Marhofn 212.12 - May 2010

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New Kids on the Block:

Michael Earnshaw (+96=670)

At the start of the year, my nearest new Marilyn was over 350 miles away from home, so progress was always going to be challenging. I was reduced to bagging county tops in region 39 during the early part of the year - the trip to Beacon Hill is one for the enthusiast, unless you happen to live near Cromer.

My first bagging trip to Scotland was thwarted on day one when my car's engine died in Glen Clova. It wasn't until May when, with car replaced, I managed to break my duck during a wet and windy week around the A9. Late May and early June brought fantastic weather, Nuttall completion, Munro completion and entry into the Hall of Fame. A week on Mull gave me six days of sunshine and barely ten minutes of rain (AD: very similar to my week there in May: ten minutes of sunshine and six days of heavy rain). Although they are not classic hills, the sense of freedom and the sea views on the circuit over Maol Ban and Druim Fada stick in the memory.

An early September trip to Skye began after about 30 consecutive days of rain. When I left, it had reached 40. Having concentrated mainly on Munros when in Scotland until recently, it became clear that the lower Marilyns are not easy strolls when the weather is poor - An Cruachan and Beinn a'Bhraghad (17B) gave me my worst outing of 2009.

Keen to reach 100 for the year, I had intended to spend the last week in December at Pitlochry and then Crianlarich. I had already reached 92 thanks to a long weekend at Stirling in late November, which included a fantastic day of sunshine in the Ochils, with the top of the Wallace monument just managing to peep out of the covering of fog lower down. A Christmas Day circuit of Benvane and Ben Ledi in soft snow and sunshine, and two Perthshire Grahams on Boxing Day, took me to 96, but fresh snow overnight meant that was it for the year.

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