The Angry Corrie 1: May 1991

20 Differences Between Glen Coe and Shakespeare

It is fairly well blown that the great W.H.Murray wrote his two famous books, "Mountaineering in Scotland" & "Undiscovered Scotland" whilst incarcerated in a German P.O.W. camp during WWII. However, there is also a tradition that he remedied the chronic lack of writing material by scribbling his tales of Glen Coe gullies & Cuillin crags onto the camp's lavatory paper. But this left Murray & his fellow internees nothing with which to wipe their arses - until, that is, someone came up with the bright idea of utilising the camp's only book, a Shakespeare Complete Works, as surrogate bogroll. Whether this story is true or merely wishful thinking, the choice of priorities puts into sharp focus a debate that has longed raged wherever Thespians & summiteers gather together (Take me to the place! - incredulous Ed.), & to which ace TAC reporter Perkin Warbeck now addresses himself:

1. Glen Coe is topped by the mighty peak of Bidean nam Bian, crowning glory of Argyll with outriders of Stob Coire nan Lochain & the 3 sisters.
Shakespeare is topped by a baldy pate, a few wisps of stringy hair, and for outriders a couple of unremarkable lugs.

2. Glen Coe measures approx 3700 feet high & five miles long.
Shakespeare probably measured about 5 feet six.

3. No one has ever accused Glen Coe of being somewhere else.
Shakespeare frequently is accused of having his plays written by Sir Francis Bacon.

4. Glen Coe is girt about by crags.
Shakespeare is girt about by a poncy Elizabethan ruff.

5. Glen Coe has Hamish MacInnes' cottage.
Stratford has Anne Hathaway's cottage. It is not known if she climbed any mighty summits - but it seems unlikely.

6. On a clear day on Bidean you can see Skye, Ben Nevis, Schiehallion etc.
On a clear day in Stratford-upon-Avon you can see the Avon, Stratford, and Anne Hathaway's cottage.

7. Massacres: Glen Coe 1 Stratford 0.

8. On the north side of Glen Coe there is the Aonach Eagach ridge: a breathtaking scramble among misty pinnacles teetering over the Glen below.
On the north side of Stratford you have a bit of flat countryside devoid of features of any sort.

9. Shakespeare's plays frequently featured boys dressed up as girls.
No member of Glen Coe Mountain Rescue Team has been known to act in such a fashion.

10. Shakespeare's so-called finest works featured mad, homicidal, or at least dithering members of the royal family.
The British royal family tend to go to Kloisters, Stringfellows & certainly not Glen Coe.

11. Running through Glen Coe is the River Coe, gushing from the peaks & tumbling down the glen. It is plied only by the bravest of canoeists
Running through Stratford-upon-Avon is the Avon, a stagnant watercourse plied by punts containing boatered Etonians & extras from "Room with a View"

12. Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" featured fairies & coarse imbeciles wearing cuddies' heads.
Glen Coe's supernatural inhabitants are the shades of Highland warriors.

13. The road through Glen Coe is often blocked by rockfalls & avalanches from the steep sides of the Aonach Eagach.
The road through Stratford is often blocked by coach parties of tourists carrying video cameras and guidebooks.

14. Glen Coe features 2 pubs: The Clachaig & The Kingshouse, where bohemian climbers discuss the peaks.
Stratford has"The Bull & Ferret", where Old Sir Peter Hall discusses Lear's dichotomy.

15. Glen Coe has a mountain rescue team.
Stratford has a croquet team.

16. Besides mighty climbers, Glen Coe is the domicile of majestic soaring eagles, graceful deer & leaping salmon.
Stratford is the domicile of bookish eggheads, voles, shrews & a few ducks.

17. An ice climbing tool called the Pterodactyl was invented in Glen Coe.
Shakespeare apparently invented a special type of inkstand, although some claim it was in fact Francis Bacon.

18. MacInnes says that the winter traverse of the Cuillin was one of his hardest climbs.
Old Sir Peter Hall says that Lear was his hardest role, "what with having to keep the crown on and everything".

19. The entrance to Glen Coe is guarded by Buachaille Etive Mor, a rocky tower featuring many climbs.
The entry to Stratford is guarded by the Dog and Duck pub, where the local poetry club can get fairly boisterous.

20. Glen Coe is in Scotland.
Stratford is in England.

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