The Angry Corrie 14: Aug-Sep 1993
Paper (i): White Holes et al...
Now that Fermat's Last Theorem has been proved once and for all, the Next Great Problem in Science has to be a Unified Scottish Hill Theory. There appear to be at least four main strands to this: the continuing debate over White Holes / Boring Squares, - the precise location of the Scottish Munro Centre (or SMC); the strange properties of sloping - or "Electric" lochs, and the vexed question of whether Scotland would be larger than England if flattened out (Albion's Plain being of course totally flat already). A Unified Theory still seems some way off, but students and dons at the University of TAC are without doubt getting there. Nobel Prizes beckon. Take the two latest contributions to the debate for instance...
White Holes et al...
So, Alan Blanco (TAC12, pl0) challenges us to find the most sleep-inducing boring-square - the perfect white hole. Scotland won't oblige with anywhere so featureless, and even Albion's Plain isn't quite plain enough these days to engulf the roving cartographer in a white-out. No, I'll be damned if I can find any on the Landranger maps - your shirt is safe until a few ditches are filled in and those sand dunes put out to grass!
However, I've taken a leaf out of Mr Poucher's book and ferreted through the OS's 1" Second War Revision sheets from the 1940s. Sheet 32 (Goole and Pontefract) threw up three squares (A1837, A1937, A1438 - hope I'm not mixing my eastings with my northings) with a single spot height, a single tree and a portion of track as their only redeeming features. Sheet 28 (Great Driffield and Bridlington) sports a square (A5971) which is as blank as you'll find. I suspect however that a contour intrudes fractions of a millimetre into the southeast corner.
More up to date, Sheet 114 (Boston and Skegness) of the 7th Series l" maps comes up with a featureless square at TF2256 - but "Coningsby Airfield" is splashed across it. I counted a few white squares on Landranger 115 (Snowdon), but then realised that these resulted from my tippexing out detail above 600m so that I can use the maps when low cloud obscures the summits. I guess they don't count? (Too right they don't - Ed.)
ln the fullness of time, as Munrobaggers increase in number, so the kicking and scraping of boot and axe on some of our softer hills might lead to a levelling of their summits - I'm sure you could assemble the calculations needed to work out how long it would take for Liathach, say, to be worn down to boring-square status. Global warming seemingly threatens both bagging pursuits - as sea level rises so more and more hills fail to rise 3000' above it (first discussed way back in TAC1, p7 - Ed.), and the existing boring squares will be inundated, lying as they do at very low levels.Time is running out! Etc! Etc!