Grahams timeline

Alan Dawson

November 2022

Grahams are Scottish hills between 609.6 and 762.0 metres high (at least 2000 feet and under 2500 feet), with a drop of 150 metres or more all round. The set of hills now known as Grahams was first published in April 1992, as a subset of the Marilyns in the Relative Hills of Britain book (RHB). At that time there were 222 eligible hills, which had increased to 224 by 1995. The number of hills remained unchanged until 2014, when a series of highly accurate surveys resulted in changes to the list. A summary of changes since 1992 are set out below. There are now 231 hills that qualify as Grahams.

Date Hills Notes
April 1992 222 First publication of all Scottish hills believed to be 2000 feet or higher and lower than 2500 feet with a 150m drop on all sides, in The Relative Hills of Britain book, published by Cicerone Press. The hills are called Elsies at this stage.
November 1992 188 Fiona Torbet's list of 244 hills is published in The Great Outdoors magazine, where they are referred to as The Grahams. Fifty-six of these 244 hills have less than 150m drop and so do not meet the criteria for the Elsies list, while 188 hills do.
1993 222 The list of relevant hills published in RHB is renamed the Grahams, by agreement between Alan Dawson and Fiona Torbet. Four hills are renamed as part of this agreement:
- Ciste Buide a'Claidheimh to Shee of Ardtalnaig
- Mid Hill to Beinn Dubh
- Mam Hael to Beinn Bhreac
- Meall an Doireachan to Beinn a'Chlachain.
Beinn Talaidh is added to the list and Biod an Fhithich is removed, leaving the total at 222 hills.
July 1993 222 Death of Fiona Torbet. Alan Dawson continues to use the name Grahams to refer to his list of Scottish hills from 609.6 to 762m, to honour the verbal agreement made with Fiona Torbet.
1995 224 First publication of the hills now known as Grahams as a separate list in its own right, in The Grahams and the New Donalds by Alan Dawson, published by TACit Press. Biod an Fhithich is reinstated and Ladylea Hill is added, taking the total to 224.
1997 224 Andrew Dempster's guidebook to the Grahams is published by Mainstream.
1997 224 The Grahams list is reproduced in the book of Munro's Tables, published by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, by amicable agreement between Alan Dawson and the SMC.
1999 224 Second edition of The Grahams and the New Donalds is published by TACit Press.
2004 224 The Grahams list is included in Graham Tops and Grahamists, by Alan Dawson, Clem Clements and James Gordon, published by TACit Press. Two name changes from 1993 are reversed after further research:
- Beinn Dubh is renamed back to Mid Hill;
- Beinn Bhreac is renamed back to Mam Hael.
The first list of Grahamists is published, including the names of 23 people.
2009 224 The first survey of a Graham using GNSS equipment and software is carried out, by GJ Surveys. This appears to confirm Beinn Talaidh as a Graham, with a height of 761.7m, although the large cairn on the summit indicates residual uncertainty. Ordnance Survey continue to show Beinn Talaidh as 763m high on its maps. However, Alan Dawson accepts that the GJ Surveys finding is more accurate than OS mapping, so the Grahams list remains unchanged.
2013 224 Alan Dawson carries out his first surveys of Grahams, using similar equipment and software to GJ surveys. These confirm that Biod an Fhithich is a Graham (with 154m drop), and that Uamh Bheag (665.6m) is higher than Uamh Bheag East Top (663.4m). The list of Grahams therefore remains unchanged.
2014 222 Two Grahams are surveyed and found to be under 609.6m high:
- Corwharn is 609.1m
- Ben Aslak is 609.0m
These hills are therefore removed from the list of Grahams.
2014 222 A survey finds that Beinn Dearg above Glen Artney is 706.6m high but lower than nearby Creag na h-Eararuidh, which is 708.3m high. Creag na h-Eararuidh therefore replaces Beinn Dearg in the list of Grahams.
2014 222 Three hills shown on some OS maps to be the same height as a nearby Graham are surveyed. In each case the hill classed as a Graham has a trig pillar on top and is found to be clearly higher than its potential rival:
- Carn na Coinnich (673.3m) is 3.2m higher than Meall nan Damh (670.1m)
- Beinn Tharsuinn (692.0m) is 3.2m higher than Sidhean a'Choin Bhain (688.8m)
- Corra-bheinn on Mull (704.9m) is 0.9m higher than Cruachan Dearg (704.0m)
There are therefore no changes to the list of Grahams as a result of these surveys.
October 2014 221 Ladylea Hill is surveyed and found to be only 609.1m high. It is therefore removed from the list of Grahams.
October 2014 221 The current official list of Grahams is sent to the Scottish Mountaineering Club for reproduction in its forthcoming guidebook to the Grahams and the Donalds. Meall Dubh near Ullapool is subsequently renamed to Beinn Bhreac, following local research by the Scottish Mountaineering Club and discussion between Alan Dawson and the SMC.
March 2015 221 The SMC guidebook called The GrahamS and The DonaldS is published. The list of GrahamS included appears to be based on the 1995 version of the Grahams list, with four hills added. There are 228 hills in the SMC version of the list (pages 319-323). These errors were introduced without the knowledge or approval of the official list maintainer, who was not afforded any opportunity to review or correct the SMC misrepresentations prior to publication. Numerous other changes are also introduced. The list of hills included is therefore not the Official Grahams, but a misleading and incorrect version, known as the Unofficial Grahams.
September 2015 220 Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn is surveyed and found to have only 149.5m drop at its southern col. OS mapping is found to be correct but inconclusive. Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn is therefore removed from the list of Grahams and the list of Marilyns.
May 2016 219 Cnoc Coinnich is surveyed by Alan Dawson and found to be 763.5m high, not 761m as shown on OS maps. Cnoc Coinnich is therefore removed from the list of Grahams, though it remains a Marilyn.
2022 231 The lower height limit is adjusted from 609.6m to 600m, meaning that Ben Aslak, Corwharn and Ladylea Hill are reinstated as Grahams. There are nine new Grahams, taking the total to 231: Hecla on South Uist, Beinn a' Chuirn, Sithean Mor and Burach in the Western Highlands, Leagag in the Central Highlands, Cruach Neuran, Cruach nam Miseag and Sgorach Mor in the Southern Highlands, and Well Hill in Southern Scotland.
November 2022 231 The final, definitive list of Grahams is published by Pedantic Press, in Ten Tables of Grahams: The Official List, by Alan Dawson