I started hillwalking in the UK on the day princess Diana died. I remember the sombre music on the the radio while driving from Preston to the Lakes.
I loved the Lakes but five years later I moved to Scotland, which I never regretted. At that time I was also betting with Roger and Mike that I could do the Munros within three years. And three years later I was lying in my tent behind the Kingshouse after a Munroist celebration with Roger and Mike (I had actually finished on Ben Hope two months earlier).
Early in the round I met an elderly Munroist when walking up Driesh and Mayar and he fueled my 'I want to do the Munro's' fire even more. Living in Dundee meant that Driesh and Mayar were my home Munro's and so I did them again with Byron and Roger and also last year on a beautiful winter's day when Angus seemed Antarctica.
And yesterday we walked up another time to open the 2009 hillwalking season with an ascent of Mayar. I was accompanied by Ana and Celine. It was a good enough day with clouds high and the odd blue spot in the sky. We started just before a large group that arrived in a bus. Here is that group following us through Corrie Fee.
It was easy walking and a nice change from carrying heavy climbing gear. Soon we arrived on the summit of Mayar and there were plenty of artic hares on the Western flank of the hill. To the North East was Lochnagar and I remember the winter ascent of Eagle Ridge with Trias a few weeks back. Much of the snow is now gone but some zebra stripes remain.
We took crampons but most snow was slush and could be avoided and so we didn't need the crampons.
Some clouds from which graupel was falling moved in and we decided not to do Driesh and walked down the Kilbo path.
It felt good to be just walking again.