/ Munroists: by year and by month
Given that Munro-related matters are being discussed elsewhere on UKC just now, I should perhaps flag up that I've just finished a big statsy piece on the distribution of listed Munroists over the years - this might be of interest to a few people:
The piece itself doesn't have a comments facility, so feel free to discuss it on here and I'll endeavour to respond to any queries.
That reminds me, we finished a couple of years ago and still haven;t got round to reporting it...
I'd love to see a Munro compleatist table that includes other demographics, like age, gender, etc. I think you would mine some interesting information there.
That’s an interesting read Dave. Have you done any analysis on compleation hill? I’m sure I’ve seen something in the past.
As for February being a quiet month. Maybe it’s because there’s more snow on the hills?
> I'd love to see a Munro compleatist table that includes other demographics, like age, gender, etc. I think you would mine some interesting information there.
For sure - I did some work on the male:female split a few years ago. At that stage it was 82:18, although interestingly when I worked out the same split for the much smaller (320ish) sample of unlisted completions that I knew of, the female figure went up to 27%. The more obscure the list the lower proportion of women - eg with Corbetts it was 78:22 last time I added up (am needing to add 2015-16 completions to that list soon), and Marilynbaggers with 1000+ will be lower, keen Humpbaggers and Tumpbaggers lower still. Pretty sure that over the next decade or so the male:female split for Munroists will narrow - can see it getting to 70:30 in due course - but it always has been a bit boys-and-lists-ish.
Age is trickier - often people don't say and it runs more easily into data protection issues. The one that I get asked about most (perhaps reflecting the recent political fixation in Scotland) is whether more Munroists are Scotland- or England-based. That could be worked out (but would need some massive sessions in the archive and I've got no research funding), but from having read right through the whole thing over the years I'm pretty sure there have been more Scotland-based ones, although the gap is tighter than the male:female split.
> That’s an interesting read Dave. Have you done any analysis on compleation hill? I’m sure I’ve seen something in the past.
Ta. Yes, did some stuff on last Munros in a couple of the later issues of TAC, plus it featured in the talks I gave around the end of last decade (which didn't prove as popular as I'd hoped - two or three clubs booked me but maybe the subject matter or more likely the talk-giver was a bit too dull!)
I'll aim to do some more on last hills at the current blog outlet over the next while, again based on up-to-date stats (ie at least until the end of 2016). In summary, the top five popular last Munros are Ben More Mull (by several country miles), Ben Lomond (which surprises some people), Beinn na Lap (increasingly so given changes to train timetables in recent years - John Dow no.5 finished there in 1933, then no one that I know of until 1987, but it's now seen at least 206 listed first-round finishes, plus at least nine unlisted ones and eight repeats). Fourth is Ladhar Bheinn (again surprising for some), followed by the In Pinn. The latter is dropping in the charts, probably because of the hired-hand aspect mentioned in the piece - it could well soon drop out of the top five, as Ben Hope isn't very far behind.
The Mull completion thing is remarkable: at present I know of 647 first-round finishes there, more than 10% of the whole. There have also been at least 21 unlisted finishes and 34 repeats, so over 700 completions on BMM in total to the end of 2016. I should perhaps be asking the Mull tourist board for some kind of research grant...
There are 12 current Munros for which I don't know of any finishes - although of course mentioning these potentially leads to an observer effect-ish thing where people deliberately then finish on them.
> As for February being a quiet month. Maybe it’s because there’s more snow on the hills?
Yes, for sure (as mentioned in the piece); the difference in numbers between the Jan-Mar period compared with Oct-Dec is quite marked in those terms, with snow/ice surely being a factor.
Both Ladhar Bheinn and Ben More Mull were in the last half dozen for us, the former because we'd been saving it for a good day (which didn't happen!), the latter purely due to needing a ferry to get there.
We finished on Mullach Fraoch-choire which I'd guess is fairly low in the lists?
Great stuff Dave!
My first Munro was Sgurr an Lochain Uaine (Angel's Peak), and my final will hopefully be The Devil's Point. Many many years from now I expect.
> We finished on Mullach Fraoch-choire which I'd guess is fairly low in the lists?
Fairly low, although higher than might be expected. I know of 15 listed first-round finishes there, four first-round unlisteds (plus your own one or two), and one repeat (a chap named John Inglis who finished r2 there on 2 September 2015 alone on his 70th birthday). There could always have been more of course, but in terms of what's known there was quite a big gap between the first two Mullach finishes: Barbara Tulloch (no.85) on 7 Sept 1968, then Mark Kirby (no.477) on 27 Sept 1986. The Tulloch one was unusual in that her Grampian Club colleague Helen Scrimgeour (no.86) completed on the Laggan Beinn a’Chaorainn the following day and I believe they attended each other's finish.
The 19 first rounds on the Mullach (discounting your own for now) make it the joint 81st most popular last Munro as things stand (and these things change all the time), so it's in the top third. Incidentally, A'Chralaig next door seems to have been quieter in terms of finishes - just six listed, two unlisted and one repeat - that repeat was the first one there, Hamish Brown's third finish on 28 December 1970. Oddly the Conbhairean / Chaorainn / Ghluasaid cluster close by has been very quiet over the years - just five finishes known in total (2:1:2) including repeats. Almost certainly an example of a roadside-ish group tending to be tackled mid-round, but even so just five for all three is very low.
> The Mull completion thing is remarkable: at present I know of 647 first-round finishes there, more than 10% of the whole.
Think it was my second! (Certainly in the first few.)
In reply to wee jamie:
> My first Munro was Sgurr an Lochain Uaine (Angel's Peak), and my final will hopefully be The Devil's Point.
1. Never Angel's Peak.
2. Not the Devil's 'Point'.
I know I know Pete! I thought that'd get ya heckles up!
I will say this though - I love the sound of 'The Angel's Peak' - brings something rather wonderful and fantastical to mind, and it is a lovely elegant mountain next to the convex bulk of Cairn Toul.
As for The Devil's Point, well I could use the Gaelic but not sure everyone would know what I meant.
> Think it was my second! (Certainly in the first few.)
Ben More Mull was my first (when I was 9) Ben Lomond was my second.
At the present rate I should complete in 3918AD.
(1) Meall Dearg (6/11/78) to Ben Lomond (14/11/83)
(2) [cumulative mode] Sgurr Fiona (25/5/00)
(3) " Beinn Fhionnlaidh (23/5/12)
I never did get round to reporting to The Clerk.
> I never did get round to reporting to The Clerk.
Thanks. Already knew about the first two, didn't know about r3. Quite a fast first round - and you're the 10th known first-round finisher on Ben Lomond (plus Hamish Brown's sixth, 16/6/78), with at least 233 other first rounds having finished there since then. The lower An Teallach Munro has become quite popular for finishing since it was added to the list - at least 40 there (plus four repeats including yours), only nine behind the main summit.
Re your third finish, which Beinn Fhionnlaidh was it? There were two other completions on the Mullardoch one that day, possibly with you - the Colleys, nos.4985 and 4986. Roy Burton 4984 finished on Lurg Mhor the same day. (Having a straightened-out real timeline is quite a useful thing in terms of same-day completions or ones in quick succession on the same Munro.)
I finished with Sgurr Fiona too in June 2011. The weather was absolutely Shoite but since it was my last, I continued into the gale. It only took me 26 years from starting out on Ben Starav as an eager schoolboy.
three of my schoolteachers finished together in 1985 IIRC. I know they provided my inspiration. It would be interesting to know of the largest mass compleation?
> three of my schoolteachers finished together in 1985 IIRC. I know they provided my inspiration. It would be interesting to know of the largest mass compleation?
Dave Broadhead (the SMC clerk) would probably know best as the group completion is classic Munro Matters territory, but I'm pretty sure the biggest one is still the five on 18 October 1996, on the Kingie/Quoich Sgurr Mor: Dr Gerry McPartlin, the late Father David Gemmell (he perhaps held a completion mass as well as having a mass completion), Anne Stokes, Euan Nicol and Andrew Wright, nos.1644-48. (Ha - I see that Cameron McNeish finished his second round the previous day on Ben Lomond.)
There have been several four-together completions, including family groups eg the Morgans (417-420, the last two being children aged 15 and 14) on the Buachaille, 1 August 1985. Plenty of threes - at some stage I'll have a go at working out how many but it's quite a few. The first three probably occurred on 26 September 1964, on Ben More Assynt: Philip Tranter's second round - the first known second round - along with firsts for his university friends John Fleming and William Fraser (nos.60 and 61). The next three appears to have been Stewart Logan (first of his ten rounds) along with "Bill" Hayley and Donald Lamont (327-329), on Mull, 6 June 1981. Then the Dale family (281-283 - the ones who complicate any change to the the Unknown Munroist) on 30 July 1982, I know not where.
I don't seem to have any details of a three-people completion in 1985 apart from the Morgan family - do you have any more details/dates? It could be that not all of them let the clerk know - that's not uncommon either, ie a double completion where only one person is in the list (perhaps most notably Colin Dodgson no.16 and his unlisted and shy pal Tim Tyson together on Mull in October 1951).
Re your own finish, was that on 25 June 2011? If so, there were also completions that day (quite possibly in similar weather) on Carn Mor Dearg, Ben Lomond and two on the Appin Beinn Fhionnlaidh.
Five at once is an incredible feat of organisation, especially pre internet/mobiles.
re my finish, it shows you how much attention I paid on the day that I’ve misremembered the final peak. It was actually Bidean a Ghlas Thuill. (4767).
Always a good option if there’s a high wind forecast at a CairnGorm, this wee resort didn’t disappqoint. Easy access, perfect pistes and short queues.
and regarding my teachers, it was Crosbie, Wilson and Young (500-502) in 1987.
fat finger syndrome in that reply with a paste from another post
I never recorded my rounds (consecutive rather than concurrent; haven't a clue how close I would be to other completions via a 'concurrent' yard-stick). All finished in winter conditions. I guess if your based in Scotland and regularly get out anyway its less of a big-deal, and you're more likely to finish in the darker months because that (in my view) is when the hills are at their best.
Though how many non-recorders there are and how they might 'skew' the stats is obviously very hard to gauge. But I know a fair few folks who never 'wrote off'..........
> re my finish, it shows you how much attention I paid on the day that I’ve misremembered the final peak. It was actually Bidean a Ghlas Thuill. (4767).
Ah - almost mentioned in the previous post that there had also been one on the higher summit that month. People who completed the same day as you were John Haddock 4788 on Beinn Bhuidhe, Mark Crawford 4941 on Mull, and Adrian Bergin 5298 on Meall Buidhe in Knoydart.
> and regarding my teachers, it was Crosbie, Wilson and Young (500-502) in 1987.
Ta. As opposed to Crosby Stills Nash and Young who fell out before completing. Your teachers finished on Mullach nan Coirean in the Mamores as you no doubt know. Only ten known finishes there - two before them (the Fuller brothers 387 and 388 in 1984) and five after that but with a long gap - the first one after the 1987 triple was in 2004. I'll definitely try and put together a list of occasions when three or more people completed together. Five getting themselves organised to do it is remarkable, as you say.
Incidentally there was another completion the day your teachers finished (29 August 1987), and that was by Fiona Torbet 566. She's the woman after whom the Grahams are named - it's a list with a complicated and somewhat acrimonious history, but her maiden name was Graham (or possibly her married name, I forget). I don't know what hill she completed on and will probably never find out given that she died in what became quite a high-profile murder case.
> All finished in winter conditions. I guess if your based in Scotland and regularly get out anyway its less of a big-deal, and you're more likely to finish in the darker months because that (in my view) is when the hills are at their best.
I'll do some proper analytical work on it at some stage but there's evidence that people completing repeat rounds are slightly more likely to do it in the winter months than are first-rounders - perhaps something to do with having more experience.
> Though how many non-recorders there are and how they might 'skew' the stats is obviously very hard to gauge. But I know a fair few folks who never 'wrote off'..........
Quite how many is by definition impossible to ever know for sure, but there are clearly a lot. I've heard people suggest that it's 25% on top of the list - which would be more than 1500 at present - but I feel that's an overestimate. An extra 10% feels like a fairly safe lower estimate, and it could well be up towards 20%. I've just had a quick tally up and at present I know of 333 unlisted first rounds, ie about 5% over the list, but there are loads more than that and I've not really rummaged around in that department very much for the past few years. It's complicated to assess given that it's a moving target - every year a few unlisted completers, occasionally from yonks ago, emerge and contact the clerk, while at the same time there are new unlisted people completing as well. The next piece I write about this kind of stuff will probably be about unlisted rounds - particularly early ones, where quite a bit is known and there appear to have been at least at dozen on top of the listed first 100.
Wasn’t that the late Helen Torbet?
The Mullardoch Finlay, Dave. Solo as usual, but I do vaguely remember seeing a couple returning to Carn Eige as I trudged out to BF.
I thought it was Fiona but a quick google suggests her full name was Helen Fiona Torbet (nee Graham).
> Incidentally, A'Chralaig next door seems to have been quieter in terms of finishes
That makes sense - it's unlikely that you're going to have done Mullach Fraoch-choire but not A'Chralaig, and most people will be approaching from the south so get to A'Chralaig first.
We did them from Strawberry Cottage, the four Munros plus however many Tops (we'd done the outlier the previous week), only decided on it a few weeks earlier when it became clear we'd be finishing roughly round the time of a club meet. It even managed to be sunny!
"As opposed to Crosby Stills Nash and Young who fell out before completing."
I thought they completed on Whiskey Boot Hill.
> I thought it was Fiona but a quick google suggests her full name was Helen Fiona Torbet (nee Graham).
I don't think I have a copy of the 1992 TGO article in the house, but I'm pretty sure the Grahams piece was bylined Fiona Graham. Certainly surname Graham in that anyway, as otherwise the name given to the list wouldn't make sense. All a bit confusing, especially as the Marilyns subset Elsies (for LCs or Lesser Corbetts) also appeared in 1992. The list should always have been called Dochartys which it still would be if so, but that ship sailed long ago.
Dave, from the SMC "Grahams & Donalds, Hillwalking Guide"
".... Dawson and Torbet subsequently met and agreed on a definitive drop based listing for hills in this category with Torbet's maiden name of Graham being given to them; The Torbets no doubt too easily confused with The Corbetts"
Docherty is mentioned (William McKnight Docherty), the implication being if he'd published his list in the SMC Journal then the hills may indeed have become 'Docherty's', but he published his list privately.
> Docherty is mentioned (William McKnight Docherty), the implication being if he'd published his list in the SMC Journal then the hills may indeed have become 'Docherty's', but he published his list privately.
Docharty published his lists privately as you say, but he was an SMC member and I've long felt that the SMC missed a trick that's had significant repercussions down the line given the modern-day interest in that category of hills. For comparison, Corbett didn't publish in the SMCJ either - his early work is in the Rucksack Club Journal (some of it co-authored with another semi-forgotten figure, Philip Minor) and then the SMC acquired his papers after he died, via his sister (also a notable hill person). But the club appears to have subsequently lost the papers - both Robin Campbell and I would dearly love for them to resurface but there's no sign - and this has led to vaguenesses about Corbett's definition in terms of drop (Robin's written interestingly on this) and my own interest in whether he intended all of the UK 2500ft hills to be seen as a whole, ie Fairfield and Cadair Idris etc aren't Furth Corbetts but actual Corbetts. I've spoken with Rucksack Club people who firmly believe this and who say that to complete a round you shouldn't just do the 220-odd Scottish ones.
Anyway, something similar could have happened with Docharty's books - but he and Corbett were seen as figures of fun and to an extent mocked by certain people in the SMC at the time - there are references in the journal and also in correspondence that display a rather dismissive tone. In a way it persists to this day in that the generally fine and impressive SMC book you mention couldn't even get Docharty's name right - it was spelt with an a not an e.
Incidentally, Docharty's books are well worth seeking out - they're wonderful things. There's something Wainwrightean about them in terms of their breaking out into new ground and doing it in a very individual kind of way. They're a mix of interesting writing, some fine photographs and the amazingly meticulous and very accurate tables. Docharty was years ahead of his time - as was Colin Dodgson, who systematically worked his way through Docharty's tables and was the Rob Woodall of his day.
> vaguenesses about Corbett's definition in terms of drop (Robin's written interestingly on this)
Interestingly and convincingly enough for me to have a modified 'Corbett' list in mind (still with loads to do) and have written 'mark my words, we'll see the Corbetts officially defined by 450ft drop one day!'
I've just looked up Docharty's books, I think he hexed them using a publisher called Darien Press, given the position of Darien in Scotland's history.
Thanks for the background, I shall bear it in mind when next I am walking up a Docharty/Graham/Torbett/Elsie
Same here - I completed on Stob Gabhar in October 2013 and have never bothered to report it. Not even sure how to go about it. Wonder how many people are in the same boat...
> Same here - I completed on Stob Gabhar in October 2013 and have never bothered to report it.
I'd be interested to know when (actual date if you can remember it) you completed, as I don't have any completions for October 2013 in my list of unlisted Munroists (!) so I didn't previously know about yours. I'm interested in trying to get as accurate an estimate as possible for unlisted rounds and ideally could do with knowing name / hill (which you've said already) / date. If you'd rather just mail me behind the scenes that's fine of course although I'm not in the business of outing people to the SMC as it were and anyway Dave Broadhead doesn't work that way - he only lists people via direct communication (or at least via a spouse or club secretary or whatever).
Apart from your completion I know of 18 first rounds (all listed) and two repeat rounds that have finished on Stob Ghabhar. The first known finish there was a repeat in fact, the second round of Ian Williams, 10 April 1988. Your own finish came in a bit of lean spell - there was a listed finish there on the last day of July 2011 (Barrie Haworth, 4842), then nothing until Eric Rossiter (5815) on 4 July 2015. In terms of October 2013 generally, it was a pretty busy month: aside from your own there were 36 listed first round finishes and one repeat (Rhona Fraser's fourth round, 4 Oct, Beinn Ghlas). At least nine people completed their Munros on 26 Oct 2013 (including three otherwise unconnected people on Ben Lomond), seven on 5 Oct and six on 12 Oct. As mentioned in the research linked to at the top of the thread, October is regularly a busy month, with people getting the job done before the clocks go back. The overall October completion figure is more than three times higher than that for November (688 plays 201, to the end of 2016 anyway).
Hope you got a nice day for yours, anyway.
It was Saturday 5 October 2013. Cloudy start which then cleared apart from the last 100 feet or so to the summit. There was 11 of us altogether. My first one was Sgorr Goaith in Glen Feshie way back in February 1994 in an absolute whiteout. So a long round but winter climbing and many repeats of favourite hills got in the way! The name is Dave Robinson.
> It was Saturday 5 October 2013. Cloudy start which then cleared apart from the last 100 feet or so to the summit.
Thanks, very useful - helps with the massive jigsaw overall. The other seven known finishes that same day were on the Crianlarich Ben More (so not far from you), Mayar, Ladhar Bheinn, a couple together on the highest of the Ghlo Munros and two unconnected people on Wyvis. There's a pic of the Ben More summit party here - they look to have had it not quite so good as you in terms of visibility:
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