The Humps

Some 17 years after the publication of The Relative Hills, a young Mark Jackson published a List of the next level down, the Humps with a prominence of 100 metres in ‘More Relative Hills of Britain’.

A similar list had been published for Scotland by E J Yeaman in 1989, ‘Handbook of the Scottish Hills’. A quirky feature is that the difficulty of climbs is measured in the number of chocolate bars or megajoules required to get you to the top of the hill. A further list was researched by Clem Clements for England and Wales along the same lines, now published on the Haroldstreet website. Together with Alan Dawson’s work on the Marilyns, these formed the basis of Mark’s book.

He also introduced the idea of breaking the country down into numerous Topo Sections rather than the Regions used in the SMC’s Munro’s Tables and extended by Dawson in RHB – but you will have to read the book for the explanation.

There are currently almost 3000 Humps in Britain but, like the Marilyns, ongoing surveying does mean there are occasional changes. The reduced prominence brings quite a few more difficult sea stacks into the equation if one wishes to complete the List plus one awkward rock column in the north Midlands, The Old Man of Mow.

This is a rock climb but at least it is in the dry. The two sea stacks off Mingulay, Lianamul and Arnamul are much more challenging but the major hurdle is the one on the front cover of Mark’s book, the famous Old Man of Hoy. To most people’s amazement, four RHSoc members climbed this in 2018 and for two of them, Rob Woodall and Alan Whatley, it was their Hump completion climb.

As with the Marilyns, there is a Hump Hall of Fame. Since there are roughly twice as many Humps, the Hall of Fame entry level is set at 1200 whilst the Upper Hall is set at 2000. Currently around 100 baggers have claimed membership.


Blaze Fell – A Cumbrian Hump

Almost at the end of Mark’s book, he drops in a bombshell. Whilst researching the Humps, he could not resist checking out an even lower prominence level, those hills with a minimum drop on all sides of 30m. Thus, Table 38 in the book announced that there were 16,644 ‘Tumps’ and the damage was done! It has been argued that the next step down should have been P50, but P30 was already well established for many older lists. These formed the basis for two more RHSoc lists, the Simms and the Dodds, which are subsets of the Tumps.