Gill Stephens reports on a 3 night trip starting on 24th April 2020, then 23rd April 2021 and then 1st April 2022 (hurrah!)
At last! Thirty baggers made it to Islay after 2 years of Covid-19-induced delays. We were rewarded for our patience by 3 days of glorious weather. The crowd began to arrive on Friday 1st April. I’m not sure what the good citizens of Islay made of the hordes of bagger-mobiles parked at the start of the Marilyns walks. Sgarbh Breac was remarkably popular early in the day and then Beinn Tart a' Mhill received a bit of attention later in the day. The ladies took the Angry Farmer route from Kelsay without problems, whilst the chaps were much less brave and chose shorter routes to the north. The weather was surprisingly good, given the dismal forecast in the morning.
On Saturday 2nd, the weather was impeccable, so many of the group went for the higher hills, Sgorr nam Faoileann, Glas Bheinn and Beinn Bheigier, except for the most hardened Tump, Hump and Trig baggers, of course. A group of 12 took the RIB to Macarthur’s head, some started from the minor roads to the west and one walked along the coast, bagging 2 hills from Proaig. Afterwards, the group went for an excellent meal at the Port Charlotte Hotel, where we were looked after really well.
Sunday 3rd was also pretty good, so Marilyn baggers concentrated on mopping up the remaining hills while the Tump, Hump and Trig baggers were also very busy. Most beat the afternoon rain.
Despite horrible, windy, wet weather on Monday 4th, Rob Woodall and Jonathan Woods went down to Port Ellen to bag Borraichill Mor, their 13,000th and 3,000th Tump, respectively, in good company, and with cake and whisky. Others were less brave and retreated to the excellent Port Charlotte Community Café for fry-ups.
We were all impressed with Port Charlotte Youth Hostel. It’s really comfortable and clean with excellent facilities, so it comes highly recommended.
The only challenging part of the trip was getting away from Islay. The Jura ferry broke down and was back in action only just in time for the Jura squad to get over on Monday evening. Strong winds also led to diversions of the Port Ellen ferries to Port Askaig, but without too many delays.
Finally, many thanks to Barry Smith for handling the finances. All the delays turned this into a much bigger job than expected, with the need to process refunds for cancellations and payments for new bookings. And many thanks to the baggers who waited so patiently for this trip and made it such a great occasion when it finally happened.
Attendees: Jill Robertson, Gill Stephens, Phil Massey, Peter Bellarby, Michael Earnshaw, Simon Fraser, Reg Willis, David Gilchrist, Alan Duval, Kathy Duval, Chris Bienskowski, David Baird, Roland Stevens, Richard Tibbetts, Alex Cameron, David Roeder, Tony Jenkins, Douglas Law, Colin Watson, Steve Jones, Chris Meadows, Lianne Jones, Steve Smith, Bob Kerr, Adrian Rayner, Rhona Fraser, Rob Woodall, Steve Clark, Jonathan Woods, Dave Chapman.