Marhofn 84.04 - May 2002

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2001 Reviews:

Gordon Ingall

A damage limitation year, with all 49 new hills north of the border. A long overdue trip to the Isle of Man planned for March was the first casualty of the FMD outbreak (rather ironic after procrastinating on a visit to my nearest island for the past 30-odd years). A trip planned for mid May in Cowal and Luss was put back a year, while an autumn trip to the Welsh borders and mid/north Wales was also put back a year.

Despite these setbacks I enjoyed two great trips north of the border in June and July/August. Was pleasantly surprised to find that Rum was open in June, and even someone with a Cumbrian address was welcome. Had three good days on the island, climbing all the major summits plus Orval (local sea mist spoiled the views). Lunch on Sgurr nan Gillean with magnificent views was probably the highlight of the trip. A re-ascent of Ben Sgritheall with its neighbouring Graham and lower Marilyn on a marvellous day was a close second.

A trip to the far north was also very enjoyable, with mainly lower hills being the order of the day, the pick being Creag Riabhach and An Grianan (16A) followed by a descent to Sandwood Bay in bracing weather and a cliff-top return above Am Buachaille, complete with great skua escort (fortunately outside the breeding season).

The far north-east also gave rewarding days in, for me, a completely new part of Scotland (no Munros or Corbetts). Bens Griam Mor and Beg were superb vantage points, dominating the lochan-speckled landscape and, as usual with smaller hills, harder work than expected. Morven, along with the knobbly tops of Smean and Maiden Pap, made a fine excursion in remote country. Unfortunately Scaraben was still out of bounds, even in August, so being a law-abiding soul I left it for another day despite seeing neither man nor beast all day. Let's hope that this year returns to normal with no more access restrictions.

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