|Place-name element:||Ail-, Al-, Aill–|
|Dwelly Dictionary :||Gaelic ail-, al- ‘rock, stone’|
Gaelic aill– ‘rough, steep’
Sir Herbert Maxwell  identifies the use and origins of the place-name element in Galloway as follows –
‘I have not recognised fail (foil), a cliff, which gives names to places in the south of Ireland, in our topography. In the north of Ireland it passes into ail (oil), and, though not now a living word in Scottish Gaelic, has at least been in use at some former time in Galloway, as is shown by the names of some hills in that district : Alhang (2,200 feet), Alwhat (1937 feet) — ail chat (haat), cliff of the wild cat ; and Alwhillan — ail chuilean, cliff of the whelps, or chuilhain, of the holly.’
Alhang and Alwhat
Alhang and Alwhannie
On first impression, neither Alhang or Alwhat appear cliff-like in form. The drop over the boundary is much steeper and it is on the lower slopes of Alhang where Allwhillan is found, yet still little evidence of cliff-like features, other than being steep.
However the description of both hills in the Ordnance Survey Name Books of Kirkcudbrightshire refers to their surfaces as comprising ‘rocky pastures‘, no doubt the source of the stones that were used to mark out the county boundary. This is in keeping with the ‘Dwelly Dictionary’  entries Gaelic ail-, al– ‘rock, stone’ and Gaelic aill- ‘rough, steep’.
N.B. Maxwell, in his later work “The Place-names of Galloway”, drops the reference to cliffs and simply refers to both Alhang and Allwhat as hills .
| Edward Dwelly | Illustrated Gaelic-English Dictionary (1902-1912)|
| Sir Herbert Maxwell | Scottish land-names; their origin and meaning (1894)|
| Sir Herbert Maxwell | The Place-Names of Galloway (1930/ (Reprint 2001))|
|Reproduced with the permission of National Library of Scotland|
|Map 1 | OS Map 1:25,000 maps of Great Britain (1937-1961)|
|Map 2 | OS Map Six-inch (1892-1960)|
|Ordnance Survey Name Books|
|By Permission of Scotland’s Places|
|Kirkcudbrightshire OS Name Books Vol. 4 (1848-51) | Alhang|
|Kirkcudbrightshire OS Name Books Vol. 5 (1848-51) | Alhang|
|Kirkcudbrightshire OS Name Books Vol. 4 (1848-51) | Alwhat|
|Kirkcudbrightshire OS Name Books Vol. 5 (1848-51) | Alwhat|