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When pursuing an outdoor activity you sometimes find yourself in the right place at the right time. In 2011, as far as the weather was concerned, I managed to do this pretty well, although things didn't get off to a promising start.
Strontian in February was distinctly grey. Very grey. At least it wasn't wet, and the cloud wasn't always hiding the tops, but it was grey. Not a hint of sun until it was time to go home - when on top of Garbh Bheinn I forgave Strontian for being grey.
Glen Lyon at Easter was a hint of what was to come; a week of warm and sunny weather that was enjoyed to the full. In a walk over Meall Buidhe, Cam Chreag and Meall a'Mhuic, I did a Munro, Corbett and Graham in a day for the first time. This must be one of the easier combinations of this kind.
For the royal wedding weekend, I thought I'd go somewhere different, so I chose the Isle of Man. I planned to do the five Marilyns as two linear walks. To achieve this I'd try something novel; public transport. With a timetable in my hand I showed up at the bus stop in Peel with a sense of trepidation. A few minutes later a bus appeared, and for only a couple of pounds took me to Port Erin. Bowled over by the efficiency of the local bus company I turned up at Ramsey bus station the following day (a Sunday to boot) to repeat the experience. Again I was not disappointed, as a bus turned up to whizz me to Kirkmichael. I was impressed by the Isle of Man (and the walking wasn't too bad either).
While the rain came down during May, June and July I went nowhere. Come the beginning of September it was time to venture forth once again. This time it was for what has become an annual trip to the Hebrides. I planned for my 1000th Marilyn to be on Taransay, my last in region 24, but a bit of a squall and an indifferent boatman meant it wasn't to be. Therefore, I made do with Sithean Bhealaich Chumhaing, north of Portree on Skye, on the way home.
Then came the pièce de résistance, north Wales at the end of September. This was a gathering organised by Eric Young, and for the first time in a number of years I had a week-long holiday outside Scotland. The location near Bala was ideally placed for a range of 2000-footers I had not done. What was there not to like? What followed was day after day of great walking in spectacular weather. Ten days of uninterrupted walking delight. Highlights included Eric completing his mainland Marilyns on Cadair Berwyn, Maesglase, a traverse of the Arans, trips to the Arenigs, a spectacular sunset viewed from Rhobell Fawr, a marvellous round of Cadair Idris, rugged Rhinog Fawr and finally a Welsh Munro, Corbett, Graham combination; Y Lliwedd, Snowdon and Moel Cynghorion (again aided by using a bus from Llanberis to Pen y Pass). Outstanding walking in weather the likes of which I may not experience again for a number of years.
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