Coordinator’s report, by Tommy McManmon
It’s been another fine year for quality entries, with plenty of submissions in both categories. Most people seemed to be able to cope with the submission system; I'm personally very happy not to have to deal with entries in various formats, including hand-written! We will consider allowing entries in PDF format next year for those who want to enter poems in unconventional typesetting.
Third place in the prose competition was Max Munday, who has placed second twice in the competition before, in 2017 and 2019. Max's entry, The Mountain Decides, had one judge enthusing that he'd written a “…really well constructed whodunnit! The mix of what the hillwalker sees and the lives and livings behind the hill is excellent, and unusual.” Second-placed was Isla Blackley's When the Mountain Disappears - a judge commented that the “…quality of this story really builds when the touching dialogue begins.” A well-deserved first place went to Willie Munro's Return to Creag Meagaidh: “...outstanding quality of reporting - expert yet accessible account....consistent driving narrative.” Well done, Willie! One judge was keen to note that they really enjoyed a submission which didn't place in the top three - Highlights of Rhodes by Jo Weston.
We had our usual differences in opinion amongst the judges for the poetry competition! Suffice to say there were plenty of well-written, touching entries. In third-equal, Julie Cottrell's Beinn Amour (Mountain Love) “…touching lament on reflection and companionship…” moved from “…intricate loneliness to a heartfelt loving conversation.” Alongside Julie in third place was Malcolm Duckworth with Coire an Dubh Lochan: a “vivid", “determined and driven” work, which “blends the deeply personal with the infinitely cosmic”. Second placed was Katya Bacica's Innocence: her “immersive and intimate” work “really made you feel the struggle.” A clear first place, way ahead of all other entries, was Allan Bolton's Daffodils at Inverchorachan - a “beautifully paced poem...which captures the very local and the global.” One judge commented: “How perceptive, and how accessible”, while another said “[it] captures a moment of human connection amidst engulfing isolation, threading tenuous links between a forgotten past and a remote present.”
Congratulations to all the 2022 winners and we look forward to receiving your entries for the 2023 competition at the end of the year. Anyone placing below first place is allowed to enter the same category again, so please get typing!
Tommy McManmon lives and works in the Pentland Hills Regional Park, which feels much busier than his previous home of Knoydart. He won the prose competition ten years ago, in 2012.
1st Prize - Return to Creag Meagaidh by Willie Munro
2nd Prize - When the Mountains Disappear by Isla Blackley
3rd Prize - The Mountain Decides by Max Munday
1st Prize - Daffodils at Inverchorachan by Allan Bolton
2nd Prize - Innocence by Katya Bacica
Joint 3rd Prize - Beinn Amour (Mountain Love) by Julie Cottrell
Joint 3rd Prize - Coire an Dubh-lochain by Malcolm Duckworth
Prose and poetry:
Mike Merchant is a former winner of the prose competition and co-ordinated the writing competition for some years.
John Donohoe is a past president of Mountaineering Scotland.
Adam Boggon won the prose competition in 2021. He is Scottish doctor and writer, who lives and works in London.
Jim Manthorpe is a wildlife cameraman and guidebook author, based in Morvern. He has worked on a number of BBC series including Springwatch and is the author of five Trailblazer guidebooks.
Fiona McNicol is the Communications Officer at Mountaineering Scotland and Editor of Scottish Mountaineer.
Mike Richards won the poetry competition in 2019. He is a ski instructor, photographer and poet based in Wales and Japan.
Sunyi Dean won the poetry competition in 2021. She is a Yorkshire-based mother of two, and Sunday Times bestselling author.