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Although reaching 1000 Marilyns was not a major aim for 2008, I thought it might be a reasonable possibility. I was helped by having two walking days with five Marilyns. The first was on Good Friday in the South Downs and the second was in August in the valleys of south Wales.
In between these I made two visits to Scotland, where there were a number of highlights. On a two-week holiday in April I experienced excellent weather, especially during the second week on Skye. One highlight was on the Trotternish peninsula, where I combined a re-ascent of The Storr with Ben Dearg and Hartaval. With overnight snow I was unsure of a route up the rock band on the north side of Ben Dearg, so found a way through the corrie on the east side. On the descent I encountered an eagle circling close above me. The next day proved to be another highlight, with a walk through Glen Sligachan to Sgurr na Stri. This time I had to make do with the company of two ravens as I approached the summit. The view from here was particularly impressive, especially as there was a covering of snow on the Cuillin.
On my second visit to Scotland, in early June, the ascent of Beinn nan Lus was a particular highlight. I had considered the route from Victoria Lodge, but made a late change to Glen Etive. Amazingly, I caught up with two other walkers on the bealach east of Ben Starav, who were heading for the same summit. Fortunately the route down Allt Hallater was easy going and Beinn nan Lus was reached in about two hours.
By the time I came to make a short third visit to Scotland in the autumn, I had just ten more Marilyns to reach 1000. One worthwhile day was spent on Hunt Hill (7), walking in from Invermark, via the Falls of Unich and returning over Craig Maskeldie. By the time of my final full day I needed four more. I began with a morning ascent of Blath Bhalg (6B), much enhanced by fresh snow, which was followed by a mid-day climb of Meall Mor, which provided a fine view of Crock, my third of the day. This hill had defeated me three years earlier on a wet day, when I had attempted an ascent from the east in combination with Hare Cairn. In the event Crock proved to be a pleasant afternoon walk. Leaving the track on the east side of the hill, just north of the cottage of Tulloch, I found easy progress through larch trees. Then contouring round to the north I picked up a good ride through the spruce trees over the higher track and on to the open summit. As with similar tops surrounded by conifers, I found this isolated open top strangely satisfying.
My 1000th Marilyn was left for the journey south and proved to be Well Hill (27C). Again I was blessed with sunny weather, as the Borders were sandwiched between two snowy areas to the north and south. There was also a coincidence on Well Hill, as this had been the 1000th Marilyn of Richard Webb, the man who introduced me to the RHBs.
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