The Angry Corrie 18: Apr-Jun 1994
Hilluser havering (letters)
Many of us have heard the often quoted statistic that there are five times as many "Scots" resident abroad as are domiciled in the homeland.
Further to earlier observations of people named after hills, I assume I am not the first to identify several noticeable examples of prominent international figures who most people would never suspect either to have roots here or to have adopted names taken from from Scottish hills or their features.
I refer of course to the supposedly French Euro-stirrer, Jacques de Lawers, and also to the roving United Nations heid yin, Mr Buttress Buttress Gully - who for some reason has adopted a precocious pronunciation of his name obviously needing rectification.
Ed. - And then there's the President of FIFA, Joao Avalanche...
I had a recent holiday in Wales where I noticed that Snowdon was claimed to be the highest mountain in England and Wales. Wales certainly, but why England? If they are going to start dragging other countries into it, why not claim superiority over other places? Snowdon isn't just the highest mountain in England and Wales, but also Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, the Faeroe Islands, Bangladesh - there's an awful lot of people who ought to be proud of the fact that Snowdon is their highest mountain but are ignorant of the fact.
Indeed, if Snowdon can claim superiority over other countries, why can't other mountains come to Wales? Surely Ben Nevis is highest mountain in Scotland, England and Wales? In fact, surely Mt Everest is the highest mountain in Wales?
Think of the crowds of heavy-pursed tourists the association with Mt Everest would draw to Wales! The Welsh Tourist Board is sharp (they even charge you to see some villages), but they don't seem to have picked up on the idea. They've only themselves to blame. I personally would have looked forward to seeing a Welsh Giants of the Himalaya Exhibition - maybe next year! Eh, WTB?
Ed. - Well, we have always said Wales is really Lesser Albion
Re Val Hamilton's article "Killer mountains" (TAC17, p17) and the question of Luck. Obviously this was written before Luck could also mean getting a whacking great £40,000 from a newspaper (assuming The Sun is indeed a newspaper).
However, a worrying new trend which might develop from this most recent episode among the "Killer Mountains" is that we will not only have to put up with swarms of Munrobaggers from Albion's Plain, but with a new menace of Lucky Baggers (some of whom may get to be known as Lucky Buggers), hoping to cash in on yet another of Scotland's natural resources. How long will it be before baggers go into the hills purely to "bag" a new record for survival in a snow hole, then disappear back down to Albion's Plain with a bag of loot or (for the un-Lucky) into a permanent hole in the ground?
This recent event comes at a particularly bad time with the announcement that British Gas is to become English Gas and, once again, Scots are seeing their nation raped and pillaged of its natural resources. Where will it all end?
Val Hamilton will also have to reconsider the variables in her luck ratings to include the potential monetary value of Luck. Another effect of this latest incident will be that nobody will want to take an Arthur with them who might spoil their chance of 48 hours in a snowhole at -26(C and £40,000. However, at least there will be more Arthurs to go round those that don't voluntarily relish the prospect of hypothermia, frostbite and death, or the really lucky ones who don't need the money in the first place.
A great fundraising idea which TAC might wish to think about would be to set up a weekly lottery where hillwalkers could purchase tickets in the hope that they would have more luck than someone else. The degree of luck could be calculated using a simple scale to take account of the weather, temperature, wind speed, time spent on the hill etc etc, and a panel (similar to the pools panel) could arrive at an arbitrary value for luck. The lottery prize could be awarded to the Lucky person who, in the views of the panel, has the highest luck rating from surviving their misadventure.
The profit from the lottery could go to funding Mountain Rescue Teams, SARDA, etc - and of course the Eventide Home for Old Arthurs.
As a shepherd's son who spent many childhood days with only sheep for company, I must protest at your sweeping statement, "sheep are woolly and stupid, and that's that" (TAC17, p18).
The letters reporting sheep taking shelter from rain and supplementing their diet with XXX Mints come as no surprise to me. Whilst introducing my daughter Katie and her friend Kirsten to the joys of hillwalking, we stopped to enjoy our packed lunches on the upper slopes of Schiehallion. Almost at once, a blackfaced ewe and her lamb made a bold approach to see what was on the menu. Various suggestions of mint sauce (not XXX) and mutton pies failed to frighten them off. After bits of this and that had been examined, nibbled or rejected, we established that these particular sheep had a soft spot for salt and vinegar crisps.
I concede the point that sheep may be woolly, but stupid they most certainly are not. They get to spend their lives roaming the very hills that you and your readers strive to visit once a week if you're lucky. They also predicted the cost of Goretex clothing and grew their own foul weather protection, thus saving a small fortune.
Just remember the sheep lobby's logo, SHIT ... Sheep Have Intelligence Too.
Ed. - Sorry to keep bringing up the Albion game of cricket like this, but mention of Kirsten reminds me I once saw Peter of that ilk score 202 not out for Derbyshire v Essex on a hot day at Chesterfield in 1980 - and very fine it was too.
Gruesome Tayside Tory MP Bill Walker throws himself into the insurance-for-hillfolk debate with the careless abandon for which his party is notorious in such matters as the poll tax, rail privatisation, local authority reform etc ad nauseam.
Maybe it's just coincidence that Oor Wullie, free-market forces champion and scourge of gays, lives only a short car ride from General Accident's plush Perth HQ. Of course, GA would benefit hugely from the insurance scheme that Walker embraces so enthusiastically.
Although Walker is a big wheel (so to speak) in the private bus group, Stagecoach, it's pretty cert he goes by car. What's absolutely certain is that he hasn't even begun to think his blethers through.
For example, are we to have folk who plooter about forestry walks - and some of them get lost - paying a wee fee, those who venture between 2000 and 3000ft a medium-sized fee and the nut cases like most TAC readers who will go over 3000ft a great big fat fee?
And what happens if the failed SAS men or whoever is hired to enforce the "rules" find some of the middle group at 3005ft? Will they be banished from the hill forever or perhaps shot on the spot?
Walker and the hysterical columnist who obviously felt obliged to yack about matters she manifestly knows nothing about in Britain's Best Sunday Newspaper should be told to go and bile their heids in a snowhole.
Isle of Seil
When crossing from Rannoch to Glen Coe using the public footpath which passes the Black Corries, we found a high fence round the block of forestry and gates at each side across the track with Beware of the dog notices attached.
There is a small arrow with a sign Alternative footpath uphill round the forestry and back to the track.
I believe the gates should be open or a stile should be in place.
Ed.- Rights-of-way blocked or diverted in this manner are not as unusual as might be thought. Anyone knowing of similar instances, please write in.