Marhofn 153.08 - May 2006

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In the Corridor:

In the Corridor: Charles Everett, York (455)

This is the first year I've compiled a report, probably because it's the first time I've done a hundred - 101 in fact. Pity they weren't all new ones; five repeats, so 96 new ones for me and 29 for Jamie, taking him to 55.

23 Jan: Kick off the year with Gummer's How by Windermere with both my sons; Jamie (6) and Toby (21).

2 Apr: After four days climbing Munros solo in cloud, three guys catch me up on the summit ridge of Beinn a'Chaorainn and we wander along chatting together. One of them is the budding groom on his stag weekend. I overhear him mention the surname Ferrier in conversation with his pal. I'm intrigued simply because the founder of a small spiritual fellowship of which I'm a member was the Rev J. Todd Ferrier, so I say, 'Just wondered, are you in any way related to...?' Before I can finish the sentence he says, 'Oh you mean the man who founded the Order of the Holy Cross, yes he was my great, great grandfather'. A fascinating conversation follows. The next day I experience sunlight on my next Marilyn Munro, A'Ghlas Bheinn, after thirteen cloud-covered Munros.

22 Jul: Having decided to sleep under the stars in a bivvy bag for the first time, under the eastern Howgills, I'm woken at about 4.30am with the unpleasant realisation that midges don't just live in Scotland.

31 Aug: Dusk is nestling over the hills like a dull grey blanket after a three-hour soaking on the walk out from Beinn Mhanach. Having driven two miles up the Auch Glen we now drive out under the railway viaduct. In my rear-view mirror I watch the lights on the Fort William train in the half-light as it clatters over the bridge on its way to Glasgow. We're nearly at the farm now and out to the main road. I forget that we've not yet crossed the one major ford. Round the next bend and... aaaarrrgh. 'I'm frightened' said Jamie. 'So am I' said daddy. The wide concrete platform ford at the Glen Coralan outflow, which had been a gentle two inches deep on the drive in, is now a raging torrent. I get out of the car in the gloomy gloaming, survey and listen to the swollen water monster as it cascades over the end of the concrete platform. We're clearly stuck for the night in the car. With a reclined front seat and sleeping bag, Jamie is soon as snug as a bug in a rug and asleep. At least we've got the shelter of a car and sleeping bags to spend the night in. I watch lightning flashes light up the mountains around though I hear no thunder, so content myself with the knowledge that they are some way distant. Hopefully the flash flood will have abated by dawn and we can drive out safely.

1 Sep: It has and we do, at 6:45am.

2 Sep: Photograph Jamie and Alan Dawson creating sculptural hoops with fence wire and posts halfway up Auchnafree Hill.

10 Sep: Six Galloway gems, finishing on Mochrum Fell with a foot-soaking and a slightly eerie hunt for the summit through the wooded slopes at dusk.

11 Sep: Spectacular sunny day on Ailsa Craig after a panoramic boat ride round all the island's cliffs. Day finished off with seven of us traversing Troweir Hill, with the glorious silhouette of Ailsa Craig against the setting sun.

27 Oct: Sunshine with a strong warm southerly wind that blows me and pals Phil and Geoff along the four eastern Fannich Munros for a one-Marilyn day and my highest hill of the year.

Finally, a tasty conundrum. When staying in North Balachulish after Christmas, where do you take a friend and her boyfriend (who's on his first visit to Scotland) to get his first Munro, when none of you have ice axes or crampons? Answer: along the Aonach Eagach ridge of course. A fellow York Alpine Club member called Warwick said that's where he was headed, and the 28th was forecast to be by far the best day of the week, there was zero snow on top and, so he'd heard, no ice either. It was absolutely glorious, with brocken spectres against the few wisping clouds in the northern corries, but a much more sustained and exposed scramble than I had expected. Novice Martin welcomed the nerve-calming security of the rope Warwick had decided to bring for some of the airiest sections.

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