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Mountain Writing Competition 2009

We had eleven prose and twelve poetry entries. The judges were: Chris Townsend (current MCofS President), John Donohoe (past MCofS President), Ingrid Parker (past Vice President), Ruth Tauber (The Watermill Bookshop and Café, Aberfeldy) and Liz Cripps (journalist and academic).

The Prose category gave a generally high standard with several vying for second and third places. But it was Roderick Manson’s ‘Monument’ that came 3rd with the judges all commenting on the ‘great sense of the anger’ it conveyed. Second place, just a whisker ahead of Monument was Nick Hamilton’s ‘Awakening’ in which a love story is woven into a climbing experience. Several judges thought it ‘well written with a perfect selection of vocabulary, drawing the reader right into the action.’ But way out in front was Mike Merchant’s ‘dramatic, well written and chilling tale’ of an accident aftermath in ‘Peace after the Storm’. The comments from the judges were unanimous: ‘Excellent: moving and engrossing’, ‘Impeccable writing’, ‘A moving account of a personal experience. Well crafted’, ‘I loved the phrase ‘police tea’!

In the Poetry category, joint 3rd place was shared by Roderick Manson (again) with his ‘Festive Tryptich’, ‘The ending encapsulates a world: "A still-life in whiteout”’ to quote one judge and Rob Wright’s ‘Ice maiden’. For the first time in the competition, both 2nd and 1st place was scooped by the same person. Jim Turner’s ‘Passing Loch Erribol’ had ‘lovely imagery’ and one judge ‘loved the spartan use of rhyme’. However, Jim’s ‘Eagle, Sgurr Thuilm’ won by a substantial margin with its ‘Beautiful rendering of the breathless admiration…’ ‘Great rhythm’ and its ability to ‘capture the moment.’


1st - Eagle, Sgurr Thuilm, by Jim Turner

2nd - Passing Loch Eriboll, by Jim Turner

3rd = Festive Triptych, by Roderick Manson

3rd = Ice Maiden, by Rob Wright


1st - Peace After the Storm, by Mike Merchant

2nd - Awakening, by Nick Hamilton

3rd - Monument, by Roderick Manson