In the late 18th century the element Strontium was discovered here, in Ardnamurchan in the tiny Scottish village Strontian, hence the name.
The place-name is of Gaelic origin, Sròn an t-Sìthein, meaning nose or point of the fairy hill which makes the chemical element strontium the only one with a Scottish Gaelic etymology. It is therefore unique among the 50 elements.
Strontium, a precious and possibly dangerous (synthetic strontium is radioactive) metal, found underground where lead and later baryte were mined since Alexander Murray of Stanhope discovered it on his estate in 1722.
The 38th element discovered here, was used over the years in the production of sugar and television sets but fell out of use rapidly. Its synthetic form still occurs in nuclear waste.
In Strontian the fairies or rather the fairy hill, gave what was of use for 200 years.
There is a small graveyard next to the Parish Church in the former mining village Strontian; the larger burial ground (old and new) is in Drimnatorran, also spelled Drumnatorran, meaning the bridge at the small hill.
It is a central fact of Gaelic folklore that fairies hide in hills; they can be both generous and dangerous, they give and they take.
Here in Drimnatorran, they gave the 38th element.
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