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Dropped straight out of the mad baggers table in 2013, then. Mixture of reasons, some of which may become more apparent. However, it is obvious that the more you do in a list the more difficult it is to keep the numbers up if you pick the easier ones earlier on.
The first foray into Scottish Marilyns took place during the whole months of February and March. Although I had intended to head straight for region 18, I got waylaid by a week or so mopping up Corbetts, mainly, around Loch Etive. Then I had about five weeks of generally lovely although very cold weather, steadily working my way from An Sleaghach on the Sound of Mull to Braigh nan Uamhachan. This included the island Marilyns of Shona Beag (Eilean Shona) and Cruachan Charna (Carna). The puzzle of how to get on to Carna was more easily solved than I thought it was going to be. Andy Jackson from Ardnamurchan Charters at Laga is the caretaker for the holiday-let cottages on the island and he was doing some repairs. He gave me a lift there and back for a nominal contribution to the fuel costs.
I spent over a week weaving my way along the West Highland line - saw very few trains though, fortunately as it meant I could cross safely. Then it took a few days to get home via left-over crumbs, for example, the hills south-east of Loch Awe.
Whilst I was enjoying the sunshine on the west coast of Scotland many parts of the rest of Britain were experiencing a late fall of heavy snow - just as the lambing season was in full swing. When I returned to Scotland in mid-April to spend a couple of weeks Hump-bagging in the Borders there was a lot of evidence of the impact of that snow - two shepherds on two different days politely asked me to vary my route to avoid disturbing their sheep. The starkest reminder was in the summit field of Meikle Black Law where there were 30-40 dead lambs strewn across it. It would be anthropomorphic to suggest that the ewes looked sad, however I am sure they did have a sense of loss.
The summer months were wasted, from a Marilyn-bagging point of view, wandering in my motorhome around Spain, Portugal and Morocco looking for Ultras and Majors in conditions that varied from snow and ice to desert heat, including being guided by a local gangster through hectares of cannabis plants. If you want to know more about that trip, see my blog at oakesave.blogspot.co.uk/p/abroad-2013.html
Naturally, I was back in time for the Marhof annual meeting at Giggleswick. Somehow, picking off P30s and trigpoint pillars did not quite seem to be as dramatic. However, the trip to St Kilda was only a couple of weeks later - surely that would be more than a match for anything in the Pyrenees and Atlas mountains.
On the way to Lewis I met Alan Dawson on the summit of the Hump, Meall Bhanabhie. He was measuring the hill to see if it should be promoted to a Marilyn or not. It is still a Hump. And then I did some island Marilyn tidying up by using boat trips for Eigg's Sgorr an Fharaidh and across Loch Scavaig to Sgurr na Stri.
If you have read Douglas Law's baglog you will understand that there were a couple of reasons for an element of disappointment about St Kilda. However, despite the weather we managed to grab a few Marilyns and Humps whilst we were on Lewis and other neighbouring islands. This included my 2000th Hump - the delightfully remote Taran Mor. As I was walking in Pairc with Tony Smith I happened to mention this magazine - he replied 'the buggers didn't put my baglog in last year's edition'. I pondered awhile as to whether to confess or not. However, you will see that his baglog is the first one in this edition.
At the end of the two weeks, when everyone else had gone home, I stayed on Lewis for a further two weeks. Despite an injured back from falling several metres, I managed to keep on slowly bagging the remainder of the Marilyns on Lewis and Harris. Rather a lot of Ibuprofen was consumed. My Calmac island hopscotch ticket ran out, so I hopped over to Ullapool. It took me two weeks to get across to Inverness as I bagged everything I could, north and south of the A835. Within a further week I was home. All during this time, Chris Watson was sending paternal messages exhorting 'go home, Martin'. When I got there, I visited my GP with regard to my bruised back and her advice was 'keep exercising and take painkillers when necessary' - which, of course, was exactly what I had been doing.
In November I had a week on Sardinia where I had gone in search of late autumn Mediterranean sunshine and found myself in the midst of cyclone Cleopatra that killed 18 people on the island. There was torrential rain most of the week; many of the roads and paths were blocked by missing bridges, collapsed craters, mudslides and snow; my waterproof GPS became waterlogged and stopping working; and I could not find anywhere that sold detailed enough maps. However, I somehow managed to bag a few hills including the deeply snow-covered highpoint of the island, the Ultra, Punta La Marmora, using Google Earth on my phone.
I had a less dramatic week in December bagging densely sitka-covered Humps in Dumfries and Galloway - although the wet and windy theme was still extant.
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