The Angry Corrie 54: Jul-Aug 2002

Tabletops and listomania

24 FEBRUARY 2002: There's a fresh dump of snow over the Highlands, and the radio gives out its usual message - don't travel unless absolutely necessary. It's a long way for a day trip from Glasgow to Laggan, and all I'll have to show for it is a repeat subCorbett. My journey is necessary, however, because it's not often you get a chance to witness something as boggling as completion of the Corbett Tops. When compiling the list of all those tops of Carn Dearg and Gairbeinn and so on, I'd wondered whether anyone would really be bothered to go out and bag the lot. Maybe in 15 or 20 years perhaps. Yet here was James Gordon planning to finish them all, less than three years after their publication. Amazing.

In the end there were only three of us - James Gordon, Richard Brownsword and me. Richard had accompanied James on a Pyrenees coast-to-coast walk in 1988 and was responsible for getting him interested in birds and plants. He had driven all the way from Oxford for the weekend, so that put me in my place. So did the long sticky things on his feet: both James and Richard were tackling Marg na Craige on skis, while I was on foot. I expected to walk up with them and wave bye-bye as they swept off gracefully to the bottom. I had little idea how desperately hard it would be to keep up with a pair of skiers gliding over the surface of soft snow while I was plunging in up to the ankles, knees, thighs, and occasionally the waist. Exhausting. I gave up and let them get ahead until I caught them on the rocky top above Stac Buidhe (a repeat sub-GTC for me), then we stayed in touch so we could cheer James to the suitably misty and snowy summit of Marg na Craige. No fanfares, no crowds, but a mighty achievement.

The weather was iffy and time short, so we headed straight down, where the skiers seemed to mess about on bits of steep ground and I was able to run down before them, so there. What next, we wondered, over a cup of tea back at base. Graham Tops perhaps? James has compiled his own list of those and by May had already knocked off 521 of them (including the 224 Grahams). And he still has 200-odd Marilyns left. But he's clearly a restless spirit and has other ideas for his long legs, so he's just popped over to Andalucia to start walking to the northern tip of Norway, via the Pyrenees, Verona, Salzburg and Copenhagen, to arrive at the Nordkapp sometime late in 2003. Which leaves the way clear for other baggers to get the Graham Tops done first. This sounds like a poor joke, yet I've recently heard from someone who thinks they may have already climbed all the Corbett Tops, before James, and before the list was even published. The bagging confirmation committee has been informed and an investigation is underway.

Alan Blanco

Ed. - The TACit Tables Graham Tops booklet is in pro-duction - expect it late this year or early next. The Corbetteers list, first published in Corbett Tops and Corbetteers (1999) and updated in TAC48, is now avail-able online at - any additions/amendments welcome. And the 2002 edition of Marhofn - "The Newsletter for Marilyn Baggers", 24 pages - is now available from Alan Dawson, 19 Peel St, Glasgow, G11 5LU. It's free, but please send two second-class stamps.

TAC 54 Index