The Angry Corrie 63: Dec 2004-Feb 2005

Stob Press

It's pretty much guaranteed that the entire TAC readership will have been glued to coverage of the Tory conference in October, so there's scarcely need to outline the "Saatchi equation". Just in case anyone did miss it, however, it goes as follows: satisfaction = performance minus expectation.

Scroll back to TAC16, where Val Hamilton outlined an equation for Scottish hillwalking. Extrapolating from an earlier "Normalised Ascentionist Aestheticism concept", or NAA, defined in TAC15 by Dr Rupert Weare and the enigmatic Dr Fumble Bum, Hamilton stated that R ( 1/E*NAA, where R = reality and E = expectation. This is so clearly the antecedent of the bespectacled arty one's "idea" that there might well be cause to pursue him through the courts for at least a couple of his millions.

Whilst on the subject of right-wing politics, the recent thrilling victory by George W Bush threw up the information that there are 538 votes in the US electoral college, the strange institution that ultimately elects the president. And the hill connection (aside from the fact that the Dubya in George W Bush actually stands for Walker)? There were 538 Tops listed in the original 1891 version of Hugh Munro's great list, 283 main summits and 255 subsidiaries. Spooky. But democratic.

Speaking of Munros (and other lists), a few recent completions ought to be mentioned. The remarkable Steven Fallon (middle name Bagger) completed a twelfth round of Munros on 10 July, on Mull's Ben More. This puts him two clear of the chasing pack - see TAC55 p7 and TAC59 p12 for more on multiMunroists. Also noteworthy was the effort of Ireland-based Brian Ringland, who completed Munros, Munro Tops, Corbetts and Grahams all on the same day, 2 June. This he did in Glenelg, taking in Beinn a'Chapuill (G), Beinn Sgritheall (M/MT) and finally Beinn na h-Eaglaise (C). It made him the 26th known Grahamist (Jim Convery became the 27th three days later, on Beinn Bharrain), the 242nd known Corbetteer (Ken Mason completed the same day on Sgurr a'Choire-bheithe), and the 20-zillionth known Munroist. Ringland's quadruple finish appears to beat the highest number of lists previously completed on the one day (Rob Woodall managed three on 6/10/02 - see TAC55, p13), but the idea itself wasn't unique, as Roderick Manson has been working towards a similar finish, on the trio of Seana Bhraigh (M), Carn Ban (C) and Carn a'Choin Deirg (G). He hasn't got there as yet, though. For more details of Corbett, Graham and Donald completions, see

Two days after Ringland's big day, and a few hundred miles to the south, Brent Lynam reached the top of 24 Marilyns inside 24 hours. Readers will recall Chris Upson's account of something similar in TAC59, pp6-7 - but Upson ran and walked the whole distance, whereas Lynam used a car between hills. This made for a radically different task, less physically onerous but still one hell of an effort. His chosen area was the Welsh Borders, starting with Long Mountain at 4:30am on 4 June and finishing with Walton Hill at 4:07am next day.

Six weeks later, on 17 July, the aforementioned Rob Woodall (with Lynam as chauffeur, handy given the maze of often unsigned rural roads) started on Long Mountain at 6:46am and broke the 24/24 barrier on Garway Hill at 2:37am next day, a new best time of 19hr 51min. He went on to add a 25th Marilyn, Graig Syfyrddin, in just under 21 hours, before the plan to reach 30 was abandoned due to dodgy car brakes.

Lynam accompanied his friend to 22 summits on that occasion, but at the start of November - a remarkable time of year to be trying anything huge - he managed 30 Marilyns inside 24 hours. Starting at 4:36am on 1 November, he took in:

Raw Head 4:41am
Hope Mountain 5.24
Mynydd-y-briw 6:17
Allt y Main 7:04
Y Golfa 7:58
Stingwern Hill 8:36
Long Mountain 9:20
Caeliber Isaf 10:02
Corndon Hill 10:56
Heath Mynd 11:38
Stiperstones 12:35
Long Mynd 1:14pm
Callow Hill 2:14
View Edge 2:50
Titterstone Clee Hill 3:30
High Vinnalls 4:13
Shobdon Hill 5:23
Bradnor Hill 6:31
Hegdon Hill 7:19
Aconbury Hill 8:08
Garway Hill 8:55
Graig Syfyrddin 9:43
Ruardean Hill 10:33
May Hill 11:04
Wentwood 0:19am
Garth Hill 1:14
Craig yr Allt 1:53
Cefn Eglwysilan 2:33
Mynydd y Glyn 3:21
Mynydd Machen 4:18

The total time was 23hr 42min (12hr 24min of which was drive-time), with the 24/24 threshold passed on May Hill in 18hr 28min. Lynam reports 14 summits climbed in daylight, with the first two and the last 13 having been in darkness and Shobdon straddling the divide. A Wapley Hill attempt was called off due to torch-battery expiry syndrome, but Mynydd Machen was added after a restocking raid on Kington. Writing on the rhb yahoogroup, Lynam noted that "I managed all this without any jogging or running whatsoever; just a bit of sharp walking and some nippy driving. I took a ten-minute lunch stop at Stiperstones and that was about it. Conditions were dry and breezy. Other than workmen or Forest Enterprise employees, I encountered walkers on only three hills - Y Golfa, Corndon and High Vinnalls. My thinking is that I achieved a quicker time than I would have done in the long summer hours of daylight as my driving would have been much slower along the country lanes (oncoming vehicles being easier to discern in the dark)." Approx distance: 28 miles foot / 375 car.

Back to Ringland's effort. This was given a decent spread in the October TGO, good to see, except that the piece ended with some strange stats: "There are currently 280 Munros; 420 Munro Tops, (the subsidiary tops of a Munro); 220 Corbetts (Scottish hills between 2500ft and 2999ft) and 220 Grahams (Scottish hills between 2000ft and 2499ft)." Every one of these numbers - 280, 420, 220 and 220 again - is wrong. The Corbett figure is just about OK as it was given as 220 (albeit wrongly) in various sources until recently. But where does 420 for Munro Tops come from? It's either 511 for Munros and subsidiary Tops combined, or 227 for subsidiaries only. Strange. (Cameron Corbett would surely have known - no, not the editor-in-chief of TGO, but the MP who lived from 1856-1933 and who became Baron Rowallan - source: Who's Who in Glasgow in 1909, soon to be published online by the Centre for Digital Library Research.)

One more bagging feat merits mention just now, the most amazing of the lot. On 17 October, Alan Douglas of Killearn made his 1400th ascent of Ben Lomond. That's remarkable in itself, but he'd managed to organise things such that it broke down into exactly 700 ascents of both main paths (tourist path and Ptarmigan). And each of these 700s subdivided into exactly 100 on each day of the week. Extraordinary.

And there's just space to mention that a play about the Naked Rambler, Who Bares Wins, is in production and will tour as follows: Buckie 30 Nov, Elgin 1 Dec, Kingussie 7 Dec, Pitlochry 8 Dec, Auldearn 9 Dec, Findhorn 10 Dec, Arisaig 11 Dec, Portree 14 Dec, Drumnadrochit 15 Dec, Durness 16 Dec, Lyth 17 Dec, and Ardross 18 Dec. For more details see www.hi-arts. As might be expected, TAC64 will aim to include a review...

TAC 63 Index