The Angry Inbox

Dear TAC,

Bravo Dave Hewitt for the fascinating “Last Munros and Listed Munroists, an introduction” in TAC76 (pp69). He modestly understates the huge amount of work involved in collecting the data, reading through thousands of com- pleation letters and the countless hours of detective work to trace unlisted in- dividuals. As Clerk of the List currently entrusted with looking after the Scot- tish Mountaineering Club list of Munroists, I am relieved that Dave has only managed to unearth a few serious errors (ie duplicate entries), which we can live with.

However, there are still a number of minor inaccuracies, mostly misspelt names, which I am happy to correct if notified. I am also always delighted to welcome on to the list compleaters who have kept quiet about their achieve- ments for a number of years but final- ly decide to “go public”. Similarly, compleation photos of any vintage are welcome in the increasingly popular picture gallery.

Recent visitors to the list on www.smc.org.uk will have noticed that additional columns have been added. As well as details of rounds of Munros, Tops and Furths, there is now space for Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds. I am hoping to add this information over the coming months and would ask for patience before notifying me of missing entries. Meanwhile, details of Munro compleations and amendments should continue to be sent to me, in writing please, to Cul Mor, Drynie Park

North, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, IV6 7RP. All correspondence eventually ends up in the SMC archive in the Na- tional Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, a valuable resource for future research.

Yours, Dave Broadhead

PS — I was less happy to read else- where in TAC76 (p19) a suggestion that the SMC “seem to be in danger of ced- ing control” of the Munro list. This was part of the report on the run up to the Munro Society’s “re-heighting” an- nouncement. In fact, the SMC was heavily involved in the process and once the Ordnance Survey confirmed its new height, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean was immediately demoted to a Corbett and details of the change published on

www.smc.org.uk

The SMC is proud to have copyright on the Munros and Corbetts and takes its responsibilities in this area very seri- ously.

Ed. — Thanks for the kind words re the research — see pp1417 for more along similar lines. Re the Sgurr nan Ceann- aichean demotion, the SMC did what it surely must do, in that it accepted what the Ordnance Survey said on the matter. But the level of OS oversight is perhaps not what it might have been.

The OS verified the GPS data from the amateur surveyors, but didn’t ask them to make a second visit to confirm the readings. Several people have made the point that a repeat run-through is standard in fields such as engineering, given that a single visit risks falling foul of data- entry error or instrument malfunction.

This seems particularly the case not so much with Sgurr nan Ceann- aichean (deemed to be below Munro height be 97cm), but with Beinn Teallach, also surveyed last sum- mer. This retained Munro status, but only by 20cm — it is reckoned to be 914.60m. www.themunrosociety.

com/090910pr.html

By the surveyors’ own admission, the readings were taken in a wind of 50mph gusting to 70mph. Surely, on hearing this, the OS ought to have requested a second survey in calmer weather? Personally — and I’ve made this point to the surveyors directly — I would much rather see them go back to Beinn Teallach (and indeed to all of the hills surveyed in 2009) before they plough on with fresh surveys of peaks and pastures new. They’re planning to look at Tryfan (915m as things stand) in June. www.grough.co.uk/magazine/ 2010/03/15/tryfans-status-at-risk-

as-hill-sleuths-plan-survey

Do I think the surveyors have un- dertaken an interesting and valuable piece of work? Absolutely, yes. Do I have complete confidence in their findings? No, I do not.

Dear TAC,

Re your correspondent’s comments about mobile phone calls from the top of mountains (TAC73 p19), I once led a party on Meall nan Tarmachan, consisting of men from England (me), Scotland, Wales, Holland and Malawi, and one woman from Rus- sia. Is this a record, I wonder?

Yours, David Jones, Aberdeen

Dear TAC,

On a trip to Kinloch Hourn on Corbett business in the summer of 2008, I recalled an incident that occurred ten years earlier on this road (24/5/ 98, the Sunday of the spring bank holiday weekend). I wonder if any readers were also there, and can re- call a bit more detail than I can.

It happened around lunchtime at NH014040, just west of the bridge over an arm of Loch Quoich, where a track leaves the Kinloch Hourn road.

What appeared to have happened was that a lorry, having dropped off a flock of sheep, jack-knifed and blocked the road for several hours until a rescue vehicle was summoned. My wife and I returned from a misty trip to the summit of Sgurr a’Mhaoraich early afternoon and were trapped for at least two hours.

We were so looking forward to a brew at a café we’d seen earlier in the day at Invergarry, but it wasn’t to be. The lucky ones were those who had parked on the east side of the bridge and could get away. I seem to remem- ber at least a dozen cars; surely one would have contained a TAC reader?

While we were impressed with the rescue operation, it would have been more enjoyable had the midges not decided to join the spectators!

Yours, Martin Hudson, Kendal

Ed. — There must have been a lot of long delays and diversions in the High- lands over the years, even on non-dead- end roads. The Rest and Be Thankful landslips (plus the time vehicles got stuck in new-laid tarmac) are known to have reduced trade in Inveraray. A clo- sure at Laxford Bridge would be a faff, while a smash on the Laggan road en- tails a massive diversion for anyone on the A9 wanting to get to Lochaber.

Dear TAC,

Re the continuing problem of false hill information in books etc, on Craig- endarroch above Ballater there is an interpretation board to help understand the scene below. It points out the River Dee, which we are led to believe has its source close to the summit of Brit- ain’s highest mountain.

Do you know how this rubbish can be corrected?

Yours, Andrew Fraser, Inverness

PS — Has anyone ever read a wholly accurate press report on hill matters?

Ed. — TAC counts as part of the press, and everything within these pages is … er … completely accurate.

Dear TAC,

After reading the article (TAC74 p14) regarding the Keppel Cove dam, I took the opportunity to cross it. The only sen- sation that I felt as I walked across was a very strong desire not to fall off.

Yours, Andrew Russell, Kendal

Ed. — Tom Waghorn’s follow-up letter re Keppel Cove (TAC76 p18) accident- ally acquired a typo in the title of the Ramshaw and Adams book mentioned. It’s called The English Lakes: The Hills, The People, Their History. Apologies.

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