Humps, Tumps and Marilyn’s


My latest fitness regime has really only existed in my mind for the past few months, so to give myself a bit of a kick up the rear I have decided to sign up for the Mad March Hare Audax. In the past I used to be a keen Audaxer, an organisation specialising in long distance cycle rides, (  for more information), but sadly have lost my fitness. This will require training and to make this a little less dull I am taking up "Hill Bagging" which does appeal to the latent nerd in me.

For those of you that are still reading this there is a great website  where you can go ahead and start ticking off those Devon hills. Now we are not talking heroic stints for Strava KOM here, just a list of hills to climb and tick off when done, if there happens to be a triangulation point to bag as well, then even better! There is, apparently, a keen interest in the sport of trig hunting which we won’t go into here.


I expect many people have heard of the Munro’s which are mountains in Scotland over 3000ft of which Ben Nevis is one, a Marilyn is a hill of any height with a drop of 150 metres (nearly 500 ft) or more on all sides. A Hump is a hill of any height with a drop of 100m or more on all sides, HUndred Metre Prominence and a TUMP is a hill which is separated from adjacent tops by a height difference of at least 30 metres on all sides. Annoyingly I don’t know where the U is in thirty, should be a THIMP, anyway, moving on…. now we have our classifications we can__ go forth and conquer.

There are only two Marilyns in Devon, High Willhays on Dartmoor and Christ Cross found centred in the Bickleigh-Silverton- Bradninch triangle. There is a slight problem in that as cyclists we generally prefer a road to travel on, which makes High Willhayes unsuitable except for hardcore mountain bikers. Christ Cross on the other hand is eminently doable, even on the flimsiest of road bikes

Christ Cross Height 261m/856ft Drop 173m

Christ Cross

Humps and Tumps

There are about 20 humps in Devon and one, Stoke Hill, is a stones throw from my house. This is a hill I have climbed countless times but until now oblivious to its grand humpiness of stature. The next time I climb it, which will be soon, I will mark the occasion by taking a photo once at the top. It could take the form of a carefully framed landscape or maybe a cheesy selfie, but the fact is it will be ticked off the list.

Stoke Hill Height 161m/528ft Drop 125m

Stoke Hill

Clicking on the map for tumps reveals a sea of green triangles, Devon is a lumpy county, but for those who like to keep lists of boxes to tick, Devons tumps will keep one occupied for a while. A good example is Bower Wood, near Upton Pyne, which I cycled over only a few days ago, again, blissfully unaware of its tumpishness.

Bower Wood Height 101m/331ft Drop 64m

Bower Wood

So there we have it, hillbagging for cyclists, fad or obsession, only time will tell.