Marhofn 196.11 - May 2009

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Baglogs: Upper Hall:

Baglog: Barbara Jones (+33=1062)

Additions up to 33 after a couple of years on a plateau of 18. It certainly helps having the boat back in Scottish waters after two years in Norway. The weather in May was lovely for the annual camping trip with friend Jean, from Loch Muick to Braemar and through the Lairig Ghru to Aviemore. Then it was back to Ballater on my tod via Loch Avon and some wonderful days in the high Cairngorms. Braeriach and Loch Etchachan were highlights of the trip. Eight Marilyns picked up along the way and an assortment of other categories too.

By July we were sailing down the east coast to Inverness. Among a sprinkling of hills along the way, Creag Thoraraidh stands out for the memorable descent down a track towards Helmsdale golf course. It started well but we ended up pushing our way through solid gorse for maybe half a mile. Why did we laugh so much? We were extracting prickles for the next two days. Passing through the Caledonian Canal with our daughter and her two toddlers I abandoned ship for a quick dash up Ben Tee. And with a hire car used to return the family to Inverness airport, David and I had a sunny day doing Carn nan Gobhar and Sgurr na Lapaich (12B).

Plans for west coast bagging from the boat came to nought when David came a cropper on his bike and ended up in Fort William hospital. After a spell at home recovering, it was back to the boat by car with a diversion for Criffel. Time to hang my head in shame after my rant last year about car use. While David did light boat maintenance in the yard at Loch Creran, I drove to hills round about. Beinn Mheadhonach was still quite a trek on a wet day, tucked away behind Creach Bheinn. In contrast, sunny days on the Mamore Munros were a delight. By mid November it was time for a final fling, so I went to the Welsh borders with the tent for a couple of chilly but satisfying solo nights for Mynydd-y-briw, Gyrn Moelfre and Cyrniau Nod. Transport was train and bus, with some short hitched lifts from an assortment of rural characters, including an old boy of 92 who never got his Land Rover out of first gear. I rather feel like that on the hills sometimes.

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