The 28 quirky nicknames for North Wales places that may save a life

Porth Dafarch near Trearddur Bay, Anglesey - otherwise known as 'Smoggy Point'
Porth Dafarch near Trearddur Bay, Anglesey - otherwise known as 'Smoggy Point' -Credit:Adam Williams

In an emergency, knowing the locations of Gwynedd’s “Tiki Head” or the “The Gunsights” in Llandudno can make all the difference. For the emergency services, precise locations can save lives.

Many 999 callers give vernacular nicknames for local landmarks known by different names on official maps. This can lead to confusion and potentially life-threatening delays as the blue light services try to find the right place.

For example, Eye of the Butt is marked on the map as Toll a’ Roidh on the Western Isles. The Dalek is the name locals give to Bridgewater Place, a skyscraper in Leeds, and Slippery Bottom is a stretch of water near Womack Water, Norfolk. A selection of 28 colloquial names for locations in North Wales is given below.

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Accepting that nicknames are sometimes better known than official names, for 10 years HM Coastguard has asked national mapping service Ordnance Survey (OS) to keep a database of colloquial names, known as Fintan. Now the OS is extending this idea and rolling it out to police, ambulance, mountain rescue and fire services.

Already the Vernacular Names Tool (VNT) database contains 9,500 place names from around Britain. Hoping for more, the OS is now calling on other organisations to input local nicknames into the database.

New users of the VNT database include the Welsh Ambulance Service. Chris Jones, an emergency medical service administrator, said it was” “really useful” and simple to use”. The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up

He said: “We want to log as many vernacular names as we can, so are exploring how the control room can do that now – as well as starting to include this in control room induction training. The real value longer term will be ensuring that our ambulances will be able to get to the scene of an incident effectively with an accurate location provided by OS, no matter how it’s identified by a caller.”

Aerial view of the TSS Duke of Lancaster, known locally as the Fun Ship, near Mostyn Docks
Aerial view of the TSS Duke of Lancaster, known locally as the Fun Ship, near Mostyn Docks -Credit:Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A coastguard rescue team used the original Fintan tool to find a spot on a Gwynedd beach known colloquially as the Tiki Head where a caller had fallen and injured their leg. Another incident saw a coastguard search and rescue helicopter locate a missing person, using the nickname the Fun Ship. This refers to the Duke of Lancaster, a former passenger ship beached near Mostyn Docks, Flintshire.

Other nicknames include Jabba the Hut in Lincolnshire and the Drinking Dinosaur in East Yorkshire. Wales has the likes of Teletubby Hill, a wooded coastal spot in Burry Port, and Soup Dragon Cave at Porth Ruffydd on Anglesey ’s Holy Island. In Ceredigion, the Camel’s Humps at Craig yr Wylfa, Borth, describe a coastal feature.

During a recent visit to OS headquarters in Southampton, the Princess Royal added a colloquial name of her own to the database. She proposed “The Wedding Cake”, an alternative name for the Queen Victoria Memorial opposite Buckingham Palace.

Information from the tool will help to power the recently launched OS emergency services gazetteer. This is a maintained database of 1.3m features across the UK, including roundabouts, hills and cliffs. Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter sent twice daily to your inbox

John Kimmance, managing director of OS national mapping services said: “Wherever we live, we all have nicknames for local places – and uploading these into a database really could mean the difference between life and death on an emergency call – particularly for services called from outside their regional areas.”

'Teletubby Hill' at Burry Port, Carmarthenshire
'Teletubby Hill' at Burry Port, Carmarthenshire -Credit:Alamy/PA Wire

Northwest Wales

  • Bag stash: Porth Ruffydd

  • Bear Grylls Island: St Tudwal’s Island West

  • Cat Island: Graig Fawr

  • Cemetery Beach: Cwm Safn-ast

  • Church in the Sea: Cribinau

  • Danger Rock: Garreg-goch

  • Gimlet Rock: Crochan Berw

  • Pig Island: Coed Cerrig Gorsedd

  • Quaker’s Graveyard: Ty’n-y-Buarth

  • Samson’s Bay: Ynys Cyngar

  • Sausage Island: Ynys-las

  • Scimitar Beach: Porth-y-felin

  • Smoggy Point: Porth Dafarch

  • Smugglers Cove: Fron-goch

  • Soup Dragon Cave: Porth Ruffydd

  • Starvation Rock: Ynys Feurig

  • The Brickworks: Traeth y Gwartheg

  • The Buttery: Llyn y Bwtri

  • The Haunted House: Porth yr Afon

  • The Prongs: Porth Twr-bach

Northeast Wales

  • Dizzy Bends: Rhydorddwy-wen Covert

  • Hamburger Crag: Hwyifa’r Ceirw

  • Hell Fire Rocks: St Tudno’s Buttress

  • Holy Gutter: Dee Bank

  • Hortons Nose: Marine Lake

  • Rainbow Bridge: Penmaen Head

  • The Gunsights: Trwynygogarth

  • The Zig-Zags: Pant yr Eglwys

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