TAC 27 May-Jul96

TAC 27 Index

Stob Press

From a snippet on the recent Women's World Chess Championships between Xie Jun and Zsuzsa Polgar, outtaken from The Week in Chess, a regular online roundup of rookery and bishopric by Mark Crowther (http://www.brad.ac.uk/~mdcrowth/chess.html):

"My thanks to Kevin O'Connell for some news from the event where his Intelligent Chess Display system is providing instantaneous display of the moves in the playing hall, in the press room, various locations throughout the Parador and in the commentary room a couple of kilometres away in the town itself. This last is thanks to the mountaineering skill of Jorge Morales, the man who looks after all the technical requirements at the Linares tournaments and other events also, for he donned his mountaineering gear, attached a secure rope to the Parador and abseiled down the Santa Catalina hill to take the video cable down to the town some 400-500 metres below!"

Switching from chess to your Ed's other favourite sideline, whereas most Test cricket grounds make do with such as the Diglis End or the Radcliffe Road End, the recent World Cup semi between Australia and the Windies at Chandigarh saw Curtly, Courtney et al thundering in from the "Himalayas End". The occasional TAC submissions by readers claiming to be able to see the Ochils and suchlike from various Scottish football grounds are somewhat put in the shade by this.

Fortean Times includes a section called Strange Deaths, and Issue 85 tells of Italian builder Vittorio Veroni, killed in his Renault 21 on the Via Cartoccio level crossing in Reggio Emilia on 8/11/95. This was bad enough, but on 19/1/91 his daughter Cristina had been killed at the same spot, by the same train, driven by the same driver. This has led TAC to muse on the startling immunity possibilities on offer to any offspring of Jacqueline Greaves (see TAC25, pp11,12). Since his/her mother was saved from certain doom by a "railway crossing barrier" on "Derry Cairngorm", there would seem to be a reasonable chance that Greaves junior would, when about to plunge over a precipice, be prevented from so doing by the selfsame stripey boom. Stranger things have happened.

The quest for single-lettered names continues apace. Alan Blanco serves up Dutch tennis player Brenda Schultz and obscure judge Joseph Tarbuck, both 13:13, while currently trendy film director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break) produces a glorious single take of 14:14, making her the world's leading woman (if she was an actor too she'd be the leading lady). Elsewhere, Martin Slader tries to sneak in with his Edinburgh YMCA or YWCA - both 13:13, excellent but dodgy. And whoever scriptwrites The Bill must be a TAC fan, since the fabled Douglas McIntyre, 15:15, cropped up as a minor character - albeit disguised as "Dougie McIntyre" - in the 1/3/96 episode of the copsoap.

And at the opposite extreme, an early check through the new Irish OS83/84 for the upcoming Irish TACit Table has seen 675m Coomcallee in Iveragh change to the fantastic new name of Tooeeens.

Thanks to Craig Weldon for a cutting from the Daily Express concerning the February rescue of two climbers from the Am Bodach on the Aggy Ridge - a task made more difficult by five of the MRT been swept away by Joao Havelange. No-one was killed or seriously injured, but a dramatic rescue ensued nonetheless - the more so since the hill involved, if the Tory tabloid's graphic is to be believed, bears an uncanny likeness to the Matterhorn.

The Swiss/Italian summit also turns up inappropriately in a range of recently-spotted "Cat Activity Centres": things you put on the carpet for purrported feline scratching and general enjoyment. Five different models have been seen, all made by Pennine: the Everest, the Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn, the Fuji and the Eiger, none more than two feet off the ground. At a pet shop near you now!

If you want to climb the equivalent of the main Mamore ridge, it seems you now need go no further than that fabled amphitheatre of the mountain gods, Surrey. An event advertised in a recent issue of the longdistance walker's mag Strider reads as follows: April 20-21. Surrey Summits. 62.5 miles in 26 hours and 8000 feet of ascent in central Surrey. Presumably this involves climbing numerous mock-Tudor staircases in the leafy stockbroker belt.

Charles Everett, arch cart ped, has been poring over what is many people's favourite map: OS33. Following his recent ascent of the 885m Corbett Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais (NG938110), he began to have suspicions about nearby Buidhe Bheinn (879m on the latest OS Landranger), which in pre-1981 editions of Munro's Tables was in fact the Corbett hereabouts. Charles squinted long and hard at OS33 and thought he saw an 880m contour ring beside the spot height. Off to the Edinburgh map library he went, but the lack of fully metricated 1:25000 and 1:10000 sheets brought no progress. Phonecalls to the OS in Edinburgh, Inverness and Southampton likewise failed to provide answers to his two queries: when would the new 1:25000 sheet appear, and what is the correct summit height for Buidhe Bheinn? Finally, in mid-February, he received a letter from the OS, stating: "The revision procedure for the Pathfinder series is currently under review ... however, the metric contouring for Buidhe Bheinn is available. The 879m spot height on the western spur is now 880m, and a new height of 885m has been placed inside the 884m contour." Hence, until the next revision, Buidhe Bheinn (NG963090 for the true summit) and Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais are both 885m and hence share Corbett status. Note that this doesn't however mean they are both Corbetts, as the SMC had us believe with Corrieyairack Hill and Gairbeinn all those years. It's a case of either/or, take your pick - or count them as half each and visit the pair.

Finally, a couple of points from Mick Furey's Department of Shattered Illusions:

(i) Somebody called Dave Hewitt had a letter in "Notes and Queries" in The Guardian in January, answering a question as to why the only lake in Scotland is the Lake of Menteith. According to this CP (Cart Ped hopefully and not Complete Prat - Ed.), there are bodies of water in SW Scotland named as "lakes". Is nothing sacred to this iconoclast? Has he no thought for the guidebooks that must now be re-written? Does he realise the impact on pub quizzes? Where will it all end? In tears, I'll be bound!

(ii) Barbara Jones (TAC26, p7) has a piece about The Electric BRAE; damn, damn damn! Since I first read an article in The Scots Magazine I've wanted to see this wonderful garment. I used to ponder on questions like: AC or DC voltage? power consumption? etc - now all for nothing. Is she sure it's Brae?

TAC 27 Index