Marhofn 316.18 - May 2016

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Bunch of baglogs:

Derek Sime (+13=632)

2015 was a year of contrasts - the first nine months working on a major project with consequently not too much spare time for hillwalking, and the last three months in retirement. Then there was the contrast in the weather; a couple of great winter days, a short burst of spring in April, a horrendously wet summer, then a magnificent autumn, followed by the customary return to monsoon conditions.

With 13 new Marilyns, that was a spectacular rise on 2014, but still a million kilometres away from the Upper Hall. However with retirement comes good spare time for hills, so who knows?

An early highlight was in April on Bill Taylor's Corbett completion on Breabag in superb spring weather with a cloudless sky, and I was privileged to be on David Batty's Grahams completion in October on Carnan Cruithneachd. Both of these hills were revisits for me, but I did manage to get to the top of 11 new Grahams, spurred on by an October weekend in Grantown-on-Spey for the Munro Society dinner, taking my total for these hills to 175, so that is a list I will be homing-in on over the next year or two.

Added to that were two new non-Simm Marilyns, both of which were in the eastern Borders. Having worked on the new Borders Railway for over three years, I thought it would be appropriate once the line opened in September to take the train to the Borders hills. I headed for the Eildon Hills from Tweedbank station on a fine sunny day, and a week later for the somewhat nondescript Sell Moor Hill from Stow station. Several other possibilities have yet to be explored, using the new line.

In total there were 39 Munro re-ascents, still generally my first choice for hill days, plus various other re-ascents. Despite the great variety of weather these included some great days, especially in the autumn, when I started collecting cloud inversions. Those on Beinn Narnain, on my first day of retirement (freedom), Ben Vrackie and Ben Lawers, where we met a woman on her sixth inversion of the season, were particularly memorable, and there was a brilliant autumn day on Bidean nam Bian.

In addition to all this, there was a trip to the Alps in late September, which saw ascents of the Bortelhorn (3194m), near the Simplon Pass, in thick mist and falling snow, and Piz Morteratsch (3751m), in the Oberengadin, in glorious sunshine on new snow. All in all, not a bad year.

Beinn a'Bheithir from Sgurr a'Choise (photo: Derek Sime)

Beinn a'Bheithir from Sgurr a'Choise (photo: Derek Sime)

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