The Angry Corrie 41: Apr-May 1999

TAC 41 Index

It's a hill in my book - the latest Marilyn changes

Alan Blanco

A deadly combination of busyness and laziness has conspired to delay production of the 1999 update to The Relative Hills of Britain, so vague thoughts of winging it your way with TAC41 have been abandontherunned. Some of you must be bursting with anticipation by now however, so here's a brief summary of the main points:

New Marilyns

41208682Swyre Head195SY934784150
41199653Nine Barrow Down195SZ008811c152

Deleted Marilyns

38B285935Abberley Hill138,150SO751672c148
39295968Milk Hill173SU104643c148

Moving Targets

15B205672Hill of Nigg21NH821705c193

The total of Marilyns therefore stays at 1551. Sorry if anyone is pissed off about these changes, but there's not much point in having rules if you don't stick with them. The 150-metre qualification for the new Marilyns is a touch controversial, as in both cases it is dependent on a human-made feature. The col separating Nine Barrow Down (aka Godlingston Hill) from Swyre Head is occupied by Harman's Cross station on the Swanage railway. Unlike the Abberley Hill col (see TAC37) the line is still in use and not in imminent danger of infilling.

The man-made feature of Swyre Head is at its summit, in the shape of an ancient five-metre-high tumulus. (Oo-er missus - Ed.) This is fully grassed over (apart from the concrete slab on top, which is not relevant here), so it looks like a real hill and it counts as a hill in line with the philosophy expounded in TAC37 and TAC38. The trig point is five metres lower than the tumulus and about 100 metres away in distance but, as the Bowkers pointed out, if it were on the top you wouldn't question its height or naturalness. The word from those who have ventured into the deep south is that both new entries offer worthwhile and enjoyable walks, providing one accepts the limitations of Dorset compared to, say, Assynt.

And so to the Marilyn Hall of Fame, which now has around 36 members, up from 21 at the end of 1997. Ann Bowker ended last year on 1510, one more than Rowland. Both have since climbed Beinn Churalain, their final mainland Marilyn south of the Great Glen (Ailsa Craig and Cruach Scarba are outstanding). Of the other Big Five Baggers, Tony Payne finished the year on 1432, Colin Donnelly on 1103 (now 1147) and Charles Knowles on 1096 (now 1101). No-one else is past 900, but over half the members are past 700. Highest new entry is Rob Woodall of Wellingborough who was on 739 on 20th November yet somehow finished the year on 815. He's currently favourite to be sixth to reach 1000.

The Hall is still heavily male dominated, so it was very pleasing to welcome Dorothy Wilson as the third female member, on 620. An equal opportunities policy has been approved and so it has been decided to extend membership to the dead in order to avoid institutional discrimination. However, the custodians are none too keen on having bodies piling up just inside the doorway, so there must be good evidence that any prospective dead members have fulfilled the membership qualification of 600 Marilyns.

Details of the complete Hall of Fame will be ready by May and will be sent to all living members and anyone else who asked to be kept updated. (Others wanting one should send an A5 SAE to TAC.) Thanks to roving reporters David Purchase and Ann Bowker for their assistance with this research.

Ed. - This is also the point to note the sad and annoying news that Alan's much loved website, Blanco's Mountain Centre, is no more, at least in its familiar form. Well known and well regarded, BMC played host to the online version of TAC, to Alan's own listings, to a nice set of hill-related pictures and videos, and to a load of links with kindred-spirit sites. The MC was located on the Glasgow University Computing Service server, since Alan was in their employ for many years until 1996 (when he switched to Strathclyde Uni). As noted in recent TACs, there had been difficulties involved in putting TAC37-TAC40 online, but these were expected to be resolved in due course. Instead, in mid-March, GUCS for reasons best known to themselves decided to raze the site without warning - the first Alan knew of it was when he tried to check in and found nothing there - Since the site could only have brought GUCS good publicity, and since Alan worked long and hard for them, this is more than a bit pathetic. Anyway, apologies to all who have missed the site. The good news is that we're about to reappear at

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