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I have a confession. 2010 saw me being a bit of a hill-list tart. I am not sure how it happened, as I had vowed not to get addicted to the Hump thing. It started with a few weedy local ones and, before I knew it, I was mainlining in the middle of Dartmoor. I thought I could control it - stick to England only - so how come I was snorting up lines of snow-covered Humps in north Wales? My addiction even led to spending a short spell in The Verne prison on Portland. Somehow I managed to bag 179 non-Marilyn Humps and, whilst I was at it, added 37 Deweys and 29 Birketts.
Talking of snow, that seemed to be the theme of much of the Marilyn bagging for the year. The year started in the company of Ursula Stubbings and, for some reason I cannot fully recall, we ended up spinning a small top from a Christmas cracker in the weirdly sculpted icy snow on Beinn Ruadh. The amount of snow was so enticing I found myself driving north almost every weekend, working through regions 1 and 2.
In April I was in the company of Ursula again as she wanted to bag Coraddie, but was understandably a little nervous of doing it on her own. I then spent a fortnight around Loch Maree and Torridon on big walks in fine weather. Late May and early June were spent around Glenfinnan - reaching my 100th British Isles P600 on Rois Bheinn - and on various islands. I celebrated my 60th birthday with the Rum Cuillin in perfect weather and then some Black Cuillin beer in Kinloch Castle. My snoring afterwards seemed to clear everyone else out of the dormitory. This trip gave me a real taste for the islands and has changed my long-term plan to clear the mainland first.
In November I thought I could get in a couple of early winter walking weeks before the snow arrived. On my first day in Scotland it snowed heavily. There followed another fortnight of struggling through deep snow around Killin and Glen Lyon. It was a test of my recently-acquired motorhome, as the water tank and gas bottle froze overnight.
The most memorable day, for me, was passing the Foss barite mine below Meall Tairneachan. On the way back I managed to get a lift from a dump-truck driver and realised that the barium meal my late partner had was probably sourced from here. The year ended in snow-covered hills around Tyndrum and Glen Orchy, with Beinn Chuirn being my New Year's Eve summit.
What will 2011 bring? Redundancy? Still more snow? An English Hump completion perhaps, although the only ones left are in the remote uncivilised badlands of Kent and Sussex. Or maybe entry to the Upper Hall of Fame - I wonder which will be number 1000?
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