Marhofn 171.09 - May 2007

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Baglogs: Upper Hall:

Baglog: John Hipwood (+140=1064)

I started 2006 with a determination to take my Marilyn total up to 1000, and new year's day secured Meall a'Chaise (16D) - a great start. Local bagging is now impossible for me (although a weekend in mid January brought five Welsh Mynydds), so seven trips to Scotland were planned. A week in the Angus glens started with a satisfying traverse of Corwharn and Cat Law, and finished with a nice half day on Hill of Wirren, with eight others in between. A week at Strontian at the end of May added 14, including the classic walk of Beinn na Cille, Fuar Bheinn and Creach Bheinn. A highlight of this trip was meeting Ursula Stubbings, who had just been where we were going, so happy hours were spent reliving past hills and discussing future plans.

At the end of July I travelled to the Shetlands, and on 3 August we left our B&B on Foula for the traverse of The Noup followed by a delightful ridge, with the view coming and going in the mist on to The Sneug. This was the highlight of the year for me - I had reached my 1000 target. We spent 45 minutes on the summit, hoping for a view, but it was not to be, so returned to base for a celebration meal and drinks. Any fear of anti-climax was averted by recollection of a beautiful island with great coastal scenery and fantastic bird life, and anticipation of our trip to Fair Isle, where we were booked in to the bird observatory for three nights. While waiting for our ferry, the Good Shepherd, to load, whom should we meet disembarking but Ursula Stubbings, who again had just returned from where we were going. Tales of the Good Shepherd are legendary; a roller-coaster ride including a journey through the Roost, one of the roughest seas in the Atlantic. It lived up to its reputation. We held on for dear life with every roll of the waves; it was 21/2 hours of pure excitement or one hell of a journey, depending on your perspective. We visited Ward Hill on three occasions by various routes, but would recommend the full coastal route; a classic walk. The bird observatory is highly recommended. The accommodation and food are excellent, and there is also the attraction of arctic terns, arctic skuas, great skuas, puffins, fulmars, kittiwakes etc. A highlight for me was to accompany the wardens and assist with trapping and ringing storm petrels.

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