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2013 was an interesting year, to put it mildly. With parental issues, my relocation for work in London for nine months and, not least, Jen's year-long work absence due to medical issues, we were kept on our toes. However, despite this, we managed a record year for us. Jen used her spare time to tidy up some English Marilyns and leap ahead of me in the totals game. Equally, I managed to complete the London Borough tops (joy) and together we finished our seven-year project to climb all the Corbetts. The final Corbett completion on Beinn Resipol in October with good friends was definitely the highlight.
We managed thirty separate Marilyn bagging trips, starting the year on the west coast near Plockton, finishing at Connel for New Year 2014. We mopped up most of the Borders Marilyns early in the year, including Edinburgh in January and March. We had cold wintry trips in March to Galloway, the Cheviots and a very snowy Isle of Man. Completed the Forest of Bowland hills in two trips through the year, too.
A fine trip to Shetland in the company of others, thanks to Alan Holmes, included hills on Orkney and bagging residual Corbetts on the way up around Strathfarrar and Alladale - great backpack there in the company of buffalo and wolves.
To ring the changes we managed a fine trip through the South and North Downs of Sussex and Kent in July, followed by a major stomp through Shropshire and the Welsh Marches in November. The third quarter focused on mopping up Corbetts in Scotland, around Rannoch and Loch Tay, with a mad dash for the Rum Cuillin in a seven-hour race before the last boat left. We faced a stranding due to an impending storm.
The best backpack of the year was a four-day trip into Carnmore and Fionn Loch. A fortunate weather window gave us the remaining six Corbetts we needed, plus some Grahams. Mad ponies, the grandeur of Carnmore and Carn Mor crag, plus food and drink-laden fellows who gratefully joined us for a night mid-trip and topped up our meagre rations. The whisky was great guys. Then to Strontian and Resipol, where once again we were lucky with the weather. Cold winds but absolute clear crisp blue made for a great trip up our final hill. Many thanks to the twelve who joined us for a special day.
The year wound out with trips to the Borders, including a fine baggers' ball in Melrose courtesy of Jon and Margriet. December concluded in wild style with a weekend in Killin climbing Grahams and a wetting in Anglesey. Looking forward to Graham and Birkett completions in 2014. Have to add how proud I am of Jen and how she has battled through 2013 despite the operations. However, we came through it strong and are ready to forge ahead to 1000 Marilyns and possible retirement to quieter slopes in the Pyrenees.
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