Marhofn 171.09 - May 2007

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Baglogs: Upper Hall:

Baglog: Graham Illing (+48=1492)

I had three trips over the border in search of my completion of the mainland Marilyns, but missed the elusive 1500 target by eight.

Mull: A group of ten of us spent Easter in the luxury of Callachally House near Salen. Alan Holmes and George Morl joined the party for a systematic clean-up of Mull in remarkably benign weather. There were many highlights, but the trip out to Ulva and Gometra was a particularly fine foray. On the way home I had organised a boat to visit Scarba, view the Corryvreckan and meet up with established Marilyn bagging friends. On the way down from the summit I found a full stag skeleton and now have the antlers bolted to my head shed.

Tove Illing (left) and David Armin (right) with Graham Illing and trophy

Tove Illing (left) and David Armin (right) with Graham Illing and trophy

Hebrides: I unexpectedly got a one-week holiday and made rapid plans to head to Harris and Lewis to meet up with Brent Lynam's team for the second half of their island bagging tour. The first couple of days were spent backpacking round Pairc picking up remote Lewis Marilyns, followed by trips on powerful motor-boats to Pabbay, Taransay and (most spectacularly) the Shiant Islands, sailing past the impressive basalt columns cliffs, with vast numbers of puffins covering the sea and hillside. Those due to visit Muirneag are in for a long boggy slog, but the summit gives a novel view of Suilven. Many thanks to Brent for all his organisational efforts.

Cape Wrath: Under the guise of taking Tove on a tour of classic Scottish peaks like Slioch and Ben Hope (both of which saved dreadful weather for our visit) I achieved the year's real target of completing the mainland Marilyns. We had some excellent views from Cape Wrath, but the water works were back on for the summit of Sgribhis-bheinn. The summit was covered in shell cases - not a surprise since, when we visited the summit of Fashven a few years back, a fighter jet flew at eye level past us and fired off a series of bombs. Maybe we should have paid the 'Keep Out' notices some attention.

The final mainland Marilyn was achieved on 29 August 2006 in a long (tiring and boggy - Tove wanted me to add) 30km round trip of An Grianan, Creag Riabhach and finally An Socach. Anyone repeating this walk should be wary of the weak bridge made out of fencing wire at NC244611.

With all of my unclimbed Marilyns well out of weekend range, I have been concentrating on the Deweys, picking up another 155 to yield a running total of 277. More next year.

Corsica: An excellent trek on the northern half of the GR20 in June. Summit highlights included a challenging scramble up Paglia Orba and fine views from the summit of Monte Cinto.

Nepal: Dramatic views of three 8000m peaks (Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu) from the Annapurna circuit, and a good day for the high pass of Thorung La (5416m). It's great to hear that a peace accord has now been signed between the Maoists and the government, allowing more people to visit this great country.

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