Marhofn 106.06 - May 2004

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Cellar Dwellers:

Mark Trengove (300)

I managed a goodly 68 this year, bringing me halfway to the Hall on Caer Caradoc (38A) in a snowstorm on 21 December 2003. There are still many hills to go before the Hall, but at least I feel I've climbed out of the cellar now and am crossing the kitchen floor to the Corridor.

As usual, ascents have ranged from Cornwall to Skye. I was pleased to complete the last of the Marilyns in my ancestral county in April (Kit Hill in region 40). May was designated for a return to Skye and a few more Black Cuillin, but the weather and other circumstances conspired against me. My companions got themselves benighted in awful weather after an attempt on the Dubh ridge. I had (wisely) not fancied it and spent most of the night in a mix of worry and phoning mountain rescue. They all got back safely after an enjoyable helicopter ride. I did manage a few lower Marilyns in the time that was left, including the fine Dun Caan on Raasay. Unlike Dr Johnson, I refrained from dancing a jig on the summit.

Ireland in June brought a memorable day in the company of a Dubliner of vast hill knowledge on Lugnaquillia, followed by a mad dash across to the Galtees next day. The trip was enough of a taster to tempt me back soon - but rather a distraction to UK Marilyn bagging, unless we count Irish hills (I can claim five now) in our totals. I also spent a long and marvellous day on Carmarthen Fan - now my favourite hills at the bottom end of my adopted country. In July I was busy in the Highlands and in Yorkshire, netting Marilyn Munros, Corbetts and Hewitts. August was a month of mountains, but none of them Marilyns because they were in Switzerland and France. My, there's some listing that needs doing in these two countries! I feel myself tempted - listing the 150m-drop summits in the Ecrins/Oisans region would be a fitting challenge to tempt me back there again.

A trip to the eastern Cairngorms followed in September. This area just grows and grows in my impressions the more I go there - which is as often as possible. Such a contrast to the Alps, but just as stupendous. October was devoted to the Southern Uplands and Galloway, with a few more Grahams to meet my annual target grabbed to and from a business trip to Glasgow. Then began the grim grey slide to Christmas, with only a few outings possible amidst the never-ending trudge of Christmas shopping. I always try to look on this time for the earning of brownie points, but then my patience snaps and I lose them all again.

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