The Angry Corrie 12: Apr-May 1993

The Search for White Holes

Congratulations on your Boring Squares feature (TAC10), which was by far the most exciting competition I've ever won. Well worth spending 42.50 on maps in order to win a ten-quid sweatshirt. Unfortunately this wonderful prize is rather unsuitable for apres-bag wear as it is too brightly white for a retiring soul like me, but I do find it ideal for popping on over my goretex whenever I venture above the snowline. Apart from attracting the occasional mad hare, its chameleonesque qualities have served me well. I've a feeling it'll be just the right sort of clothing for Boring Square bagging as well. I'm sure this sport could really catch on if attractively packaged, but you do need to work on it. For a start the scoring scheme needs refining. Some of your BS's contain really interesting things such as cattle grids, lochs and standing stones, while ND2946 has a named summit and NT1955 has a trig point! You can't get much less boring than that, can you?

What you need is a weighting system to rate the features on a boringness scale instead of just counting them. Something like this should suffice:

Boundary or contour line 1 point
Name or spot height 2 points
Stream or marsh 3 points
Wood or loch 4 points
Track or path 5 points
Road or railway 6 points
Building or other feature 8 points
Trig point 10 points

Then you could list all the squares in order of boringness. This would make BS bagging much more challenging, and would intensify the excitement of the search for the perfectly boring square, the "null point" of the map world.

To make it even more addictive, a better name than "Boring Squares" is surely needed - why not call them "White Holes"? TAC could offer another prize for the first person to discover a pure null-point White Hole on any OS 1:50 000 map. Even readers in such featureless flatlands as Essex and Lincolnshire (surely: Essalbion and Lincalbionshire ? - Ed.) will find this difficult, as the Pure White Hole is a very rare phenomenon indeed. Blue Holes can be found all over the place, there are Brown Holes and Orange Holes dotted around the coast here and there, but no White Hole has yet been identified (Ireland doesn't count). There are some near misses of course - SE8322 and TA1252 are both tantalisingly close, and Sheet 107 (Hull) promises a hatful of holes at first glance but never quite delivers. In fact the nearest to a White Hole so far discovered is in Snowdonia National Park of all places, not far from The Prisoner's playground at Portmeirion. It's on Sheet 124, it's called SH5634, and it's a null-pointer but it's not Pure White, as two orange tongues lick into its lower corners. Perhaps some Welsh reader could go there and shovel the stupid sand out of the way to leave the ground looking nice and white.

Of course it would take the OS some time to catch up with this, so in the meantime the search continues elsewhere for this elusive phenomenon. White Holes may not hold the key to the mystery of the universe, but then again, who knows? The search is on...

Alan Blanco

Ed. - OK, another shirt for whoever finds a WH first. Maybe there's a clue in WH Murray's Undiscovered Scotland. Actually, I think I once read somewhere - in a Richard Adam book maybe - that there are in fact 42 WHs total, so perhaps the mystery of the universe is in there somewhere...

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