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After completing all the Welsh lists (Marilyns, SubMarilyns, Hewitts and SubHewitts) on the same day in September 2007 (finishing on Tal y Fan), 2008 was bound to be a bit of an anti-climax, because I felt obliged to turn my attention to the Marilyns of England. I must say that, apart from the Lake District, many of these are rather a boring bunch.
Most of section 38B was bagged on the way to or from the dinner in Builth Wells in June. The highlight, though, was not these hills but actually meeting up and walking with John Barnard. Although we share the same small town (Mold, in north Wales), this was the first time we had ever met. I also plodded and sloshed my way through section 35A (northern Pennines) in what was laughingly called the English summer. Needless to say the finest English hill of the year was in Lakeland - High Stile. Andy Tomkins and I hoovered up the hills of region 41, but the most memorable ascent of the weekend was not a Marilyn - it was Golden Cap (191m/63m).
Scottish ascents were lamentably rather thin on the ground. In May I was in Skye again, a place I never tire of visiting. I only managed one Marilyn on the island due to poor conditions, but a superb weather window on the last day enabled a traverse of the southern end of the Cuillin ridge. Trips to the Highlands in October and December had to be abandoned due to a family bereavement and personal illness respectively. Other Scottish forays were one-day affairs to the Southern Uplands. In total, only eleven new Scottish Marilyns were climbed. I vow to do better in 2009 than this paltry total.
The family holiday to mainland Europe in August proved to be a successful bagging event, with excellent weather. I finally completed the four major Polish summits on 1425m Snieznik in the Sudeten Mountains on the Polish/Czech border. Then it was east to the Polish Tatra, where I bagged my first Polish 2000m summit - 2063m Wolowiec. On our return journey we made a short stay in the Czech Republic, where I managed to ascend 1378m Plechy, the highest point in the Czech part of the Bohemian Forest.
After a lull in 2007, I got back to some listing work again. In 2009 I am publishing Austrian lists of some significance, thanks to the work of Clem Clements. I am also publishing lists of the southern Scottish, Welsh and English 500m Humps. I cannot claim this as original listing work, as it is merely a selection from Mark Jackson's fine work on the Humps. The lists do, though, provide a more interesting selection of hills to climb than the New Donalds and the Welsh and English Hewitts.
People sometimes ask me why I spend hours listing hills and mountains. I must say that doing this detailed work, requiring careful accuracy, is one attraction. It is also a wonderful way to learn about new mountain areas, as detailed exploration of maps is essential. I tend to follow up my listing work with a visit to the areas in question. All these lists, and much else besides, can be found on the Yahoo group I set up and moderate, devoted to the hills and mountains of Europe: groups.yahoo.com/group/europeaklist.
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