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2015 was an excellent year on the home front with 1051 P30s, and all P30s in 53 counties or unitary authorities (UAs) completed. My Simms total was also better than usual; 57 for the year. With the promotion, in August, of Sithean Mor, my Marilyns total briefly stood at 1557, possibly the highest the list will ever reach. Overseas I managed several trips, producing a dozen Ultras but including a heroic failure.
January started down-under, with Adrian Rayner and Petter and Pål Bjørstad: New Zealand North Island's two Ultras, South Island for the fine wild Manakau and Tapuae-o-uenuke, gentler Mount Taylor, scrambly Single Cone, spectacular Mount Aspiring (failed to summit), and an exciting helicopter approach to the enigmatic Skippers Range highpoint. Then Australia's Mount Kosciuszko - that ancient land is too eroded to retain any other Ultras, except Tasmania's Mount Ossa, whose scrambly summit we attained in wind and rain in contrast to the outrageously good weather we enjoyed in New Zealand.
Feb: Fifty-two P30s, not that I was counting.
March: to Cameroon with the Tumphofmeister, for Mount Cameroon and the much less frequented Mount Oku, featuring some torturous bus rides and an audience with the king of the village. Also in March it occurred to me that I should make an effort to bag 1000 P30s in a year. Twenty per weekend - should not be too hard - 101 that month - but off to a slow start with only 26 and 52 in the first two months.
April: 140 P30s.
May: a long weekend in Ireland, mainly the north, for some county and UA highpoints, also the charming Rathlin Island.
On returning home I learn there was a reorganisation a month previous, half of the UAs have been abolished and one point added. Turns out that last point is wrong as the bureaucrats are not sure where their new boundaries are. Ninety-four P30s that month, excluding Ireland.
June is Scottish islands time. Showing his mastery of the logistics if not the weather, First Sea Lord Holmes manages to get all the trips away. I, and a week later Brian Ewing, finish the Haswell-Smiths, the first people to do so. Except in the meantime Jon Metcalf has found a few more islands which are to be included in the forthcoming second edition. More significant for me however is that we are able to land on the tricky Dutchman's Cap: three island trigpoint pillars this week mean I can at last schedule a long-coveted completion of the 6100-odd OS GB trigpoint pillars. A third week is spent revisiting my remaining Munro trigpoint pillars and a few Simms and Humps. My best ever month total of 208 P30s.
July: a long weekend to southern Norway sees us bag both Ultras in one day, making full use of the near 24 hours daylight by summiting Snohetta at midnight. Fifty-seven P30s that month.
August: most of the month was spent in Papua New Guinea with Matthew Holt (World 50 Finest list leader) and Fiona McIntosh. The main objective, Mount Boising, we fail to achieve as supposedly an armed gang is waiting to meet us further up the mountain. We are unsure whether to believe the story but decide to retreat, instead climbing the national highpoint, Wilhelm and Oceania's highest volcano Giluwe. Mt Hagen and Hong Kong's Lantau Peak make the tally a little more respectable. Topped and tailed with 79 British P30s.
September: I completed the last of Cumbria's 696 P30s on a gorgeous autumn Sunday that started with Colin Crawford's fourth Donalds completion and ended with sunset on Farleton Fell with a group which included Dave Geere, the only previous Cumbria completer, and DoBIH committee members George Gradwell and Jim Bloomer. Eighty P30s.
October: the Unofficial Trig Register's annual gathering, in Northumberland this year, a good place for P30s. 106 for the month.
November: a week bagging Mexico's three Baja Peninsula Ultras with three USA friends. Back home a paltry 15 P30s. Rounded off the month with a celebration weekend: Rick and Jen's Birketts and my and Chris Bienkowski's Donald Dewey completions, both in wild weather. For me this completes the set of ten LDWA Hillwalkers Registers. It turns out I am the first to do so although several folk have nine Registers.
December being the wettest one on record, I took the opportunity to tick off some easy county and UA P30 completions: 13 for the month, 53 for the year, with 95 county/UAs now completed. With the 1000 Tump challenge complete (1051 for the year, 93 for the month) it is time to escape the rain; eight of us head for east Africa for the new year, which we see in on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Looking back over the Marhofn years, my earliest memories are of discovering that my Marilyn total was above the magic 600 and contacting that Alan Dawson chap to get myself listed. And the Corpach meet in 1999, my first contact with the RHB family, some of whom have sadly passed away in the intervening years. My only hill memory from that weekend is an impromptu Eilean Shona visit with Eddie Dealtry; we inferred an approximate low tide time and splashed across in our fell-running shoes.
Finishing the Marilyns list, in 2014 during that brief period between the St Kilda stacks being seemingly impossible and then becoming borderline commonplace, is probably my best memory of all.
Despite focusing on overseas peaks over the last decade, the homeland never fails to enchant and entertain and I do not see that changing.
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