The heights of three mountains in the remote Fisherfield Forest area were re-measured during July by members of The Munro Society.
Two of the mountains were found to be less than the given map heights. The re-measured heights as processed by the OS are as follows.
Beinn a’Chlaidheimh, 913.96m previous map height, 916m
Beinn Dearg Mor, 906.28m previous map height, 910m
The third mountain, Ruadh Stac Mor, was found to be virtually the height given on the Ordnance Survey (OS) map at 918m. the tabulated height of the flush bracket is given by the OS as 918.65m and The Munro Society surveyors measured it at 918.67m, an almost exact coincidence. Full details of the survey can be found on The Munro Society website:
All three mountains were classified in tables published by the Scottish Mountaineering Club. The “Munro’s Tables” list all those Scottish mountains over 3,000ft (914.4m) and the ”Corbett Tables” list all those between 2,500ft (762m) and 3,000ft.
Ruadh Stac Mor and Beinn Dearg Mor retain their existing classifications as Munro and Corbett respectively. The Scottish Mountaineering Club has requested that The Munro Society include the following statement in its press release in regard to Beinn a'Chlaidheimh.
“The Scottish Mountaineering Club has been notified of these survey results and has undertaken to consider the implications for Munro’s and Corbett’s tables when the Ordnance Survey update its map of the area.”
The measurement process involved the latest satellite technology and the surveying party had to carry an extra 12kg of equipment in addition to the normal mountain kit on each of the three measuring expeditions. Because the satellite data must be recorded for a minimum of 2 hours – actually 3 hours on Beinn a’Chlaidheimh – none of the expeditions took less than 12 hours. There were two days of sun and showers and one day of rain and mist.
A spokesperson from The Munro Society said: "In measuring the heights of mountains just below and just above 3000ft (914.4m), we believe we are following in the tradition of accurate measurement established by Sir Hugh Munro who first produced the 'Munro's Tables' in 1891. Munro and his friends relied on aneroid barometers, the technology of the time; in 2011 we use satellite technology to achieve yet greater accuracy, but we seek the same objective. Munro never set down complete criteria for Munro status before his death in 1919, but it has always been accepted that 3,000ft (914.4m) was the primary requirement.”
By the use of satellite technology The Munro Society hopes that any residual doubt or speculation regarding the heights of the ten mountains it has had surveyed since 2007 has been removed.
It seems unlikely that the thousands who enjoy the Scottish mountains will be in any way deterred from climbing them if and when their status in the tables changes. All remain fine mountains in their own right and the experience enjoyed in ascending their slopes is in no way diminished.
Note to editors:
The surveys were carried out on 4th, 6th and 8th July 2011 by The Munro Society members John Barnard and Graham Jackson of G & J Surveys and a team of Society members.
The Fisherfield survey was sponsored by Alan Haworth (Lord Haworth of Fisherfield).
Summit positions were identified using a Leica NA730 Professional Automatic level tripod system and a 1m extendable E-staff. Absolute heights were measured using a Leica Geosystems 530 GPS receiver which locks on to 12 satellites and receives 2 signals from each satellite, thus reducing inaccuracies from atmospheric conditions.
Sir Hugh T. Munro, Bart, of Lindertis published the original “Munro’s Tables” in 1891 in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal and subsequently by the SMC in book form. At the time he claimed 538 tops over 3000ft, of which he believed 283 merited the status of “separate mountains”.
The list, "The Corbetts", is named after John Rooke Corbett, who completed his own list in the 1920s; it too has always been published by the SMC.
The Munro Society was founded in 2002. Membership is open to anyone who has climbed all the Munros as listed the “Munro's Tables” current at the time. The Society exists to bring together the wealth of mountain experience that members have accumulated and provide a forum for shared interests and concerns.
Note: "Munro's Tables" is a registered trade mark of the Scottish Mountaineering Club