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Despite generally grim weather on the hill throughout 2010 and losing a couple of Scottish holidays due to illness, the end of year statistics were my best ever:
With my touring caravan based near Fort William, I was expecting a strong start to the bagging year. Unfortunately, the heavy snows prevented me from travelling north as often as I had planned and the snow conditions were not ideal for solo bagging. However, after a fortuitous meeting with Iain Brown in Crianlarich at the end of January, we did four snowy Grahams along the Mallaig road. Fortunately he did most of the hard work, although I did do the cooking.
I was reduced to commuting across the border from Byrness at the end of February as news of avalanches in Lochaber put me (and Lorna) off the Highlands and it was not until mid March that I finally managed a Munro in Glen Dessary. The best weather of my hill year was the week after Easter when son, Ian, and his family joined us in Corpach. We had two sunny days doing Corbetts in Morven and Sunart but the weather turned snowy again when I was left on my own for a few days. However, I did manage to complete the west end of the south Glen Shiel ridge in a mixture of snow, sunshine and rain before getting a lucky lift back up the glen.
A June trip to Ullapool with Andy Tomkins for the meet yielded six Munros in generally damp conditions plus a great boat trip to the Summer Isles. Eight of the 12 people on the boat had also been on Rob Woodall's trip to the Bishop Isles nine years earlier. I was back north a few days later but an attack of vertigo meant that the caravan was brought straight back to Wallasey and a planned week in Culloden cancelled.
During the annual dinner I was accused by a fellow diner of being a Hump bagger. Since the only ones I had actually set out to bag were on Anglesey in the spring, I denied the charge. However, we agreed on a wager as to who could do most Humps in the year up to the Portree meet. As a result, we have been racing around the countryside bagging Humps and had both done over 100 by new year.
I did manage two more Munro trips. The first was to Glen Shiel in July where I had a couple of hairy days on the east face of Sgurr na Sgine and the Forcan ridge. During the second, to snowy Braemar in September, I managed three big Munro days, covering 60 miles in the process. The early snow gave me a nasty few minutes when, sans axe, I found the summit tor of Ben Avon covered in ice crystals. It was touch and go whether I could actually reach the top but I just managed it.
A three-day trip to south Wales in November gave a good bag of Marilyns and Humps, and I made a lone completion of the Welsh Marilyns on Crugiau Merched on the way home.
I enjoyed a weekend in Galloway and Ayrshire for Andy Tibbetts' Little Cumbrae boat trip in early December. A great day out, topped off with a stroll up Goldenberry Hill with the Munros in the evening sunshine. The last Marilyn of the year was Knockdolian, followed by an easy drive home as the central belt descended into icy gridlock.
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