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Christmas Eve 2005, and I'm approaching Craiglee (27B) from Loch Doon Castle. There's a man cuddling the trig point. Surely not. I've heard of people adopting trigs - but love and kisses? No, he's tying it up with rope. The capture of a late Christmas present? (Did I hear of one offered on eBay as a garden ornament?). Imagine the headlines. TRIGNAPPED!
I refrained from a valiant rescue by sneaking up behind and giving Jack from Law in Lanarkshire a couple of smart slaps with my sweaty headband to see him off. Instead we tied down the guys on his 20-foot extendable aerial (tucked into the rope round the trig) and he unpacked his amateur radio kit. He spoke, partly in code, to South Wales and Yorkshire, amongst others, recording signal strengths, call signs etc. Verifiable contact gains him two points for first transmitting from this hill (the bigger the hill, the more the points). Competitively, Jack is second in Scotland behind Robin of Onich, all under the auspices of SOTA (Summits on the Air). What next? DAJOT (Dance a Jig on a Trig), with awards for height points and artistic merit?
That would be difficult on some visited this year. Deadh Choimhead (19A) displays only bent metal poles and peeled back turf. Substantial concrete blocks of a cylindrical jigsaw rest nearby, embedded after flight, propelled by a lightning strike.
I didn't expect a trig point on Carn a'Ghobhair (10D) and I didn't get one. The top rocky block (with superb views by the way), has been split asunder, and the Sherlock in me reckoned that the trig remains lie buried in an adjacent pile of rubble. Deductions were confirmed on finding a larger block off-centre. But no sign of a trig on my copy of sheet 40. Subsequent checking of the interesting OS website confirmed a previous existence before July 1978.
On Beinn Duirinnis (3B), the trig and base had just rolled away. Couldn't find it where it should have been - and there it was down there. More good views this time, up Etive way.
Truncated pyramidical and cylindrical triangulation stations are common, if depleting. Then I came across a new design - nearly cuboid. On Bin of Cullen (11090), Meikle Balloch Hill (11089) and Ben Aigan (11094), all in 21A. Art nouveau, OS style?
Not all hill trigs are a-top. Examples this year include Sgurr an Fharaidh (17D), Little Conval (21A) and Beinn Leamhain (18B), but each was worth a loving tender touch on the way past. (Did I write that? Please don't tell anyone.)
In climbing Ettrick Pen a few years ago, I came across a Mountain Bothies Association working party creating extra capacity by refurbishing the shed beside Over Phawhope bothy. Danny the slater had chosen to complete his Munros on 27 September 2001 (A.E. Robertson's centenary), on Ben Alligin.
' So what do you do now?', I enquired.
'He collects trig points', laughed his companions.
You could do worse Danny. Beautiful slate work. Do look at the roof next time you're passing.
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