Update to The Relative Hills of Britain

April 1999

Alan Dawson

This update sheet summarises the most important changes to The Relative Hills of Britain (RHB) since the book was published in April 1992, and also highlights changes since the previous update in April 1998. These updates will make little sense to anyone without a copy of the book.


I should like to thank Clem Clements for several suggestions which prompted discovery of new Marilyns, and everyone else who has been in contact with helpful comments, notably Bev Barratt, Stuart Benn, Ann Bowker, Roger Chapman, Colin Donnelly, Charles Everett, Dave Hewitt, Graham Marett, Jeff Parr, Richard Paul, Tony Payne, David Purchase, Micky Ross, David A Smith and David R Smith.

Changes since April 1998

Two Marilyns were promoted at the end of 1998 (Nine Barrow Down and Swyre Head) and two deleted (Abberley Hill and Milk Hill). The total of Marilyns therefore remains at 1551 - 1213 in Scotland, 178 in England, 156 in Wales and 5 on the Isle of Man (Black Mountain is in both England and Wales).

The 150-metre qualification for the new Marilyns is a little controversial, as in both cases it is dependent on a man-made feature. The col separating Nine Barrow Down (also known as Godlingston Hill) from Swyre Head is occupied by Harman's Cross station, on the Swanage railway. The man-made feature of Swyre Head is at its summit, in the shape of an ancient 5-metre high tumulus. This is fully grassed over (apart from a concrete slab on top, which is not relevant), and looks like a natural part of the hill, so it has been accepted as such. The triangulation pillar is 5m lower than the tumulus and about 100 metres away, but had it been located on the highest point then few would question its height or status.

The other significant change concerns the Hill of Nigg. Its highest point was discovered to be a grassy knoll about 1000 metres from the triangulation pillar.


The 17 new Marilyns discovered since 1992 are listed below. Cheriton Hill becomes the easternmost Marilyn. The drop column refers to the difference in metres between the summit and the col connecting the hill to the next Marilyn (c means the drop is estimated from contours, in the absence of spot heights).

RegionMetresFeetNameMapGrid RefDrop
4A232761Cruim Leacainn41NN166807150
20B3181043Giur-bheinn (Islay)60,61NR379728c 150
21A4911611The Bochel36NJ232232c 154
24A261856Beinn Bhragair (Lewis)8NB266433c 150
28A4231389Sell Moor Hill73NT480444c 150
30C3891275Mynydd Rhyd ddu116SJ054477165
30F3211053Craig y Castell124SH698162153
31A5071663Disgwylfa Fawr135SN737847c 152
31B4601509Cefn Cenarth136,147SN969762155
31C4661529Carn Gafallt147SN940646157
32C258846Mynydd Dinas170SS761915c 151
35A6752215Lovely Seat98SD879950c 150
38B276904Aconbury Hill149SO505330157
41208682Swyre Head195SY934784150
41199653Nine Barrow Down195SZ008811c 152
42188617Cheriton Hill179,189TR197396150


Eight hills listed as Marilyns in RHB are now known to have less than 150m drop all round. It is still possible to enjoy climbing these hills even though they are no longer Marilyns.

RegionMetresFeetNameMapGrid RefDrop
16F5891932Sgorr Tuath15NC110074c 148
19C5681863Cruach Bhuidhe56NS125947149
22176577Cunnigill Hill2,3HU432675127
337142342Hedgehope Hill80NT943198148
336152018Cushat Law80NT928137147
34C7782552Harter Fell90NY459093149

Two further hills not listed in RHB were promoted to Marilyns in 1996 but deleted two years later after more detailed investigation.

38B285935Abberley Hill138,150SO751672c 148
39295968Milk Hill173SU104643c 148

The Marilyn status of Abberley Hill was dependent on a disused railway cutting, which was filled in at the critical col shortly after its promotion. By contrast Milk Hill had been wrongly promoted in the first place, owing to the misleading representation of contours on the OS 1:10000 map.


Four hills listed in RHB have each been superseded by a nearby summit:

28A5671860East Cairn Hill replaces
28A5621844West Cairn Hill65,72NT107584c 130
35B6091998Horse Head Moor replaces98SD893768157
35B6081995Birks Fell98SD91876329
38B254833Hegdon Hill replaces149SO585539c 156
38B252827Grendon Green149SO599574c 39
41279915Lewesdon Hill replaces193ST437012185
41277908Pilsdon Pen193ST413011c 83


The highest point of twelve summits has been changed to a nearby grid reference on the same hill:

1D7442441Meall nan Gabhar50NN235240265
5B8272713An Dun42NN717805c 232
9B4921614Meall an Tarsaid34NN492130c 155
15B205672Hill of Nigg21NH821705c 193
17C281921Sgurr nan Caorach32NH593030c 216
19A3601181Dun Leacainn55NN033016272
19C5191703Beinn Bhreac63NS050778371
20A304998Cruach na Seilcheig55,61NR678984c 179
32A3841260Bryn Arw161SO301206c 156
34D3391112Lambrigg Fell97SD586941c 152
42242794Crowborough188TQ510305c 159


Eleven hills have been given new names. In many cases the general hill name is preferred to the summit name.

1A7592490Shee of Ardtalnaig (was Ciste Buide a'Claidheimh)51,52NN729351c 224
1E6572155Beinn Dubh (was Mid Hill)56NS322964430
3B7262382Beinn Bhreac (was Mam Hael)50NN008408c 161
13B6262053Beinn a'Chlachain (was Meall an Doireachean)24NG724490c 373
30A178584Mynydd Bodafon (was Yr Arwydd)114SH472854178
30E6712201Esgeiriau Gwynion (was Foel Rhudd)124,125SH889236c 166
32A4231388Graig Syfyrddin (was Edmund's Tump)161SO403210235
34B3521155Dent (was Long Barrow)89NY041129c 175
35B4021320Rombald's Moor (was Ilkley Moor)104SE114452c 244
40252828Watch Croft (was White Downs)203SW420357c 225
42200656Detling Hill (was North Downs)178,188TQ804586c 163


Summit heights are now taken from 1:10000 or 1:25000 maps where possible, as the OS have admitted that spot heights on these are usually more up-to-date than on 1:50000 maps. Numerous hills have therefore changed height by one, two, or three metres. Six hills have gained or lost five or more metres: Cat Law (Section 7A, -7m to 671m), Beinn Iaruinn (9C, +5m to 805m), Beinn Bhreac (19C, +12m to 519m), Cruach na Seilcheig (20A, +8m to 304m), Mynydd Nodol (30D, +9m to 539m), Gamallt (30F, -6m to 288m).

Munros and Murdos

In 1997 the Scottish Mountaineering Club published a new edition of Munro's Tables, in which three Marilyns were promoted from Tops to Munros (Spidean Coire nan Clach on Beinn Eighe, Stob Coire Raineach on Buachaille Etive Beag, and Tom na Gruagaich on Beinn Alligin). This means all 205 Scottish Marilyns over 3000 feet are now Munros. Five non-Marilyns were also promoted from Tops to Munros. Details of the 444 Scottish summits over 3000 feet with 30 metres drop are available in The Murdos, published by TACit Press, 138 West Stirling Street, Alva, Clackmannanshire FK12 5EN (#1.95 inc p&p).

In 1998 it was confirmed that the highest point of Beinn a'Chroin was at NN387185 and therefore this point became the Munro (941.5m compared to 940m for the East Top). Both Tops remain Murdos, and the change does not affect the Marilyns as Beinn a'Chroin has a drop of 137m and is therefore not a Marilyn.

The position with Beinn a'Chaorainn (Section 9C) is less clear cut. The South Top is shown as 1050m on recent Landranger maps, and the tiny 1050m contour has been removed from the Central Top, while the 1:25000 map gives 1049m for both Central and South Tops. In the absence of any definite information on which to base a change of status, the Central Top remains the Marilyn (and the Munro) for the time being. Few walkers will have climbed one and not the other.


There are now 219 Marilyns from 2500 to 3000 feet high with a drop of over 150m. This is one fewer than in RHB, as Beinn Talaidh has dropped below 2500 feet. The 1997 edition of Munro's Tables lists 220 Corbetts, with Buidhe Bheinn (see below) being the additional summit. However, this is a not a Marilyn as it is the same height as Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais, and the drop between the two is around 122m. Although Corbetts require a drop of 500 feet (152.4m), there are no hills of Corbett height with 150-152m drop.

Twin Peaks

These hills are of equal height to a nearby Marilyn but the drop between the two is less than 150m.

2B11183668An Stuc (twinned with Meall Garbh)51NN639431127
8B8622829Creag an Dhail Bheag (twinned with Carn Liath)36,43NO15798134
10A8852904Buidhe Bheinn (twinned with Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais)33NG963090c 122
16C4041325Cnoc Coir a'Phuill (twinned with Creag Thoraraidh)17ND046202c 60
17E7042311Cruachan Dearg (twinned with Corra Bheinn)48NM568331c 130
31C205 673Middleton Hill (twinned with Brandy Hill)158SN146118c 40

Na Maoilean (Section 3B) has four tiny 350m contour rings, the largest of which is at NM976374. Several other hills have two or more nearby points of apparently equal height. Examples include:

19B4661529Cruach Lusach55NR786832 /NR788830279
31B4771565Gwastedyn Hill136,147SN982663 /SN986661c 242
31B4511480Aberedw Hill147SO084507 /SO087504227
31B4421450Rhiw Gwraidd147SO009633 /SO014633c 214
38B269883Seager Hill149SO612390 /SO624379c 164


The Scottish Marilyns from 2000 to 2500 feet were referred to in RHB as the Elsies (LCs, short for Lesser Corbetts). This subset of the Marilyns has now been renamed Grahams in memory of the late Fiona Torbet (née Graham) who published her own list of Scottish hills between 2000 and 2500 feet in The Great Outdoors magazine in November 1992 (six months after RHB). This list had no precise definition, and 34 current Grahams were omitted. Fiona had been unaware of the RHB list at the time, but later agreed to accept the relevant Scottish Marilyns as the definitive list of such hills, provided the name Grahams was used and that Mid Hill and Mam Hael were renamed. The 224 current Grahams comprise the 222 such hills listed in RHB plus Ladylea Hill (1998 feet in RHB, now 2001 feet) and Beinn Talaidh (2502 feet in RHB, now 2497 feet). The official list of Grahams is available in The Grahams and the New Donalds, published by TACit Press (second edition February 1999), and in the 1997 edition of Munro's Tables. These two lists are identical, and the same as in RHB apart from a few minor amendments. To date six people are known to have climbed all the Grahams: Colin Dodgson, Andrew Templeton, Andrew Allum, Andrew Dempster, Peter Lincoln and another (not an Andrew) who wishes to remain anonymous.

Hewitts and County Tops

The RHB list of Summits of Wales and England Above Two thousand feet (Sweats) has been revised and renamed Hewitts (Hills of England, Wales and Ireland over Two Thousand feet) to allow for expansion to cover Ireland. There are now 314 Hewitts in England and Wales (and a further 212 in Ireland). Full details of all Hewitts are available in three booklets published by TACit Press: The Hewitts and Marilyns of Wales, The Hewitts and Marilyns of England, and The Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland (the first listing of the Irish Marilyns). All three booklets include an up-to-date list of the relevant County Tops.


A SubMarilyn is a hill with a drop all round of 140-149m, i.e. within ten metres of being a Marilyn (21 have a drop of 149m and are within one metre of being Marilyns). There are currently 206 SubMarilyns, including 10 Murdos, 19 SubCorbetts, 23 SubGrahams, 11 Hewitts, 5 islands (Soay, Tiree, Seil, Colonsay, Lundy) and 10 hills in the south of England. A list of all SubMarilyns is available on request.

Marilyn Hall of Fame

Ann Bowker is now the world's leading Marilyn bagger, having overtaken her husband Rowland in October 1998, on Stac Pollaidh. Both have climbed over 97% of the Marilyns. Membership of the Marilyn Hall of Fame is open to anyone who has climbed over 600 Marilyns. The increase in members from 21 to 36 during 1998 means it is no longer possible to include all the details in this update sheet. Full membership data, together with some recent member news, is now given in a separate Hall of Fame newsletter, which is available on request. A summary of the Hall as of the end of 1998 is shown below.

Ann Bowker1509
Rowland Bowker1508
Tony Payne1432
Colin Donnelly1146
Charles Knowles1096
John Crummettc 897
Don Smithies865
Gordon Adshead824
Rob Woodall815
Alan Dawson811
Gerry Knight786
David Hoyle778
Hamish Brown750
Bert Barnett743
Peter Lincoln741
Stuart Benn720
Chris Upson717
Richard Webb710
Andrew Templetonc 708
Colin Dodgsonc 705
Roderick Manson704
Eddie Dealtry696
Phil Cooper692
Mary Cox689
Dave Stanford672
Chris Peart666
Tom Anderson665
Dave Hewitt651
David Purchase647
Peter Dawes639
Eddie Harwoodc 634
Jonathan Woods625
Brian Curle619
Dorothy Wilson613
David Smith604
Geoff Carter603
Graham Illing599

Further Information

If you wish to receive any future update sheets, or a list of SubMarilyns, or the Hall of Fame newsletter, or register for membership of the Hall of Fame, please write to Alan Dawson, 49 Airthrey Avenue, Glasgow G14 9LY or send electronic mail to