Marhofn 196.11 - May 2009

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Time has told me

Rowland Bowker

We acquired Alan Dawson's book in June 1992, on the day before Ann climbed her last two Corbetts, Beinn Dearg Bheag and Beinn Dearg Mor. After checking my records of Munros, Corbetts, Donalds, Bridges and a few minor hills such as the local hill of my youth, The Cloud, and my very first Marilyn, Great Orme, I found that I had already done 660, enough to enter the not-yet-invented Hall of Fame. I set myself the target of doing 1500. I think one should always set an achievable target. For Munros and Tops it had been 500, although eventually I did all but the In Pinn and the northern pinnacles of Mullach an Rathain. Then followed six glorious years. Number 1500 was Meall a'Bhainne (18B) on 11 July 1998. It did not feel like a celebration. The end of a journey brings sadness. I think the best times were when my total was less than 1200. Then there were hills to be climbed all over. Should we give ourselves a yearly ration?

For me it is impossible to name a favourite Marilyn. There are so many superb hills. So much depends on mood, conditions, company etc. It is a bit easier to name my unfavourite one. My choice goes to Swinside, the nearest one to home. I resent the fact that it is surrounded by private notices, although this was not the case in the past. In Victorian times it was one of the stations of Derwentwater visited for its superb views. I dislike listening to pheasants being shot, and it is infested with ticks.

Recently we have developed an interest in climbing the Humps. They include quite a lot of easy hills suitable for the rather senior bagger, while confirming that Alan's choice of 150m for the Marilyns was an excellent one to provide significant and, on the whole, pleasant hills. I have set myself the modest target of 2500 Humps. Currently I am at 2358 while Ann is ahead on 2397. We should remember the Japanese saying, 'He who climbs Mount Fuji once is a wise man, but he who climbs it twice is a fool'.

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