Marhofn 84.04 - May 2002

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Corridor Exit:

Emerging from Obscurity: Jennifer Thomson

I grew up on a farm outside Aberfeldy (opposite Farragon Hill but south of the River Tay) with excellent views of Ben Lawers and Schiehallion. I climbed Schiehallion in 1954 to collect cloudberries for the wild berry competition for children at Aberfeldy Show. The climb of Schiehallion continued annually for the next three years as it was the only place I knew where cloudberries grew at that time. I won the competition each year then grew too old for it. I climbed Ben Lawers in 1957 with a school friend who lived in Lawers school house, not only for the walk but also to look for the important wild flowers which grew in that area. I did not know what a Munro was in those days - far less a Corbett or a Marilyn - and I climbed hills for reasons other than bagging, which I had not heard of either.

For the next 30 years as a teacher and mother there was little time left for hillwalking. Then daughters grew up and I had some time to do what I wanted - hillwalking. By 1992 I knew what a Munro was, and my first Munro (as opposed to hill) was Ben Nevis on 8 August 1992. My bagging career had begun, and the long school holidays certainly helped me achieve the Munros and Corbetts in a reasonably short time. My last Munro was Beinn Sgritheall on 14 August 1996, and my last Corbett was Ainshval on Rum (with 14 friends) on 8 August 1999, when I was given a present of RHB by my aunt Jill Adam. And so Marilyns became a new addiction.

My 600th was with a friend on North Berwick Law on Good Friday 2002, a most beautiful day. I had taken my late mother's hand-woven Macphee's tartan scarf, which I had never worn. She would have been delighted, as prior to her death ten years ago I had only climbed Schiehallion, Lawers and Farragon (all several times) and also Heaval on Barra in 1965 and Tinto a year or two later. Nine days after my 600th I climbed Minch Moor with a group from Perth Hillwalking Club on another beautiful day, and Alison Wilson presented me with my mother's scarf again at the top (the champagne will also be remembered, as well as the card with over 40 signatures, many signed in the pub afterwards). Apart from Alison and myself virtually no-one had heard of Marilyns, and club members kept congratulating me on climbing 600 hills. Anyway, they were directed toward RHB and a new way of life.

North Berwick Law kilt society (photo: Micky Ross)

North Berwick Law kilt society (photo: Micky Ross)

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