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2015 was a memorable year where, for the first time, I was sucked into Tump collecting, which also made me feel nerdier. I spent seven periods of three weeks away from home chasing hill targets here there and everywhere. In mid-April I realised that it was about 100 days into the year and had about 102 new Tumps under my belt. I set myself a goal of at least 365 new Tumps in the year. At the end of December I climbed two Humps and a Marilyn near Builth Wells and by midday I was in gentle rain and strong wind at the summit of The Begwns. It was my 39th Marilyn, 86th Hump and 400th Tump of 2015, and my overall 1000th Hump summit. Very satisfying.
I kicked off in early January with friend Pam on Downham Hill, kicking off my Gloucestershire Tumps quest. In early March I bagged the Ultra, Roque de los Muchachos, on La Palma in company with Les Barcellos. We walked most of the volcanic spine of the island, including two hours of it in full moonlight round the edge of the Caldera de Taburiente, hunting for a 2000m ridge-top bothy. It was eventually found rather late, 800m away from its location on the map.
Later in March, in the Lake District, I picked up five of my remaining six English Marilyns in an excellent sunny week. The highlight was the Red Pike / High Stile ridge that I reckon is the best Lake District ridge walk. On the final day, when there was an eclipse, I was on Knott. However, sod's law clicked in as the cloud clagged-in and I saw nothing.
After bagging the Marilyn and Hump summits of Brimmond Hill and Tyrebagger Hill, which also brought my 1000th trigpoint pillar, I was made aware of 'Tumps by county' by a teasing post from Rob Woodall, when he nonchalantly suggested I mop up all the Tumps in Aberdeen UA as no-one else had done so. This was an irresistible challenge and I resolved to collect the remaining eight the next day. Despite a hailstone squall on one of them, by late afternoon I had them all.
I attended the annual Trigpointers' gathering at Litton Cheney YH and helped Ted Richards to bag his 1000th trigpoint pillar. Wild, windy and far from pleasant weather at below 120m, but excellent company.
In May my friend Lisa Mountain was having a 70th birthday meal on the curry mile in Manchester. Surely I just had enough time to squeeze in a trigged Tump, east of Oldham. Intuition told me I ought to take my clipboard with mock Trig Pillar Preservation and Inspection Company logo papers. I was challenged by a woman, whom I told that I was inspecting the condition of the pillar. She questioned my lack of high-visibility jacket and that it was a Saturday evening. On my return, she blew a fuse about my not having asked permission to park. Her parting comment was 'you are not an official person, you are just a man with a stupid hobby'.
After the curry, I drove to Loch Lomond to take part in an open weekend put on by the Scottish Outdoor Naturist Association on Inchmurrin island, with the specific aim of getting a first log of the Tump, Dun Sheock. I joined in the nakedness and had the odd experience of playing naked Scrabble in the small house there. I then set about collecting all the Tumps of West Dunbartonshire, of which Dun Sheock had been the wall for others. The final Tump, Hill of Dun, was climbed with Jimmy McPaul after two attempts when GOMLs barred us from their particular bit of the hill.
On to Mull and my third ascent of Ben More, from three different directions; south in 1979, north-west in 2011 and finally over A'Chioch ridge. Great five-island bag with big disappointment of not getting on to Dutchman's Cap. A warm week of small Marilyns after the excellent Ardfern Marhof dinner.
One of my targets for 2015 was to remove my fake Munroist status and re-establish my Munrohood with a trip to The Saddle. This took place in mid-June on a long sunny day, with son Jamie. I visited the proper summit as well as every other top, coming off the final Simm at 10pm.
In October, on another three-week trip, I included a very good east-west traverse of Liathach with Barbara Jones, finally getting to the eastern top that I had missed as a 19-year old with mates from school in 1971. On to Dunblane, Banchory again and a nostalgic sixth climb up my teenage local hill, Lochnagar, plus two new Murdos, from new direction of Invercauld bridge. Then Grantown for three days, my first attendance at the Munro Society dinner and a delightful close meeting with five reindeer on the hills the next day.
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