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There were two notable achievements in 2008: the levelling of our Marilyn scores and making our entries into the Upper Hall of Fame. It seemed proper that we should make our passage into that hallowed place at the same time. With an April trip to the south-east side of Loch Ness planned and our scores on 992 and 994, it was likely that we would both reach the thousand mark then, so if we were to do so simultaneously Sue's deficit would need to be made good smartly.
Beinn Mheadhonach (6A) and Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoidh (10B) were visited en (circuitous) route for the Loch Ness trip, bringing our scores level and allowing us both to reach our 1000th Marilyn. The hill so honoured was Creag nan Clag (9B), surely the dullest of the group near Loch Ruthven and appropriately named for the conditions at the time. Fittingly, Colin Green, our mountain companion of longest standing, was with us. Slavonian grebes were on the loch too.
In May, a mountaineering club week was spent living in baronial style, self-catering at Glencarron Lodge, followed by another week bagging further north-east. A splendid, long day had us over Carn a'Choin Deirg and Carn Ban (both 15A) on the Alladale estate, when we also had sight of Paul Lister's electrified fence and the 'wild' boar within its confines. On another day the Scaraben - Smean - Morven - Maiden Pap round was remarkably fine.
During a short stay at Kendoon youth hostel in June we were finishing our evening meal when another visitor booked in. We fell into conversation and he told us he'd been climbing hills from a listing 'you probably won't have heard of'. We had heard of them and were delighted to be able to tell Martin Collins that our score then was just higher than his (it may no longer be). A convivial evening was spent with him and we remain in touch.
The quest for new English Marilyns entailed two trips to the deep south, the first to Dorset and the second to Surrey and Sussex where, following a triggers' gathering in Guildford, we walked a stretch of the South Downs Way; very pretty. South Wales had been neglected by us and so we spent time there collecting Hewitts and Nuttalls as well as Marilyns. We scuttled up and down several lesser hills between the valleys and were gratified to find our car still in place and unmolested on returning. The burnt ground and rusted debris in remote spots thereabouts showed that others are not always so fortunate.
We all find bagging locally becomes harder as time goes on and collections increase; with Minch Moor ascended, region 28 was wiped out and now just a few peripheral Marilyns are needed to complete region 27. In England our nearest needed Marilyn is 200 motoring miles away. Although I (Trevor) spent 20 years of my life with Walton Hill as my closest Marilyn, that was before I knew they existed and long before Alan had listed them; perhaps this year we'll go mountaineering in Birmingham.
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