As a TCP (top cartographical pedant), you ought to be ashamed of yourself for thinking that "No man is an island (unless his name is Muck)" - TAC28, p16. Only John Donne, Roderick Manson and yourself are in agreement. Of course Man is an island; it's on the right as you sail to Dublin. Really!
And there are other people who are islands: Carl Lewis, Skye Masterson, Rolf Harris (who ought to be on an island, Resolution for preference), and Joe Eigg, to name but a few. Oops, I almost forgot Ben Becula!
Might I suggest that if Blanco really wants to have a go at Gordon Henderson (TAC28, pp7,8), he ought to say that GH made an "airse" of his map. Go on, look it up!
And leave Rennie alone, will you. How can you possibly tell Swan to "think Charlie Drake"? He has more curls than had Harpo Marx, while Rennie has a distinguished and noble brow; quite an extensive one, in fact.
Sideways from the question of steepest straight lines across the grain of the country, has anyone else had the ludicrous idea of walking along a grid line? Some guy did it in the ELD (surely EPD? - Ed.) some years ago. Are there any lines, north or south, that don't cross large bodies of water? I only suggest this to try to add something more to the general lunacy that seems to be afflicting hillwalkers lately. I suppose there is some masochistic fool out there that would attempt it.
Right, that's it,
Ed. - Religious readers and/or scandal fans will have noticed Rennie being much in evidence of late, commenting on the former Bishop of Argyll's carryings-on. And where have the Toffee Magnate's words appeared? In The Tablet of course! There's nothing like keeping it in-(sweetie)-house. Rennie has however not been keeping in the best of health recently, and TAC wishes him a speedy recovery. A Mars a day is our recommendation.
Robert Moffat is right (TAC28, p18) and Alan Blanco is wrong. The highest part of the Inaccessible Pinnacle, and by a fair margin, is the 10-foot summit block. This is awkward to ascend (use combined tactics), but - as Moffat says - logic requires the bagger to conquer it. When I accompanied Sir Hugh Munro on his posthumous ascent of the mountain in 1992 (see SMC Journal vol XXXV, p304), my accomplice Jim Kenyon rightly insisted that Sir Hugh should be helped to perch on the top of the block, so not only logic but historical precedent favours a return for all baggers of good conscience who have omitted this final step.
Readers who are amused by such collapses of sound principle might also be interested in an Alpine "Munro" afflicted by similar squirmings. The Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey has three summits, the highest of which is an awkward gendarme. But in 4000m baggers' guides the second highest south summit is nominated as "the true orographical summit" etc, etc. It is needless to add that this summit is a simple dome of snow!
Robin N Campbell
Scottish Mountaineering Club
Those avoiding the unpleasant new tourist path and accessing Ben Venue from the south may be tempted to slake thirsts at the Alltskeith Hotel on Loch Ard. Think again. Some of us recently had a fine evening walk on that route; coming down at 2245, we looked forward to a cool pint only to find the hotel closed. Second best was to sit by the loch sipping the remains of our soft drinks and cooling our tootsies - except that the hotel owner emerged to tell us brusquely to clear off his private beach. He actually refused to tell us what his opening hours were, since "I wouldn't want your kind of custom." Perhaps we should respect his wish not to see mature people with civil tongues - but if you happen to know of any offensive yobs seeking a host of like mind ...
I have always read your publication with a mixture of amusement and incomprehension, as people otherwise sane enough to go hillwalking put enormous effort into cartographical and statistical pedantry of the highest possible order. It therefore came as a considerable shock to read TAC28, which, with the understandable exception of Alan Blanco's review of what seems to be a totally duff map and a very brief item in Stob Press, is almost completely devoid of numbers and nit-pickery altogether. What usually takes me several weeks to plough through was devoured in a matter of minutes - congratulations on a spectacularly good issue. (Ta - Ed.) Having just read the official organ of the BMC, I was struck by the contrast in quality - who needs the overpriced glossies when TAC triumphs so magnificently?
I particularly enjoyed the spoof article by star of track and field Paul Hesp, "Do walkers need farmers?" It was full of hilarious references to obscure poets, and even made the assumption that we were so familiar with Gaelic nature poetry from the Dark Ages that to quote it was unnecessary! The use of German in a note, and the attribution of the phrase "underinvest chronically" to two management consultants with names that I am sure are an anagram for a well-known Haiku or two, really deserves mention. The whole article warrants a special "Pseud's Corner" citation. The joke was of course exploded by the inclusion of a perfectly reasonable letter from Mr Hesp, who perhaps derives his wacky sense of humour from his residence amongst Austrians.
On the subject of meeting famous people on the hill, I read of Rod Stewart's arrival at Sourlies bothy by helicopter for a few days' rest. The amazed inhabitants were, according to the bothy book, much taken by Mr S, although I rather suspect that their judgement may have been influenced by the quantity of alcohol he brought with him. No hillwalking was recorded in any event, and it may be that ol' tartan-trousers distracted the gobsmacked ones from their original purposes. Or perhaps it was all just another spoof to hide their embarrassment at not getting up Sgurr na Ciche.
And finally, your correspondent Jacques Sentier states: "Millennium and 1000 share the same Latin root". Shurely shome confusion here? I always thought our number system was Arabic in origin, but perhaps I'm missing something.
Oh, and please, please, please ignore Craig Weldon's attempt to drag TAC down to the level of the trainspotter.
Ed. - You're getting confused here: it's Dundee United, not the number system, which is Arabic in origin. Easy mistake to make though.
Fears over the motives of the Will Woodlands Trust (TAC19, pp14,15) appear to have been justified, as shown by an article in The Herald, 13/9/96. (Detail on this in the Democracy slot on p12.)
On the subject of deer culls, deer stalking as a business would seem to be an awful waste of time and effort. Surely deer could be culled more quickly and cheaply by having just a few stalkers to cover the whole country, equipped with helicopters and machine guns? Economies of scale would make this cheaper than employing a stalker in every glen. Of course, there might be practical problems, such as selective culling and grounding due to bad weather, and it probably works out to be more profitable for the estates to get rich punters to pay to cull the deer for them. But as I believe Edmund Vestey himself said, "no estate north of Inverness makes a profit anyway."
If the estates were growing sustainable forestry however, that might be a different matter ...
Where is the summit?
This is not a letter about navigation, it being assumed that all TAC readers
are experts in this field and never get lost on mountains. (Erm ... recently-embarrassed Ed.) It is instead intended to seek an answer to the thorny and difficult question, of particular importance to Cart Peds, as to where the summit of a hill is located. In particular we must ask whether artificially constructed additions on top of a hill must be climbed in order to claim a successful ascent.
The most famous example of human tampering is on the summit of Leith Hill in deepest Surrey, where the stockbrockers et al of suburbia, not wanting to be outdone by the peasants north of Watford, built a tower on the top to raise it to a height of 1000 feet and so qualify it, in their eyes, as a mountain. (cf. yon crap Welsh movie reviewed by Blanco in TAC24, p10 - Ed.)
The modern hill-bagger will no doubt despise such pretentiousness and claim his or her tick after perambulating around the base of said edifice.
If person-made constructions were allowed to count in the altitude of a hill, Marilyn baggers would be faced with an array of hazardous masts to ascend as well as a factory-type chimney on Kit Hill and the necessity of climbing to the apex of somebody's roof in the town of Crowborough. (Thrilling news re East Sussex summits in TAC30! - Ed.)
If artificial additions are excluded (as well as trees, since nobody can be expected to climb to the top flimsy branch of some arbitrary conifer on Mochrum Fell for example), then we uncover a startling and little known fact. While it is well known that some hills have a summit higher than the trig point (Airds Hill and Hailstorm Hill to cite a couple of examples), it is less widely realised that there are actually some hills on which the summit is lower than the trig point! Here are a few examples:
Kit Hill again - as well as the modern chimney, the hill carries a hill fort with the trig point standing on one of its highest banks.
Garth Hill is one of the best examples of a number of hills on which the column has been erected on top of a tumulus.
On Ruardean Hill it stands on top of a covered reservoir.
No doubt TAC readers can supply further examples. Those narrow- minded folk interested only in Munros may be hard pushed to find one, although some may wish to suggest that the In Pinn is a prehistoric standing stone, the remnant of some ancient celtic stone circle.
The compilation of hill lists is probably a much more complex task than previously realised, requiring expertise in archaeology as well as cartographical skills, and I suspect that few of those producing such lists are adequately qualified to do so.
The Pond District
Amongst all the correspondence on electric lochs and braes and the like, has anyone pointed out the (possibly) electric contour on the Ardnish peninsula by Loch Ailort?
Take OS40 and look at grid square NM7381. Clearly marked is contour 250m and less clearly (slightly obscured by crags) is contour 200m. Note the following:
(a) it is possible to get from one to the other while crossing only two other contours in an area where they do not appear to have been phased out;
(b) if we start on the 200m contour and walk northwest to the 250m line and beyond, the next main contour reached is actually the 150m line;
(c) careful study will show that the "250m" is actually printed facing down rather than up the slope;
(d) finally, if we follow round one contour we find ourselves magically on the other, in a sort of Möbius strip!
What conclusions can we reach? Is this some new phenomenon, the electric contour? Is the contour marking correct, implying that Loch Ailort is in fact an electric loch? Is the Ordnance Survey a collection of incompetents gathered together by the Tory government with the aim of ripping off innocent walkers? I think we should be told.
Martin CC Beetham
Burton in Kendalbion
Ed. - Likewise take a look at Great Dodd, north of Helvellyn on OS90 in the Ponds. The summit is 856m and the Sticks Pass col south of Stybarrow Fell appears to be just below 700m, making Great Dodd a previously undiscovered Marilyn and English Corbett, since the drop is therefore over 150m. Sadly not; look at Raise to the south of Sticks Pass. Summit 881m.The first index contour is un-numbered but must be 850m, with the sequence then reading 750m ...700m ...etc from there down. Oops. No 800m line. Hence the Sticks Pass is in reality just under 750m, not 700m - as is correctly shown on the Outdoor Leisure sheet. This kind of error is not uncommon, but is rarely seen on this scale, pardon the pun.
PIN numbers and NCP car parks are all very well, but they aren't addressing the central issue of the Scottish countryside. Looking around our mountains and wilderness areas, there are a number of tautologies. A word is often repeated in two different languages, but translating into one language leaves us with a tautology.
For instance, Uig Bay on Skye. This means Bay Bay, or for Gaelic speakers Uig Uig. On Mull there is a waterfall at grid reference NM444422 called Eas Fors. In Gaelic and Norwegian respectively these words both mean waterfall, so the waterfall is called Waterfall Waterfall.
There must be loads of examples of this sort of thing all over Scotland. I'm sure that TAC readers will enjoy the long winter evenings ahead poring over their maps looking for them.
Is Loch Loch round the backside of Beinn a'Ghlo a tautology, or just a silly name for a loch? I've often wondered.
Alexander Soluble Disprin
The Angry Cottage
Anyone seen the new Irish OS maps? Good aren't they? Please beware they
are printed on a paper that makes ours look like linen-backed rubber. They are prone to disintegration in the dry even. It is a good idea to take copies out on wet days, even if it is illegal.
Sheet 74 finally ends the "Galty Gap", where two half-inch sheets are meant to meet, only they don't. There is a strip of unmapped land between the two sheets. Amazingly in flat central Ireland, this gap coincides with the Galty Ridge. Navigation up there was very interesting when you were unaware of this.
Also, has anyone seen the name of the summit of Galtymore Mountain (Sheet 74, 878238): "Dawson's Table". Coincidence? Conspiracy? I think we should be told.
Name on shop seen serendipitously from X76 Silverknowes bus in Edinburgh: James Borthwick (14:14). Borthwick seems like a good nine- letter surname which leaves some useful vowels for the first name ... anyone know anybody called Glenda Borthwick?
James A Cunnane
I very much enjoy reading your magazine, or at least those parts of it about hillwalking, democracy and so on. However, I find your obsession with linguistics and numerology rather tiresome. Who cares about the "The TGO", 11:11 and such like. Let's have less of this childish and uninteresting talk.
Melvin "Budgy" Schwartzkopf (23:23)
While I realise that a sighting of Muriel Gray is a pretty lowly tick in the celebrity-spotting table, sight and sound of the blonde goddess giving vent to some highly unladylike language as she tried to extract herself from a bog on the descent from Beinn an Dothaidh to Achallader Farm certainly provided a novel end to a winter Sunday for me. And can I claim a half-tick for clocking Ross the Researcher further down the track?
Isle of Skye
(and legal highway robbery)
I've just finished reading the piece by Ronald Turnbull in TAC28, and frankly I can't follow it at all. What's this guy on about?
He refers to Milton without saying whether he means the one in the Campsie Fells NS6576, or the one in Glen Lyon NN571463. And as for Augustine, I don't believe that's Gaelic at all.
We get enough in TAC that's incomprehensible without going into the "nevertheless not One Incomprehensible but Three Incomprehensible" routine. (What's that? - Ed.) Whatever happened to that good old "because it's there"? Surely you must be able to get hold of a proper picture of Liathach in Winter Raiment from Loch Clair from somewhere?
(the not-near-the-Campsies one)
What do you think? I am interested to hear your opinions, and anecdotal evidence, as experienced hillwalkers, to help my research project for the Scottish Tourism Research Unit. To what extent do you feel that walking magazines such as TAC - and guidebooks - influence the volume and distribution of demand for hillwalking (over 2,500ft) in Scotland? Other possible questions:
Do you think magazine and guidebook editors should be either praised, or blamed, for encouraging either appropriate, or inappropriate, demand?
In your opinion, should guidebooks or magazines include environmental guidelines for each route?
Do you feel that those incurring the costs of demand for hillwalking are also gaining the economic benefits? Whom do you believe should take responsibility for the maintenance of mountain environments?
Your ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Ed. - Obviously we're happy for discussion of this to take place in TAC, but if you want to contact Anna directly, we will forward any letters.
A Corrie family tree:
... William Corrie ? - (1700-1717?), Clunie
... 1. John Corrie c1663-1712, Terreglestown
... 1.1 Adam Corrie 1703-1786, (1750 elected session clerk) Terreglestown
... 1.1.5. John Corrie 1739-1828, farmer in Barncleugh
... 22.214.171.124 William Corrie 1766, Irongray, emigrated 1822 to Illinois USA
... 126.96.36.199.8 Thomas Corrie 1814-1903, Dumfries, then New York and Illinois
... 188.8.131.52.8.4 Thomas Newton Corrie 1846-1922, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado
... 184.108.40.206.8.4.6 Frank Corrie 1887-1976, Kansas
... 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 Thomas Chester Corrie 1911-1995, Wisconsin, Oregon
... 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.3 Timothy David Corrie Sr 1941- , Oregon
... 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.3.1 Timothy David Corrie Jr (me) 1961- , Oregon, Washington
... 220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.3.1.1 Timothy David Corrie III (my son) 1995- , Washington
We are planning on doing a tour of Scotland and some other places in about five years. So anything you have on "how to be hip in Scotland (for foreigners)" would be appreciated. Some of the things that come to mind are:
(a) Lists of ingredients so those of us with different food aversions can tell what to steer clear of, eg haggis. I think I read this contains lymph nodes? Spleens? Oatmeal, stomach, kidneys, hearts. So far I'm okay, at least until you tell me it contains brains, tongues, hoofs, or eyeballs.
(b) How to drink beer: warm or cold? Guinness or death?
(c) A translation list of common terms known only to Scots. I liked the mispronunciation list in one of your TACs. (Wow, that was in TAC1! - Ed.)
(d) Proper attire. I think you may have covered this: I saw lots of beards and flannel.
(e) A list of social faux pas. Or other things that you just wouldn't do, or just have to do for that matter.
(f) What is considered top form in humor - ah, but I think you've covered this too. Does one get punished for puns?
(g) Although this is probably a touchy subject, what last names should foriegners not admit to having ... ?
Keep up the good work TAC! Another wacky window to the Scots.
Tim Corrie Jr
Redmond, WA, USA
I am pleased but also dismayed to read (TAC28, p8) of the errors and omissions on the OS Outdoor Leisure Sheet 38, Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. I am astonished, aghast and frankly rather upset that my faith in the OS has been tarnished. I thought that your "Product Recall Notice" was a spoof, but on checking I've found that the correct summit heights unshown on the map are:
|Meall nan Gabhar||744m||235240||200m SE of 743m shown|
|Ben Lui||1030m||266263||150m SE of 1127m shown|
|Beinn Achaladair||1038m||344432||200m SW of 1036m shown|
I was greatly looking foward to publication of this map, but if we can't rely on accurate summit spot heights on a new 1:25k sheet, what can we rely on?
Note also: 1:50k OS23, North Skye, grid ref 454606 has a spot height of 627m but is in the contour ring 570m, so I suspect it should be 577m; 1:50k OS148, Presteigne and Hay-on-Wye, 2nd edition, Hawthorn Hill on the Offa's Dyke path at 287677 has a height given as 605m - strange as there's only a 400m contour ring. I was tempted to suggest this as an undiscovered Marilyn, being a 205m spire of rock, higher than the Old Man of Hoy. However OS error seemed more likely, and they rectified it on a subsequent edition of the map.
I hereby stake my claim to have discovered the greatest OS heighting error!
Yours sincerely disgruntled,