The Angry Corrie 11: Feb-Mar 1993
A Right Bag of Trigs
Question: What connects Arthur's Seat, Maryhill Park, a grassy knoll near Aberdeen's Beach Ballroom and the summit of Ben Nevis? Answer: All are home to a species of four-foot high concrete pillar, perhaps soon to be that mysterious object of desire for a whole generatlon of disaffected Munrobaggers.
Fed up with monotonous Munros, cloudy Corbetts, to say nothing of dull Donalds? A 16 year old Lanarkshire lad has devised a new bagging sport for those looking for a more obscure and time-consuming challenge. Jethro Lennox was already listing and visiting all the Trig Points in Scotland when an obscure reference appeared in TAC9. Mr Trig Point's friend, Ordnance Survey (referred to in that article) was unable to produce a list of all Triangulation Pillars in Scotland and Jethro had to start from scratch.
All the 1 in 50,000 Scottish Ordnance Survey maps needed a detailed study to identify all the Trig Points which then required meticulous listing and map referencing. It quickly became apparent that Mr (or was it Ms?) Trig Point had found low-lying and populated country much more amenable to his/her task than mountainous country. There are, for example, 61 Trig Points on map 64 (Glasgow), but only 8 on map 36 (Grantown and Cairngorm). The list compilation is not yet quite complete, but over 2000 have already been identified. Munro's (and other) Tables eat your heart out!
Poring over maps of a winter's evening is an attractive alternative to homework, but visiting those Trig Points is the real purpose. Accessibility varies from a 2 metre dash from a car (there are no established ethical rules for Trigbagging), to solitary Trig Points on inaccessible islands with no ferry service, as well as remote points on isolated Munros and Corbetts. One occasional problem already identified is the complete disappearance of Trig Points: in at least one place, the hill under the Trig Point has also completely disappeared (map 72, ref 951471 for those interested), and a nearby Trig Point (Cairngryffe Hill, 340 metres) will shortly be gobbled up by quarry machinery.
By bicycle, foot, car and boat, Jethro has thus far visited 112 (about 5% of the total), from industrial heartlands to Cairngorm heights to Western islands (see picture). As a keen juggler, he had hoped to juggle on top of every Trig Point, thus establishing yet another new sport of Triggling. Some have been Triggled, but unexpectedly adverse weather conditions have made this achievement difficult.
For those who want an excuse to visit some really obscure corners of Scotland, Trigbagging is highly recommended. However, Jethro estimates it will take approximately 100 years to visit them all, and until he has completed this worthy venture, he is keeping his list copyright!
Ed - Although not really wanting to encourage this kind of thing (OK, not wanting to be seen to encourage this kind of thing), there are of course a goodly number of TPs lying crazily shattered - a la Walt Poucher - having, been struck by lightning. Those on Schiehallion, Sgurr na Ciche and York Minster spring to mind. And suggestions as to the most TP-shaped hill in Scotland? Which in turn begs questions about the mysterious difference, between the standard 4 sided TPs on general release and the strange cylindrical ones prevalent In the Central Highlands - eg on Beinn Chaorach near Tyndrum and Stob na Cruaiche in the Black Corries.
Then there are the curiously TP-less areas, such as both sides of the big Shiel glen, the Deargs, the Mamores and, by and large, the Cairngorms. And how about some facetious debate over only 53 out of 277, or 19.13% of Munros having betrigpointed summits (plus a further 7 with TPs on adjacent or semiadjacent bumps (Alligin, Eighe, the Lomondside Vorlich, Meall Glas, Gulvain, Ladhar Bheinn, The Saddle), while similar calculations for Corbetts give a figure of 30.80% (69 out of 224), again with 7 near misses: Shalloch on Minnoch, Carn na Creagach, Beinn a'Bhuiridh, Creagan na Beinne, Sgor Mor, Beinn Odhar Bheag and Dun da Ghaoithe. Even lowly Donalds weigh in with a impressive 27.59% (24 out of 87, plus 4 not-quites: Glenrath Heights, Erie Hill, Ballencleuch Law and Shalloch again).
From this one may perhaps infer that the OS are, perhaps, a little lazy - whilst by a process of extrapolation, it's a wonder that the vast fenlands of Albion aren't more populated by fine upstanding concrete pillars than by fine upstanding citizens. 0r perhaps they are: someone or something must have been voting in the recent governments...