Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Corronoher (R 409 310) – New Irish Marilyn

In September 1997 TACit Tables published The Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland, these two lists were compiled by the late E. D. ‘Clem’ Clements.  As this post relates to a new Irish Marilyn all figures and detail quoted will relate to the Irish Marilyns and not the Irish Hewitts.

The TACit Press publication for the Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland
In all Clem listed 453 Irish Marilyns with a further 43 SubMarilyns also listed.  A Marilyn is any hill with a minimum of 150m of drop on all sides; a SubMarilyn is any hill that misses out on being a Marilyn by less than 10m of relative height (hills with 140m – 149.9999m of drop).

The SubMarilyn list appears on pages 30-32 of the TACit booklet.  Appearing on page 31 of the Sub list is Corronoher, not a great hill in terms of absolute height as it is given a 273m spot height on Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) maps, but in terms of relative height the hill is quite substantial as Clem listed it with a drop of c 145.  The ‘c’ preceding the 145 figure implies that the drop value was estimated from col contour interpolation.  Adjoining this hill’s detail is a reference number of 277.  This number is part of an extensive Notes section that appears at the back of the booklet and was compiled in conjunction with the TACit series Editor; Dave Hewitt.  The note against Corronoher states ‘Details updated just before publication from the new OS65’.  As the OSI were updating their then current ½ inch to 1 mile series with the 1:50,000 series of maps The Irish Marilyn publication was being compiled during the latter years of these updates. 

Before continuing it is probably best to give the relevant map details for the hill:

Name:  Corronoher

Summit Grid Reference: (R 409 310)

Summit Height: 273m

Map:  Discovery 1:50,000 number 65

Section:  48B

Col Grid Reference:  R 438 334 / R439 333

Col Height:  c 120m - c 130m

Clem had estimated this col to be 128m high, giving a drop value of c 145m.  Interpolation of col contours can sometimes be a tricky business, but independent analysis of Clem’s estimated col height gives a higher drop value.  This is substantiated by Clem himself who later re-evaluated this drop figure.  The details to this will be given in a following paragraph.

Once the list to the Irish Marilyns was published in September 1997 it would only be another 9-10 months before an update appeared.  This update was published in The Angry Corrie number 37, with the article dated June-July 1998.  In all there were 33 changes to the Irish Marilyns listed, much of this related to a tweak in height and / or grid reference.  However, more interestingly was the inclusion of two new Marilyns; both are in Section 54B, they are; Cullenagh Mountain (S 498 895) and Cullahill Mountain (S 379 710).  The former is 317m high and was elevated to Marilyn status with a listed drop of 153m (it had previously been listed as a Sub with c 145 of drop), the latter is 313m high and was included as a Marilyn with 151m of drop, this hill had not previously appeared even as a Sub.  This update increased the total of Irish Marilyns by two to 455 and the Irish SubMarilyns decreased from 43 to 41 with the inclusion of Cullenagh Mountain as a Marilyn from Sub and the exclusion of Dho Bran (S 789 400) with under 140m of drop.

Over subsequent years there have been occasional changes to the list of Irish Marilyns, including Knockalla Mountain NE Top (C 247 355) being twinned with Knockalla Mountain (C 235 342), and the demotion from Marilyn status of Knockiveagh (J 182 378) and Croghan Hill (N 482 331).  But no new Irish Marilyn seems to have appeared since Clem’s Angry Corrie update of 1998.  After these updates it left the total of Irish Marilyns at 453.

Clem passed away in October 2012; he left instruction for his hill lists / card index to be left to David Purchase, myself or Rob Woodall.  The Executor to his estate asked me to be custodian of these, including all of his hill related papers and his photographic slides.  I then invited the other named people; David and Rob, to form a Legacy Committee with the intention to safeguard all of Clem’s hill related papers and eventually make provision for this to be suitably archived.  During this process we invited Mark Trengove to join as he had dealt with Clem on all of his European listings and had communicated with Clem through letter for many years, as had the other Legacy Committee members.  Since formation we have been joined by Barbara Jones, a Marilyn and Trig bagger who knew Clem from his days in Guildford.  We have subsequently invited the DoBIH editors to join the Legacy Committee on a rolling basis, they declined the offer.

Clem, far left, 12th June 1947, on summit of Buchaille Etive Mor
Clem on one of his many cycling adventures

Clem viewing a video of Mark Trengove being interviewed
Part of the responsibility of being in the Legacy Committee is to take over as custodian author for the listings that Clem left for us.  It is David and I who have adopted this role for the Irish Marilyns, whilst Mark deals with Clem’s European listings and Rob the Clem / Yeamans.

Clem’s hill bagging and listing was only one aspect of his life, but it is the subject I know most about so I’ll try not to diverge as I may start to get my facts muddled.  During the latter years of his life Clem was a great letter writer, communicating with many people from the hill bagging community, some of this communication centred around correspondence with Eric Yeaman, Alan Dawson and Dave Hewitt, other letters were to Rob, whilst Jonathan de Ferranti also corresponded with Clem, as did I.  All manner of hill related detail and anecdote was passed from one person to another, with Clem’s letters always being neatly written in small writing.  He built up a lasting friendship with Mark and David through a multitude of letters relating to European hills and all manner of British hill data. 

All correspondence I had from Clem is neatly filed and occasionally read, it is one of my lasting regrets that I never replied to his last letter that I received.  It was during one of these occasional letter readings that I came across two listings adjoined to a letter dated 4th May 2001, one was entitled ‘Suggested drop figures for your possibles list’, whilst the other was entitled ‘Alterations to Marilyn Listing (Ireland)’.  The latter was detailed, as ever, but three listings caught my eye, all are highlighted in red ink, with one of the highlighted parts referring to two hills. 

Two have ‘Promoted from SubMarilyn’ next to them in red ink with one of these also adjoined with another hill with ‘New Marilyns’ in blue ink next to them, whilst the third has ‘Demote to SubMarilyn’ next to it.

The hills Clem had highlighted with their detail from the list in the letter are:

ADD        54B        Cullenagh Mtn.        317m        map 60 at S 498895        drop 152m

ADD        54B        Cullahill Mtn.        c 313m        map 60 at S 379710        drop 151m

Both of these hills have ‘New Marilyns’ in blue ink against them.  With Cullenach Mountain having ‘Promoted from SubMarilyn in red ink against it, the other hills highlighted are:

56B        Croghan Hill        234m at N 481331        drop 142m

This hill has ‘Demote to SubMarilyn’ in red ink against it.  It is the next highlighted detail that is of particular interest:

ADD        48B        Corronoher        273m        map 65 at R 409 310          drop 150

Highlighted in red ink against this hill is ‘Promoted from SubMarilyn’.

The list of data received in Clem's letter dated 4th May 2001
All these alterations were acted upon in 1998 in The Angry Corrie 37: Jun-Jul 98 'The Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland - an update'.  All except the alteration to Corronoher.

Clem had originally listed Corronoher as a SubMarilyn with 273m summit and c 145m drop, giving the col a height of 128m.  This latter figure seems rather high, especially so when you consider Clem has instructed an alteration based on a col height of 123m, giving 150m of drop.

There seems to be two possibilities why this specified alteration was never acted upon:

1 The alteration to the drop of Corronoher only came about after the 1998 Irish Marilyn update.  If this is so Clem seemingly didn’t recognise the 128m col height in his TACit Irish Marilyn listing as too high until after the 1998 Angry Corrie update.  If this is correct why didn’t the alteration appear in a later Angry Corrie?  Perhaps Clem didn’t notify Dave Hewitt as he was busy with other listings?

2 Clem re-considered the alteration and decided against it.

At least part of number 1 can be answered as this alteration did not come about prior to the updates in the 1998 Angry Corrie, as it did not appear in the infamous Scottish hillzine, and to my knowledge Clem only mentioned this update in the letter he sent me in 2001 as there seems to be no other mention of it in any other correspondence I have seen.

Much to ponder, and David as joint custodian Author of the Irish Marilyns needed to be consulted.  We debated the merits of Clem’s instruction and scrutinised the col contouring, I favoured c 150m of drop based on a col height of 123m, whilst David favoured around c 148m of drop based on an estimated col height of 125m.  Certainly without agreement we would not promote the hill.  We had to dig a little deeper and see if any other detail had been missed.

The first person to contact was Dave Hewitt, who confirmed that there had been no Irish Marilyn update in the Angry Corrie after those published in 1998, although Clem did occasionally send other bits of information to him.

At least with this confirmation from Dave Hewitt we could concentrate on other possibilities.  One being that Clem wanted an update but he either didn't forward the detail to Dave Hewitt, or decided after May 2001 that his col interpolation of 123m col height, giving c 150m drop was incorrect, both of these options seem a little odd as I can't think of any reason why Clem didn't forward the detail to Dave, as he had already proceeded with one update, he could have easily put a paragraph with this update in a future Angry Corrie.  I also think the second option is a little odd, as at this time Clem and I were exchanging all manner of hill related data (this brings back good memories, he is sadly missed) and I'm sure Clem would have sent the detail through to me if he had changed his mind in relation to the c 123m col height and the 150m drop.

I then suggested we should contact John Fitzgerald who operates a Trimble GeoXH 6000 with the results attained from this highly accurate piece of surveying equipment being fed in to MountainViews and the DoBIH.  Over the last few years John has surveyed extensively in Ireland and is re-writing the status of many a hill in some of the more acknowledged Irish hill lists through his perseverance and expertise.  Once contacted I even tried to bribe him with the offer of getting him a new bandana if he surveyed the col, he enthusiastically accepted the bribe and informed me he’d like one coloured black!

John Fitzgerald with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on a hill in Snowdonia
We now waited for John to venture north from his heartland of Cork.  He did this a few days ago and sent the following email detailing his col survey:

I happened to be passing the col of Corronoher last week and spent an hour or so trying to work out where the col was likely to be.
It is most probably on the land enclosed in the triangle formed by 3 roads with the point you suggested, R438 334, being slightly east of the triangles centre.
The contours do not reflect the terrain and what you would assume from the map is a flat area is in reality like a series of small drumlins.
After a bit of pondering I took the following as the best guess being reflective of the general levels with the proviso that there may in fact be a lower point within the Drumlins. 
R44095 32955 – Height (=/- 0.1 accuracy) 122.015 meters, 333 measurements taken. 
So looks like you have a Marilyn?

When this email popped in to my inbox I wondered where I was going to get a bandana from!?!  I contacted John and thanked him for surveying the col and then informed David.  We discussed the survey result and as the OSI map indicates that the summit has a trig and is in conifer plantation, it seems only the col can be accurately surveyed, and so we accepted Corronoher as a new Irish Marilyn.

Thanks need to be expressed to John Fitzgerald for surveying the col on behalf of MountainViews with his Trimble GeoXH 6000. 

Thanks should also be expressed to Clem as he originated the Irish Marilyn list after being inspired to do so from the listings of Eric Yeaman and Alan Dawson.

It seems rather fitting that the evening David and I discussed the implication of John’s survey and accepted Corronoher in to the ranks of Irish Marilyns was Monday March 17th – St Patrick’s Day.  It is also rather fitting that after almost 13 years Clem’s final instruction for his Irish Marilyn list is being acted upon.


dels arty party said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dels arty party said...

Happy to read your last paragraph.Have special memories of when we met Clem in Guildford. Del