The Angry Corrie 32: Jun-Aug 1997
Not every spring sees a General Election, but each April/May does bring the hillbagging world's own version of constitutional reform and sweeping change in the shape of Alan Blanco's annual update to his Marilyns list. This comprises a 4pp insert to The Relative Hills of Britain, continuing the rolling update of height/name/location changes whilst also providing up-to-date details of those who wish it to be known they've climbed 600 or more of the 1551 Marilyns and are thus eligible for the Hall of Fame. Although there has been no landslide of recent entries, the overall turnout is noticeably up: the 1996 group now joined by Smithies, Harwood, TAC quiz winner Stuart Benn, Blanco himself and, recently on High Willhays, fabled Beinn Teallach discoverer Richard Webb. The published update cuts off at the turn of 96/97, but these figures are generally correct to late May:
|Total||Name - current home||Born||1st Marilyn (and 1000th)|
|1368||Bowker, Rowland - Keswick||Cheshire 1930||Great Orme 1937 (1000th: Turner Cleuch Law 3/95)|
|1353||Bowker, Ann - Keswick||Watford 1936||Dunkery Beacon 1947 (1000th: Farrmheall 6/95)|
|1261||Payne, Tony - Limerick||London 1957||Dunkery Beacon 1974 (1000th: Ellson Fell 9/95)|
|1001||Donnelly, Colin - Caernarfon||Glasgow 1959||Ben Ledi 1969 (1000th: Cruach Tairbeirt 2/97)|
|870||Crummett, John - Bradford||Halifax 1945||Great Whernside 1961|
|722||Smithies, Don - Leeds||Blackburn 1931||Snowdon 1946|
|703||Adshead, Gordon - Wilmslow||Manchester 1940||Great Gable 1954|
|671||Blanco, Alan - Glasgow||Everton 1952||Moel-y-gest 1967|
|644||Benn, Stuart - Inverness||Glasgow 1960||Meikle Bin 1970|
|605||Webb, Richard - Wolverhampton||Ludlow 1961||High Vinnalls 1966|
|601||Harwood, Eddie - Elgin||A mystery||Schiehallion year unknown|
- Two other people are known to be eligible (one in the upper 800s), but have requested anonymity.
- Third-placer Tony Payne relocated to Ireland in the summer of 1996 (see letters, p16), switching allegiences to the 453 Marilyns of the 32 Counties. He has thus far climbed 200, and his 1461 out of 2004 is possibly the highest combined total.
- Stuart Benn is the highest-placer both born in Scotland and currently living there. Unsurprisingly he also has by far the most Scottish-heavy breakdown: his 644 comprises 623 Scottish hills, 7 Welsh, 14 English and none on the IoM.
- Freebies of the Relative Hills update are available from TACit Press (as are cheap copies of the book itself - see p7). An A5 SAE would help, since your Ed would be able to afford more cappucinos in Corrieri's - but he's still liable to send you one (an update that is, not a cappucino) even if you forget. Anyone eligible for the HoF is welcome to contact TAC - but remember that a set of Munros+Corbetts (a Caldwell?) equates to only 421 Marilyns. We're also keen to hear of those bubbling under in the 500-600 bracket. These currently include Roderick Manson, Mary Cox, and your Ed - who has taken up residence there, having climbed a lot of hills in the past year but precious few new ones, only creeping from 531 to 557 since the previous résumé in TAC27. He's happy, though.
- Numbers are up not only in terms of people but in actual Marilyns too, since the Mount-Eagle-eyed will already have spotted last year's total of 1549 peaks having risen by two. Blame should be laid at the door of Charles Everett of York, who noticed cartographical idiosyncrasies with Abberley Hill in Worcestershire (Section 38B, 285m, OS138 / SO751672) and Milk Hill in Wiltshire (Region 39, 295m, OS173 / SU104643). Both have been promoted from the SubMarilyns listing (206 hills, also gratis from TAC/TACit), where they had languished with drops of c148m and 141m respectively - now c157m and c151m: substantial rises, if drops can be said to rise. (Presumably Dough Hill in Ireland rises if covered with a damp teatowel à la Christo.) Both new Marilyns have critical cols with neighbouring hills bisected by railway cuttings. Cuttings are just as humanly-made and artificial as are cairns and trigs on hilltops, and these do not count in height/drop reckoning. But unlike cairns, cuttings were not built for hill-related reasons (unless some extremely devious Victorian proto-Marilynist diverted the Industrial Revolution infrastructure to their own esoteric purpose). This accident-or-design argument has to be weighed against similar (but nonetheless excluded) radio masts on hilltops, with acceptance probably coming down to whether walkers have to drop the extra amount when traversing to adjacent Marilyns. A tricky area this for cart peds, and one discussed at considerable length by a TAC sub-(Marilyn)-committee convened one April afternoon on Bengengie (fine hill, not in any list). It was decided that no good reason could be found to maintain Widdecombesque exclusion orders, and so the hills have been granted cartographical asylum. This brings the overall total level with the record 1551 previously seen during the 1995/96 season, and neatly makes numbers of English Marilyns and Hewitts identical: 178 each.
But, but ... late shock news! No sooner was this decided than Blanco went south to visit some relatives, both human and hilly. He paid a visit to Abberley: nice hill. Visited cutting: horror! Workmen! JCBs! Swampy! (Well, not Swampy, not yet.) The cutting is being completely filled in, and the drop will diminish enough to cause a new status crisis. Having had its fifteen minutes of fame, will Abberley revert to SubMarilyn backwaterdom? Or once the cutting is deemed part of the landscape, is it forever there, troubling, absently nagging, like a phantom limb? More bizarre still, a dazed and confused Blanco quizzed his enemies the workmen for details and learned that the 48k tonnes of in-fill are being quarried from the summit of Titterstone Clee Hill - the very Marilyn to which Abberley Hill connects! What goes around, comes around.