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The Munros and other tick lists

by Nigel Williams

I guess it is human nature to have a drive for collecting things, or tick lists that have some common connection, like trainspotting or Munro bagging or the fourteen eight-thousander peaks in the Himalayas. Completing a list though is just a concept, it isn't like stamp collecting where you have something tangible to show. I wouldn't necessarily like to link hill walking to trainspotting or stamp collecting, despite the dedication required for either hobby; I imagine though that hill walking has more health benefits.

For those wanting to bag Munros, the HARVEY cartographers have mapped all 282 Munros - Scottish peaks over 914.4m (3000ft) and the additional 227 Munro tops (peaks over 3000ft, usually a subsidiary of a main peak but not given Munro status) the maps also cover most of the 222 Corbetts and 231 Grahams. Munros are a well-known list, but Corbetts and Grahams are less well-known.

Corbetts are Scottish hills that are between 2,500ft (762m) to 3,000ft (914.4m) in height. Unlike the Munros, which is a fairly random selection of peaks with no criteria other than being over 3000ft, for a hill to be on the Corbett list there has to be a drop of at least 500ft (152m) between it and any other adjacent hill. They are often considered a bit more challenging than the Munros due to their remoteness and increased navigational requirements as many lack well-trodden paths to the summit. They were listed and first climbed by John Rooke Corbett in 1939. Corbett was the 4th person to complete the Munros in 1930 and the first Englishman to do so.

There are 231 Grahams which are defined as Scottish peaks over 2,000ft (610m) but less than 2500ft (762m) and there has to be a drop of at least 150m between it and any other adjacent hill. Note that the height drop is not given in feet probably because the list was created in 1992 when most maps had gone metric. The Grahams came about through a collaboration between Fiona Torbet (née Graham) and Alan Dawson who were both making similar lists.

I am still struggling to finish off all the Munros, the problem with working as a mountaineering instructor is that one can rack up many ascents of the same Munros, so in terms of ascents one has probably done at least 3 rounds.

One of the problems of using an OS map for a day out collecting multiple Munros is that one can end up climbing a particular hill thinking it is a Munro, when in fact it isn't. Or decide to contour round a smaller hill only to find when you get home that it was in fact a Corbett and you would have gone over it if you had known.

HARVEY Maps helps the dedicated Scottish mountain or hill bagger distinguish between Munros, Corbetts and Grahams by colouring the names of the peaks on their maps according to the list they are in. Bold red for a Munro, Orange for a Corbett and Green for a Graham. The coloured names jump out of the sheet and leave no uncertainty as to the status of a particular mountain or hill. You can see them in the HARVEY book of maps The Munros: The Complete Collection of Maps it is a unique and stunning cartographic record with around 150 pages of maps of the Highlands of Scotland.

For a compleator, once all of the Munros have been achieved the next challenge is the Marilyns, which are all the 2,010 hills or prominences across the UK and Ireland with a drop of at least (150m) on all sides. This list has also been compiled by Alan Dawson, the name Marilyn being a pun relating to Munros and Marilyn Monroe. Currently there are 1,218 Marilyns in Scotland, only 202 Munros are listed as Marilyns due to the height drop criteria. In the rest of the British Isles there are 454 Marilyns in Ireland, 174 in England, 159 in Wales, and 5 in the Isle of Man.

There are quite a few other lists such as the Donalds - 89 hills over 2,000 feet (610m) in the Scottish lowlands, in England there are Wainwrights in the Lakes, in Wales, the Welsh 3000ers etc. For the GPS geeks looking for a tick list, allegedly (I have not attempted it) a popular one is to visit the 6 figure grid reference that matches your date of birth in every National Grid 100kmsq area denoted by the 2 letter prefix, 30 - 50 or so depending on whether you want to keep your feet dry or are a sea kayaker or sailor.

You may also be interested in ...

The Munro & Corbett Wallchart, by HARVEY Maps, is the perfect way to track the mountains that you have climbed. Featuring tick lists for Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds, it is the perfect map to get you started.

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