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The 2013 bagging year started a few days late as my regular February trip to Ambleside had to be delayed so that we could see Bradford City's amazing run to the League Cup Final end in a disappointing 5-0 defeat. However, there was some consolation when, thanks to Tony Rogers' help, I finally got up the Howitzer on Helm Crag later that week.
A few Welsh Deweys got me fit for the year's Munro campaign as I headed for Glen Urquhart with Alan Dawson. We had booked to boat down Loch Mullardoch but high winds and heavy snow prevented us sailing and we settled for long drives to Ben Wyvis and Maoile Lunndaidh.
A long-planned Knoydart trip was also delayed as we went off to Wembley once again, this time to see a 3-0 victory take City into League One. We arrived a day late at the bunkhouse flat in Inverie and I knocked off the three Munros in wet and misty weather, helped by Alan and Iain Brown. Sadly, brother Tony met his nemesis on Ladhar Bheinn and retired from Munro bagging for good.
Lorna and I had great weather for our two weeks in St Andrews and Dornoch in early June. Highlights were a trip to the Isle of May to see the puffins and my first sunny walk of the year up Ben Klibreck.
However, it was back to normal when eight of us arrived in Ullapool at the end of the month. After a night of heavy rain, Jon Foote and I decided to do Am Faochagach from Strathvaich Lodge rather than risk any river crossings. Almost 11km into the teeth of a gale nearly proved too much for us, but we persevered. The 30km over Eididh nan Clach Geala and Seana Braigh were a comparative doddle on the following day and I had finished off region 15.
Two relatively pleasant days over the eastern and western Fannaichs meant that all the Munros north of Achnasheen were completed. The only downside was that I missed an eagerly awaited fish supper due to a two-hour wait for a missing companion who had decided to do some impromptu surveying. In his defence, it was me who foolishly pointed out this possible Sim the evening before. I should have known better. Of course, it was only P24.
We did enjoy the lovely weather in July but I had nothing planned in Scotland, so made do with a few more Welsh Humps and Deweys. I also joined the Tamperers on Mynydd Anelog on a scorching day, my best of the year.
A further four Munros were bagged in August on a lone trip to Ratagan and Glen Urquhart. The horrendously steep Beinn Sgritheall was bagged at my fourth attempt, and Beinn Fhada was added the next day in generally fine weather. I finished up with the western Mullardoch tops, done from Strathfarrar. In the rush back to the gate, my GPS went missing. Look out for it on the north ridge of An Socach - although my new one is much better. Only 18 Munros now remain on a quest that began in 1966.
The AGM at Giggleswick was very pleasant and a few Humps and Deweys warmed me up for St Kilda later in September. Phil Cooper and I bagged a handful of Lewis Marilyns before we headed west for a great experience, which is reported on elsewhere.
The year ended disappointingly as I just missed out on my 900th Marilyn. After three good days around Melrose, Douglas Law and I ran out of motivation in a car park below Greatmoor Hill on a dismally wet November day. The lure of a Gregg's pasty at Southwaite was too strong.
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