I look across the river towards this hill almost every day, I can see it from my house, from my workplace and from almost anywhere in the locality. I had other plans but just decided I may as well activate it. Ben Bowie is 314m ASL, a 1pt SOTA summit and is approx. 5 miles as the crow files from my house. If only it would have been that straightforward getting there, for the activation, I first travelled by car to Gourock, caught a ferry to Helensburgh, met Graham MM0 at Helensburgh pier, he drove up to the nearest access point and we headed to the top. A good steady climb up a forest track led us to a clearing and we headed across some roughish heathery boggy terrain to a gate, we made for the summit of which there are three tops all with the same height on the OS map but the wind was strong so we dropped slightly below the tops to put the mast and beam in the air.
I did all the prechecks and called on S20(145.500) and Graeme, 2M0GIL/P returned my call, we moved down from S20, Graeme was on Garloch Hill 543m high in the Campsie Hills above Glasgow. I then called several times on 144.300 ssb with the beam pointing south in case any of the Lake District activators were still operating, I scanned up and down the ssb portion of the band but nothing.
I returned to S20 and worked enough stations to activate the hill, it was very quiet but as we had started out late this was to be expected. Stations worked were Brian, MM1 from Howwood who ‘spotted’ us on the SOTA spot page, thanks Brian. Steve, GM7, a regular from Greenock was next to call in, Morgan, a MM0 station from Inverkip was next to call by, finally, Roddy, 2M0/M was the last contact. The hill had been activated and Graham had made his first SOTA activation.
I made further calls on 144.300 ssb and also on S20 but as the weather looked as it was starting to set in, we could see the drizzle approaching from the west and when the sun had disappeared it started getting chilly, we broke down the station and headed back down through the forest track. I was dropped off at Helensburgh Pier as Katie had come over to take me back by car, for a variation I could have caught a train……
A further thought…
The 2 metre band had been quiet due to the time of day and possibly, location. HF operation may have been a better option but my thoughts are that an effort must be made to continue and encourage VHF/UHF use .
From Helensburgh, take the B832 (Helensburgh to Arden, Loch Lomond) and as you pass the reservoir on your left,look for the pylons that cross the road and then travel for approximately 1 ml, Daligan Farm is on your left and on your right you will see the woodland, look for the parking area next to the gate at the track entrance, there is room for a couple of cars ( room to park on opposite side of road as well), the gate is at NS 327 784, follow the rising track until at NS 344 828 when you come to a clearing, head across the rough heathery ground until you see a fence and gate, climb the gate then head right towards one of the three tops.
Please note the clearing on the below map is incorrect, the arrow tells you where the clearing is, this is where you leave the path !!!
Ben Bowie is 314 m ASL (1026 ft) ‘also known as the yellow hill’
Round Trip of approx. 6.8 kms
Total Ascent (approx) 239 m ( 784 ft)
Total Descent (approx) 239 m (784 ft)
Other photos from this trip HERE