A bit late in the day with just 12 of my 601 all-time Munro Tops left to do and Slioch waiting for 30 May but, prompted by Robin Campbell’s receipt of the Scottish Award for Excellence in Mountain Culture at last month’s Fort William Mountain Festival, I’ve finally bought and read The Munroist’s Companion. And predictably found much of interest there, not least (given the roots of my ‘purist’ approach in concerns with what’s listed in what category, or indeed at all) in David Purchase’s essay On the Classification of Mountains: a graphical approach, where he proposes well-considered objective criteria for distinguishing between Munros and Tops that would keep the list close to its current shape while removing all the obvious anomalies. So, while I’ve no time for inadequate web/media statements like ‘there are 282 mountains over 3,000ft in Scotland’ (contentious!) and still regard just the 282 (or 284, 276 or whatever it happens to be at the time) as ‘Munro-lite’, I might qualify that by suggesting that adding just Purchase’s nine remaining promotion candidates to a current ‘full-Munro-only’ round of 282 removes the worst of the ‘lite’. Do Glas Leathad Beag, the Affric Sgurr na Lapaich, Sail Mhor and Coinneach Mhor on Beinn Eighe, Stob na Doire on the big Buachaille, Cairn Lochan, Beinn Iutharn Bheag, Sgor Choinnich (Corrour Forest) and Creag Dubh (Mullardoch) and you’ve got a pretty good baseline for 291 ‘mountains’. Demote Carn Ghluasaid (which Purchase recommends but you can’t leave out so long as it’s still listed!) and you’ve got 290. All water off a duck’s back to me when I’m sticking to my 601, but surprising how little still needs changing to arrive at a decently objective list!
Might just add that I’m with Campbell on completion/compleation and expect to be completing (not compleating) on 30 May:
The use of Compleation strikes me as twee, or should be it be twea, and I have studiously avoided and expunged it in favour of completion.
His quote, my italics… very funny! :-)
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Last Sunday I fell into a pile of bricks, slabs and back wall trying to do without a ladder where I needed one but lazily thought access looked tight without moving a few bits and pieces first. Which, quite apart from serving me right by leaving me with a bashed coccyx, rather messed up my running plans by ruling out Sunday (hurt too much!), Monday and Tuesday (too busy with work, but probably still hurt too much?) to start picking up the pieces again on a fine Wednesday evening. But I’ve still managed to ‘run’ every day since without hurting myself much more beyond the occasional jarring slip, so was able to make something of the further spring-like weather this weekend on a couple of circuits beyond my typical winter evening fare…
So yesterday Marie Meldrum came down from the Fort and we had a relaxed ‘run’ (paced for my coccyx and her MTB race today) over Glas Bheinn and Beinn na Cloiche to return by the monument and Ciaran Path, narrowly missing Karl Zeiner on Glas Bheinn but later meeting Kelly, Matthew and the boys down below the German Camp.
No real surprises for me from a lovely day on familiar ground except some still substantial cornices on Glas Bheinn, but how nice to see Marie (who’s not run from Kinlochleven so often) enthralled by the magic of stunning views from new territory and apparently enjoying my running (no pun!) commentary on the distant hills and nearer sights too!
So where could I go in still somewhat injured state for a decent, but not too strenuous, follow-up today? Well, having been inspired by Marie’s enthusiasm for the classic U-shaped valley of the Lairig Gartain (visible centre background of the ‘Beinn na Cloiche’ photo), why not head down for double U-shaped fun in a repeat of the Two Lairigs? So that’s what I did, with the four ‘circuit-order’ summit photos (Lairig Eilde looking towards Glen Coe and Glen Etive followed by Lairig Gartain looking towards Glen Etive and Glen Coe) taken to show them close-up in the full expectation of being told I have to do it again soon…
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While a full weekend in Kirriemuir with Saturday ascent of Mayar and Driesh might have been nice had I been free to go sooner, it might equally have been too wet and windy even that far east to enjoy and would certainly have resulted in missing the excitement of the river engorged beyond anything I’ve seen in 25 years of Kinlochleven life, as photographed on my way out at c.2:00pm…
But, despite the prevailing wet’n’windiness everywhere west, road east blocked at Loch Iubhair by full-width flood deep enough to produce ‘bow waves’ from the single-file traffic and River Dochart through the bridge at Killin looking perhaps even wilder than the Leven back home, escape to the east was duly accomplished in time to be admiring Campbell and Jillian’s new roof before dinner.
So Mayar and Driesh with Campbell had been on the agenda for some time but, delayed by the wait for coincidence of mutually convenient time, weather and a roofed house with room to put me up, now become my final Munros bar Fisherfield and Slioch. And, modest summits as they are, proving a delightful walk (which should also make a great wee hill run) by Campbell’s recommended ascent route of Corrie Fee, where you pop out of the forest to a flat floor to give Coire Gabhail a run for its money in the ‘surprisingly striking’ stakes and the classic icefall of Look C Gully (now thawed to an unclimbable dribble between Campbell and the more obvious B Gully towards the left of first photo below) seeming good reason to return at some appropriate time… which surely won’t be this year despite the ‘four seasons in one day’ sampler giving us everything (rain, sun, hail, sun, snow, sun) bar the colder cold and mid-level freeze/thaw cycles necessary to refreeze and fatten it up!
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