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Ben More to Ben More: 50 years to compleation

Ben More to Ben More: 50 years to compleation


Postby walter » Thu Jun 04, 2020 3:17 pm

Date walked: 04/06/2020

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The first anniversary of my Munro compleation is coming up soon, and having a bit of time available with the COVID social restrictions in effect, I decided to put a few thoughts down on paper about my experiences.

I climbed Ben More (Crianlarich) in 1969, and continued with 281 other Munros over the following 50 years, with Ben More (Mull) being the last, on July 2, 2019, accompanied by 8 friends and family. I am now aged 72.

I started climbing Munros on day trips when my girlfriend, now wife (Lorie) told me about the Scotsman bus, while we were students at Edinburgh University. The bus used to leave from outside the Scotsman offices on Sunday mornings. We also joined the Edinburgh University Mountaineering Club (EUMC), and enjoyed many weekend camping trips, mostly in the winter. Since 1972, we have lived in North America, mostly in Canada (Toronto area), which made it much more difficult to make progress with my compleation. I managed to do a few Munros each time during UK visits on business or visiting family, but since my retirement a few years ago, I have had the opportunity for more extended visits to Scotland. In each of the three years 2017 - 2019, I spent a whole month or more, climbing every day, and managing about 35 peaks on each trip. Lorie, while not quite as crazy about Munros as I am, nevertheless accompanied me on hikes to about 100 summits.

Best memories?

1) Traversing the Five Sisters of Kintail in deep snow on New Years Eve with EUMC, on a spectacular winter day, starting from a bothy, and reaching Shiel Bridge long after dark, but in time to join the Hogmanay celebrations;

2) a solo camping trip to Lochan Fada, to do the Fisherfield round in one very long day, with an amazing view when reaching A’Mhaighdean, arguably the remotest Munro;

3) (of course), the In Pin. When I see videos of hikers doing that, I can’t believe I actually did it myself!

This is the first time I have submitted anything to Walk Highlands, which is something I feel a little guilty about. Once I discovered the existence of the WH website a few years ago, it has proved invaluable to me in route planning. It also gave me a sense of community, in reading about other people’s adventures and misdaventures on the Scottish Hills. So my apologies for that lapse. My thoughts are with Scotland during this difficult pandemic, and I hope that we will all be able to get out there again soon.

Stephen Walter
Last edited by walter on Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 50 years Ben More to Ben More compleation

Postby dogplodder » Thu Jun 04, 2020 4:21 pm

What a great story!

Thanks for sharing it. :D
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Re: 50 years Ben More to Ben More compleation

Postby onsen » Thu Jun 04, 2020 9:39 pm

Congratulations on your completion, Walter...& for sharing some of the highlights. :clap:
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Re: 50 years Ben More to Ben More compleation

Postby wee black dug » Fri Jun 05, 2020 12:06 am

Excellent. Cheers for sharing that.

I know I'll never get round them all, but if I could - all being equal - that'd probably be the way I'd choose.

:D
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Re: 50 years Ben More to Ben More compleation

Postby gaffr » Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:39 am

Hello....that has been a great effort over the years to get around all of the High Hills :)
Maybe you missed out, maybe already in Canada at that time, on the effort by your Club EUMC to have a member on each of the Scottish hills on the same day?
I can recall, that at Easter time in 1972, when I went with one of your members to Skye to share with Sandy T. and to enjoy the day out with his share of the effort….maybe you were also involved in that day out in the hills?
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Re: Ben More to Ben More: 50 years to compleation

Postby walter » Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:58 pm

Replying to Gaffr: yes I was part of the EUMC team trying to do all the Munros within 24 hours (noon Saturday to noon Sunday)...a project known as "JockBlock". This was in about 1971 or 1972.

I was assigned to do about 6 summits from Glen Affric, staying in the haunted bothy there on the Saturday night. The weather was great all over the country so things looked good. Nevertheless, I only just made it to the last summit about 10 minutes before the noon deadline!

But horror of horrors, when we all re-assembled back in Edinburgh (at the Edinburgh University's Graham Brown House), we learned that there had been an "administrative error" whereby two people each thought the other was covering a particular summit...so we managed to do all the summits except one!

Has anyone tried this since then?
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Re: Ben More to Ben More: 50 years to compleation

Postby gaffr » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:25 pm

Hello Walter.....It was just a thought when you said you were EUMC and that you left for Canada in 1972 that I connected up the Event possibly with yourself. In fact this Event was mentioned by me when replying on here recently to an enquiry about walking over the big Torridon summits in a day....I seem to recall that someone from the EUMC had completed this task during the Event. All this was now almost fifty years ago.
Anyway the person that I did the Skye summits with was Sandy Trees....did you know of him? Must say that I haven't heard from him since around that time in '72. He asked me along as a companion after he knew that I had completed the traverse a few years earlier....that golden summer of 1968. Maybe Sandy ended up in Canada?
Also we travelled to Skye with another club member whose job it was to ascend Bla Bheinn however he possibly left the walking until the Sunday morning and did not reach the summit. You are correct it was a midday to midday on the following day for the 24 hours during which we had a bivvy at Bidean Druim nan Ramh.
I do also remember meeting up and giving the news about Bla Bheinn to several of the EUMC members at a 'meeting up' in Newtonmore….perhaps this was a collecting place for the folks doing hills in the North?
I also recall, I think that it was, Ian Rowe, saying to the assembled folks that it was always there for another club to do this task after the narrow miss by EUMC.
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Re: Ben More to Ben More: 50 years to compleation

Postby walter » Mon Jun 08, 2020 1:37 am

Sorry, but I don't remember Sandy or Ian after all this time!

But I do remember the ghost in the Glen Affric bothy. I was the only person there on the JockBlock night, I thought, but I was wrong! It was quite scary!

Stephen Walter
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