Scotland Gets a New Corbett

by Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com Jul/2016
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Following a recent survey of its height, the Arrochar peak of Cnoc Coinnich has been promoted to Corbett status. The OS have upped it to 764m and the SMC have added it to the official Corbetts list, bringing the total number to 222.

photo
Cnoc Coinnich from the south
© John Barnard

By definition a Corbett is a mountain in Scotland between 2500ft (762m) and 2999ft (914m), and with at least 500ft (152.4m) of drop between it and any neighbouring higher peak. Since the publication of the 1984 Munros Tables there have not been been many changes to the list of Corbetts.

"Hitherto, there has been no case of a mountain below 762m being reclassified as a Corbett following an accurate determination of its height” explained John Barnard, who along with colleague Graham Jackson of G&J Surveys, were responsible for the re-survey. 

“As part of our project, supported by the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, to determine accurate heights for a variety of Scottish mountains, our work took us to the Arrochar area of the Scottish Highlands in early May this year. Of the mountains of interest to us in that area, one in particular caught our attention. That mountain was Cnoc Coinnich which at 761m was very close to the magic height of 762m that would make it a Corbett.”

"We soon found that the highest point of the mountain was on the very edge of the crag, just under the edge of the cairn. To set up the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver here was risky, as it could easily have fallen over the crag if caught by the wind which was gusting to 25mph. We took the chance and weighed down the legs of the tripod with rocks and relied on the fact that the wind, which was coming from the east, would not change direction. Fortunately it didn’t!"

Surveying Cnoc Coinnich, 190 kbSurveying Cnoc Coinnich
© John Barnard

Once back home the pair of amateur - but prolific - hill surveyors processed the data and found the height of Cnoc Coinnich to be 763.5m, a whole 2.5m higher than given on present maps. 

Having processed the data the Ordnance Survey have now given it that official height, which will be rounded up to 764m on future OS maps. 

Rab Anderson from the Scottish Mountaineering Club said:

“This is a very interesting and unexpected result but it confirms that there are still possible changes to be made to the heights of hills in the UK when detailed measurements are carried out. The Scottish Mountaineering Club is pleased that the new height will appear on Ordnance Survey maps to the benefit of the wider hill walking community.”  

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