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In the days before the hills became Munros.

In the days before the hills became Munros.


Postby gaffr » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:34 pm

Perhaps the ascending of hills and mountains has more written about it than other outdoor activities?
I have an old 1914 copy of a book, Walks and scrambles in the Highlands, of the holiday ascents and journeys made by Arthur L Bagley. Nothing much is said about the gentleman in the book but I guess he must have been a man who held down a job in the city. Definitely not a schoolteacher since he had limited holidays and obviously tied to make the best use of his days in Scotland.
He seemed to climb alone and did not, as he says, have nailed boots.
I think that there was a rudimentary list of some of the Scottish hills from around the early 1890's but it was not until 1921 when the first organised list came into print.
He was drawn to Skye where several tops were visited but there was also some more interesting things done...Sgurr nan Gillean by the Pinnacles, Elgol to Glen Brittle over the Dubhs, Clach Glas and Blaven traverse and getting himself onto the Cioch. Many other areas containing some of our celebrated Munros were included in his holiday adventures.
Being alone he appears to have had many problems in awkward situations to overcome. I must confess that his dilemma at the third Pinnacle on Gillean I overcame on two occasions with the use of rope for an abseil.
Scan_20160805 (2) (800x581).jpg
His description of the Pinnacle Ridge in part.

Later in the passage Gillean was reached and he descended via the West Ridge to complete the exciting part of his day out in the hills.
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby BobMcBob » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:55 pm

Fascinating. That period, and the half-centry or so before and after it, is the most interesting era of mountaineering (wide definition of mountaineering) for me. True amateurs, pushing the boundaries with rudimentary equipment. It's books and stories like that that really inspired me as a kid.

It brings to mind the cartoon I once saw entitled "Victorian Risk Assessment", in which one gentleman says "This looks perilous", and his companion replies "Excellent!"
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby Sgurr » Sat Aug 06, 2016 11:03 am

When I saw the title, I thought it was going to be about" Scotland's Mountains before the Mountaineers" where Ian Mitchell tries to discover who would have made first ascents of various mountains. Almost as fascinating as yours. I wonder if Bagley passed on his interests to his children ? There is a Loren Henry Bagley who is 99 who is probably his son (b. 1917) but the SMC has no Bagleys as Munro compleatists.

We have a copy, as I used to bribe husband with a hill book to look after the kids while I worked in my 2nd hand book shop on Saturday afternoons. Pre the internet Bagley had to rely on things like the Cairngorm Club Journal (in which he also wrote) to keep him up to date. I love it when he says "I had desired to explore the line of hills on the south of Glen Shiel; I had heard rumours of a knife-edge ridge said to be impassable, though probably it is nothing of the sort." Today we can get a blow by blow account from many on Walkhighlands .
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby orion » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:08 pm

It is available online at archive.org along with thousands of old films and books .Some good music also :D
A legal site and not a torrent site.
The inside cover suggests the copy belonged to a Donald McKenzie (?) of Portree.

https://archive.org/details/walksscramblesinbagl
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby CharlesT » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:49 pm

RTC wrote:Must treat myself to a copy once I have sold all my Jeffrey Archer first editions.


Tuppence ha'penny won't go far. :lol:
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby BobMcBob » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:59 pm

orion wrote:It is available online at archive.org along with thousands of old films and books .Some good music also :D
A legal site and not a torrent site.
The inside cover suggests the copy belonged to a Donald McKenzie (?) of Portree.

https://archive.org/details/walksscramblesinbagl


Good call! That includes a link to a free Kindle version.
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby BobMcBob » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:30 pm

I've come back to this topic because I've been reading this book and it's absolutely fascinating. He's an entertaining writer and the differences between Scotland then and now are marked - the Glen Torridon road ended at Torridon. Glen More was a "dusty track" - really thoroughly reccomend this, I downloaded the Kindle edition from the Internet Archive and am reading it on my phone, for free (and legally I hasten to add)
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby weaselmaster » Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:05 am

Oh thanks for this - looks a worthy read.
I do like old books, have gone for it in the physical incarnation for less than a tenner
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby Cairngormwanderer » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:15 am

Another goodie in the antique mountaineers section of the bookcase is Alexander Inkson McConnachie's Beinn Muich Dhui & His Neighbours - https://cairngormwanderer.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/ben-muich-dhui-his-neighbours/ which is an early - Victorian era - guide to the Cairngorms. In it he talks about a traverse of the Cairngorms in which he starts by 'driving' from Braemar to Derry Lodge. First, you could in those days, and second - when he says drive he means in a horse and carriage.
Sadly, I don't know the current availability of this book. For many years it was an ultra-rare collectors' item, then Deeside Books in Ballater reprinted it in facsimile. But then came the New Year floods and Deeside Books was under six feet of water, so don't know if you can still get the book.
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby Sgurr » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:07 pm

Cairngormwanderer wrote:Another goodie in the antique mountaineers section of the bookcase is Alexander Inkson McConnachie's Beinn Muich Dhui & His Neighbours - https://cairngormwanderer.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/ben-muich-dhui-his-neighbours/ which is an early - Victorian era - guide to the Cairngorms. In it he talks about a traverse of the Cairngorms in which he starts by 'driving' from Braemar to Derry Lodge. First, you could in those days, and second - when he says drive he means in a horse and carriage.
Sadly, I don't know the current availability of this book. For many years it was an ultra-rare collectors' item, then Deeside Books in Ballater reprinted it in facsimile. But then came the New Year floods and Deeside Books was under six feet of water, so don't know if you can still get the book.


Alas, looks as if it still isn't available. I suppose you have tried the O/p search
http://www.addall.com/Used/
We have only got his Deeside and his Bennachie, and never knew about the reprint :( :(
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby Cairngormwanderer » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:11 pm

Sgurr wrote:We have only got his Deeside and his Bennachie, and never knew about the reprint :( :(

Well you should have been reading my blog - I reviewed it when it came out. :lol:
Damned shame about Deeside Books though. :(
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Re: In the days before the hills became Munros.

Postby Sgurr » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:21 pm

Where can I get your blog?

Husband says I am the worst person ever at looking for books. He has unearthed a first edition of Alexander Inkson McConnachie's Beinn Muich Dhui & His Neighbours. Inside it are some interesting post war cuttings about long views, which unfortunately for the writer can now be disproved using modern panorama software.
Love his attitude to access. One lessee put up a board near Loch Avon warning tourists that there is no road that way "but this intimation has no effect except on the timid, and as a rule timid people do not penetrate alone into such regions."
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