CONGRATULATIONS go to Lindsay Boyd, who completed his Corbetts on 25 December 2004. This goes with his three Munro rounds, but what's notable is the date. There can't have been many Christmas Day completions, even though it's a tremendous idea. Circumstances would tend to conspire against such a plan, presuming it's ever thought of in the first place: family obligations, short daylight, dodgy roads, general festive chaos - it's not the easiest of schemes to see through, especially if there's a desire to invite friends. Boyd managed it, though, on the Ardgour Garbh Bheinn - see http://www.caledoniahilltreks.com/walks_in_moidart_sunart_ardgour.htm for an account. The only other Christmas Day completion known of here is that by Robert MacDonald of Rawtenstall on the Appin Beinn Fhionnlaidh in 1992, the fourth of his six Munro rounds (three of which ended on that particular hill). Anyone know of any more?
ANOTHER unusual completion came on Beinn na Lap, on 19 June last year. It was a double finish, by Willy Slavin and Margaret Ann Minards: the former a Roman Catholic priest in Glasgow, the latter a nun based at Nunraw Abbey in Haddington. Male clergy of various denominations have completed Munro rounds since the beginning of time: the presbyterian Archibald Robertson in 1901 (allegedly), then Ronald Burn (episcopalian, later RC) in 1923. So that's not too unusual, and a forthcoming TAC will endeavour to provide a clerical completion list. But a nun - that's a new one, surely?
WHILST on the subject of the bold Reverend Robertson, it doesn't appear to have been pointed out before that the name Archibald includes the sequence of letters chiba, and Munroist 2000 in the published list is one Rati Chiba. He even completed within sight of old Archie's chosen summit Meall Dearg, on Stob Coire Raineach, 22/8/98. Spooky.
A SEXTUPLE Grahams completion is a possibility later this year - all the more remarkable, if it does happen, given that the number of known Grahamists stands at only 28 - http://bubl.ac.uk/org/tacit/completions/grahamists.htm shows the list. It could also be the largest mass completion of any Scottish hill list - the biggest event thus far appears to have been the fivefold Munro finish of Dr Gerald McPartlin, Father David Gemmell (another of those priests), Anne Stokes, Euan Nicol and Andrew Wright, 1644-1648 in the published list, on the Quoich Sgurr Mor, 18 October 1996. More on this potential great leap forward for Grahamists nearer the time.
FINALLY on bagging for now, the latest edition of Alan Blanco's annual Marilyns newsletter, Marhofn, should be out by early May. If you aren't already on the mailing list for this and would like a copy in due course, please send your postal address to email@example.com
THE 2004 Beard of the Year award was recently presented to Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff for a particularly scratchy and stubbly effort, infinitely poorer than that sported by countless hillgoing men (and possibly a few hillgoing women). Flintoff's prowess on the field of flannels is without question, but a champion beard? It does tend to suggest that the award is made to the most successful person with a beard, rather than to the most successful beard itself.
What would W G Grace have made of it all? Or, for that matter, John Rooke Corbett, whose chin-bush (see the superb picture on p232 of Robin N Campbell's The Munroist's Companion) even had a rock climb named in its honour: Beaver Buttress on Beinn Eunaich, the first ascent of which was made by Corbett and chums on the last day of 1927.
Flintoff shared his award with Paul Mackney, general secretary of NATFHE, the lecturers' union. Third (by a none-too-close close shave) was the moor-walking chap who features here on page five.
ACTUALLY, why hasn't Steve Gough, the Naked Rambler, won the award? Most of his epic walk, and his absurd imprisonment, took place in 2003, but it was 22 January 2004 when he finally reached John o'Groats (see TAC61 p20), so he was a contender in either year. He surely ticked the necessary boxes - was in the news, did something innovative, became a popular hero. And he had a belter of a beard, which was even adorned with trendy plaited ribbons at one stage. He should really have been knighted by now, or made a dame. Maybe 2005 will be his year - word has it he's planning some new nude ploy for the summer.
Oh, if you're wondering about the review of Who Bares Wins, promised on p8 of TAC63, our stringer was lined up to attend the Drumnadrochit performance before this was cancelled at the last minute in apparently controversial circumstances. The rest of the tour played to packed houses, and the play was even reviewed in the broadsheets. But it's not now due to be performed again until Embra in August, so there'll be nothing here until TAC66 at least. But TAC65 might well include discussion as to why you never see the Naked Rambler and US singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne together...
News from Chris Townsend via Mike Dales: Bynack Stable (NJ020104) blew down in the January gales, so is now no use as a base for Cairngorms bothying.
"Showell Styles is the Welsh equivalent of Lakeland's Harry Griffin" - Hamish Brown, from his Groats End Walk book. And now both Harry Griffin and Pip Styles have gone, Harry last summer aged 93 (see TAC63 pp4-5), and Pip on 19 February 2005 aged 96. He was a lovely, kindly man, a treat to meet and to correspond with, and there'll be recollection of him in TAC65.
TAC 64 Index