1a The hill to be climbed from an "initially significant poetic starting-point" during 2007 could be any of Scafell, Hard Knott and Harter Fell, each of which can be readily tackled from Wha House Farm (NY200007 on Landranger 89). This year is the centenary of the birth of Wystan Hugh Auden, Mr Wha himself. If you do go for a walk from Wha, try to go on a day when "the sun shone / As it had to".
It's just a pity that another notable 2007 centenarian, Alfred Wainwright, didn't have Herbert or Horace as a middle name, as he'd have been Wha backwards.
1b There are two answers for the location of OS benchmark S8325. One point for the real-world answer: on the summit of Carn Fadryn, a rather nice 371m Marilyn on the Lleyn peninsula in Wales. And another point for the smartarse virtual answer: at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trig_point, where it's the sample benchmark on the Wikipedia trig point page.
1c Everest Aconcagua Mount McKinley Kilimanjaro Cristobal Colon Mount Logan Pico de Orizaba Vinson. The three blanks (shown in bold here) are in Colombia, Canada and Mexico respectively and are numbers 5, 6 and 7 in the list of the world's relatively high peaks. See http://www.peaklist.org/WWlists/WorldTop50.html The natural col between Aconcagua and Denali is in Nicaragua, although the Panama Canal is cut lower.
1d K2 Shkhara Mount Kenya Mount Cook Torre Egger. The two blanks (again shown in bold here) are in Georgia and Argentina and are the European and South American components in a list, in height order, of the hardest summits on each continent. (Source: Climbing magazine.)
1e The BBC, a western peninsula and any of several same-name rivers are connected in that developers Applecross/Esk have been lined up as the "preferred purchaser" (for £18m) of the BBC's 5.3 acre Queen Margaret Drive site in Glasgow, once the corporation moves to its new home at Pacific Quay in sunny Govan.
1f The REM album title that comprises the entire text on a sign at the foot of the main path to a Munro is Up. The sign, complete with an arrow, is at Dhiseig, where the Ben More Mull path leaves the initial track. No points for trying Green, as in Green Well of Scotland, and if there is indeed a sign somewhere that says "Access to this hill is automatic for the people", then no one at TAC has yet been able to find it.
There were ten deliberate mistakes in Chris Tyler's drawing of an everyday scene on the Cuillin: 2a The knot is a granny knot. 2b The two rainbows overlap each other, which is impossible. 2c Am Basteir should be visible between Sgurr nan Gillean and Bruach na Frithe. 2d None of the cigarettes in the picture is lit, except the one behind the lead climber's ear. 2e The bone protruding from the fallen climber's leg is a humerus, not a femur. 2f The second exploding sheep has three kidneys. 2g The nun standing guard (left of picture) is wearing an engagement ring. 2h The midges are drawn approximately 100 times life-size. 2i One of the deliberate mistakes is missing.
3a Cameron McNeish. 3b Cameron McNeish. 3c Cameron McNeish. 3d Lembit Opik. 3e Cameron McNeish.
4a The suave gunman whose Scots-Swiss parents died in a climbing accident is James Bond. An obituary notice for Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix appears in You Only Live Twice.
4b 23 days, 19 hours and 31 minutes was the time taken by Jake Meyer to visit the highpoints of all 48 contiguous states of the USA. Meyer (a kind of hybrid of Charlie Campbell and Andrew Tibbetts, with high-altitude skills thrown in) beat Ben Jones' previous record by almost six days. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Meyer
4c Professor Sir Fred Hoyle and Professor Ian Hughes were connected by a professional interest in astrophysics, and by having completed the Munros. The astronomer and writer Hoyle (1915-2001) completed on Blaven, 23/10/80. He remains an unlisted Munroist, although he did mention it to the SMC in a letter dated 22/10/98 now lodged in the SMC archive in the National Library of Scotland. The letter names the completion hill but doesn't give the date - this appears in Hoyle's 1994 book Home is where the wind blows. Hoyle had been on Munros-minus-one for over nine years, his penultimate ascent having been the Inverlael Beinn Dearg in September 1971. His first Munro seems to have been Moruisg, in April 1965, so he rattled round most of them pretty quickly. (Thanks to David Purchase for additional research.)
Emeritus Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow, Hughes (1930-2003) completed along with his wife Isobel on Ben Alder, 22/6/85. He is no.398 in the published list, Isobel is no.397.
4d And as to the geographical significance of the last king of Poland... Stanislaw August Poniatowski, 1732-1798, was the monarch in question (Forest Whitaker is unlikely to play him in a movie), who reigned from 1764 until abdication in 1795. The "exact centre of the northern half of the western hemisphere", 45ºN, 90ºW, is the settlement of Poniatowski, named after the king, in Marathon County, Wisconsin, USA. A marker indicates the spot at 5651 Meridian Road, exactly halfway between the North Pole and the equator and a quarter of the way round the globe from Greenwich. See http://americasroof.com/45x90.shtml (The Ed is pleased to see that Marathon County also includes a small town named Hewitt.)
Thanks to all who entered. Congratulations to Stephen Bricklow of Dorchester, who won by a narrow margin.
TAC 70 Index