The weather forecast looked promising so I got everything charged up and ready to go. I left home before 7am and arrived at the set off point at 7.20, the initial stretch of the walk in (called The Strone) is rather steepish, you just follow the many ‘MOD Warning’ Keep Out signs, keeping to the safe side, of course. After 1.5kms the ground gets to being a steady uphill slog, then to your left, Meall Odhar and Meall a’Fleidh come into view, not high tops but when you have them on your left, you head slightly to the right heading uphill toward the summit. I had listened to the ‘ICQ Podcast’ , an amateur radio podcast on my ipod on the laborious slight uphill section. Keeping to the ‘safe’ side of the MOD range, I had followed a faint quad track then a track to the top of Beinn a’Mhanaich. The summit has a small cairn which offers some shelter against the wind, this fine morning, there was only a cooling breeze. The walk in was 4.5kms, the views from most points on the walk were excellent, I saw Beinn Choarach from its western flank, more impressive than when I look at from outside my house also Beinn Eich, Doune Hill and Cruach an t-Sidhein (all ‘Marilyns’) were close by, in fact, there are more ‘Marilyns’ within view that I could have counted. Cruach an t-Sidhein (‘the stack of the fairy hill’) could have been activated this trip but I had only maps for the area I had intended to walk to. Next time, maybe.
I set up the station, I had left the SLA battery at home due to having to carry all equipment in myself, Euan had other plans. I first called on 144 SSB but no takers, perhaps too early, I had activated the hill earlier than normal, 10am was the time. I then called on S20 (145.500) and started to get the four QSO’s that would activate the hill, this achieved, I then alternated between SSB and FM, I worked three STS’s (Summit to Summit) , Richard a GW4/P on Moel Llyfnant, Robin GM7/P on Beinn na Bheither – Sgorr Dhonnuill… and lastly Andrew, a GM0/P on An Caisteal , not bad for a few hours work. The fact I had to finish early made me miss some other STS possibles, Graeme , 2M0GIL/P had activated Beinn Chabhair, but I only spoke to him when i was ready to descend the last leg of the walk out. Chaser points !!!!!
Any journey downhill is never a favourite of mine, steep hillsides I do not like, walking up or coming down. There is a few ‘iffy’ parts of the track which was not as damp as I had expected, an eye as usual was kept for any dodgy footfalls.
I had made good time descending from the summit to the pickup point, it took approx 90mins, Katie had just arrived for me as I had approx 200 metres to go. Good timing !
Beinn a’Mhanaich means ‘the hill of the monk’,. The Luss area and Glen Luss have had monastic connections, St. Kessog had arrived at Luss at the beginning of the sixth century and built a monastery on the island of Inchtavannoch (monk’s island), opposite Luss. In Glen Luss, there are the remains of an ancient church of Saint Michael.
The red flag was flying which warns of MOD activity, I had seen hundreds of personnel being bussed out from outside the Danger Area as I climbed the first part.
This obviously means ‘Keep Out’, OS maps have the wrong area mapped as inside the danger zone, the danger area is to the left of The Strone, it is well marked….
Once again, another enjoyable SOTA activation, another four points which leaves me on the ‘unlucky’ number. Hopefully I will move off that soon….
Stations worked include Brian, a GM0 station form Falkirk, MM0 station Alan from Larkhall who ‘spotted’ me on the SOTA spot page and relayed information on who was where and what, thanks Alan !!!, Bob, a MM0 and Eunice, a MM3 at Croftamie, MMo station David in Maybole, Fred a 2M0 station in Paisley, Richard , a GW4/P station operating from Moel Llyfnant, North Wales, a Gm4 station Brian in Falkirk, Stuart a MM6 from Irvine, Derek a 2m0 station from Patna, a MM6 station Steven from Cowdenbeath, Andrew who was activating An Caisteal south of Crainlarich, Robin,GM7/P activating Beinn na Bheither – Sgorr Dhonnuill nr. Ballachulish, a GM7 station John from Ayr, Phillip a GM0 station from Wishaw,Dennis a MM0 from the east end of Glasgow, Andy, another regular, a MM0 station from Falkirk , next was Eddy a 2M0 from near Glasgow Airport and finally, Colin a MM6 from Irvine. Ayrshire and stations from Falkirk were the hot spots this activation, the STS to North Wales was a good ‘un, amazing what you can do with 2 1/2 watts and a beam antenna.
Beinn a’Mhanaich is 709 m ASL (2326 ft) ‘the hill of the monk’
Round Trip of approx. 9 kms
Total Ascent (approx) 509 m ( 1670 ft)
Total Descent (approx) 509 m (1670 ft)