The Angry Corrie 13: Jun-Jul 1993
Following Scotland's latest international football debacle in Lisbon, I'd be grateful if you or your readers could advise of a suitable ridge or peak to throw myself off (eg Ben Hope would obviously be no use at all). Being of the rather wimpish variety, I wouldn't mind if there was a bit of sphagnum moss around to break the fall.
Yours in bad taste and in a bad mood,
Ed. - In Scotland the best you'll probably get is Cac Carn Mor - big pile of shite - but in The Ponds there's something called Great Cockup. I'd hotfoot it down the M74 and go there if I were you.
Re: Wildlife Corner 2, The Goat (see TAC12)
It is not only goats that are causing problems on Ben Vrackie as the enclosed photo shows. This was taken about 3 years ago and the pirate sheep was about to try to steal a sandwich from the terrified hillwalker.
I was walking in Glen Shee earlier this year and striking up a conversation with a chap who had caught up with me, we ended up discussing wild animals on the hills. We both agreed that the wildest were to be found on Ben Vrackie where the sheep were very mean hombres. "They are mean bastards those sheep" he said, a fact that I could not dispute.
Looking at this from a different angle I wondered if the location was relevant to these animals. Ben Vrackie is either owned by the Duke of Atholl or next door to his land. Now this is the same man who is trying to close off the Minigaig, a Right of Way for hundreds of years, perhaps to make up for a case lost by his ancestors failure many years ago to stamp out the Scottish Rights of Way Society. Could these sheep and goats be trained by him to get walkers of the hill? Are battalions of these beasts training in the 19 corries of Beinn a' Ghlo? Will future generations have to go to the hills armed to defend themselves against the sheep, who instead of gazing on them as they do now, will be trained to attack on sight of GoreTex. Will only shepherd's jaggie tweeds be the safe gear to wear on the hills, causing bankruptcy in all but a few of TAC outlets?
This is a phenomenon that needs to be investigated further and I am applying to SNH for a massive grant to do so. I hope that I am successful for all our sakes.
Please do not let on where this came from in case someone finds out that I have been out climbing hills that are under 3000 feet. Still, they may think that I am doing the Munros and the Corbetts together, so publish and be damned !
PS. Have you noticed that there is a new snobbery in Munro Bagging, people who just go bagging are to be sneered at but if you do all the Tops then that is OK.
PPS. If everyone is out bagging then surely the load and wear and tear on the hillside is lessened since it is spread over a larger area, albeit concentrated on the SMC routes.
Now is the time for your countless readership to mobilise in defence of the Minigaig Pass, under threat from His Grace the Duke of Atholl - or one of his flunkeys.
The Scottish Rights of Way Society has had a good response from walkers following press reports, but more support is needed to ensure the route's status as a right of way.
Write and tell the society when you last walked the pass, giving dates where possible. The address is: The Scottish Rights of Way Society, John Cotton Business Centre, 10/2 Sunnyside, Edinburgh EH7 5RA.
The Minigaig has been used since the beginning of time by drovers, bandits, armies, pedlars, pilgrims and, more recently, by filthy TAC readers. It is inconceivable that it should be regarded as anything else other than a right of way.
Of course, if you haven't done it recently, why not do it this weekend - thousands of you.
By the way, a letter in your last issue baffled me, A man called Mann said I had claimed he needed his head examined. How can this be when I don't know any men called Mann?
I did know one years ago. But he had fought at Magersfontein (possibly he should have had his head examined for getting involved in that bloody shambles), so I don't think it could be the same person.
Remember the Minigaig!
Isle of Seil
Ed. - Agree totally on Minigaig hullabaloo. So much so in fact that TAC has come up with an idea along timehonoured Mass Trespass lines. For more on this, turn to p16.
It's just a suggestion...
Your fanzine is fine - funny, witty, informative and well-written - but the actual magazine quality has not improved since issue number one. It still has no glossy colour photos, no flashy front cover, no free gifts and no pages of glossy adverts. (Yes it has! You blind or something? - Ed.) This must be because you don't sell enough copies - so here is my plan to boost your circulation.
In England and Scotland (and Wales), there are 130 football league clubs and each club usually has at least one fanzine. Some have two and some have even more. I reckon there must be at least 277. During the football close season, this means there are 277 fanzine sellers with nothing to do and missing a big part of their lives - standing on a patch in all weathers shouting with a big bundle of fanzines under their arm.
So the solution is obvious - you allocate a Munro to each fanzine and let the seller of that particular fanzine stand by the cairn at the top of their Munro selling TAC. You probably won't even need to pay them commission - just tell them they can flog their own magazine up there too. I'm not sure how well Grimsby Town's "Sing when you're fishing" will sell on Ben More, Mull, but you never can tell.
I would suggest that the fanzines that shift the biggest numbers (Rangers, Celtic, Manchester United, Liverpool etc) are given the more popular Munros (Ben Lawers, Ben Lomond, Ben Nevis etc), because they will be used to the crowds. A Wimbledon fanzine or an East Stirling fanzine (if there are such publications) can have the Inaccessible Pinnacle.
I would suggest you make sure the fanzine sellers have plenty of loose change with them up there - saying "I'll just pop down and change this fiver for you" will not go down too well with a potential purchaser atop Ben Macdui.
Non-league team fanzines need not be left out - they can staff the tops of the Corbetts.
It's just a suggestion...
Ed. - Good idea.
I read with dismay a recent article by Rennie McOwan entitled "Scotland for free". (In one of the glossies it must be said, not TAC - Ed.) As if the bothies are not crowded enough already - or the hills in general for that matter.
He is not alone of course, but just another in the long line of so-called outdoor enthusiasts that have sold out the hills for their own selfish gain. The hypocrisy is blatant. On the one hand they regret the passing of the "good old days" while enticing hordes of unsuspecting people into the wilds. Is it any wonder that the death toll has been so dramatic this winter?
The glossy magazine articles, never ending guidebooks and television spectaculars which are produced to line their pockets - and those of the equipment manufacturers - are now reaping their harvest.
I feel sure Mr McOwan will be hearing of, and possibly seeing, plenty of ghosts for his next book.
Ed. - While basically agreeing re unnecessary hill publicity and overcommercialisation, it seems a bit unfair to accuse the Highland Toffee Mogul of proxy manslaughter. That's like blaming Hello! magazine when one of its readers chokes on a vol-au-vent.
TAC9 - Sep/Oct, TAC10 - Dec/Jan - what happened to November? And why hasn't anyone else noticed? (They have: see below - Ed.) Is there a new EC Directive forbidding the use of months that begin with N? Or has Major Lamont closed it down to save money or reduce the unemployment figures (3,000,000 unemployed per year = 250,000 per month => 11 months = 2,750,000)? We, the workers (those that are left - I think there's another one in Manchester somewhere), demand to be told!
A particularly flat bit of Albion
Whence the gap in the space-time continuum?
Flip, flop and the two plain brown paper envelopes landed on the door mat. I rushed up to my room clutching them excitedly. I ripped open the first: "Goretex Monthly" - something to be savoured later, and turned to the second. Ha! The latest "hot off the presses" TAC. As I turned the pages, ruminating on the content (I liked the strip where Murdo takes on the In Pinn "Ridgway" style - interesting documentary was it not?), my thoughts turned to the possibilities of brushing the mould off the boots and heading for the South Downs Way.
'Trouble is, I mused, with putting our clocks forward we've lost a whole hour of valuable walking/drinking/sitting-in-the-tent-looking-at-the-rain time. And it's no good looking forward to getting it back at the end of the summer, because the weather will be awful, and anyway they always give it back when it's dark and the pubs are shut. But I digress.
I picked up the bundle of backcopies and added the latest. As I debated where to file them all - before Abba or after Winwood? - I idly riffled through them and then I noticed... there was a gap in the continuum.
I checked, I pondered; had there been a cataclysmic event and I hadn't noticed? What happened to November '92? I tried to recall my life at that time. November 5th happened all right because I distinctly remember sticking bangers in the guy so he would explode on the bonfire. I can account for most of the month but the mystery remains: TAC9 Sep/Oct, TAC10 Dec/Jan. Never mind an hour, the editor's pinched a whole month!
Ed. - You guys obviously missed Pope Murdo Paul II's recent bull on this subject, leading to the introduction of the Murdoian Calendar. Objectors will doubtless abide by the Murdo New Year and spend 30 days ensconsed in a putrid bothy somewhere, but that's their choice.
I have just read TAC10 and find that I am again attacked by people I do not even know. Why do people always associate me with "childish nonsense" and "mental derangement"? It is not fair.
nr The Shieling,