The Angry Corrie 6: Mar-Apr 1992
Be warned - this letter is incoherent, rambling, with tenuous links which can only be discerned by those of like mind. It will not appeal to Conservative leaders from Dartford (see TAC4).
I agree with Val Hamilton about Munrobaggers being unable to pronounce the names. A pity that Muriel, more than once, has referred to Sgurr na Ciche as if it was an egg flan.
On the subject of eggbeaters - sorry, headbeaters - our councillor attempts to be "one of us" by recalling a few memories of days spent in the hills, which the average hillgoer would happily keep private in his/her diary along with hundreds of others. Oh - and dinnae patronise a Czech by assuming that he's the only one in his lifetime to have climbed Suainaval - he's not.
Aah, Suainaval. Slump forward, grasp the arms of your chair like Sorley, and repeat - SOO-ENN-YA-VAL. Suainabhal. Swain's fell, some say. I've been on it in the dark, I've lain on my back on a summer's evening watching an eagle cover two miles to Mealisval in a couple of minutes. I've been up it on average twice a year since '77. I married a Lewis girl, and introduced a visitor's book to the top to carry on the banter with my mother-in-law, a cailleach who claimed mine would be the only name in it. Of course she was wrong, there were all nationalities in it, and I would bring it down to let her (and her neighbours) read it, and marvel at the amadans who came and climbed Suainaval. But then it disappeared.
You see, I know where our councillor stayed. It's where every well-off tourist in Uig stays. The proprietor advertises in the south-east, fills his place all summer, then buggers off to the Bahamas all winter. He doesn't meet the local or put anything into the island economy. It's a Home Counties oasis where they eat at eight and then stroll across the sands, wittily sending up the locals' accents. The kids go away to boarding school.
He replaced the book with his own, because it was wet. Only visitors to his guesthouse can see it, the locals can't. He's promised to return it to the museum at Loch Croistean, but hasn't. I hear that his replacement book is now at the bottom of Loch Suainavat, though I wouldn't know how it got there.
If you do go to Lewis, take a colourful tent and camp, free, on the machair. You'll spoil their view, but never mind. And climb Suainaval - you can see St Kilda from the top. And visit anyone in Crowlista - they'll offer you a dram and speak Gaelic to you - without charge.
Nice to know that Kenneth Leadbeater, Tory leader of Dartford Council, takes his breaks from cutting the services of the people of Kent by relaxing in the Highlands. We could have been spared his tedious holiday memories however.
And here was I thinking that acid rain, lead fumes and toxic waste dumping were the main forms of pollution to worry about when hill-walking.
I'm a Munrobagger and proud of it - so bugger the lot of you. Why should Munrobaggers be looked upon as second-class citizens or cast as anything less than hillwalkers? I'll bet a pound to a pinch of "shalt" that at least 80% of TAC's readers are Munrobaggers, each and every one of them wondering if and when TAC is going to devote a page or three to Munros. Possibly it's the name "Munrobagger" that's wrong: somehow it now has connotations attached to it, as if Munrobaggers were only interested in hills which are minimum 3000' in the clouds (which most usually are - at weekends only of course). It's time surely to look for a more acceptable name. How about "Wonderful Good Looking People", or "Touch and Tickers"? (You've lost me now - puzzled Ed.)
Let's be clear on "English" Munros. There aren't any because as we all know, thanks to Shuggy, Munros only exist in good old hilly Scotland. In fact, now that I think about it, if Scotland were flattened out, we would be bigger than England.
Which brings us nicely to Culloden - not one of our better victories. Bonnie Prince Charlie climbed a few Munros during his strategic withdrawal. Imagine if he had done them all: what price "Bonnie Good Looking People" or "Royal Bigfoots"? (Bigfeet, surely - Ed.)
OK, your chance readers. What would you call Munrobaggers?
Bonnie Les MacKay (well, bony anyway),
Ed. - More on the concept of a flattened-out Scotland in a future issue.
One question please. Having just returned to dear old Albion after a full two weeks of winter mountaineering around the venerable Ben, could you please tell me where was the TAC5 cover photo taken, and what is that strange white stuff littering yonder hill?
It reminded me of something that I remember from long ago that used, I am sure, to fall from the sky......but surely not?
Ed. - According to my notes, the photo is of either Miami or Beinn Bhuidhe, whilst the white stuff is either cocaine or something else.