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2007 was again a very active year in the hills but saw the capture of fewer new Marilyns than any year since we started purposeful collecting - so few unclimbed ones near to home. In addition to the Marilyn bagging there was an Alpine trip to Switzerland and revisiting all Yorkshire Dales 2000ft tops.
On the way to the west Highlands at the end of March we diverted into Glen Etive, enjoying a superb spring day on Beinn Mhic Chasgaig; all the more pleasing in that access was at last easy due to the gate at Alltchaorunn being open. The following week based at Kinlocheil gave us near unsurpassably good weather, with day after day of sunshine, clear air and the hills so dry that grass fires flared up on the slopes, though goodness knows how they got started. The Corbetts about the head of Loch Shiel gave us magnificent days.
Having booked a cottage in Glen Brittle - quite a feat in itself as there's so little accommodation in the glen - we arrived in typically driving rain and thought that yet another Skye visit would be wild, wet and windy, but no - there was one dull day and then largely cloudless skies for the rest of the week. Of course Cuillin Munros were revisited, but new ground was trodden too, with the gem of the week being a day from Elgol, boating into Coruisk followed by an ascent of Sgurr na Stri then back via the Bad Step. It's not often on Skye that one is too warm, but so still was the air and so voracious the early June midges that in the evenings we couldn't stand doors or windows open for more than a few minutes at a time - stifling.
A few Welsh Borders tiddlers were gathered in early October. Among them we found Raw Head (36) to be a fine little Cheshire top, then we got lost in woods on the way off Moel y Golfa (31B). October also gave us a re-acquaintance with the roughness of the Galloway hills. Benbeoch was climbed late on a Saturday afternoon using the 'RHB' route from the south, hoping to avoid the industrial activity on the hill. There were immense bulldozed roads high on the south face, but it was only as the summit cairn was reached that the extent of the destruction of this hill could be realised.
So bad is the reputation of Mochrum Fell (27C) that we didn't look forward to tackling it, but doing so from the south near the farm at Mochrum and climbing to the east ridge, we were able to meander gradually westwards and discover the trig. We descended almost due south, with only minor adjustments needed to the route, to reach the forestry road south-west of the farm. We reckon that would give an ascent as easy as any.
'Ever since I can remember, I have spent stolen moments, wasted evenings and secret hours studying the mystery and beauty of the Ordnance Survey maps of these islands. The concrete trig points used in their creation became almost as powerful in mystical properties for me as standing stones.'
Bill Drummond, 45
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