It’s great to see that this long awaited book is coming out. I have my copy is ordered !
From Scottish Mountaineering Press “The Fox of Glencoe chronicles the adventures of the legendary Hamish MacInnes and his achievements in the field of mountaineering. It is now available for pre-order, with delivery expected by the end of July.
Throughout this rich collection of tales, Hamish’s unorthodox character and pragmatic approach to risk and loss are conveyed with wry, elegant style, offering a glimpse into the mind of one of the greatest mountaineers of our time.
Few people cram as much into a lifetime as Hamish did, and these memoirs reflect his restless curiosity and ability to marshal loyalty and support for the most outlandish schemes. The result is an eclectic array of tales that include youthful and historic first ascents, a disorganised attempt on Everest with only £40 and a borrowed tent; hunting for treasure in South America; dangling film stars from DIY contraptions off the North Face of the Eiger; hot air ballooning off Ben Nevis; and much else besides. Tenacious and inventive by nature, Hamish also committed much of his life to developing modern alpinism and promoting mountain safety and rescue. His legacy is vividly brought to life in this collection of unseen and retold stories, images and additional narratives from some of his closest friends.
At 368 pages long, this colour-illustrated hardback is available for £30, with the option to purchase a special slipcase edition for £40. We also have 50 numbered fine-art pencil and wash prints of Hamish, which are combined with a special edition of the book, for £50.
All profits from the Scottish Mountaineering Press go to the Scottish Mountaineering Trust, a Scottish-registered charity who provide grants to support the Scottish mountains and the communities who enjoy them.”
Well done the Scottish Mountain Press Hamish I am sure would be pleased !
Since the start of the Celtman I was involved in the safety cover with Torridon MRT and helped with others and added a few points over the years. It was amazing when it started and that was an eye opening day for many.
I remember coming off the hill after midnight it was a long day escorting some very tired athletes of the hill. Lots of lessons were learned. Many things stick in my mind of these early days: the wonderful people involved. All those connected with the race the organisation and the volunteers. Those in the race always thank you on the hill from the elite runners to those doing their first race. The banter and friendship is overwhelming. Enjoy the event on Saturday, stay safe and I hope the weather is fair. Torridon MRT have always been the main safety cover on the hill and they have a unique relationship with the event organisers.
The ninth edition of the CELTMAN! Extreme Scottish Triathlon, part of the XTRI World Tour, will take place on June 12th 2021 in Wester Ross, Scotland. Centred around the stunning Torridon mountains we will take you on an adventure unlike any other. Make no mistake – when they say this race is extreme they mean it.
Swim 3.4 K in Loch Shieldaig
Since 2012 the water in Loch Shieldaig has been below the seasonal average. This appears to be an ongoing trend.
The extreme nature of the temperatures led us to shorten the swim course from 3.8K to 3.4K. Even with this shortened distance the athletes suffered badly from the cold.
In 2013 a severe storm added to the drama with strong Southerlys pushing the competitors off course.
We strongly advise cold water training for this race and to wear a heatseeker vest under your wetsuit.
Ride 200K on incredible Highland roads
The stunning CELTMAN! 200K bike route takes you along some historic single lane roads and wide open highland A roads.
Although we do not have any mountain passes to boast of the route includes 2000 metres of climbing and being coastal is affected greatly by our varied weather.
It is common to find a strong headwind on the last third of the course, just when you thought you could relax!
Run 42K over two Munros
The CELTMAN! run is unsurpassed for it’s challenging nature and beauty.
In Scotland any mountain over 3000 ft (914.4 metres) is classed as a Munro. You will attempt two of these during the race on the Beinn Eighe range.
Spidean Coire nan Clach (‘Peak of the Corrie of Stones’ in Scottish Gaelic), is the highest point on the main ridge itself. It stands at a height of 993m. You do not go to the absolute summit of this peak due to the technicality of the climb but you go as far as the trig point.
Ruadh-stac Mòr (‘Big Red Stack’ in Scottish Gaelic) is on one of the spurs off the main ridge of Beinn Eighe and stands at a height of 1,010m.
Weather permitting (it’s often cloudy) you will have the most incredible vistas.
My days of helping with the safety cover are over. Yesterday I drove over to help my friend Kalie who has a competitor staying with here.
On the way I met two young lads Ex RAF MRT who are doing the race we had a great catch up.
The area is full of competitors and supporters. It was a slow drive round. The weather looks fair and hopefully it will all go well.
This morning poor Kalie was up to do breakfast for her athletes at 0200 and by 0230 they were gone. There day is going to be busy. There is a little cloud on the hill but no dreaded midges and it’s not to warm. They will be on the swim now, then the huge 200 k bike ride and the 45 k run over the hills. There hardy.
I hope everyone is fine and has a safe race. Just to finish is some achievement. Good luck to all and two other friends Scotty Shareman and Al Swadel.
To all the Organisers, Locals, Marshall’s and Torridon MRT thanks for all your efforts. I hope the 9 th Celtman Extreme Triathlon goes well.
With the long summer nights and long daylight this is the time of year for the keen runners and walkers. There will be a few out on these the “Longest days” getting these marathon days in. Scotland abounds in great challenges with huge ridge walks and combinations over the years made up by walkers and runners.
In June 1964 Philip Tranter son of the author Nigel Tranter was the first to cover all of these mountains in a single trip, taking in the Mamores 11 now 10 Munros, Grey Corries Munros, the Aonachs 2 Munros, Carn Mor Dearg 1 Munro culminating on Ben Nevis 1 Munro. Tranters Round involves a journey of 36 miles with 20,600 feet of ascent; it has been successfully completed many times in recent years.
This route was Philip Tranter’s original 24 hour concept of climbing all 19 Munros (Now 18) surrounding Glen Nevis, The Mamores, The Grey Corries, The Aonachs and Ben Nevis and was first completed in June 1964.
It has been added to Ramsays Round and more Munros put on it. The route was later extended by Charlie Ramsay to create a challenge comparable to Lakeland’s Bob Graham. But as a sub-24-hour goal the original Tranter remains a formidable round, including four of Scotland’s 4000-foot peaks and sections that become mountaineering terrain in winter conditions. To qualify as a winter round it has to be done in the winter months, but of arguably greater importance to the spirit is the presence of true winter conditions on the ground. Helen and Finlay’s recent efforts very much ticked that box.
So many to pick from depending on what you want.
Tranters Round was always a favourite in the old days. A big day superseded by so many others. Gear is better lighter as are the maps and Gps but there is so much to enjoy. Worth planning a day and see what happens. Enjoy .
This is the time of year to just of the weather is good go and try a long day that day can be whatever you want.
Mullach Nan Coirean Stob Ban Sgurr A Mhaim Am Bodach Stob Coire a`Chairn An Gearanach Na Gruagaichean Binnein Mor Binnein Beag Sgurr Eilde Mor Stob Ban Stob Choire Claurigh Stob Coire an Laoigh Sgurr Choinnich Mhor Aonach Beag Aonach Mor Carn Mor Dearg Ben Nevis Achriabhach Glen Nevis
There are so many days so let’s hope the weather holds for the Longest Day.
Philip Tranter was a hero of mine and I tried to climb many of his routes. He died in 1968 on his way back from the Alps in a motor bike crash. Scotland lost one of its finest mountaineers.
A great friend of Blyth Wright (RIP) who told me of this legend and some of the great hill days he put together with Tranter. I had done the 4 big Traverses of Scotland N- S, S- N, W- E,|& E – W and got a bug for big hill-days. This was one of the ways we trained and still do in the RAF MRT. I had tried once before to complete the Tranters Round with the late Keith Powell in 1985 and we got caught out by poor weather AND TOO MUCH KIT as we descended the no man’s land from Sgurr Eilde Mhor to Stob Ban. We gave up on the summit of Stob Ban and descended back to the midges in Glen Nevis, WE CARRIED TOO MUCH AND WENT OFF FAR TO FAST AT THE BEGINNING. I was also accompanied with my dog Teallach. Two year later with just my dog as company I managed the Round fairly lightweight on my own.
It was a great day and the Mamores were run in good time and on thisattemt there was great weather and I had recce the route. The hills flowed that day, I had trained hard and had the right kit, the mind was right.
I was very fit for me and knew the route intimately by then. Of course there were times when I had lots of pain on the Grey Corries was very hard but a second wind and I had one of the finest days of my life. The dog kept me going and he knew something was on after the first 12 hours. I managed the day in 23 hrs and the only problem was the descent back off the Ben, my knees really hurt. I took a few photos and got a walker to take the photos at the end near the summit of the Ben. These are incredible days and managed a few of them when I was younger. I did enjoy the Kintail Traverse and managed that twice both sides of the Cluannie the hard bit is getting to the road and keeping going. It was a bit special coming off to the Cluannie and driving home, no one about unlike the top of Ben Nevis which is always busy.
There are lots of great days in Scotland and I trained a bit by doing some of Scotland’s great hill days before these big days; The South Cluannie, The complete Fannichs, An Teallach and the Fisherfield 6/5 Now, The Cairngorm big 4 & 3 (Munros change) The Torridon Trilogy was always my favourite.
I was extremely lucky having so many great friends in the RAF who went along with my plans and those who did not all got a great day out.
Many still talk about some of these days these were incredible days. . Lots of great days and I struggle to do a couple of hills nowadays but it is great to see those enjoying these great places and moving on these wonderful mountains when young and fit. It is wonderful to travel light and be fit enough to enjoy these great places – go on get out there and go for it.
You will never forget them!
Philip Tranter and three friends drove a Land Rover 6,000 miles overland from Scotland to Nuristan to explore some of the unknown Central Hindu Kush area. They set out to attempt the second ascent of the monstrous Koh-i-Krebek (20,500 feet) by a new route from the south; to ascend if possible at least one other major unclimbed mountain and to map that previously unmapped terrain. In fact, as well as Krebek they climbed nine other major peaks, named another dozen, and established the existence of a dramatic rock and ice range which they called the Rum Mountains, and christened individually after the Hebridean peaks they resembled in shape and beauty. The story of the expedition is told with an infectious enthusiasm for the glory and challenge of these mysterious peaks, most of which had been hitherto quite unknown, and there is something akin to the Renaissance spirit of adventure in this exhilarating Scottish expedition of discovery to the roof of Asia.
“Drink it all in!
A man’s/ women’s best moments seem to go by before he notices them: and he spends a large part of his life reaching back for them, like a runner waiting for a baton that will never come.”
It’s a clear as yesterday! We were at the disco in Aviemore with the team it was a great night as they were (early 80’s ) Al Macleod wanted a big day on the rock and I was trying to get routes done for my Team leaders Course. The forecast was superb for the days ahead. We had a few to many and convinced a sober troop to drop us off at the Cairngorm Car park at about 0200. It was such fun Keith Geddes and some of the Glemore Mafia were in Aviemore that night as well, climbing was full of characters in these days and we could hold our own. The night was stunning and me Al and my dog Teallach decided to head over to Climb Talisman as we got merrier the idea became a plan . We had a hard winter and to climb on warm rock would be special. It was lovely just wandering to the crag in the early morning heat no more getting blasted on Call outs or winter climbs this was heaven.
I think we slept walked all the way to the cliff . Creagan a’Choire Etchachan . The climb the Talisman was in classic rock I had done it before I loved it and that cliff is classic . The routes were special to me as many of the great Cairngorm pioneers climbed here. You rarely met anyone here in these days. It was perfect even no midges.
We arrived about 0500 had an hours sleep it was still warm and then had a great climb on the classic route Talisman I remember the gear in these days was sparse . The Cairngorm granite was superb and we had great views all the way up. As we descended some of the Glenmore Lodge boys and their students had arrived. They were “Gods” in these days and were now starting up the route.
My dog found a bag open and scoffed their dinner before I noticed. We laughed no “MLC winter”’ for us and headed of to Hells Lum. Part B of the plan Al and Teallach forging ahead and me with a slight headache dragging behind. A swim in Loch Avon woke us up. The plan was Clean Sweep next.
Clean Sweep Very Severe 500 feet – first ascent Robin Smith and Graham Tiso September 1961. Robin Smith was 23 years old when he climbed this route he was one of Scotland’s outstanding climbers with a string of impressive first ascents. He graded is a cheeky severe its now a classic VS 4c.
“Sometimes a wave of snow laps the lower rocks until early summer! It can be wet in places from melt water as late as June? “The line according to Allen Fyffe is “superb, logical whole not a collection of bits. It starts up a green pillar , then by slabs and corners, it reaches a the foot of tapered pink corner above and right of Hellfire Corner. This corner fades out into cracks , followed by a rounded pillar of steeper grey rock.”
The route Clean Sweep was superb there were a few on the crag but I had climbed it before and kept Al right. We then descended the crag for the dog and bags had another wee sleep and headed over to Coire an Lochan for our last route Savage Slit.
This was my first big mountain lead many years before and we had a few night ascents after work from Kinloss grand days.
We abseiled in leaving the dog with the bags on the summit. The route was damp but good fun but I was tired and slow. We made the top of the climb were reunited with the dog and headed off to the Car park. Al ran of with both ropes I trudged back after a 12 hour day plus sleep time .
It was a long day for a non climber like me . The team leader Kas was unaware that I had woken him up in the early hours and said we were off and put a route of sorts down.
Kas was a great leader and climber and was pleased we were back no problem he fussed over Teallach and all was forgotten.
Al went to the disco to break more local girls hearts I went to bed convinced I would never be a climber yet very pleased.
I met Andy Nisbet a few weeks later he had heard about the sandwich incident and laughed. He had climbed a lot of routes in a day that year but we always had a laugh. He did not tell me then about his epic day from Lochnagar Eagles ridge to Glen Feshie with Charlie MacLeod in 1984. That is well worth a read . It’s in the 1985 SMC Journal and is so laid back. Both my heroes.
There was never any ego in him or Charlie and I always remember him saying Teallach was the best climber navigator we had in the RAF!
Sadly Al is gone a fall on the North Face of the Matterhorn. A great pal who was such fun so strong wild and you never knew what would happen next with him. He was so fit yet loved the craic we all miss him.
Andy is gone to sadly on Ben Hope on a new route. Another man who I met often always laughed at us when I took the Micky. Another tragic loss. Yet I hear of a climb as I saw today with a pal Di Gilbert on Talisman it brings back great memories of a place and people that make mountaineering so special.
Comments welcome !
Charlie MacLeod “Fantastic read Heavy….😀. The cairngorms are the perfect venue for ”mountain madness”….the possibilities are endless,the only limit is your imagination!!!. Andy and I bivied in the Coire on Lochnagar the night before our wee fun day out. I clearly remember us soloing up eagle ridge just after sunrise,the rock bathed in yellow light and still warm from the previous days sun. We were at the top in less than 30 mins so both knew the thing might just be possible. In true Scottish style of course it started snowing on Mitre ridge…😀”
We were on our first winter traverse West to East of Scotland. We had done a North to South a year earlier and John Hinde one of our mentors had said “if you think your fit try one unsupported in winter” . His words still resound “December with limited daylight would test you three. We were young fit invincible and cocky. “ The Three were myself Terry Moore and Jim Morning.
The gear was simple in these days , basic maps and long days with wet gear bothy to bothy setting off and arriving in the dark. Yet we had a secret weapon the new Helly Hansen Fleeces . What an improvement they were what an investment.
We were on our last week a crazy journey that started in Skye. Blown of the Skye ridge with only 1 Munro done. Then the snows came for the rest of the three weeks. In the last week after Ben Nevis big 4 then the it was the plan to climb all the Mamores . We had been on the go for 10 days had all types of weather it was the hardest journey we had ever done. The Mamores was to be the hardest day the 11 Munro’s even then a test of all your skills. Not easy when you add on big rucksacks and 4 days food. This day in winter is so underestimated it can be Alpine but what a day.
So we set off laden with food for and kit . That day we only managed 9 Munro’s that was crazy enough. Then it was the long walk to the bothy for the night. The bothy was at Luibeilt. Yet after getting there we forded the river to the nearby Meannanach bothy. We were soaked the river was high but we had to get shelter.
We were soaked cold and hungry. We had a system every night: One would get the stove going with soup or tea and the boys would change. Then They would get sorted.
The bothy was dark as hell freezing cold and the stove was lit and the brew boiling. We had a few candles the bothy was bleak. It was freezing, damp and wee just wanted to eat and get in our sleeping bags. Over in a corner was a load of wood. Jim and Terry got the fire going and the room lit up. The wet clothes were put near the fire and then we heard a rustle. In a far corner was a man who had been there since we arrived. We never noticed him! He had a knife and was sharpening a stick. He was not happy we were burning what seemed all the wood. It was very creepy. He sat on the shadows as the firelight room with his knife. I offered him a brew but he hardly spoke. Yet he told me enough that he had been staying here for a few weeks. He seemed troubled. In these days the bothies were very quiet at these time’s of year in these days.
We were exhausted had a big day tomorrow heading for Beinn Alder 4 Munro’s so we needed sleep. I told him we would be away early and gave him some of my emergency chocolate. He was still carving with his big knife as I fell asleep. I was worried but slept okay. We were up and away by 0600 and he was still asleep.
A year later our friend from the bothy arrived at Kinloss to see us. He was having a bad time in his life was a big business man and thanked us for speaking to him during his dark period. I told him how worried I was that night. I imagined waking up or not ! I slept with my ice axe nearby !
Strange days !
I have written at length on this walk in my blogs. These were incredible days thanks Jim and Terry.
See first photo to show position of loose boulders in relation to the abseil in to the gap. Climber exiting by the severe as used on ridge traverse, belayer looks to be on the said blocks.
First photo annotated by Emily Jones who also added, ” I didn’t commit my weight to the rocks and they slid, with the scree and smaller lodging boulders falling down the slope towards the East. very scary! A lot of caution needed when navigating these boulders.”
Please share thanks to Adrian Trednall of All things Cuillin for the words.
Be safe !
Some consider this the hardest part of the Cuillin traverse, particularly in the wet. From the bottom of the gap, climb the north side via a large block and corner to a break on the left side at 30 feet. Continue straight up, passing a bulge on either side, to easier ground.
Thanks to Adrian Trednall for passing on the information
Potential hazard in TD Gap between the abseil and the Severe climb out. This has been put out to climbers ! Thanks Adrian Trednall
“Myself and my partner have just been at the TD gap on the ridge. The two huge blocks that form a bridge across the gap that you step across after the abseil to get to the base of the severe have moved significantly. We went to step across and both huge blocks dislodged and started to collapse under our feet. They stopped moving but look really really loose and about to go again. We have bailed out of the gap but we think there is serious possibility of them dislodging further and the gap totally collapsing for the next party to cross, including the start of the Severe. This was definitely a near miss and we were fortunate enough to not commit our full body weight onto the blocks as they would of totally collapsed. We are aware that this dislodgement is very unusual so we are asking for you to post this information on your page to notify other climbing party’s and guides about this. We have already contacted mountain rescue and the said to post this information on this page!
Many thanks to Jonathan Redmond and Emily Jones for providing the info and warning. Take care out there, folks.
First my apologises for no blogs as I had a really upset gastric problem for nearly a week. I have no clue how I got it but am feeling a lot better now. I tried to “flush” it out but that did not work. My taste went as well and I could not get out due to the need for the loo. Without going into to much detail I never ate for 4 days living on water, bovril, lucozade and nothing else. Eventually The doctor prescribed some tablets and a week on I feel a bit better. This bug was worse than anything I have had in Pakistan India or Nepal and if there was a bug to catch I would catch it. It is amazing how weak you become so quickly. I did Covid checks and they were negative.
It was an awful week but I have on the bright side I lost a bit of weight. My pals have been all over the place this week on the hills and Glens while I have been on the loo. I am glad they are getting out and enjoying themselves. My time will come.
I knew I was not feeling great after my hill day last Friday. There was no energy and I was always feeling cold.
A sample has gone off to be checked and I kept away from folk. Most of the time anyway I was pretty weak to go outside.
Being unwell It gives you time to think and clear your head. So out of every experience comes some learning.
I will take it easy this weekend and recover properly. I am eating again and enjoying slow walks again in the sun. It’s amazing to see the flowers out and the folk enjoying the weather and the sea. Every day is a new day.
Sadly I had to pull out of taking a friend John and his son up Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis . I have been really lacking energy and very tired recently. I feel I let John and his son down as I had promised them a while ago. Yet I felt I had no power and maybe have got round the day but add in the journey down I know I had made the right decision.
Ever since my cycle in America I have been left with a hacking cough. I also had a bronchial problem . Added to that my Psoriasis had broken out again making exercise extremely painful.
My chest had been checked out and I have been told its just wear and tear after a lifetime of getting wet and cold on the mountains plus the odd avalanche ! Get on with it.
Yet I felt after all the poor weather the forecast looked good. I woke about it was a bit overcast but the weather was looking good in the West.
It was an easy decision so I decided to go for a bike ride. I have friends who live nearby Black Bridge just passed Garve. As I got to Garve the sun came out.
I had a great catch up and it was great to see them.
We had a lazy breakfast thanks to Anne and Mark . I had been up Strath Vaich often doing the Munro’s Corbett’s and Call outs. It’s wild country. I had never cycled up it and would see how it went. The sun was out no midges and you follow the road it’s stunning scenery.
My friend Mark had an appointment in Dingwall but cycled up with me up to near the Dam.
After that I went on alone. The tarmac Road to the Dam it’s a great road used by the hydro and the Estate and of course the cattle. There are lots of lambs about enjoying the sun it’s a peaceful place. The river is nearby controlled by the dam but this is a beautiful place.
After that is an Estate track with many gates but it’s a wild area. You have views of the other side of Am Faochagach a big featureless Munro usually climbed from the other side. It’s a big long mountain but from this side you cross the bridge and head up from the Estate house Strathvaich Lodge .
Mark left me at the ford in the river and then a muddy track back to the main Estate track on the other side. It was a muddy push up a wee hill.
From here the track follows Loch Vaich up the Glen. It seemed to go on for ever. Most wee hills I cycled but them it was a get of and push. The only wagon I saw was the Estate one at one of the many gates. I stopped often the views opening the vastness the hidden side of the hill and the odd deer watching. It was hard going and I nearly turned back I was running on empty. I was glad I was not on the hill and took my time. I was soon past the Loch looking at the few buildings that once folk lived in.
Here I stopped for lunch the midges came out but I enjoyed my Jam butties and a drink.
Then the track goes round to Gleann Beag I pushed my bike up
here. Then it was mainly down hill to the big bridge. I met two cyclist on the hill as I descended they were so strong and powerful
I felt a real wimp.
It was then head up the hill to the Corbett Carn Ban . I left my spare battery on my bike so got no photos as my phone died. I had wanted to see Seanna Bhraigh and it’s magnificent Corries. I have climbed camped Bothied here often it’s some place.
My Corbett was a slow process only about 3k from the track yet I was so slow. I just took my time and got there eventually lots of stops. Great views of Beinn Dearg it still has snow on it looking regal. My hill It’s a featureless hill that seemed to be never ending just one foot in front of the other. I was glad that there was no one with me to see my puny efforts . The hill was empty despite the Bank Holiday and I saw no one yet the views energised me.
Time was moving so I headed down it’s so much easier. Had a few treats like dates to renew my energy and got back to the bike and my phone charger. I cycled a bit and pushed the bike up the hill. Then it was down the track in the sun occasionally pushing stopping but though so tired it was great to be in these hills again.
I was soon following the Loch and took the higher track met two posh cars from the big house going out fishing! Then another muddy track to the tarmac road the cattle sheep and lambs sitting in the sun. I was soon back at Mark and Annes fir tea. Mark had bought a new ebike I was envious in my exhaustion.
After great hospitality I headed home.
It took a day to recover and had an easy day. Made a few decisions:
I must sell my racing bike and look for an ebike and maybe a call to the doctor to get a check up.
Please do not say it’s old age! My sister tells me that.
Note – I love being alone on the hill. I find I do not hold anyone back and leave my plans with friends so if anything happens they at least have a plan where I am .
Getting old is not easy:, years ago I would have done 5 Munro’s and that Corbett in a long day!
That’s the past. I am still loving being out on the wild places seeing the great hills at a slower speed.
Hillwalkers and climbers have been delighted to get back to Scotland’s mountains in recent weeks.
But Scotland’s weather hasn’t been playing ball with people’s dreams of returning to the heights.
While we’re on the countdown to midge season, and ticks have already been making their presence felt in the glens, cooler than average temperatures have meant many late-lying snow patches remain, some of them icy when the temperature drops.
Kev Mitchell Vice Chair of Scottish Mountain Rescue Said: “Despite the challenges the ongoing situation is putting on our volunteer team members, Scottish Mountain Rescue Teams remain ready to respond to anyone who gets into difficulty in the outdoors, wherever that may be, in any and all weathers. If you are injured or in need of help in the outdoors call 999, ask for POLICE, then MOUNTAIN RESCUE.”
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