinching the hooch” is. If you know, please tell us; I bet it’s magnificent.


  1. May I commend you also to Devon? Though the placenames there seem to be more romantic Victorian heroes. Hello, I’m Cadbury Barton. Cheriton Fitzpaine at your service. Tamerton Foliot, indubitably cloaked.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I also love Ecclefechan . My friend used to delight me with the story of standing at the bus stop and locals commenting on ” wheres the ‘fechan bus?” Oh and there is Twatt in Orkney, Fetterangus ( or Fishie to locals), Ballachulish…. this list could go on. John O Groats, though there is nothing really there apart from the sign with how many miles to various places around the world! Stealing the alcohol but can also be said to be “Nicking the swallae!”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reading fiction books that take place in Scotland. I also like talking to Scottish people, they have such a dry sense of humor. They are very funny. Thanks for this post, it made my day.😆

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a Scottish person I will says thanks for the compliment. I’m from the North east, now living outside Edinburgh with a west coaster for a hubby and I have found west coasters have a very sarcastic humour. In fact my hubby has been called nasty and insincere due to his humour. If you don’t know him it can be difficult to get his jokes!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was tickled to see a sign to Midnight Louise in the Mississippi Delta – it seemed like it was missing some form of punctuation. We don’t have towns called people’s names over here. My pleasure was slightly diminished when Felder pointed out it’s two different places (I thought it was one).


  5. A Scottish women dating a Cornish man in Adger, Al. On Sunday we drive down Mudcreek Dr,to John’s Rd, to North and South John’s, a town that’s the weeds are taking over. On to Bucksville and Green Pond. Then back to Mudcreek to Lock 17 Road and on to Steep Hill Rd at the Warrior River where the river rats live..


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