Marhofn 230.13 - May 2011

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Marilyn starts

Dewi Jones

My haul of new Marilyns has just about dried up, and these days I seem to grope along in the low 500s. Any new hill now involves a round trip of over 200 miles and I am inclined to give that as the main reason for this state of affairs. Others who know me quite well might put it down to innate laziness. A rush of blood last year produced four new ticks, and as such an achievement is hardly noteworthy I thought I would write about something else.

From looking at the Hall of Fame newsletter I get the impression that summits for landmark ascents such as the 100th, 600th or 1000th are often carefully chosen and, consequently, these events take place on a wide scattering of hills all over Britain. However, it is reasonable to assume that very few of us chose our first hill with the completion of any list in mind, and indeed when most of us set out on a life of hillwalking, Mr Dawson had not compiled the list that is 'The Relative Hills of Britain'. Consequently I found an analysis of people's first hills to be quite interesting.

A quick check through the list shows that, as things stood in May 2010, 32 people started on 13 different hills in Wales, this despite the fact that only two were born in Wales and only seven live in the Principality. England has seen 86 starts on 42 different hills, and 90 started on 61 different hills in Scotland. Take this analysis a bit further and we find that in Scotland six hills saw two starts, three people started on Knock of Crieff, four on each of Schiehallion, East Lomond, Lochnagar, Ben Nevis and Tinto. Arthur's Seat has the most starts with six.

In England seven hills saw two starts, four have three, and in the top three places are Ingleborough and Great Whernside with four, Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Leith Hill with six, and Worcestershire Beacon with seven.

Of the 32 starts in Wales, two hills (Cadair Idris and Moel Siabod) have two, Moel Famau has four and Great Orme six, whilst Snowdon tops the lot with ten starts. Finally we must not overlook the fact that one start was in none of these three countries, that being on Snaefell in the Isle of Man.

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