It is with sadness that I must write about John Allen, of Forest Row in East Sussex, who died in February 2001. John was a vastly experienced hillgoer whose 650+ Marilyns included two rounds of Munros and one of Corbetts. We never met, but corresponded often and were able to compare notes after having both been scared by the electrical storm / cloudburst of 14 May 1998. I had been on the eerie edge of things on Ben Loyal while John had been forced to flee amid ferocious conditions on the eastern Fannaichs, close to the walker who died. Yet for all his high-hill adventures, John's heart perhaps lay with the homely bumps of the English south-east. He would have been my guide to the Region 42 Marilyns, and beside my desk is his Sussex Border Path (Sigma Leisure, 1999).
John's final letter included a typically ebullient TAC piece about walking poles, while his previous effort, written last October after a move from Thornton Heath, was equally telling. 'I have settled in to my new home', he wrote,
'and am feeling more relaxed than ever before. After living in Croydon for nearly all my life it is great to have dozens of walks that I can do from my own home, or after the shortest of drives. Sussex is a beautiful county and the Downs are true hills in spite of their height.'
That reads as a statement of hill-eclecticism, of what Marilyn bagging is all about, and deserves to stand as a memorial to this fine hill man.