2015 – the year in review

I’m a bit late to the party with reviewing last year but December was such a busy month (and I still have not caught up with all my trip reports).

However, 2015 was an epic year for being outdoors.  It was dominated by hills, hills and more hills with less running or cycling than in previous years as weekends away in the Bongo presided over any other plans.

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The Merrick and Dungeon hills (Galloway)

The Merrick – Mullwarchar – Dungeon Hill – Craignaw

The weekend forecast after our hill holidays looked pretty grim right across Scotland, but  Ally and I were desperate to get out again after such a good week.  The only window of opportunity was southern Scotland which had a pretty decent forecast – the rest of the country was torrential rain, weather warnings and high winds.  However, this presented an opportunity to go to Galloway.  We had never been to any of the Galloway hills before and in fact we had only been to this area once before, to the excellent Wigtown book festival.

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Leathad an Taobhain & Carn Dearg Mor (Glen Feshie, Cairngorms)

After my walk up Gael-Charn Mor the day before, I nipped into the Old Bridge Inn in Aviemore for a drink and to check the forecast on the wifi.  It was looking very positive.  Looking at my options of unclimbed hills left in the Cairngorms, I had this pair of Corbetts at the back of my mind.  The 21 mile walk was a bit of a thought, although the route seemed straightforward enough.  But, Glen Feshie!  The loveliest of glens.  I have so missed being in the Cairngorms.  They are still my favourite mountains.

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Abernethy Forest & Geal-Charn Mor (Boat of Garten / Aviemore)

Ally was away camping with pals this weekend so I decided to go off somewhere in Bertha.  But where?  Friday had been a stunning day but the weekend, as usual, was looking decidedly rubbish with heavy rain thunder and lightning just about everywhere.  There was one small window where it looked like the Aviemore area might just miss the worst of it, so off I went.

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The Sow of Atholl, Sgairneach Mhor & Beinn Udlamain (Drumochter)

My friend Ali and I had booked a weekend at the excellent Newtonmore Hostel in Newtonmore.  Once or twice a year we get away for the weekend to get into the hills and the plan this weekend was to tick off some of the Drumochter Munros.  I had also noticed the Corbett The Sow of Atholl could be included in Saturday’s walk of the Munros Sgairneach Mhor and Beinn Udlamain, so added that to our plans.

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Canisp (Assynt)

This was the second day in Ullapool for the book festival and I had time for a short hill in between book talks.  Again, the weather was excellent with full sun and low wind. Canisp would be a superb viewpoint.

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Stac Pollaidh & Cul Beag (Inverpolly)

I was in Ullapool for a few days for the book festival so it was a great opportunity to cram in some hills in between the book talks.  The Friday was a stunner of a day, and so for me there was only one hill on my mind – Stac Pollaidh.  I could not believe that despite being up here many times, I had still never climbed it.  There were always higher hills or foul weather or other things on.  Today was the perfect combination of a blue sky day with no wind, and was definitely the day.

I woke at the Ullapool campsite in the van at 5.45am, too excited to sleep at the prospect of climbing gorgeous hills on such a fine day.  I drove north up the beautiful road, for once it was clear so I could see the landscape like a dream.  The far northwest is astonishingly beautiful.

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