This activation was arranged late the previous evening, my original plans for Sunday had gone awry but through email correspondence with Graeme, 2M0GIL, a visit, firstly to the Galashiels District Amateur Radio Society Rally then a trip to Traquair to tackle Minch Moor just off the Southern Upland Way was arranged. We arranged to meet on the north side of the Erskine Bridge and we headed through Glasgow then the Lanarkshire countryside towards Galashiels. The visit to the radio club ‘Rally’ was interesting but no purchases were made then after a tasty bacon roll and coffee, we left the hall and headed south to Traquair where we parked at the local village hall car park, checked our equipment and route then steadily walked upwards towards Minch Moor, the track was in good condition over the 3.6 km walk-in plus due to the time of year there were some lovely autumnal views, we first passed the Traquair Bothy then a little further on we came across what looked like crop circles but in reality were Grouse feeding ovals (see Page 12 on link) plus an integral sculpture by Charles Poulsen (see previous link).
The path kept on steadily upwards until we reached the Cheese Well, a slight pause to read the information plaque then set off again and soon reached the offshoot path to Minch Moor.
We arrived at the Trig Point and summit cairn, after a 75 mins walk…. an earthwork shelter was just to the left, the station was set up and calls were sent out on S20 plus 144.300 but it proved to be hard work just getting the four contacts needed to activate the hill. The summit was visited by a number of mountain bikers, one came down to inquire what we were doing, Graeme explained the SOTA and radio part and that we had made contact as far north as Ben Dorain near Bridge of Orchy and as far south as Northumberland, although my log had just four contacts and Graeme had five, the weather looked as it was setting in, we could see the rain to the north west slowly making its way towards us, we originally had planned a different route off the hill but decided due to the weather we should return the route we had taken on the ascent, one variation of path was taken. A stop to see the Traquair Bothy was made then back to the Village Hall car park then back to our start point, Katie then picked me up and we headed back home, another two points earned. In retrospect, this would be a hill more suited to HF activation as the take off in all directions, being hilly possibly hampered VHF and UHF work.
Stations worked were a GM4/P Hugh on the summit of Ben Dorain, nr Bridge of OrchyG4/M, Geoff at Southwaite Services sth of Carlisle, MM1/M Lee and MM0/M Arthur both heading south after the ‘rally’….
Minch Moor is 567 m ASL (1860 ft)
Round Trip of approx. 7.2 kms
Total Ascent (approx) 407 m ( 1335 ft)
Total Descent (approx) 407 m (1335 ft)
Other photos from this trip HERE