The Angry Corrie 25: Nov 1995-Jan 1996

10 Differences between Mururoa Atoll and the Munros of Atholl

  1. Mururoa Atoll has in its favour endless sunshine, friendly natives, Bacardi on tap and being an extremely long way from Tavistock. On the downside it's completely flat, has lots of French military types swanning about (not to mention other poisonous things such as snakes and jellyfish). Plus there is the small matter of 204 nuclear explosions in, on or under it since 1960. The Munros of Atholl benefit from being very unflat, having no dangerous wildlife (unless you rick your back heaving dead stags onto pickups) and no radioactivity apart from your run-of-the-mill Chernobyl dosage. Bad points include absolutely no natives (all long since Cleared), lots of visiting cabinet ministers in tweeds, endless rain instead of sunshine and being a damn sight nearer to Tavistock.
  2. The highest of the numerous Atholl Munros is of course Beinn a'Ghlo. And every time the French government explodes an atomic bomb under Mururoa, the atoll, along with all its inhabitants and wildlife, is briefly and prettily aglow with nuclear isotopes.
  3. One of the component Munros of Beinn a'Ghlo is the famously-named Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, or Slope of the Corrie of the Little Round Blisters. This name was previously thought to refer to skin condition following a bad attack of midges, but in light of the Mururoa connection a radioactive derivation seems much more likely. Similarly, another Atholl Munro, Carn a'Chlamain, spookily hints at a French Protect and Survive leaflet advising South Sea islanders to coat themselves in Factor 3000 calamine lotion to prevent unsightly afterglow and fission-stroke.
  4. Mururoa Atoll has been subjected to a vast amount of fallout over the years. Your editor once fell out with a friend whilst climbing Beinn a'Ghlo, although the reason for this was unclear rather than nuclear. (Okay, so it was to do with sandwiches.)
  5. Atholl Estates employ numerous ghillies and water-bailiffs, whose sole responsibility is to prevent illegal fishin' on their land. Oddly, France pursues precisely the opposite tack, employing thousands of disease-ridden legionnaires to enable illegal fission to occur.
  6. As TAC readers will be well aware, the Duke of Atholl is for some long-forgotten reason allowed to maintain a private army to ward off insurgents and land-reformers. Unlike the French Foreign Legion which "defends" Mururoa, no-one has ever run away from home to romantically join the Duke's crew. TE Lawrence was reportedly spotted in Pitlochry one Christmas, but it transpired to be only some local schoolboy with a teatowel on his head after performing in a church nativity play.
  7. Just as Atholl Estates keeper Charlie Pirie frequently drives a Land Rover through his hills, so the French government just as frequently drives a coach and horses through all EC, UN and NATO moratoria on nuclear testing.
  8. Reuters recently reported that "Serious cracks have appeared in the Mururoa Atoll, leading to both bad and intense damage and sticky Frenchies". Clearly this had been somehow scrambled in transmission. What it should have read was "Serious cranks have appeared in the Munros of Atholl, bagging from tents and bothies in a ticking frenzy".
  9. There have now been so many tests at Mururoa that the atoll is reckoned to tilt an inch each time and may one day soon crack up. During a recent Sunday Post sponsored walk through Glen Tilt, so many Francis Gay readers filed past Forest Lodge that Charlie Pirie swore he too was about to crack up.
  10. Wildlife readily seen on South Sea islands such as Mururoa includes the yellow-and-blue striped ratchet toad, Higson's chameleon, the green-shanked oriole and various exotic species of treehopper. Wildlife readily seen on Atholl Munros includes the dead stag, the dead grouse, the dead fox, lots of little former scurrying things (now dead) - oh, and sheep.

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