Who Said What About Scottish Mountains - also known as Marilyns and Munros

For a list of Munros and their heights and location, please consult this link to Walk Highlands.

IMG_9665 copy.jpg

Scotland has the oldest rock in Britain, proving once and for all that Scotland got here first. The northwest corner of Scotland consists mostly of old volcanoes (naughty by gneiss). This region made up of black gabbro, formica and schist, is a geologist’s paradise with such notable sights as Fingal’s Cave, where lava flows cooled into extraordinary configurations…The rest of Scotland is cut off by faults and still in the throes of Glacial Movements. It is the smoothing effect of the ice-sheet that is responsible for the perfect shaping of the Paps of Jura; likewise a number of other tall mountains in Scotland, known as Marilyn Monroes——Scotland for Beginners, 1314 an’ a’ that, by Rupert Beasley, 2001

A mountain’s a mountain in England, but when the climber’s in Scotland, it may be a Beinn, a creag or a Meall, a Spidean, a Sgor, a Carn or a Monadh, a Stac or a Torr.

— Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal, ©1897

Look at an Ordance Survey map of Scotland, or even a tourist roadmap. When it comes to describing the magnificent lumps scattered over Scotland's diverse topography, you'll be hard-pressed to find the word "mountain" popping up in Scottish cartography. You'll see Bens and Beinns, Carns and Mams, fairy hills called Sidheans and Sitheans, Mealls, and Heughs, Kips, Dodds and Torrs, Knocks and Stacs, Laws (extinct volcanoes) and Paps, shapley breast-shaped hills. And of course, Marilyns and Munros!

Snow-capped Highland mountains

Those poetic Victorian travel writers anthropomorphized the Scottish scenery, projecting the ideas of rivalry, flirtation, seduction, treachery and all manner of treacheries and emotions upon these poor mountains, as between humans and feuding families or rival clans. But what is really ugly in nature? Hills of all fashions and forms and tints; mountains which rear their heads like waves which are curling aloft to break, and have been petrified in the poise...The ghastly cheek of Arkle is that of one who knows his next step - the grave. The terrific peak of Coul Beg was surely so cast as a conductor to break that livid vapour, and draw the lightening's flash...The lurid gloom which hangs under the lowering crests of Foinaven, and rolls steaming up that grim trench of Dionard...The tremendous gash, cintured by Craig Riavach's cliff's...can scarcely be ought else than one of the Gates of Hades ——— The Geognosy and Mineralogy of Scotland, by M. Forster Heddle, MD, FRSE,© 1880

THE MIST ON TINTO, in Lanarkshire

On Tintock tap there is a mist,
And in that mist there is a kist,
And in that kist there is a caup,
And in that caup there is a drap,
Take up the caup and drink the drap, 
And set the caup on Tintock tap.

— Traditional

Mountains of Arran ...they are a final fearsomeness, more real in their horror than anything that has been read of the Rockies or Andes or Himalayas. Goatfell, Cir Mhor and the Castles reach the low skies in edges of rocky destruction. There are precipices and plateaus, and uprising glens like gulches of the dead.  ——SCOTLAND: THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE © Donald Cowie, 1973 by A.S. Barnes and Company, Cranbury, NJ and London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., London ISBN 0-498-01169-0

THE CUILLEN HILLS OF SKYE

Odd Scotland PowerPointFinal Tarpon Arts NANCY edit.015.jpeg

When you come suddenly for the first time on the Coolins, your mouth opens and you really do gasp. Imagine Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' frozen in stone and hung up like a colossal screen against the sky.  It seems as if Nature when she hurled the Coolins up into the light of the sun said: 'I will make mountains which shall be the essence of all that can be terrible in mountains.' ——— ©H.V. Morton, In Search of Scotland, 1929

STACK POLLY

Stack Polly is a porcupine in a condition of extreme irascibility; and Coul More, quietly reposing upon her back, teaches Jura a lesson in depicting lines of female loveliness.  ———— The Geognosy and Mineralogy of Scotland, by M. Forster Heddle, MD, FRSE,© 1880

UnsuitableForCaravans.jpg

THE TROSSACHS

The Trossachs are like a traveller's sample of Scottish scenery. They remind me of those small tins of biscuits which firms send out beautifully packed to indicate a range of manufactures. If you like them, you can order larger quantities ———- ©H.V. Morton, In Search of Scotland, 1929

BEN LOMOND

Leave Ben Lomond where it stands ——— Scottish proverb

BEN NEVIS

Yesterday we went up Ben Nevis, the highest Mountain in Great Britain. I am heartily glad it is done - it is almost like a fly crawling up a wainscot. Imagine the task of mounting to Saint Paul's without the convenience of Staircases. ———- John Keats, Letter to Thomas Keats, 3 August 1818

Doubtless the ascent of Ben Nevis is considered a mighty deed; and, in consequence, there are various named inscribed on the cairn within the plain; while some had been written on scraps of paper, and enclosed in bottles which had been drained of their whisky by the valiant who had reached this perilous point of honour. Is there a man so unworthy of a name, were it even Macguffog or Bumfit, as not to desire that it should be heard of hereafter; even did it prove no more than that its owner had emptied a whisky bottle on Ben Nevis. If I read names here that none but the godmothers and gossips had ever heard of, and none but the sexton would ever hear of again, there was not one of them all who did not feel a secret satisfaction in...reflecting that some future MacJock or MacTaw would read that Angus MacLehose or Dugal Mac Breeks had been able to scratch his name here on a slate with a horseshoe nail
— THE HIGHLANDS AND WESTERN ISLES OF SCOTLAND, CONTAINING DESCRIPTIONS OF THEIR SCENERY AND ANTIQUITIES, with an account of the POLITICAL HISTORY AND ANCIENT MANNERS, and of the ORIGIN, LANGUAGE, AGRICULTURE, ECONOMY, MUSIC, PRESENT CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE, &c. &c. &c; Founded on a SERIES OF ANNUAL JOURNEYS BETWEEN THE YEARS 1811 AND 1821, AND FORMING A UNIVERSAL GUIDE TO THAT COUNTRY, IN LETTERS TO SIR WALTER SCOTT, BARD By John Macculloch, M.D., F.R.S. , L.S. ,G.S. &c. &c. &c. IN FOUR VOLUMES Vol. 1; London, Published by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, Paternoster Row,© 1824

GLENCOE

In the Gaelic tongue, Glencoe signifies the Glen of Weeping: and in truth that pass is the most dreary and melancholy of all the Scottish passes, the very Valley of the Shadow of Death. Mists and storms brood over it through the greater part of the finest summer; and even on those rare days when the sun is bright, and when there is no cloud in the sky, the impression made by the landscape is sad and awful....Mile after mile the traveller looks in vain for the smoke of one hut, or for one human form wrapped in a plaid, and listens in vain for the bark of a shepherd's dog, or the bleat of a lamb. Mile after mile the only sound that indicates life is the faint cry of a bird of prey from some storm beaten pinnacle of rock. The progress of civilisation which has turned so many wastes into fields yellow with harvests or gay with apple blossoms, has only made Glencoe more desolate. —— T.B. Macaulay, History of England, 1849—61

Along the road from Ballachulish where the river Coe pours into Loch Leven is a comfortable little village which boasts the most grotesque signpost in the British Isles:
THE VILLAGE OF GLENCOE, SCENE OF THE FAMOUS MASSACRE
TEAS AND REFRESHMENTS, TOBACCO AND CIGARETTES

— H.V. Morton, In Search of Scotland, 1929

The savage splendor of Glencoe was the scene of a tragedy in 1692, when 40 MacDonalds were murdered by their guests, a company of Campbell militia. The playing card the nine of diamonds is now known as "The Curse of Scotland," because the pips on the card resemble the arms of the Master of Stair, who was largely responsible for the slaughter. After the massacre, fairy pipers were said to lead Campbell troops astray in the mountains on their way back to Fort William ——- SCOTLAND Myths and Legends, by Beryl Beare, ©Parragon. London 1996, ISBN 0-94778-294-x 

Glencoe itself is perfectly terrible. The pass is an awful place. It is shut in on each side by enormous rocks from which great torrents come rushing down in all directions. In amongst these rocks on one side of the pass (the left as we came) there are scores of glens, high up, which form such haunts as you might imagine yourself wandering in, in the very height and madness of a fever. They will live in my dreams for years — I was going to say as long as I live, and I seriously think so. The very recollection of them makes me shudder. ——Charles Dickens, Letter to John Forster, 9 July 1841

Short shrift to him beneath whose incautious feet that verge crumbles; jagged projection, and alternately protruding buttress would unjoint him piecemeal, as he shot from the bright reflection of limestone effulgence, through that grey-gloom of middle distance, to plunge into a blackness of darkness. —— The Geognosy and Mineralogy of Scotland, by M. Forster Heddle, MD, FRSE,© 1880

BEN LAWERS

HiglandMountainsandOneTrackRoad.jpg

Ben Lawers is one of the kindest of mountains. It seems formed for the express purpose of being- climbed. There are no precipices over which one can tumble; there are no masses of stones over which it is necessary painfully to toil; the ascent is perfectly proportioned, and as you have the springy heather under your feet, and the free mountain breeze blowing in your face, the whole thing is more a pleasure than a toil... It was bright sunshine as we ascended, but a sudden change came over the landscape as we neared the top. The sky darkened, clouds started out from behind the surrounding hills, and the wind rose in sudden fury, and a perfect downpour of hail and sleet descended on us. The mountain was soon wrapped in mist that hid the smiling valley at our feet, and prevented us seeing any distance, and the ground around us was powdered white in a few minutes A sudden transformation had given us winter in the middle of summer. ——Picturesque Scotland; its romantic scenes and historical associations described in lay and legend, song and story, ©Francis Watt 1849-1927

TamsHorizontal.jpg

IF YOU GO...

Car Hires/Rentals