The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday, 15 May 2015

Creag Bhalg


For no good reason, I awoke too early this morning and after a little lounging around, decided that I may as well take advantage of the long hours of daylight and seize the day. Thus, it was before 6am when I left the Linn of Dee car park and headed for the track that I knew Mick would be treading this morning.

I didn’t expect to meet him, as I was only going to overlap his route for less than half a kilometre, but I did leave a note so prominently in the middle of the path that I felt sure that he would see it (just to let him know that I’d changed my route and thus he needn’t worry when he didn’t walk past Colin later on his way to Braemar).

Leaving the main tracks behind, it was quite a pretty walk along an old heather-bound track, as I made my way up to what proved to be a quite unremarkable hill. When the paths ceased to head in the right direction for my purposes, uphill I bashed. It turned out that the heather wasn’t quite as deep as it looked from a distance, so I wasn’t having to pick my leg up high on every single step. Even so, I certainly generated some heat, which was quickly lost when I got into the cold wind on the top.

I set out on this trip with a plan involving 18 Marilyns, but with no expectation of actually achieving that many. This was number 20 (17 from the original plan, plus three bonus ones) and what I found absolutely incredible as I stood on this top was that I have achieved a cloud-free summit on every single one of them. Today’s was a close run thing, with the cloud base not being far above me, meaning it was the only hill of the trip from which the surrounding higher tops have been shrouded (those higher tops cleared within a couple of hours; if only I hadn’t woken so early).

My note had gone by the time I got back (it turned out Mick, walking with Byron today, had passed within half an hour). We subsequently bumped into each other in Braemar.

I’m now off to Montrose for the next week, which will involve a lot of sitting in a room answering a phone and no hills. Hopefully we’ll squeeze a few more in on our way home, if the weather is favourable.


  1. So, how many Ms is that now in total? Or is that a secret?

    I am just going to add last Wednesday's conquest to my list on Harold Street, but I also have to remove one on Rhum that I thought I had done, but after consultation with Gimmer I find I haven't. We spent over a week together on Rhum back in the 70s.

  2. My Marilyn total wouldn't be a secret ... except that off the top of my head I have no idea, and (believe it or not) my Walking Stats Spreadsheet doesn't differentiate Marilyns from any other type of hill.

    I can tell you that I've visited 98 summits so far this year. Considering my general tendency towards laziness, I'm rather pleased with that number - particularly as I've thoroughly enjoyed the vast majority of them.

  3. You are indeed a true hill walker.