All Those Two-Thousands


By Richard Moss


          In the 1952 Journal there was an article with this title by my father Edward (Ted) Moss where he gave his thoughts on peak bagging. He had visited all the two-thousands of England and Wales that were on his lists and those of Simpson for the Lake District. It was about this time that I copied these lists into exercise books and started to tick them off. I like to think that my first two-thousand was Kinder on a Dinner Meet, but it may have been The Twmpa (Lord Hereford’s Knob) in the Black Mountains; we spent several summer holidays in the Wye Valley, one of them with the Standing family.


          It seems that peak bagging was an early preoccupation of the club, judging by J Rooke Corbett’s article in the 1911 Journal, in which he listed the twenty-fives of England and Wales; any point above the 2,500 foot contour line that appeared on a reputable map, such as Bartholomews’ or the Ordnance Survey one inch map was included. In the following year he added a few more and reported a discussion based on Gallt yr Ogof (2,499 feet) as to what could qualify as a twenty-five; the conclusion was that a jump of at least one foot would count as another tick. It was not until the 1929 Journal that Corbett published a revised list and a few more were added by Ted Moss in the 1933 Journal. An opportunity for revising the list had arisen with the publication of the one inch Ordnance Survey map Popular edition, which had a 50 foot contour interval, and all tops with a separate contour ring were included, together with a few special cases. This seems to be the origin of the 50 foot contour ring criterion, and of course it led to anomalies. On the ridge between Great Dodd and Watson's Dodd there is a slight rise with a complete contour ring; it became known as Corbett’s Pancake and it seems a pity that it has not survived in recent lists. Presumably some surveying was done from valleys and certainly it looks a respectable top from near Blencathra Sanitorium.  Corbett’s twenty-fives of England and Wales thus predated The Corbetts of Scotland by nearly twenty years, since the latter were not published (by the SMC) till after his death in 1949. Incidentally I was pleased to see in the 2005 Journal that not only did I go to one of the schools that Corbett attended in Manchester (as did Ted Moss and Gordon Adshead), but that I also went to the same College.


          In the 1930’s activity increased. W.T. Elmslie published a list of the two-thousands of England and Wales in the 1933 Fell and Rock Club Journal using the half-inch Bartholomew map, which had 250 foot contours. He included any point with a height given on the map of over 2,000 feet, which led to the inclusion of Red Tarn on Helvellyn along with some other anomalies. Then in 1937 F.H.F. Simpson published in the Wayfarers’ Journal a list of the 2000's of the Lake District using the one-inch map and a 50 foot contour ring definition. This was soon followed by the Ted Moss lists (using the same definition) for the rest of England (1939 RCJ) and for Wales (1940 RCJ). In those days the OS maps did not include grid references, so the position of a top was recorded as being in a 2 mile by 2 mile square by a lettered and numbered grid as in many road atlases. It was in 1952 that Edward Moss reported that he had visited every summit in England and Wales in the article  All Those Two-Thousands, which included some additions to the lists and he noted further additions in the 1954 Journal. Subsequently he listed and visited all the (then) county tops of England and Wales.


          He collected the tops during the 1930’s, 1940’s and early 1950’s, during which time he was Outdoor Organiser (1945-55). Train and bicycle were used for at least some of his trips, particularly during the war, when the family car, a Morris 8 Tourer, was up on bricks. I recall waiting in the car with my brother and mother on the way to a family holiday on the NE coast somewhere in the Pennines while he nipped up some missing peak. Also I remember Easter 1950 at home in Manchester while he was visiting the Dartmoor tops by train and bike.


          A number of other members have also completed his lists, notably Keith Treacher and also Peter Standing. Presumably Gordon, Don and other Members have too, under the guise of other lists.


          Many other England and Wales lists have been published since his, starting with the 1973 book by Bridge (a member), who acknowledged his use of the earlier research. Subsequent lists appear to be unaware of the original lists and this has led to some notable omissions. For example North Star was added recently, but is on Simpson’s 1937 list as Honister Crag. In Wales the Guardian reported in 1988 that a group of pensioners had discovered a new peak in the Berwyns and it now seems that this is called Cadair Berwyn New Top although it is in Corbett’s 1929 list as Cader Berwyn S Top. A few new peaks have been recognized, not because earlier listers were not diligent in there searches, but because of failings in the maps available to them, with crag symbols often obliterating contours. More recent lists have refined the definition of a two-thousand, to a 50 foot drop all round rather than a contour ring. Hi-tech is now being used to determine if a doubtful top qualifies, sometimes with agonizing over whether a drop is 49 feet or 51 feet. It seems that to some the technology is of more importance than visiting a likely spot.


          Over the years I added to my own lists the few new peaks reported, including rejects from other lists, and anything that looked interesting on the map. I left Manchester when I was 17 and spent student vacations working in North Wales and the Lake District, so by the time I got stuck working in Hampshire I had completed the Lake District list and the Carneddau, Glyders and Snowdon groups. Progress then slowed considerably, but with in-laws in North Wales, the rest of Wales eventually succumbed. It was not till retirement to Cumbria that I turned my attention to the Pennines and rapid progress soon had me thinking which should be my last top, since it should clearly be a significant one that I had never visited.


          So early in 2007 I finished on Bleaklow. At the Centenary Dinner Jim Perrin spoke about how Members went on and on and on. I don’t think he had in mind anything like Kinder to Bleaklow in Over 55 Years, which could well be the subtitle to this article.