Marhofn 93.05 - May 2003

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Annual reports B-C:

Annual report: Phil Cooper

2002: a great silver jubilee year

The first trip to Scotland in late April 2002 was to complete visits to county council tops previously unvisited. These were the new 1996 tops which only came about with the introduction of unitary urban councils such as Inverclyde, Glasgow City, North Lanarkshire, Dundee and Aberdeen.

On 2 May 1977 I had become the first person to visit the county tops of the British Isles as they then stood. Year 2002 marked the silver jubilee of that completion and it seemed right to complete my last 'new' Scottish council top on the silver jubilee day. A small but select party of enthusiasts joined me on the visit to Cort-ma Law East Top, North Lanarkshire. The Ton Mhor Islay went down well, and fortunately I had brought carrot cake to enhance our vision for the descent at dusk. Marhofn readers are cordially invited to the golden jubilee walk on 2 May 2027, at a venue to be announced nearer the time.

Ward Law, Hoy

Ward Law, Hoy, Orkney, 2 May 1977. Ann McNaughton, Phil Cooper, Ellen Duncan, John Ronson

The jubilee tour continued with a fortnight's trip over the border in July, concentrating on Grahams in Perthshire and Easter Ross. Also in July I had ten days in mid and south Wales to pull in the sub-2000s not previously visited. South Wales is ideal for motorists who enjoy short walks up their Marilyns, many of which have summits less than an hour's walk there and back from one's wheels. I drove 800 miles in nine days attempting to pick the shortest route from mid-Wales via the numerous unvisited small Marilyns, to finish up on the south Wales / England border. Marilyn number 1000 came up on Foel Cwmcerwyn in the Preseli mountains on 23 July.

I had been looking forward to Myarth with great anticipation due to the accounts recorded by earlier pioneers. Can you recall that feeling of excitement and something special coming up in your early hillwalking days, after reading an account of a traverse of Aonach Eagach, the Carn Mor Dearg arÍte or the Cuillin? Well I'd have to say the reality of Myarth was more understated than those examples; it wasn't that traumatic even with the July growth. If you've been on Myarth before but didn't find the wee cairn and two-foot tall oak tree at the summit, surrounded by high bracken interlaced with brambles, then you'll just have to go back (or kiss Myarth goodbye - AD). A pair of garden shears, or at least secateurs, would be useful, but please mind that little oak tree.

The third Scottish trip was Loch Lomond to Loch Tulla in September, visiting many Grahams and completing all the region 1 Marilyns.

At the end of September I spent four days revisiting the Wasdale mountains in glorious 'Indian summer' conditions: still T-shirt and shorts weather. This trip reminded me what quality mountain walking is all about (as opposed to our alternative sport of Marilyn bagging) - beautiful, steep, craggy mountains all around, fantastic views, a superb lake and tarns, with no thrashing through forestry, heather or bogs, no telecom masts or power lines, no midges or ticks. Scafell Pike via Piers Gill was especially fun (keeping in the ravine where possible), also Great Gable by the climbers' traverse. But I'll be back to those Grahams in 2003.

Some short Dewey-bagging trips (500m hills) allowed me to complete the Deweys of the Lakes, Peak and Pennines, leaving the top'n'tail (Cheviots and Dartmoor), plus one in Shropshire, to finish later. Also I bagged some local Clement-Yeamans (100m drop) but I don't intend to travel the whole country visiting these.

Environmental impact statement: I drove 3635 miles in pursuit of 144 new Marilyns (25 miles driven per Marilyn) and eight county council tops.

Magic moments of 2002, all at around 9pm:

Cort-ma Law East Top, North Lanarkshire, 2 May 2002. Dave Hewitt, Bert Barnett, Peter Bibby, Phil Cooper, Tessa Carroll, Mary Cox, Alan Dawson (photo: Phil Cooper)

Cort-ma Law East Top, North Lanarkshire, 2 May 2002. Dave Hewitt, Bert Barnett, Peter Bibby, Phil Cooper, Tessa Carroll, Mary Cox, Alan Dawson (photo: Phil Cooper)

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