Marilyn (geography)

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Map of Marilyns

A Marilyn is a mountain or hill in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Isle of Man with a prominence of at least 150 metres (492 ft), regardless of absolute height or other merit. The name was coined as a punning contrast to the designation Munro, used for a Scottish mountain with a height of more than 3,000 feet (914.4 m), which is homophonous with (Marilyn) Monroe.


There are 2,010 Marilyns identified: 1,218 in Scotland, 454 in Ireland (of which 65 are in Northern Ireland), 175 in England, 158 in Wales, 5 on the Isle of Man. Black Mountain, in the Black Mountains, on the border between England and Wales, was formerly counted in both countries but is now treated as being in Wales only.[1] The list of Marilyns in Britain was compiled by Alan Dawson in his book The Relative Hills of Britain,[2] and continues to change as newer surveys revise height measurements for hills and the cols between them. The list was extended into Ireland by Clem Clements in a booklet, The Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland.[3]

Although many of the islands' largest hills including Ben Nevis, Carrantuohill, Scafell Pike and Snowdon are Marilyns, many other large hills such as Cairn Gorm, a number of other Munros, and other well-known hills such as Bowfell, the Langdale Pikes and Carnedd Dafydd, are not Marilyns because they do not have sufficient height relative to the surrounding terrain. However, some lower hills such as Seatallan and Watch Hill on the edges of Lakeland and the Long Mynd in Shropshire do qualify because of their isolation from higher hills. Not all of the Marilyns are even hills in the usual sense: one, the highest point of the Weald, lies within the East Sussex town of Crowborough, whilst the top of the Yorkshire Wolds, Bishop Wilton Wold, lies alongside the A166 road. At the other extreme are Stac Lee and Stac an Armin, the two highest sea stacks in the British Isles, in the St Kilda archipelago, over 81 miles (130 km) west of the Scottish mainland. Arnside Knott was added to the list in 2005: at 159 metres (522 ft) it is the smallest of the Marilyns.[4]

In Scotland[edit]

Nearly 80% of Marilyns in Great Britain are in Scotland. They logically extend earlier Scottish lists such as the Munros, Corbetts, Grahams and Donalds. All Corbetts and Grahams, 203 of the 282 Munros, and around half of the Donalds are also Marilyns.

Use for recreation[edit]

Some hillwalkers attempt to climb as many Marilyns as possible (a pastime known as peak bagging). Some amateur radio operators attempt to operate from the summit of every Marilyn.[5] On 13 October 2014 Rob Woodall became the first person to climb all the Marilyns in Great Britain, including the sea stacks on St Kilda, part of the largest gannet nesting site in the world, maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. Eddie Dealtry became the second person to achieve the feat, later on the same day.[6][7][8][9] By 28 September 2016, the Marilyns of Great Britain had been completed by 10 hillwalkers, while 320 had entered the Marilyn Hall of Fame by attaining a count of at least 600.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edwardes, Simon (2016). "Online version of the database of British and Irish Hills". Retrieved 2016-10-29. 
  2. ^ Dawson, Alan (1992). The Relative Hills of Britain. Milnthorpe, Cumbria: Cicerone Press. ISBN 1-85284-068-4. Archived from the original on 2010-09-21. 
  3. ^ Clements, E.D. 'Clem' (1998). The Hewitts and Marilyns of Ireland. Cambuskenneth, Stirling: TACit Press. ISBN 0-9522680-8-6. 
  4. ^ Dawson, Alan (April 2006). "Update to The Relative Hills of Britain". The Relative Hills of Britain. Retrieved 9 May 2018. 
  5. ^ Earnshaw, Jon (2006). "Summits on the Air". Retrieved 2006-01-12. 
  6. ^ McKenzie, Steven (2014). "Marilyn bagger from Peterborough scratches 22 year itch". Retrieved 2014-10-15. 
  7. ^ "Woodall and Dealtry bag Marilyns". 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  8. ^ "Rock steady Eddie does all the Marilyns". 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  9. ^ "Rob Woodall - Marilyn Completion - Interviewed by Myrddyn Phillips". 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-29. 
  10. ^ "The Relative Hills of Britain". 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-29. 

External links[edit]