Friday 21 August 2015

The Last Arthur

In 2013 Kellan MacInnes launched his book, Caleb's List. This is an engaging book about Caleb George Cash, a member of the Cairngorm Club and Royal Geographical Society round the turn of the 20th century. Back in 1899 he published a list of hills visible from Arthur's Seat. MacInnes christened them 'the Arthurs'. There's twenty of them. As many are Munros, I realised at the book launch that I had already done most of them. Chris Highcock had the same thought, but he actually climbed the remainder, becoming only the second Arthurist on record.

Arthur's Seat from the Pentlands:

The Arthurs are an eccentric list because Caleb, bless him, chose to only list hills visible to the north of Arthur's Seat. No Pentlands, Moorfoots or Berwick Law for him! There are those who would salute such latitude blindness. For me, I was intrigued by which hills remained so that I could say I had bagged them all.

North from the summit of Meall Dearg:

And so, this month, I came to my last Arthur - Meall Dearg. This is an obscure 690m high Graham in the ill-frequented (by hillwalkers) wedge of Perthshire between Crieff, Dunkeld and Shiehallion. The area includes Farragon Hill, newly-discovered Marilyn Creag na Criche, and a couple of windfarms. Oh and tussocky heather and bracken - quite a lot of it.

At the start of Meall Dearg:

We parked at an estate track just before the bridge on the A826. Once off the track, the way up bashes through luxuriant vegetation, plenty of lingonberries and blaeberries, not quite as sweet-tasting as they will be in a month's time. Dank trickles of water hidden under heather. Peat hags on the summit plateau. Sheep, frogs, hares, caterpillars, and a deer hind by herself. The trig point hoved into view and I touched it. Woo hoo! I was an Arthurist. We had gone straight up from the road, but on the top it was clear there was another way down. A new track, not marked on the map, goes close by the summit and links up with General Wade's military road to the north-east. We took this down and made a circuit.

South from the top - Arthur's Seat somewhere in the distance:

Here, for your delectation, is Caleb's complete list. How many have you done?
Ben Lomond 974m
Ben Venue 729m
Ben Ledi 879m
Benvane 821m
Dumyat 419m
Stob Binnein 1165m
Ben More 1174m
Ben Vorlich 985m
Ben Cleuch 721m
Ben Lawers 1214m
Meall Garbh 1118m
Ben Chonzie 931m
Schiehallion 1083m
Meall Dearg 690m
Beinn Dearg 1008m
Ben Vrackie 841m
Beinn a'Ghlo - Carn nan Gabhar 1121m
West Lomond 522m
East Lomond 434m
Lochnagar 1156m


Russell said...

Read and enjoyed the book. Don't know if your question was rhetorical but I checked my records and completed them on 17/02/08 on Meall Dearg. If I include repeats I have been up 1320 Arthurs [mainly Dumyat] + 14 times up Arthur's Seat.

Robert Craig said...

That's a lot of ascents! Do you record them anywhere in particular, notebooks, spreadsheets? I sometimes wonder if I will forget going up a hill but don't think that's happened yet...

Russell said...

I keep a spreadsheet. - Too much time on my hands. Enjoy your blog.