Sunday, 16 December 2012

My number one non-pillar flush bracket


It's all very well spending day after day bagging hills, but there are other things to do like help Rob Woodall celebrate his 6000th non-pillar flush bracket (if you have no idea what that means, I wouldn't ask if I were you). It mainly involved having to eat a meal in the pub across the road with a mixed group of trig-pointers and hill-baggers.

If you want to see more, look at Douglas Law's photos here:

Only 5999 to go, to catch up with Rob (Picture taken by Douglas Law)
Chris Weetson on Wats hill
After the pub lunch, Chris Watson kindly took me to bag a nearby sub-Hump, Weets Hill (397m P90) whilst others dashed off to visit a variety of bumps and brackets.

Go west old man


A laugh of barrels
Good to see farmers acting as custodians of the countryside - Glen Lonan
The volume of snow and the threat of more made me decide that my aim to maximise the number of Marilyns completed for the year would be compromised, if I remained in the eastern Scotland whisky territory. So I headed off to the west and Argyll - section 19a, if you know your Marilyn regions. Turned out to be lovely bright and very cold week - with no snow.
So cold, I had to wear gloves whilst eating my breakfast some mornings.

Amongst the Marilyns bagged, I came upon the following scenes:

Allt Braglenmore
Carn Dearg (437m P172)
Loch Scammadale

Loch Tromlee
Meall an Fhithich (294m P169)
Cool modern art
Loch an Losgainn Mor
One particularly cold morning, I set off to bag my 200th Scottish Marilyn of the year, from the outlet of Loch an Losgaihn Mor. Celebrated at the summit with miniature bottle of 21% proof Spitz Vier Kanter. Not sure whether you are supposed to use it to remove old Nikwax from boots or drink it. Took risk and did the latter, then rolled back down.
Cruach na Seilcheig (380m P204)

Dun Leacainn - old top
Beware of the Humps

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cold winter


Carn a'Bhodaich (501m P287)

I think Winter may have arrived in north east Scotland. Having to wear gloves whilst eating breakfast is possibly a giveaway clue. During this first week in December there has been increasing amounts of snow on the hills - and I understand next week there is going to be even more so. I may consider going west. We'll see.

Meall Mor (492m P175)
Snow slows me down  - especially when it is deep and soft and there is deep heather underneath. So it is down to one Marilyn a day, most days.

Picturesque maybe - but...

Here is a picturesque scene alongside the river Findhorn. But just a minute why is the front bumper slightly off track? Because I have skidded into a ditch, that's why. There was no phone signal and in the 90 minutes it took me to dig enough bank away (with a latrine spade) and sprinkle enough grit from a pile 500 metres away, not a single other vehicle came along the road (thankfully or not thankfully depending on whether the vehicle would have had the capacity to give me a tow or not).

 Was it wise to reach the summit of Carn nam Bad (457m P206) as it got dark?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Rest and be Majorful

Even though there are no Ultras in Britain and Ireland (even Ben Nevis fails to muster the necessary 1500m drop, being only 1344m high) there are approximately 120 Majors. Having done a number of Majors in Europe over the summer, it occurred to me that I really ought to get around to completing the few in Scotland and the handful in Ireland left undone. After all, that is what obsessive hillbaggers are trying to do, complete lists of hills. The nearest uncompleted Marilyns to home are a group clustered around Arrochar, including a Major, Beinn an Lochain (901m P640) – every time I go over the Rest and Be Thankful I say to myself I really must get round to doing this lot. So, here came the time, I thought.

Major Ben
The first hill was the Major. The sun was shining, there were bits of snow on the ground and a touch of a breeze – perfect. It’s an easy climb, on a well used path from Easan Dubh (I see that the OS tautologically refer to it as the Easan Dubh fall). In the short time it took me to get to the top, the weather changed to snow, up there, and rain, in the valley. And checking the weather forecast i could see the rain was here to stay for a while. So, I decided to abandon the Rest and be Thankful hills once again and head east to Angus – or regions 7 and 21, if you prefer.
See next posting!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Cracker of a fell - Cracoe fell

Start - Park Top - SE 03777 55576
So, just like a week ago, I have repeated a hill in the environs of Skipton. Who needs to travel long distances to find new hills in northern Scotland or on the European mainland when Skipton has so much to offer?
My occasional walking companion, Cliff, still has Marilyns to do in Yorkshire - so today's mission was to add another tick to his list.
We started at Park Top and followed a drivable track past lower Barden reservoir and then another track up on to the grouse moors of Barden Moor.

Trig point - Thorpe Fell

We made an unorthodox tramp across unpathed moor to the original Marilyn/Dewey trig summit of Thorpe Fell (506m).
When the Marilyn was revised to be the rock on which the Cracoe war memorial obelisk (507.8m P310) stands I recall a number of people grumbling about having to revisit. What I fail to undrestand is why anyone who visited the trig was not curious enough about the obelisk to pay it a visit anyway - especially as it is better served with a path, than is the trig.

Old and new
War memorial on Cracoe Fell

Admittedly there is not much of a path from the trig across the disused Threapland peat pits down to the dip between the two tops. Once we got to the path by the wall it was a muddy mess.
Cliff got his list tick by standing on the summit rock and then we headed back to the wall and followed it for a while northwards, before turning left at an arbitrary point to walk across grouse moors to pick up another track on Yethersgill Head. This track took us past the Upper Barden Reservoir, over Lump Gill Head and neatly back to the start point. A good 18km circular on a reasonable day.

Rylstone fell
Distant view of Cracoe fell across typical grouse moor

Monday, 5 November 2012

Skipped on more


Remember, remember the 5th of November - the day that Peter Collins bagged his 2000th Hump - Skipton Moor (373m P137) -  in the company of Gordon Adshead, Bill, Jon Foote, Douglas Law, Pete Ridges, Chris Watson and myself.
I decided that with my bus-pass and senior railcard I could get there a lot cheaper and not much slower by train.

That's Skipton Moor in the background
We rendezvoused at the start of the track and, eventually, in a rather straggled line set off up the hill. Despite the fact that several of us had previously bagged this one, we managed to ascend by a less commonly used route.

Somehow the majority of us made it to the top. The usual disputes broke out about which particular rock was the true summit and whether any of them were higher than the trig. Despite the presence of the HumpHOFmeister, Chris, none of us knew the Hump chant - so Peter was saved from that embarassment. There was the usual ritual of  photos - for example, see below. If you want to see more pics try looking at Doug's at:

Peter Collins
Doug somebody
 Afterwards we had a celebratory drink here:
Congratulations, Peter.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Arctic to Adriatic - a summary


Date/Mountain name/ Country/ Height (m)/ Prominence (m)/ Status, if any/Ascent (m) /Distance (km)
01-07-12 Ejer Bavnehoj Denmark 170.35 Country top (historic) 100 2
01-07-12 Møllehøj Denmark 170.86 Country top(DK) (alternative)
01-07-12 Yding Skovhoj Denmark 173 Country top (human-made?) 20 0.5
06-07-12 Stiganosi Norway 1761 680 Major 1550 16
08-07-12 Kyrkja Norway 2037 277 ‘Marilyn’ 1000 13
10-07-12 Galdhøppigen Norway 2469 2372 Country top (N) + Ultra 1550 14
12-07-12 Snøhetta Norway 2286 1675 Ultra 850 13
17-07-12 Branntuva Norway 702 120 ‘Hump’ 1200 16
18-07-12 Helvetestinden Norway 602 160 ‘Marilyn’ 800 10
19-07-12 Hermansdaltinden Norway 1029 1029 Island top + Major 2100 23
21-07-12 Snøtinden Norway 637 200 ‘Marilyn’ 1100 17
26-07-12 Hamperokken Norway 1404 Major 1450 15
27-07-12 Karltinden Norway 1206 316 ‘Marilyn’ 1150 12
28-07-12 Store Lenangstinden Norway 1625 Ultra 1650 21
02-08-12 Skuleberget Sweden 300 2
03-08-12 Slattdalsberget Sweden 300 8
03-08-12 Hogklinten Sweden 281 150 ‘Marilyn’ 250 4
09-08-12 Sněžka Czech R/Poland 1602 1202 Country top (CZ) +Major 900 12
10-08-12 Wielk Szyszak Czech R/Poland 1509 331 ‘Marilyn’ 800 12
14-08-12 Králický Sněžník /Gora Śnieźnik Czech R/Poland 1425 657 Major 850 16
15-08-12 Pilsko Poland/Slovakia 1557 752 Major 1000 16
16-08-12 Babia Gora/Diablak Poland/Slovakia 1725 1075 Major 1250 17
18-08-12 Krzesanica Poland/Slovakia 2122 323 ‘Marilyn’ 1800 37
19-08-12 Svinica Poland/Slovakia 2301 351 ‘Marilyn’ 1900 25
20-08-12 Giewont Poland 1895 170 ‘Marilyn’ 1150 18
22-08-12 Rysy Poland/Slovakia 2503 163 Country top (PL) + ‘Marilyn’ 1450 26
23-08-12 Kriváň Slovakia 2494 400 ‘Marilyn’ + Country national 1450 24
25-08-12 Gerlach(ovsky Stit) Slovakia 2624 2355 Country top (SK) + Ultra 1800 20
26-08-12 Vel’ka Svist’ovka Slovakia 2038 25 P25 1350 20
29-08-12 Kral'ová hol'a Slovakia 1946 756 Major 1100 13
30-08-12 Ďumbier Slovakia 2043 1143 Major 1300 22
31-08-12 Pol’ana Slovakia 1463 732 Major 300 6
31-08-12 Kékes Hungary 1014 774 Country top (H) + Major 50 1
05-09-12 Hochtor Austria 2369 1520 Ultra 2000 17
07-09-12 Grosser Buchstein Austria 2224 1363 Major 1900 24
08-09-12 Grosser Pyhrgas Austria 2244 1250 Major 1300 14
09-09-12 Zirbitzkogel Austria 2396 1502 Ultra 1050 18
09-09-12 Fuchskogel Austria 2214 151 ‘Marilyn’ 1050 18
10-09-12 Grintovec Slovenia 2558 1706 Ultra 1800 16
11-09-12 Màngart/Mangrt Slovenia/Italy 2679 1067 Major 750 6
15-09-12 Triglav Slovenia 2864 2052 Country top (SLO) + Ultra 2150 18
19-09-12 Snežnik Slovenia 1797 1124 Major 500 8
20-09-12 Matajur Slovenia/Italy 1642 1392 Major 1000 14
21-09-12 Krn Slovenia 2244 605 P600 1300 13
22-09-12 Kanin/Canin Slovenia/Italy 2587 1403 Major 750 10
25-09-12 Stol/Hochstuhl Slovenia/Austria 2237 1021 Major 1550 10
02-10-12 Monte Altissimo di Nago Italy 2079 653 Major 550 9
03-10-12 Cima Valdritta Italy 2218 1950 Ultra 1000 12
04-10-12 Cornetto Italy 2180 1685 Ultra 900 12
05-10-12 Cima Dodici o Ferrozo Italy 2336 1874 Ultra 1300 25
06-10-12 Monte Grappa Italy 1775 1456 Major 150 5
07-10-12 Col Nudo Italy 2471 1644 Ultra 1600 12
08-10-12 Civetta Italy 3220 1454 Major 1650 12
11-10-12 Polinik Austria 2784 1580 Ultra 1550 16
13-10-12 Raucheck Austria 2430 1463 Major 1900 17
14-10-12 Hochkönig Austria 2941 2181 Ultra 2100 24
18-10-12 Birnhorn Austria 2634 1665 Ultra 2000 18
20-10-12 Ellmauer Halt/Wilder Kaiser Austria 2344 1552 Ultra 1300 13
21-10-12 Rotwand Germany 1884 741 Major 900 18
22-10-12 Grosser Traithen Germany 1852 1007 Major 1050 13
25-10-12 Königstuhl Germany 572 296 ‘Marilyn’ 35 2
26-10-12 Grosser Feldberg Germany 879.5 666 Major 10 0.5
26-10-12 Loreley rock Germany 194 200 5
27-10-12 Hohe Acht Germany 747 536 ‘Marilyn’ 180 4
27-10-12 Signal de Botrange Belgium 694 Country top/Belgian region high point- Walloon 6 0.2
27-10-12 Baraque Michel Belgium 674 0 0.2
27-10-12 Sint-Pietersberg Netherlands 107 250 10
28-10-12 Brussels HP Belgium 127 Belgian region high point - Brussels 40 4
28-10-12 Kemmelberg Belgium 152 Belgian region high point - Flanders 10 0.5

Some totals:

Total metres ascent: 69601
Total kms walked: 890
Equivalent 'Everests' ascended: 7.87

Prominence criteria:

P150+ (‘Marilyn’)        57
P600+                        42
P610+ (Major)             41
P1000+                     32
P1500+ (Ultra)            16
P2000+                       4

Absolute criteria:

 500+m                     59
1000+m                    51
1500+m                    45
2000+m                    32
2500+m                    10
3000+m                      1

Country tops:                  8  – Denmark, Norway, Czech R, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Belgium

Distance driven from Esjberg, Denmark – Calais, France  13390km

Hitchhikers picked up – by their nationality:

Czech Republic: 2
France: 4
Slovenia: 1
Poland: 3
Estonia: 2
Total: 12 (8 male;  4 female)
Only one was picked up in his own country – i.e. one from Poland

Countries visited:

Country/ Nights slept there/ Towns visited*/National Parks visited/UNESCO World Heritage Sites visited
Denmark/Danske (inc. 1 on Baltic sea) 3 Skagen
Norway/Norge 27 Trondheim, Tromso Jotunheim, Dovrefjell, Nærøyfjord
Finland/Suomi 0 Sweden/Sverige 7 Stockholm (C), Karlskrona Muddus Laponia, Höga Kusten, Karlskrona naval docks
Poland/Polske 10 Wroclaw, Zakopane
Czech Republic/Ceske Republik 5 Spindleruv Myln
Slovakia/Slovenske Republik 12 Strbske Pleso, Bratislava (C)
Hungary/Magyarorszag 1
Austria/Osterreich Republik 19 Wien/Vienna (C), St Johann im Tirol Gesause Hohe Tauern Historic centre of Vienna
Slovenia/Slovenija 15 Kranjska Gora, Bovec, Ljubljana (C), Bled, Kobarid Triglav Triglav national park
Italy/Italia 13 Venezia/Venice, Padova/Padua, Verona, Alleghe Venice and its lagoon, City of Verona, Dolomiti
Great Britain 2 London (C)
Germany/Bundes Republik Deutschland 6 Munchen/Munich Upper Middle Rhine Valley
Netherlands/Nederland 0 Maastricht
Belgium/Belgique/Belgien/Belgie 1 Brussels (C) Grand Place, Brussels
France 1

*By visited, I mean walked/cycled around for at least an hour– not just stopped to shop, get diesel or to catch plane ferry, bus, tram or train
C = National capital city


Country top – the highest point within a sovereign state, excluding any of its dependencies
Country national – a hill officially recognised within that country as the national hill – often represented on the country flag
Hump  – a hill with prominence of 100m or more in Gt. Britain and Ireland
Island top – the highest point on an island
Major – a hill with prominence of 610m (2000ft) or more
Marilyn – a hill with prominence of 150m or more in Gt. Britain and Ireland
Prominence - the height of a hill’s summit above the lowest contour line surrounding it and no higher summit
Ultra  – a hill with prominence of 1500m or more
Via ferrata/Kleittersteig/Voie equipee – steep sections of tracks fitted with (usually) metal fixings including chains, cables, ladders, steps and pitons.




Oh, to be back in England. However, there was someting in Wales that I need to clear up. Earlier in the year one of the Tamperers had laboured through the nights and days to identify new Humps in Wales. As someone who has made a previous claim to having completed all the Humps in Wales, England and the Isle of Man I was duty bound to do the four new Welsh ones. It made sense, to me anyway, to get them on the way home.

Path to Hascombe hill
This meant that from Dover I set off more westerly than northerly. On the way I passed the sub-Hump Hascombe hill (195m P95).
Hey, there are no paint marks - how am I supposed to know which way to go? And there isn't a cross - where is the summit?

Hascombe hill summit
After an overnight stop on Swansea docks I went to free the first of the Myrddin Welsh Humps Four.
Because I was so used to starting off from huttes I decided to start from the Masons Arms for Mynydd Gelliwastad (213m P100). From there was a good view of Swansea, Port Talbot and the Severn estuary.

Mynydd Gelliwastad summit
Not quite Wilder Kaiser -  the Y Glog range
Then it was northwards for the next one in mid Wales - Y Glog or Draws Drum (574 P106) - which is also a Dewey and hence a bit higher. It is on a ridge(?) that includes some other tops so I made this one into a bigger walk and also bagged the sub-Dewey Y Glog SW top (574m P20) and the Dewey Pen Dihewyd (513m P36).

Pen Dihewyd
Next day I tackled the last two in north Wales. Firstly there was Llechwedd Melyn (196m P100) just inside the Snowdonia National Park, near Tywyn. It is possible to park within 400 metres of the summit, but by time I had wandered around looking for ways through the trees and brambles I managed to walk three kilometres. And enjoyed every moment.
Llechwedd Melyn summit
When I reached the final Welsh Hump (again) it was late afternoon and it had been raining heavily. Luckily the rain sort of stopped whilst I bagged this one. Cefn Yr Ogof (204m P101) is that hill with a castle on you drive by on the A55 near Colwyn Bay. I have often looked at it and wondered whether it was worth exploring.

I parked in a side road in Terfyn and, not sure why, tackled the hill by a direct assault by the edge of an old quarry. There were a few desperate sections but it wasn't too difficult really. This meant I was soon on the top plateau. From there it was a wander through scrubland to the summit trig point. Just beyond the summit there were several large fairy rings of  mushrooms.
I didn't fancy sliding back down the quarry and although I did not have a map with me I was fairly confident that if I kept going I would find an alternative way down and be able to circle round to the start. Somehow, in the dusklight,  I lost the faint path and ended up climbing over barbed wire fences, creeping around ploughed fields, right next to a farmhouse and then came out on the road at Rhyd-y-Foel.
I celebrated with a veggie burger and chips from a chippie in Abergele - where the owner made a special point of cooking the burger in oil that had not been contaminated by fish or meat products.
My last Welsh Hump - ever?