The Angry Corrie 8: Jul-Aug 1992
Am writing this from a very wet and windy diving site on the south coast of Dorset. There are no hills, Corbett, Munro, Brown, black, blue or otherwise in the vicinity. Still I'm missing the quiet of the wide open spaces and spending many happy minutes underwater drawing parallels between hillwalking and diving. The list is endless and until the putrid pink and furious fuchsia London types decided diving was a good larf, both sports seemed to attract the same high quality and off-beat sort of bedraggled (and some be-bearded) specimens of the human race.
I have several good contacts should you wish to develop a waterproof version of TAC - useful for reading in the pub on wet and manky walking or diving days.
Keep walking and talking
Passed yon John Smith MP (Munro-Plodder?) the other day on the Beinn Dearg path. The next Labour leader can't even seem to muster the usual mutual acknowledgement that hillwalkers of all sizes and stations seem to manage.
Perhaps he was pissed off that I was running past, or perhaps he hadn't the pech as he looked fair puggled.
I wouldn't like to speculate on the ownership of the stately black Nissan parked near the top of the private road either. (But you will anyway - Ed.) Surely a leader of the people hasn't the privilege to such a start on the riff-raff and a 6k shorter day never mind the ascent? Or maybe Macgregor's helicopter wasn't available.
In TAC7 Hugh Tooby writes:
"What gives a man the right to keep the rest of us off vast areas of wild open land just because he has a fatter wallet?" - to which you added: "(Or a woman...)".
Access issues are I know complex, but I thought I understood most of it till now. Please explain to those of us less au fait with the subject why having a fatter woman gives a man the right to more land. If this is so I shall aim to marry a 30+ stone woman and thereby claim my share of land which I would maintain with access for walkers.
P.S. - You could then begin a personal column for mountaineers looking to marry fat women and claim their land.
Ed. - A fat lot of good that would do!!
Togetherness in the wild:
During a recent wild camping trip in the Highlands with a colleague, I was lying beside my tent at 8pm quite happy in the knowledge that ours was probably the only tent within a three mile radius. Suddenly I noticed movement on the horizon and I watched with interest as two walkers came up the glen. As they approached I could tell from their conversation that they were from south of the border. My heart sank when I realised they were looking for a camp site.
I stood up as they approached and was about to tell them of a good spot half a mile up the glen when one of them said "We'll come up behind you so as not to spoil your view". Then with my emotions ranging from sadness to horror they put up a tent less than five paces from mine.
My walking companion said he had seen this peculiar form of friendliness in England, particularly at car parks. He was visiting a tourist spot early in the day and was the first car in. When he returned half an hour later he discovered the second car in the car park was parked next to him. It was parked so close that he had difficulty opening the driver's door.
I mentioned this phenomenon to my brother-in-law who has experienced it in English camp sites, where with hundreds of spaces a small two-man tent was erected so close to his that the guy ropes were crossed.
Were these just isolated incidences or have other TAC readers come across this peculiar English habit for togetherness?
Robin L Calder,
I write to alert the TAC editorial staff of the risk they are running of alienating a loyal minority of their readership. Born and bred in Gloucestershire, a few years ago I ventured up to the Northern Wastes of Nottinghamshire, soon becoming (a) an avid Grauniad reader and (b) a rapid bugger of a bagger.
In association with a (necessarily small) group of serious Munro cases, the Munro Pineapple Society (MPS) came to pass. Three of us are T-shirt-sporting TAC subscribers who bothy users and regulars at Nancy's may know as Mad Martin, Bizarre Fish and Captain Corbett (his middle name's not Norbert).
MPS claims full responsibility for all the rabid Bagspeak (TAC7) - and in addition to awarding pineapples to the meet's leading bagger, we also confer, on the most sensible person, a ballcock (found by the shores of Loch Stack), while a 7ft long thick black spongy pipe (found at the foot of Ben Lui) goes to the person thought least likely to want it. The latter usually has to be caught and restrained for the presentation.
Obviously setting trends for TAC features, MPS also undertakes spontaneous sheep poetry recitals. From the slopes of Pen y Fan rose forth strains of:
As I beheld a valley of sheep
Ed. - Bizarre right enough! Mind you, this MPS sounds an altogether more politically correct outfit than the SMC or JMCS. How do I join?
Very clever of you, but you're not getting away with it, making up a fake letter pretending to be from someone who likes Muriel Gray. I suppose you have to do it for the sake of balance, but it stuck out a mile. You'll have to do better next time. Sarah Nelson, indeed.
PS - Single sex things are never much fun. On no account do an all-female TAC. (OK - Ed)
PPS - Sarah Nelson, as everyone has spotted, is an anagram of HARNESS LOAN. (It's also SLASHER ANON - while Muriel Gray is A GRIMY LURE - Ed.)
PPS - TAC7 was too bloody serious. (No it bloody wasn't - Ed.)
Sarah Nelson's comments on British Rail in TAC7 must be the daftest thing I have read since the Tory election leaflet. To say that BR are responsible for trespassers being run over because the Sprinters are too quiet is to argue like doddery old judges who say that rape victims are responsible for what happened to them because they wouldn't have been raped if they weren't female. If trains were to go slowly enough to protect weary homeward-bound baggers on the line, ScotRail might as well close the railway and run trains up the West Highland Way instead. And I'm sure most people living near the tracks prefer the Sprinters to the rumbling Class 37s.
Congratulations on your articles on access to the (non-rail-covered) hill land. Unfortunately any threats to our "right to roam" must be taken seriously.
David W Summers
Ed. - We agree it's ultimately walkers' own fault if they're flattened, but wasn't Slasher Anon, to an extent, agreeing also? There is a stretch of line immediately S of Tulloch where the viaduct needs to be used, by way of a metal catwalk, in order for the path beyond to be reached. Technically this is trespass, but it's safe enough and avoids the long trek round the road. Having said that, speaking with any driver unfortunate enough to have killed someone on the line - be they kids in the city or walkers on the moor - should resolve any doubt as to where the culpability really lies).