I’ve never done anything but dream. This, and this alone, has been the meaning of my life. My only real concern has been my inner life. FERNANDO PESSOA

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Listmania

I love the satisfying glow on reaching the top of a hill or mountain: that feeling of healthy, physical exertion, not to mention the stunning views from the summit (the photo shows the top of Cairn Gorm at 4085 ft). But most hill walkers would put me to shame as I've climbed only a small proportion of British hills. And those I have climbed I've done in a random way. Not that there's anything wrong with that. However, recently I've been studying the various hill lists and tables, and I've formulated a lifetime master plan to tick off a lot more. Certainly the Wainwrights, hopefully the Marilyns... Although I love Scotland, it's quite far to get to from where I live so I've bagged only a handful of Munros to date. It would be good to spend whole weeks up there at some point in the future - camping by remote lochs (wonderful!) - when the demands of job and family recede... Anyway, here's a summary of the hill lists available, which may be useful, as the subject can be quite complicated (bear in mind these lists are not cast in stone but are constantly changing as hills are added or deleted depending on the latest techniques in altitude measurement etc). Munros: Scottish mountains over 3000 ft (284 Munros plus 227 subsidiary "tops" - all in the Highlands); Corbetts: 219 Scottish peaks between 2500 ft and 3000 ft with a relative height of at least 500 ft (ie they must have a "drop" of at least 500 ft on all sides); Grahams: 224 Scottish hills between 2000 ft and 2500 ft with a relative height of at least 500 ft; Donalds: 89 hills in the Scottish Lowlands over 2000 ft (many of these are Corbetts or Grahams) with a relative height of at least 100 ft (however some of these have a relative height of at least 50 ft if considered to be of sufficient topographical interest!); Murdos: 444 Scottish summits over 3000 ft with a relative height of at least 100 ft (an attempt to apply strict objective criteria to the Munros); Nuttalls: 252 English hills and 188 Welsh hills over 2000 ft with a relative height of at least 50 ft (as documented in the beautifully written and illustrated two volume The Mountains of England & Wales by John and Anne Nuttall http://www.nuttalls.com/); Hewitts: 178 English, 137 Welsh and 211 Irish hills over 2000 ft with a relative height of at least 100 ft; Wainwrights: 214 hills (fells) in the English Lake District National Park (as lovingly described and illustrated in Alfred Wainwright's classic seven volume A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells) - there are a further 102 hills included in his supplementary guide The Outlying Fells of Lakeland http://www.wainwright.org.uk/; Birketts: 541 fell tops over 1000 ft in the English Lake District National Park (as listed in Bill Birkett's Complete Lakeland Fells, later condensed into the more compact A Lakeland Fells Almanac); Marilyns: 1554 hills in the British Isles that have a relative height of at least 500 ft regardless of distance, absolute height or other merit; Deweys: 441 hills in England, Wales and the Isle of Man between 500 metres and 2000 ft with a relative height of at least 100 ft. Now, if that's not confusing..!

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