Roderick Manson grallochs in the face of the stalking season as he bags ever onward
August: A further series of sweltering miniatures until two friends from Coventralbion came up feeling distressingly hyperactive. A traverse of the Aggy Ridge was abandoned on the grounds that we couldn't see what we'd be falling off, so an impromptu round of the Dalmally horseshoe was substituted. This left us all so knackered that we actually had a late night meal in the Tyndrum Little Chef. Then came Ben Vrackie in torrential rain, further underlining the need to refine Manson's Twelfth Law (see TAC28, p5). 99 for 8.
September: Started with a problem. How do you get a Marilyn under your belt when you're reviewing an all-day electronic festival in Sheffield? Answer, rise early, drive out on the Bridlington road from York, then spend 92 seconds vaulting a fence ("Private No Admittance" - what can they mean?), traversing the water company mounds and reaching a trig point to log the year's 100th Marilyn: the majestic Bishop Wilton Wold. (Surely "the disgraced former Bishop Wilton Wold"? - Ed.)
Strathfinella Hill the next week required careful navigation through firebreaks to find its trig, whilst getting thoroughly soaked - again. A 2-1 gubbing from Brechin so-called City didn't help much either. The next week was even worse: an early morning sprint up Craigendarroch followed by a wedding. At least I finished with a creditable, if highly windswept, traverse of the western Cairngorms. 104 for 9: slowing down.
October: Started better: a short wander up Ord Ban above Loch an Eilein - a fantastic viewpoint for the Cairngorms and beyond. Carn an Fhreiceadain was back to the wet, boggy, foggy etc etc norm. At last however, on October 14th, came a temporary triumph over fate as my fourth attempt of a personal demon in Marilyn form - Largo Law - finally saw my size nines planted firmly on the summit. The uninspiring Hill of Wirren was followed by the fascinating hill forts of White and Brown Caterthun and rounded off with a game of two halves at Arbroath. The first half lasted around 14 minutes and the pride of Victoria Park won it 2-1. The second last another 76 minutes (plus half-time) and was notable for not very much really. The 12¾ hour traverse of Carn Liath, the full length version of Ben Avon (as opposed to the Director's Cut? - Ed.) and Culardoch was something else. 112 for 10: merrily rolling along.