Marhofn 196.11 - May 2009

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Excuse Annexe

Hugh Barron (+31): Only 31 new Marilyns compared to 50 in 2007, probably explained by concentrating on winter climbing until April and running out of new day trip options.

John Barrowman (+58): In June I visited Prague then got the overnight train to Budapest; two cities I have been wanting to explore for a long time, and it was worth the effort. Then on to Slovakia for a week walking in the Tatra mountains. In November I got a good deal and flew to Majorca, where I enjoyed some good walking and weather.

David Crooks: Bagging has been light to non-existent owing to arrival of small children, but I've got my eye on Wendover Woods.

Les Cunningham (+5): As usual, my excuses are that (a) I have been up all the Scottish hills over 600 metres, (b) I prefer going up the higher hills, and (c) I cannot be bothered leaving the Highlands. I did manage 113 repeat ascents of relative hills and some new Humps. One of the more peculiarly satisfying days was on Ben Hope in horizontal rain, when I was able to fully appreciate the benefit of wearing a new pair of overtrousers for the first time. One oddity - for the second time, I found a tin whistle on a hill. I suppose there are not many musical instruments that people might carry in the hills.

Steve Davis (+63): A poor year. However, when you consider a double fracture of leg and ankle, on Common Hill of all places, not too bad.

Eddie Harwood (0): I consciously went up one in Wales last year only to find that I'd already done it!

Ian Henderson (+29): I think I may be at Stage 6 of the 'Seven Stages of Bagging' as reported in last Marhofn - ambivalence and opportunism.

Gordon Ingall (+17): A very modest bag last year, my lowest total since 1992. However, a case of quality over quantity (pretty feeble but it's the best I can come up with). Ethics had already gone out of the window when I hired a Cuillin guide for Am Basteir, so I returned to Skye in August and had a great day on the In Pinn, with a guide of course. Beijing put on quite a party for me (albeit before rather than after the historic event). When I got home I realised it had been exactly 51 years from Ben Nevis in 1957, a fair old stretch but well outside the record, according to Dave Hewitt. So that finally completed my Munro round, and my last 2000ft Marilyn, in the grand manner. I bagged the two little hills across Glen Brittle a couple of days later, but no new hills since then; must be in demob limbo. I did manage to concentrate on a second lowly target during the second part of the year, with a complete round of my local Wainwright hills for 2008, so there is still some bagging enthusiasm intact.

Robert Kerr (+7): A very disappointing number of new Marilyns, but 14 repeats also. Furthest new Marilyn from home was Butser Hill (42), most enjoyable was Biod an Fhithich (10A). The low number was mainly due to working and holidaying overseas, and a bit of laziness between intensive work weeks. Highest point reached was 4884m Carstensz Pyramid in Papua, Indonesia. Four of the seven summits now done. Three other country high points summited in 2008; Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

James Lamb (+1): I've been concentrating on Munros and Lomond ascents. For repeats I've done nearly 90 Munros and managed to get both West and East Lomond up to 1900 each. So although my new total is pathetic, my overall total is decent. Surely we should have a different Hall of Fame for overall figures and not just new ones, purely since I'd be way higher than I am at present - how sad is that!

Ian McCreath (+8): I have started walking again after my heart attack last year.

Chris Pearson (0): No new Marilyns for me, just plenty of repeats in the Lakes as usual. Had a nice trip to Mongolia though and also back to South Georgia working for the British Schools Exploring Society, studying glaciers. All was going well until our ship, HMS Endurance, came close to sinking on the return voyage.

Barbara Jones (+33): They are all so far from home these days. Grandchildren are a distraction, elderly mother needs more attention; and then there is the husband...

Tony Payne (0): I am now in the Falkland Islands and have made a start on the equivalent Marilyns here - visited about 35 out of the 100 definites and probables. Access to some, especially the uninhabited islands, is likely to be problematic and expensive. I doubt that the list will be completed before the end of my contract here (July 2010). I'm also 20% through the list on Ascension Island (all five hills). This is also likely to be difficult to complete, as two are under the control of the USA, and I'll probably have to speak very nicely to someone high up in the military to get access.

Pete Sellers (+33): We had hoped to bag a few in south Wales in December, but a bad back prevented me from driving. I'm feeling my age (76).

Paul Caban (+64): I'd worked very hard through the late spring and early summer and got into all sorts of remote places, in an effort to beat the stalking starting. Then my mum was diagnosed with a particularly nasty form of cancer (although I suspect there are no nice ones), which stopped everything for me. Completing the Grahams has given me something to look forward to.

Alan Dawson (+43): In August I was being driven north on the A9, to Beinn a'Mhuinidh via Slioch, when I got the expected-but-dreaded phone call from my sister to say that my mum had just died. I had little hesitation in deciding to carry on with the plan for the day. Turning back would have been no help to me or anyone else. So it was a very weird day, but being with friends in a wonderful setting was better than any other option I could think of. After that the only new hill I did before Christmas was Mona Gowan in November, when I was able to enjoy the extended summit completion celebrations in the bitter cold, even though I was so unwell that I totally lost my voice in the pub later. Although I live a mostly solitary life, I very much appreciate having good friends when they're needed.

Kevin Palmer: In June I struggled with fitness on a week split between Mull and Munro bagging (four to go now). On my return home I was admitted to hospital with sarcoidosis in my lungs. Six months of steroid treatment followed and fitness has slowly returned. It was a relief to finally get up Bardon Hill, my local Marilyn, just after Christmas.

Donald Shiach (+1): On 10 February 2008 I fractured my femur when ski-touring in the Cairngorms. The location was Lurcher's Gully, an easy descent route that I had skied dozens of time without anything worse than a tumble. I was off work for three months and then on phased return for a further three. It was mid June before I was able to attempt any walking at all. Nearly all my walking was on paths up to October, and even then I was keen to minimise any walking on rough ground, so with hindsight I did rather well to get up Beinn a'Chlachain in September.

John Steel (+5): I didn't have a good year in 2008 due to a knee injury which was murder one week and fine the next. It turned out to be a dislocated knee cap.

Harrold Thomson (+8): A number of reasons contributed to my even more meagre than usual total of Marilyns - a longer and better than average ski season, two new grandchildren, and helping to bring a large and neglected garden (not ours) into a more productive state.

Ronald Turnbull (+19): Revising and updating existing books in Somerset, Wales and the Lake District meant only re-ascents there, including three revisits to Helvellyn (two of them in the dark) and four to Blencathra. Maturity is when redoing tends to outdo doing. The only new RT guidebook was to Lomond-Trossach national park, so all 19 new Marilyns therein, ranging from Conic Hill to Stob Binnein. There were also several tree-covered summits in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. Meanwhile Bogrie Hill, within walking distance of my door, remains unstood on. Quite frankly, I can't be bogried.

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