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Mountain Writing Competition 2012

Report by Chrissie Valluri

The Mountain Article Competition is still going strong, this year receiving 13 prose and 7 poetry entries of a high standard. Both competitions included a variety of stories, styles and settings, ranging from romantic and adventurous to quietly informative.

In third place in the prose competition was Sinclair Steven's Campsie Amble, "A humorous account of a rain soaked trip out into the hills with some friends” and "A story about how the day out matters more than the venue. " It was enjoyed for its "humor” and should be "a reality-check for a lot of ‘adventure’ writing”.

Second place went to James Cassidy’s piece Acceptance. An "autobiographical account of a hillwalker’s carreer in the mountains and some of the reasons why he goes there". A "beautifully written, wistful, retrospective and evocative” piece. James was praised for writing a "Good story about a life’s companionships and the transition to the present is gracefully done.”

In first place, and this year’s Mountain Article prose category winner, was Tommy McManmon’s story about the People of these Glens, "A perfectly paced story about our relationship with the wilderness.” It was described as a "Welcoming imaginative piece”, which was "A pleasingly off-centre approach to this familiar theme.” with "reflections on wilderness from someone who sees it as a romantic escape and another for whom it is home”.

Joint third in the poetry competition, were Torpantau Ice and Crib Goch Ridge both beautifully written by Sarah Flint. Torpantau Ice, a poem with "Taunt writing” and "always a touch of menace” "To where Deep chill nights have frozen Flow and fall”. And Crib Goch Ridge which was "Nicely balanced between the mountain and the men”, with a "touch of humour” and "The soundless mountains” buzzing "with black worker ants fear and intent” .

Second place in the poetry entries, was A Mountainside on an Autumn Evening by Juliet Wilson. A "Minimalist epic in the style of Haiku ", a "Sense of quiet but imbued with suspense”. It was praised by the judges about its "simplicity” and termed "A winner”!

However, this year’s winner of the poetry competition was A hell of a walk in by Laura Alexander. "I imagine the joy of ditching 5 kilograms of coal!” "There’s the high price of getting there and then the reward: insulated by piles of bog and heather from the outside world” A poem where "every word counts, the utter ‘rightness’ of every detail in the narrative, and certainly the humour.” .The judges praised it because it was "So inviting to join in to all the sentiments” and "very evocative of personal experiences”.

Congratulations to the winners, and many thanks to this year’s judges (listed below), who put a lot of effort into reading and commenting on the entries.


1st - A Hell of a Walk In, by Laura Alexander

2nd - A Mountainside on an Autumn Evening, by Juliet Wilson

3rd - Torpantau Ice, by Sarah Flint


1st - People of These Glens, by Tommy McManmon

2nd - Acceptance, by James Cassidy

3rd - Campsie Amble, by Sinclair Steven

Tom Povey (winner of Mountain Article Prose Competition 2011)

Helen Needham (Out of Doors, BBC Radio Scotland)

Mike Merchant (editor, writer and designer, ex-editor of John Muir Trust Journal; www.merchant.uk.net/)

Ingrid Parker (former MCofS Vice President and member of ‘Women of Scotland’ for services to mountaineering)