Marhofn 294.17 - May 2015

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Baglog bonanza:

Jon Metcalf (+21=1288)

Thanks firstly to the tinkerers and to the indefatigable Alan Holmes for an excellent annual Marhof dinner in Helmsdale and a shiny new Marilyn, Creag an Amalaidh, to take in. Pete Milne, Doug Law and myself nearly conspired to miss the event by being fog-bound on North Ronaldsay, but it all came good in the end.

Mainland hills were less extreme than the island highlights in 2014, where the landing on Eilean nan Ron initially caused some fracking in my underpants before Rob coaxed me up the basic scramble. However, Carn a'Ghobhair (Sgurr Eireagoraidh on the 1:25k map) provided a satisfying challenge threading a way up a rake, outflanking the crags and spiralling round the back of the summit obstacles to a superb view with Margriet and Margaret.

The stags from Loch Choire nan Crogachan were absolutely deafening on the way to Sgurr Mhic Bharraich, and I was passed by an inordinate number of local walkers who extolled the merits of the Dirty Thirty, a challenge loop that included this section of the route to the Corbett.

Meall Mor was comedy stagger of the year. Six and a half kilometres of wind-farm road was followed by scenes reminiscent of the Thriller video as we lurched over tussocks to a battling tick against wind so strong that my waterproof was wrenched open from zipped at one point. It was almost impossible to make headway, but we eventually we prevailed. Anyone who thinks Ben Wyvis is dreary should check out this side of proceedings.

Meall Mor (photo: Alan Dawson)

Meall Mor (photo: Alan Dawson)

Broughton Heights was a good ending to the year on the way home from Jenny Hatfield and Rick Salter's excellent Northumberland weekend. It is a great loop with the ancient enclosures on the footslopes sustaining interest to the end.

Cannot wait for more of these exciting trips and fun gatherings in 2015.

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