The Angry Corrie 13: Jun-Jul 1993

A geographer writes...

Dear TAC,

Professor M Bob's paper in TAC12 makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Munros. The discovery of a lost Munro is of particular interest.

Unfortunately, the Professor's methodology is not quite correct. His method would correctly pinpoint a present-day forgotten Munro (or mountain wrongly believed to be 2999.9 feet), but is inadequate for fixing the site of a lost one. The reason is that the eroded/quarried/stolen mountain was not necessarily the lowest of the series (no.278). It could even be the highest. Professor Bob's work therefore shows the correct direction from the Munro Centre but not the distance. Loch Uisg is in fact the minimum distance from the Scottish Munro Centre (SMC hereafter). Indeed, there could not have been a Beinn Uisg within the past 350 million years as the site is exactly on the Great Glen Fault.

A few hypotheses may be considered. If the ancient continent of Laurasia is reconstructed as it was before the opening of the North Atlantic, Mount Washington in New Hampshire appears in about the right direction. However, at 1917m it is too high to fit the calculations, and other corrections would have to be made if the SMC cairn was believed to date from this period, such as disregarding the Cuillins.

A more likely alternative is that the cairn takes account of a small, underground Munro completely hidden beneath Ben Nevis. Or it could be predicting a totally new hill in the opposite direction - near Dallas in Moray, perhaps - which has yet to be formed.

Or the explanation could be simpler. The Flat Earth Approximation biases the position of the SMC to the north-north-east, indicating that the present list of Munros may be correct after all.

However, bearing in mind differential erosion rates. variations in isostatic uplift and relative changes in the positions of Birnam Wood and Dunsinnane Hill, it is clear that Munroness is a dynamic spatial system. Some TAC reader must have a clue to the SMC mystery, so please write in and help M Bob!

Finally, even more serious than a missing mountain: what has happened to "This Land Is Your Land"? Is it not our land any longer? We should be told.

Professor David W Summers

Ed. - Birnam Wood? Dunsinnane Hill? Shakespeare gets bloody everywhere. Re TLIYL: it's surprising to observe such a distinguished scientist as Prof Summers missing the rather obvious point that TAC is also a dynamic spatial system, subject to an especially high degree of flux. TLIYL didn't in fact depart this world in TAC12, but in the little-read TAC11(a), which also temporarily did away with the front cover. TAC11(b) - the Prince Andrew Expos‚ Special - lacked any pages at all, while the "numbingly funny" and radically out-of-sequence TAC17(d) picked up a couple of Boardman-Tasker gongs. But Prof Summers need not fear: various early issues, including TAC3.1415926 and TACi, have yet to appear. These all contain the column in question.

TAC 13 Index