You wait ages for a bus, then two come along at once. For "bus" read mountain and we were waiting in the Warcop Artillery Range. They weren't firing of course. We had checked the non-firing days carefully and with a group of dedicated mountain surveyors were following a track from the village of Hilton eastwards beside the beck into the wild moors beyond.
Turning south after a mile we started to climb steadily above Swindale Beck, our path marked at infrequent intervals by posts. This was the only indication of the route and as we gained height, the path vanished. We plodded on. We knew where we were going. It was back to Tinside Rigg and Long Fell.
Twenty seven years ago we had ventured up onto these moors to survey these summits. We managed to find them on that occasion despite low cloud and mist. We even helped some lost soldiers. Another group, each carrying a rifle, loomed out of the gloom. To reassure Anne they weren't using live ammo, one of them fired his gun at the ground. Well we carried out our survey and, perhaps with relief, concluded that neither summit rose enough from the boggy col to justify inclusion in our book.
Were we wrong? Over the years several people have studied the maps and concluded that maybe, just maybe, we had got the wrong col. Could there be, after all, a mountain, or even two, up there?
Now surveying takes time, a lot of it, and watching someone else do it is definitely not a spectator sport. Anyway we stood patiently by while John and Graham and a band of helpers set up their equipment on Tinside Rigg. We even watched patiently for an full hour while they surveyed with level and staff to find the definitive point on the col.
We wandered back to the top of Tinside Rigg. It was going to be a long day. Anne produced a cake baked specially for the occasion and we all gathered round to celebrate. Premature, or not, we all ate the cake.
Getting the bit between their teeth the suveyors set off at a trot for Long Fell. "Doesn't look like another top" we muttered. It was getting late and off Anne and I headed confidently for the valley.
It was over dinner that the news broke. There was some expert talk about fractions of a metre. Then a week later came the "Official News". Both Tinside Rigg and Long Fell are now fully paid up members of the Elite.
One question remained. Does everyone have to climb them? The MOD Access rules are very clear: Access is only permitted when they are not firing and even then, it is only on the Public Rights of Way. The days and times are published on their website and specify access. Very conveniently a right of way goes close to Tinside Rigg and Long Fell. But it doesn't go over the summits and for this reason we have decided that Tinside Rigg and Long Fell will be optional summits. Anyone can register as a completer without having to include them.