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It was a very long time coming, but at last 2009 saw me reaching the Hall of Fame. I was on 565 at the end of 2008 - 35 to go, well within my normal bagging capabilities for the planned early November date. The hill I had in mind was Carn nan Gobhar near Cashel on Loch Lomondside, a place that I visited regularly with my family when I was younger.
The year started off with Cairn Table on 4 January then Lord Arthur's Hill, soon followed by a few in the Lakes. We also had one of our mad 'day trips', this time to the Isle of Wight to pick up two Marilyns, a Sub and three other Humps.
My usual Sunday walks with Lindsay, bagging multiple Marilyns in a day, had dried up a bit because he had to work most Sundays and was making do with nearby Humps before work, with just occasional bigger days out. I met up with Alison Richardson one weekend for Morrone and Creag Ghuibhais and then embarked on a few walks on my own in that area. The views around Braemar and Ballater were stunning on some of the sunny spring days, and I enjoyed my leisurely drives up there, gradually increasing my total. A day with Lindsay in May added five to the north-west of Aberdeen and I later added a few more on my own.
By the annual meet dinner at Strontian I was on 597 and had already been re-thinking my 600th options. It was mid-summer and November was too long to wait. I needed a hill fairly local that could be done in an evening so that Lindsay and Rod could both come, yet my two nearest options were proving difficult to get to quickly from the Pitlochry shop. If only there was something closer... I scoured 'the book', thinking there must be a nearer one, but there was nothing suitable for an evening walk. Then, out of the blue, a new Marilyn was announced at the meet - Creag na Criche. I didn't realise the relevance until Lindsay explained where it was - about five miles from home - and then Alan suggested it as my 600th. A date was set for 27 June and 18 of us (and three dogs) all set off from Little Glenshee. The celebrations at the summit were something else, with champagne and strawberries amongst other goodies. I was presented with a black silky scarf by Alan (not the usual fleecy version) and an RHB 600+ badge. I was also given a black t-shirt by Lindsay and Rod with a pink 'Creag na Criche' on it. Various other gifts were received and I was serenaded with a song written by Ali Wilson, joined by Alison and Helen, to the tune of Hello Dolly. We then had further celebrations at home. Thanks to everyone who was there and helped to make it an amazing evening!
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