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'Meaningless' Scottish summit found

Posted 27 April 2012
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'Meaningless' Scottish summit found
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A Munro 'top' in the midst of the Cairngorms plateau has had its true highest point established by Welsh hill sleuths John Barnard revealed that he and colleague Graham Jackson.

Writing for Grough, hill sleuth Mr Barnard revealed the pair had put on their walking boots and visited Tom Dubh, a 918 m (3,012 ft) spot in the midst of a plateau surrounded by much higher peaks, with its parent summit being Britain's third highest of Braeriach (4,252 ft) and other towering Munros including Cairn Toul (4,237 ft), Sgorr Gaioth (3,668 ft) and Monadh Mor (3,651 ft).

He noted it had been described as a "pointless and distant" outlier of Braeriach by the late outdoors writer Irvine Butterfield.

However, as he had the GPS measuring equipment with him, Mr Barnard decided to set about establishing for the benefit of anyone who felt it worth a visit exactly what the highest point of Tom Dubh is.

With several cairns and shelters around, this was not easy. But eventually the top of a boulder was established as the highest point - and a new cairn swiftly started on it.

Although there are officially 283 Munros - set to come down to 282 when the next mapping update by Ordnance Survey confirms Beinn a' Chleibh's height after G&J's resurvey confirmed it to be 2,999 ft - there are many more minor Scottish summits over 3,000 ft officially listed as 'tops'.

With the Munro list having been changed several times down the years, there are some peaks that have been tops at one time and full Munros at another. One of these, the 4,127 ft Sgorr an Lochan Uaine, lies across the plateau from Braeriach, regarded since the 1997 revision of the list as being of 'sufficient separation' from the adjacent Cairn Toul to warrant Munro status.  

Others include Sgurr Dubh on Skye, which Sir Hugh himself listed as the Munro, despite the 'top' - the Inaccessible Pinnacle - clearly being the highest point of the mountain.

And perhaps the unluckiest of all is Sgorr an Iubhair in the Mamores, which was upgraded from a top to a Munro in 1981 and then demoted again in 1997. As it is en route between the Munros of Sgurr a' Mhaim and Am Bodach, however, it can be easily bagged - and perhaps should be in case the next revision promotes it again.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801351642-ADNFCR