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A long weekend in February in the Lake District brought the best view of 2012. It had been an excellent day traversing Kirk Fell, Pillar and Seatallan when on the way back down the setting sun caught the Wast Water screes. It was sensory pleasure to watch the colours change from orange to red to purple, with an array of tones in between.
Easter was spent in Glen Lyon for the fifth year running. On one day we arranged to meet up with a university friend of my wife, including her husband and two children, aged eight and ten, who were coincidentally staying nearby. The weather was not great, but we decided to give the Tarmachan ridge a go. Despite the cold wind the kids started off in good spirits. Though they are used to country walks, being in the Scottish mountains was something new to them. I was not sure how they would cope with several more hours of walking. However, with regular food stops they kept going without any problems and by the end of the day they were still going strong.
June brought us to Braemar. I like the enormity of the Cairngorms. Big hills set in big country. Great days on Ben Avon, Beinn a'Bhuird and Lochnagar, all made a little easier and a bit more fun with the use of pedal power. I specifically enjoyed Beinn a'Bhuird where the mountain scenery did seem on a very big scale.
The main holiday of 2012 entailed a week on Barra, followed by a week on Lewis. Barra has a bit of everything in bite-size chunks, giving you the chance to relax and exercise in equal measure. The road around Barra is also the distance of a half marathon. The Barrathon is a great race for those that are interested. On Lewis we stayed in Crowlista, in a cottage with fantastic views over Uig sands and the hills beyond. I love the hills of Uig as they have great character. I had one long day traipsing over the main tops, and another, which proved to be very satisfying, on the smaller bumps leading up to Tarain.
At the beginning of August, we made a snap decision to have weekend in Wales. I found what turned out to be an excellent farmhouse B and B at the base of Aran Fawddwy. It was the ideal break, and something we will do again in 2013.
The final time away was to the Yorkshire Dales in September. It was a week of quantity, with 18 Marilyns visited, but in my view not absolute quality. One positive was a meeting with a farmer on Aye Gill Pike who was actually pleased I was climbing his hill. I always feel pleased when meeting a landowner who is not suspicious of your motives. To bring the walking year full circle I ended the week by driving across from the Yorkshire Dales into the Lake District where I climbed Illgill Head, the summit above the Wast Water screes.
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