At the bottom of this page is a link to an Excel spreadsheet which is what I make of Docharty’s A Selection of some 900 British and Irish Mountain Tops (1954) and the Supplement to … (1962).

Docharty’s plan was to extend the principle of Munro’s lists across the whole of Britain and Ireland and include summits down to about 2000 feet. Like Munro, he listed mountains not according to a rigid formula, but according to whether he felt summits had enough ‘individuality’ (a word he uses many times) to be counted as truly independent mountains or tops.

Docharty’s work has many flaws from a ‘bagging’ point of view. For a start, it is incomplete, so to speak. Docharty only ever visited just over fifty percent of the summits he had listed, so approximately one thousand of them never received his personal stamp of approval as an ‘independent mountain’ or ‘top’.

Also, Docharty was dependent on the quality of the Ordnance Survey maps of the time which were surprisingly inconsistent in places, such as having poorly represented landscape morphology and height data being far less precise than today.

Cook’s Cairn, a summit in the north-east Grampians is an example – the 1″ maps shows a well defined south-west summit with a 2541′ spot height, but it does not exist! When Docharty visited the location he discovered it was completely fictitious, stating simply “there is no eminence” in his notes.

Cook’s Cairn (NJ302278) – 1″ and current 1:25000 maps.

Thankfully there are no other such extreme examples, but there are plenty of occasions where contours poorly represent the true shape of the landscape and summit eminences can be placed well away from their currently recognised locations.

I have gone through Docharty’s published list several times. Like counting stones in a stone circle, one tends to get a different number each time, but believe I have a consistent version worth putting online now. I’ve added the Munro summits as they stood in 1962, the date of Docharty’s final publication. This represents Docharty’s original vision as complete as it can be – a list of all the independent mountains or tops above 2000 feet.

If I’ve got things right, the totals (for Britain and the Isle of Man) are 1208 ‘independent mountains’ (932 Docharty, 276 Munro), 1075 ‘tops’ (807 Docharty, 268 Munro), making 2283 in all.

(Important note: I’ve only included mountains in Britain and the Isle of Man. Docharty also listed Irish mountains, but his information for them is more difficult to interpret. I’ll work on a list an hopefully publish it in the future.)

Of course, I welcome comments on the spreadsheet, especially any problems noted or corrections needed. Use the speech bubble somwhere on this web page or email: jonrus@zohomail.eu.

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