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2000 started on small hills and remote snowy Grahams, then moved on to repeat Munros and new Murdos, Yeamans and CTMs (Corbett Tops of Munros). Beinn an Dothaidh (2A) via a brick-hard snow gully was testing, with axe points barely getting 30mm grip. Crowberry Ridge on the Buachaille and Recess route on The Cobbler convinced me that my rock climbing days are over.
List-ticking celebrations were attended, but I am not fully convinced that social events are best suited to the tops of hills. I have to admit however that the socialising was always pleasant regardless of both good and bad weather. Completion of the Grahams and reaching 1000 Marilyns prompted the need for new objectives, as travelling to new hills becomes more and more expensive. The lists and maps came out and the joys of Munroing became clear again; good paths and short vegetation. The downside is sharing the hill with people, but mid-week outings and unusual routes can help reduce the discomfort.
Met the Ken Whyte / Roger Boswell team off the Barra ferry and shared the pleasures of Howmore Hostel. Glad I was not trying to keep up with them on the hill. The causeway to Eriskay is now in place and opens officially in 2001. On the way to Eaval on North Uist I crossed an innocently flowing burn which had huge stepping stones, so big that a sheep crossed ahead of me. On my return three hours later, the stepping stones were covered by a foot of swiftly flowing sea water running into the loch. I plunged across, imagining the consequences if I should falter. Tide tables would have been useful.
On Islay, meeting with Alan Dawson, Dave Hewitt and party on Sgorr nam Faoileann was a pleasant surprise if not totally out of the blue, as getting together had been pencilled in.
Most satisfying hills:
Beinn Mhanach (2A): a bonus hill on excellent snow
Bynack More (8): sunshine and two bonus Corbetts
Ladhar Bheinn (10B) and its Corbetts: sun all day and down to the Inverie pub for beer and song
Sgurr a'Gharaidh (13B): again on good snow with Beinn Bhan brilliant in the sun
Creag Mhor (16D): deep snow, remote hard work
Beinn Bharrain (20C): great walking, big surprise
Glas Mheall Mor (5) (Murdo): surprisingly good walking on hard ground with bonus CTM Am Meadar
Creag Scalabsdale (16C): good view but hard going all the way
Sidhean na Raplaich (18C): forestry tracks, coarse wet firebreaks and unrelenting tussocks
Beinn Ruadh (19C): tree plantings and tussocks in the gloaming then darkness through roadside rhododendrons
Worst day: 1 June round of Ben Alder Munros from Culra; solid rain all day.
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