The Angry Corrie 15: Oct-Nov 1993
Another fairly mundane and routine weekend. Drive across to Torridon on Friday evening, nip up Sgorr Ruadh in the morning, pop up to Sutherland for a quick jaunt up Ben Klibreck. Next, down the road a bit to Glenfinnan. Fight my way through the rampant midges and mist to the top of Sgurr Thuilm on Sunday morning and then drop in past Carn a 'Chlamain in Glen Tilt on the way back to town for the third soaking of the weekend (it was clear on Klibreck).
On sorting through the bills and other trivia which have accumulated behind the door during my absence I find the next eagerly awaited issue of TAC. What do I find? Not only have I been in the presence of acquaintances of Your Greatnesses but you also correctly predict that I am due to go back to Skye next weekend. I am in awe of your perspicacity and will overlook the minor quibbles that I have only done the round twice before and that I was on Mhic Choinnich on the 25th May, not in June.
Incidentally, if you think this ploy is daft, how about playing football in the dark at Derry Lodge with a luminous ball, taking golf clubs into the Cairngorms for a hole or two in the evening, etc?
The Sic Munroist
PS - If you want, I can let you have a list of my excursions so far with dates, to see if there have been any close encounters with Your Greatnesses.
Ed. - Spooky. We reckon you should go for the Alpine 4000ers next. A worry has arisen however. What effect do height changes such as those detailed by Alan Blanco on p3 have on such ventures? Do you have to start all over again on discovering that Binnein Beag is suddenly higher than Carn na Caim?
Down here on Albion's Plain where there is nothing better to do, I am compiling a lexicon of esoteric words found in mountaineering literature. This project is being funded by the Sassenach Word Spotting Society (SWOSS), a learned society dedicated to the detection, discussion and expression of recondite lexicology, neology and linguistic hermeneutics. In turn, SWOSS is supported by a grant from the EC's Cultural Heritage Fund.
As a recent subscriber to TAC, may I take this opportunity to thank Gordon Smith for his magnificent contribution of no less than three new entries to my lexicon in his article 'Slovenian Rhapsody' (TAC13). Crepitus is now in its rightful place preceding crepuscular, stertorous immediately follows stentorian and erubescence nestles in close proximity to excrescence, one of a host of contributions from my most prolific mountaineering word-spotter, a Mr WA Poucher of Reigate Heath, Surrey.
Readers of TAC may be interested to hear that based on my most recent research the frequency of esoteric words in TAC far exceeds that found in more meretricious publications such as Climber & Sleepwalker, The Great Outboors and High There!
Long may TAC's lexicological fecundity continue!
Congratulations on your publication, pity Rennie McOwan couldn't have reviewed it more imaginatively in his recent SoS column.
Prompted by your spotlight on 'Walking Types', I came across two particularly interesting characters on a recent sojourn with my old mucker HWA - hill walking Alistair (surely Hillwalker With Attitude? - hip Ed.) in the North West Highlands.
Following a strenuous Sunday on Slioch we decided to cool things down somewhat with a Monday half day scramble on that Coigach delight Stac Pollaidh. On reaching the saddle I pulled out my meticulously wrapped Jarlsberg sandwiches feeling sure I would have them to myself as HWA revealed on the ascent that he would never again use anything Norwegian because of their scant regard for the endangered whale. Just as the distinctive Scandinavian smoked aroma wafted temptingly towards HWA's nostrils, a home counties screech greeted us from the bottom of the East Buttress.
This attractive (don't be lookist - PC Ed.) middle-aged creature complete with Flora McDonald skirts was indeed an oddity. Stockbroker husband trailing lovingly behind, we did not detect too much hill walking experience, but what she lacked in 'hill will' she sure made up for in opinions on this wonderful country of ours. We should not be improving our roads, we should not be creating employment by encouraging inward investment (she had just returned from Harris), and we should all go back to living off the land. After all, it would be a lot better for us, King William of Prussia and Queen Victoria put their faith (and other things) in well built Highlanders reared in unforgiving circumstances. We munched quickly, forgetting the poor whale, and bid our goodbyes. Beware, fellow walkers, this creature 'Flora from Farnham'.
Having slogged into Suilven and hopped up Ben Hope, it was time to tackle the highlight of our short week with the ascent of An Teallach. Here on the return traverse of Glas Mheall Liath we met our second character - 'Sod the Book'. He sped past us at full throttle pausing only briefly to inspect our greying attire. His rucksack had flown SAS (what, it was full of bombs and cheesewire? - Ed.), he scoffed at Poucher, and he walked alone. Within no time at all he had disappeared over Glas Mheall Mor, and we were left to descend the conventional route taking with us the memories of a marvellous Scottish mountain week in May.
I have never read your magazine before, so I was interested to get a complimentary copy last week. Actually it was not a complimentary copy at all, very uncomplimentary I thought. (See TAC14, p16) Was it Tom Patey who said that it is better to be misquoted and misrepresented than missed out altogether? I forget, but as far as I am concerned you can miss me out altogether, particularly as you seem unable to distinguish fact from fiction.
While you were planning your Mass Walk, which I am glad to see you have abandoned, I and a few others were tackling the matter of the Minigaig in a more diplomatic way. The satisfactory outcome of our efforts tell me something about which method is more effective.
You credit me with more influence in the SRoWS than I would even pretend to. As chairman I have no jurisdiction over the Society, however it is well known among my fellow-directors that I have no enthusiasm for Large Group walks. However, we are a democratic organisation, and if other members want them, so be it. I personally have never organised nor taken part in such a walk.
Your suggestion that guidebooks and their authors prompt Mass Walks up the hills is laughable; nothing that I have seen in the last decade bears it out, but I don't climb Ben Lomond very often. You are the only proposer of a Mass Walk in the Scottish hills that I know of at present, and fortunately you have had second thoughts. As for your idea that I am a heidjin in the SMC, that's a joke too, as any member would tell you.
Like your erstwhile correspondent Phil Stacey (see TAC6, p13), I recently devoted most of one Sunday to the News of the World and Toffee Crisps, before realising at about 6pm that I had just about enough time to romp up Ben A'an and so appease Calvinist guilt at my slothfulness.
The Metro was lying out in the street like a killer in the sun awaiting my call. Its mighty one litre engine roared into life and I was soon under the Clyde en route to the Duke's Pass. Imagine my disappointment, therefore, when 40 minutes saw me no further afield than Bearsden.
The planners have a lot to answer for. Why oh why didn't the splendid chaps who gave us the M8 motorway cut a swathe through the unsightly suburbs of Bearsden and Milngavie as well? Perthshire and Loch Lomondside are fed by pulsing arteries out of Glasgow, but the Trossachs and all that Rob Roy shitcrap have the bloody varicose veins of the A809 and A81 - all fake art deco houses, Roman bath houses, masonic golf clubs and Gymkhana fields. The bloody residents crawl along in their 4x4s, avoiding subjecting Verity and Farquhar to too many G-forces before dropping them at their private schools. Bulldoze the lot of it I say.
Ed. - I heartily agree - but where the hell is 'Loch Lomondside'?
Students of the SMC controversy may be interested in the accompanying photograph (specially enhanced by our unique "Swan-scan" process" - Ed.). This clearly marked "Corbett Centre" is indisputably in the South Kessock area of Inverness, at NH658466.
Prof David W Summers
PS - Photo of a Boring Square also included. Could you print it in full colour please? I'm afraid I've forgotten where I took it.
Grateful as I was to encounter your detailed exegesis on the unjustly neglected matter of hillwalking-related Percies (see TAC14, pp10-11), it was with growing astonishment that I searched in vain for even the slightest reference to two of my own all-time "Top Ten". How could you possibly avoid mention of Sir Edmund Percy Hillary, conqueror of Everest, and of the equally stately Hill of Persie, soaring 1466ft above Kirkmichael. Even Alan Dawson, in his worthy tome The Percies of Britain and their Relatives make mention of these, and I am shocked to note the slack research which led to their exclusion whilst embracing that cheap imposter and charlatan, "Lance Percival".
Sir Hector Persiflage