The Angry Corrie 35: Jan-Mar 98

TAC 35 Index

DO THE CAPS FIT?

Mick Furey

While mind-walking through some maps recently, I was struck by the use of block capitals for the names of some Munros. There is no apparent consistency in this, nor any apparent reason. A few, mainly western, examples:

Munros in BLOCK CAPITALS

Map 25 LIATHACH, BEINN EIGHE

Map 33 BEINN FHADA, BEINN SGRITHEALL, LADHAR BHEINN, LUINNE BHEINN, MEALL BUIDHE (duplicated on OS40)

Map 41 BEN NEVIS

Map 42 BEN ALDER, AONACH BEAG, BEINN UDLAMAIN, CARN GORM, CARN MAIRG (both duplicated on OS51), SCHIEHALLION (duplicated on OS51,52)

Map 50 BEN CRUACHAN

Map 51 BEN LAWERS, BEN MORE

Map 56 None: not even BEN LOMOND

Eastern areas are similarly sporadic: my old OS43 capitalises such as BRAERIACH, the minor bump of EINICH CAIRN, CAIRN TOUL, BEN MACDUI, and GLAS MAOL, whilst Beinn Dearg, Beinn a'Ghlo, and Beinn a'Bhuird appear to be written in a less bold form of capitals.

My first thoughts were that these might be Munros over a certain height; or with a surface area, or even volume, in excess of some significant figure. Even a cursory examination disproves these ideas. The exclusion of Bidean nam Bian, from OS41, for instance. A height of 1150m, and a great sprawl of spurs (even with some carved off to the new-fangled Sgreamhach Munro), would surely qualify it under such criteria. Meall Buidhe, fine Munro that it is, isn't in the same league as many of the omissions. And why should Ben Lomond be discriminated against, when Munros of much lesser significance are singled out for "capitalisation"? Where are Sgurr na Ciche, Beinn a'Bheitheir, Ben Starav, and their like? Actually they're still in the same positions, but you know what I mean.

Nor can it be said that these are all "classic" or famous Munros, separate massifs, subjects of songs, or scenes of great events. Could it be that some hillwalking cartographer has decided that these particular Munros deserve more prominence than others? They can't possibly be all visible from someone's window, so have they been venues for the Ordnance Survey Mountaineering Club meet? Are they ticks on someone's Munro list, with others to be upgraded later? Are they anagrammatic?

Is this part of The Grand Conspiracy of You-Know-Who? Are they part of a projected "Challenge", to be undertaken by some ever more desperate group of walkers seeking further outlets for their masochism? Are these Munros part of a New Age Mystic Mountains Chain (in which case they'd surely have included Creag Mystic Meagaidh), which promises healing for the SMC?

What is the significance of this block capitalism of our Munros? OS40 even has some non-Munros in block caps: Ben Laga, Beinn Resipol, Rois-Bheinn, Sgurr na Ba Glaise, Druim Fiaclach, Croit Bheinn, Beinn Odhar Mhor, Beinn Odhar Bheag: all wee ones. Yet Garbh Bheinn and six Munros get standard typeface! If the top cartographical pedants of TAC don't know, then they ought to be jolly well ashamed of themselves, and must go and ask somebody clever at once.

TAC 35 Index