Thursday, 29 September 2016


Many thanks to Alasdair Thornton for, once again, bringing something of interest to the Diary's attention - Marilyns, which are suddenly in the news. For those as ignorant as I, a Marilyn is, "a hill of any height with a drop of 150 metres (nearly 500 ft) or more on all sides". So it is a hill which is relatively high compared to the land which immediately surrounds it.

Wikipedia lists 391 Marilyns of which three in the section 'Ardnamurchan to Loch Linnhe' (above, and link here) are on western Ardnamurchan.

Ben Hiant, as our highest hill, may sound an obvious candidate, but a high hill or mountain may not rank high on the Marilyn list if it is connected, for example by a saddle, to a closely neighbouring hill which is also high. So Ben Hiant ranks higher than than three Corbetts (in lilac on the table), while there is one Corbett on Wikipedia's list which isn't a Marilyn.

Our second highest peak, Meall nan Con, is on the list, a hill which always seems remote because just to reach it is a long walk particularly if, as we did on the occasion pictured, one chooses a bitter winter's day to climb it.

Beinn na Seilg, at 344m, is a good example of a Marilyn which isn't particularly high but is cut off from other peaks. It's both very accessible and an easy climb.

All these listings are, I suppose, meant to measure how difficult a hill or mountain is to climb, and that's controlled at least in part by its accessibility. For example, Ben Hiant may be our highest hill but, with relatively good access from the B8007 along a well-worn path, it's much easier to climb than, say, Beinn Bhreac 357m (pictured, but not the one on the Marilyns list). It's to the east of Ockle and I don't know many people who have climbed it despite its fine views.

Many thanks to Alasdair.

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