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List of Donalds Competers

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Donald Completers

This is the list of known completers of the Donald category of hills, first compiled in the late 1990s and published online for a few years until a spell when it existed only on my computer. The list should be available in the public domain, however, both for information and to increase the likelihood of other rounds of Donalds being reported, and the site here is an excellent home for it.

View the Donald Completers List

Donalds – Scottish hills above 2000ft/610m outwith the Highlands – have become a somewhat complicated category in that there are three ways in which people can complete a round. The first is to visit all points in the Scottish Mountaineering Club version of the list – published in 1935 by Percy Donald and maintained by the SMC ever since. The original list comprised 133 summits split between 86 main ones and 47 subsidiaries; there are 140 summits in the current version, split 89/51.

The majority of people named here have climbed everything in the SMC version of the list. A few, however, have focused on the main summits and missed some of the subsidiary tops. This is along the lines of how people treat the Munros these days – where Hugh Munro’s idea was that the full list should be the target, but 90 per cent of subsequent completers have visited merely the main summits, which has come to be accepted as the standard definition of “doing the Munros”. With Donalds, however, largely due to the more rolling nature of the hills, most people still look to do the full set. Those who have visited only the main ones are listed here with their final Donald in brackets, and if there is then a subsequent completion of the remaining summits this takes precedence and their slot in the timeline is adjusted accordingly.

Thirdly, quite a few people listed here have targeted the New Donalds – defined by 30 metres of drop on all sides and disregarding Percy Donald’s more complex (and arguably more useful and appropriate) definition involving both drop and distance. I published the New Donalds list in 1995 for its compiler Alan Dawson, and it is still in use in some quarters. New Donalds have no distinction between main and subsidiary summits, and all 118 hills in the list can also be found in the 140 of the SMC version, so anyone who has completed the SMC set is by definition a New Donaldist.

Note that a first Donald listed in parentheses indicates that this was the person’s first known Donald, but there could well have been prior ascents. Hence Matthew Moulton’s visit to White Coomb on 7/12/68 was almost certainly not his first ascent of a hill in this category (he was aged 57 at the time), merely the first outing marked as such in his annotated copies of Munro’s Tables.

As with all such people-lists, this is undoubtedly incomplete; the true number of Donaldists could well be 50 per cent higher than the total given here. The modern end of the listing is probably closer to completeness than the earlier and middle parts, which feel very gappy; it’s almost certainly the case that there were several completions between those by Percy Donald in 1933 and Ken Andrew in 1969, and it’s hard to believe there were only a couple of dozen completions (and none by women) by the late 1980s.

Some early hillgoers were interested in the category – for instance John Dow (1881–1972), the fifth listed Munroist, knew Percy Donald (the latter was Dow’s only companion on his 1933 Munro completion) and appears to have come within nine or ten summits of completing his friend’s list. The writer Henry Truckell (1880–1967), a friend of both Dow and Donald, is another candidate from that period. Any information on early Donalding activities – or indeed on more recent missing rounds – is very welcome via the email address given below the list.

One final point is that whereas most of those who have completed the Corbetts have also been round all the Munros, and most who have completed the Grahams have also climbed all the Munros and Corbetts, there is much less of an overlap between Donalds and the other Scottish lists. Hence although the SMC has in recent years listed Donald completions as part of its online register of Munroists, this covers only those people who have completed the “senior” list.

Plenty of Donaldists have climbed a fair few Munros but not all of them, partly because of geography – the two lists occupy separate parts of Scotland, although in theory there could be a Munro in Galloway or the Borders – but also perhaps partly due to inclination, as the Donalds provide gentler fare, with no In Pinn-type obstacles, and this suits a certain type of hillgoing temperament. A more natural crossover possibly comes with the Wainwrights, and anyone based in northern England or southwestern Scotland is well placed for chipping away at both categories.

Thanks, finally, to the various SMC clerks of the list – most recently David Broadhead – for their help over the years; also to Robin Campbell, the doughty and knowledgeable archivist at the SMC; and to the various completers and interested parties who have supplied information and thus helped to make the list the useful and (I hope) interesting resource that it is.

Dave Hewitt, May 2016
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