The Angry Corrie 22: Mar-Apr 1995


12 famous but rarely climbed hills

1 The Grassy Knoll

Came to prominence, as Sheryl Crow recently sang, "In November 1963 / The day Aldous Huxley died". And CS Lewis for that matter. Watching Oliver Stone's movie of these momentous few seconds, it's striking just how unknolllike the knoll actually is. So non-hummocky it's a wonder anyone, rifle-carrying or no, could ever hope to crouch behind it. Incidentally, what the famous Zapruder tape shows happening to the back of JFK's head is analogous to the plans superquarry mogul Iain Wilson harbours for Roineabhal.

2 Height of the Troubles

Northern Irish hill which recently vanished from all maps. Hopefully it will soon reappear, but only after having been renamed the Height of Nonsense. A notoriously stormy hill: throughout most of the past fifteen years, a common occurrence was to see one's climbing partner mouth words at you only to have them snatched away as if by the wind.

3 Fitov Peak

Small, obscure summit in one of the former Soviet republics which nobody had ever heard of until there was a war there. Such a method of coming into public awareness has led to this and similar hills being classified as Yeltsins.

4 Sgurr na h-Weabhair

Tall, stately hill first mentioned way back in TAC2. Not advised as a public holiday jaunt, since rumoured to be home to various unpleasantly-clawed reptiles and a large flock of gorillas. Along with neighbouring Beinn Kingsley, this perennially misty summit is soon to be featured in the Hollywood blockbuster Death and A'Mhaighdean.

5 Damon Hill

Despite being voted the BBC's Hill of the Year, this is an extremely boring ascent hardly worth the effort - except perhaps to view the waters of the Eas Coul t-Hard. For those insistent on ticking it off, until 1994 the best starting point was Ayr town centre. Not to be confused with its slightly more interesting neighbour Damon Fromblur.

6 Mount Edpolis

Muck-covered Welsh hill in the western Fetlocks, rising above the noisy and unpleasant Mount Edanddogb Ranch. Ascent usually made by the bridle path beside Bynack Stable and then up Coir' an Eich toward the Stirrup Mark.

7 Mam a'Cass

Vast sprawling massif in southern California. Dull rumbling in the sixties led to rumours it was volcanic, but now long since extinct. Its ugly slopes form an unsightly contrast to Carn Carpenter across the valley: a giddy, tapering spire of utmost fragility.

8 The Moral High Ground

Which one tends to take rather than climb. And strangely, even when taken, it's still there - like a cake, which can be eaten yet still had. In reality this is just another name for Ben Rinnes - being a misspelling of Moray High Ground in an early issue of TGO.

9 G7 Summit

Like K2, except only ever scaled - or attended - by men in pinstripe rather than Buffalo suits. Summiteers often go for a Tolmount-Tom Buidhe-style double-bag by popping across to the Moral High Ground as well.

10 Top o' the Mornin'

Another Irish hill, sited in the heavily afforested Wogans and covered, base to summit, in a rare subspecies of dwarf blarney. Also the only hill known to have been climbed by Captain Dudley Smith - the Devil incarnate in James Ellroy's LA Quartet. Grand.

11 Cairn Thic Munitaidh

We don't often warn readers off hills, but CTM is a dangerous place to venture, with its huge unstable screes, chaotic and potentially lethal, where every step forward involves two back. Lower slopes swarm with muttering crazies carrying sad belongings in tatty rucksacks, while the upper reaches are home to a fierce pride of bottomleys. Hopefully 1996 will see it cleared of danger and renamed Mount Cook.

12 Hill of Beans

Midwest American peak, also notoriously difficult underfoot, which many walkers make a Meall of. First scaled by German emigré Heinz Runner, whilst a later explorer - novelist and travel writer John Steinbeck - summed up the thoughts of many when he wrote: "Ain't worth climbing. Doesn't amount to much."


TAC 22 Index