9 Differences between Braeriach and Bruce Rioch
- Braeriach is a massive granite hill in the middle of the Cairngorms, towering above the Lairig Ghru pass and beloved of hillwanders. Bruce Rioch made many telling midfield passes during a football career stretching from 1964-81, and is current manager of Bolton Wanderers.
- TAC readers will recall Bolton featuring in these pages before, with the Bolt-On Fracture Repair Kit. Study of whether hamstrung and shinsplinted footballers in east Lancashire have hi-tech metal contraptions attached to their injured legs has thus far proved inconclusive.
- Braeriach is Scotland's third highest hill, behind Ben Nevis and Ben Macdui. Bruce Rioch had the third hardest shot in football history, behind Roberto Rivelino and Peter Lorimer. The ferocity of Rioch's edge-of-penalty-area bullets could be deduced from the terse, macho way David Coleman would always say: "Rioch. One-nil!"
- Both hill and footballer featured significantly in your editor's formative years. Rioch was part of the great mid-seventies Derby County teams, and since your editor lived on that part of the Plain in those days, he would occasionally visit the so-called "Baseball Ground" to see his heroes in action. Then, a few years later, soon after taking to the hill for the first time, he hurtled 600ft from Braeriach and had to be helicoptered out.
- Those Derby teams had other hill connections. Not only was there Old Bigmouth himself (clough, noun: Ravine, steep valley usu. with torrent), but also Don Masson, who achieved infamy in Scotland by missing a crucial penalty against Peru in the '78 World Cup - an incident commemorated by Don's Stone in Glen Massan near Loch Eck.
- Other footballers with Cairngormish names include Andy Cairngoram himself (mentioned way back in TAC6) and Derry Pigweed, former goalie with Manchester City. Also, Braeriach's most outlying top is Tom Dubh: 918m high and miles from anywhere, especially from Braeriach. (It's nearer to an astonishing six other Munros!) And of course USA soccer international Tom Dooley, having scored against Alb's finest, has recently been snapped up by the Bundesliga.
- Another famous Bruce is Rock and Roll's "Bruce Hornsby and the Range". This begs the question: What range? The Andes? The Karakoram? The Remarkables? Given that Hornsby (cousin of Fever Pitch author Nick by the way) had only one semi-memorable song - "The Way It Is" _ perhaps the Range is that Albion bogfest, the Pennines. Mind you, at least Bruce finished the walk, as opposed to "Jon Bon Jovi", who only made it half way there.
- Famous Braers are thin on the ground, but include the Braer Tanker Disaster and Braer Rabbit - creation of Richard Adams and sadly struck down, along with all his kind, by myxomatosis. Oddly, suppressed SNP documents have it that the great claymore-wielding icon Robert the Bruce was confined to his bed after Culloden by a dose of brucellosis caught from a passing cow.
- Only the most erudite TAC football fans will have heard of former West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Albion goalie Mark Grew. TAC is investigating rumours of his having a Cairngorms-loving brother named Larry. Spookily, Grew left WBA in December 1978 - the very month in which Bruce Rioch joined neighbouring Birmingham City!
TAC 21 Index