A surprise item in today’s post was The Munro Society Journal – No. 1, 2007.
I’m not an active member, having joined following my ‘compleation’ of the ascent of the designated 284 of Scotland's hills over 3000 feet in height in 2004 – I think I just filled in a form sent by the Scottish Mountaineering Club – and the effect of a standing order and inertia is that I remain a member. So it’s nice to receive something other than a routine newsletter. This ‘Journal’ is a nice little 50 page booklet in A5 format – a mixture of articles and poetry together with some striking photos.
The Presidential Remarks refer to accusations of the Society being ‘elitist’. I do recall Roger Smith, former editor of TGO, and the main man behind the TGO Challenge, bemoaning in his TGO column the fact that he had been declined membership, and suggesting that given his wide experience and other ‘qualifications’ this rejection was perhaps unfair. Whilst I have great admiration for Roger I do feel that the President may be correct in his assertion that the Society is in fact the reverse of elitist, requiring but one condition of membership (a round of the Munros) and being open to all beyond that single stipulation.
The Journal does in fact embrace contributions from non-members. In particular I was entertained by an article from Dave Hewitt, whose ‘Baggerwatch’ column (axed by TGO a few years ago) is missed by many and who edits Scotland’s Hillwalking Fanzine, The Angry Corrie (TAC). Dave writes about ‘When is a round not a round?’ and likens a round of Munros to a round of golf. The latter does not really cater for repeating holes during the course of a round, so arguably a round of Munros should only start when the previous round has been compleated. This leaves those who have repeated numerous ascents during our first round in a bit of a quandary! Dave refers to one chap who has climbed 6000 Munros in total, but has completed only one full round. So should he complete a second round, the ‘Golfer’s Method’ would require him to make a further ascent of Ben Lomond in order to qualify for a third round, despite the fact that he has already climbed that hill 1300 (yes, one thousand three hundred!) times.
It’s an interesting debate, but I have to say I checked this out with the Clerk of the List in 2004 and was told unambiguously that repeat ascents made during earlier rounds could be included in the tally for future rounds, so there is no need to start again unless you wish to utilise the artificially purist Golfer’s Method.
My reason for referring to Dave’s article is that he clearly doen’t share Roger’s view. He is happy to contribute to the Journal despite being a non-member; his own obtruse, individualistic, way of becoming a Munroist is to complete his round on his 1000th Munro, and he has just a few to go, so 2008 could be a good year for Dave.
Having referred to TAC, I would normally provide a link to TAC’s home page, but the first thing I came across on TAC’s website was this, Graham Stephens’ long awaited report on Graham Illing’s final Munro epic in July 1994. This event was before I had met either of these Grahams and is the stuff of legends, so it’s great to see a report on the actual legendary day, which more modern tales of distress (even Weird Darren’s) struggle to match (certainly in terms of alcohol consumption).
Well done, Munro Society, I shall enjoy reading the rest of this Journal.