I had planned to do more activations this winter but with circumstances these plans quickly disappeared. I had intended to climb this hill the previous week but had picked up a slight leg injury.
The weather conditions forecast were ideal, local temperature was around 0c all day, the trek in to the hill consists of a walk of approx 4km along an old Mine track and from the Mine track end you head SW towards the hill, the last 2.2 km is usually a wet, wet and heathery slog but using the cold conditions forecast sounded a good idea. I left Katie at the Muirshiel Ranger Centre about 11ish, walked out and had a quick break at the ‘container’ provided by the Park staff at the old ‘Mine’ then the serious stuff began, I headed SW towards the Hill of Stake, I kept to the east side of the fenced off Mine area, I now looked for the old grouse butts ( only the odd post is standing ) and keeping next to the burn I used the snow patches in the burn areas to save walking through the heather then after 120 minutes from my start point, I arrived at the summit.
I set up and called out on S20(145.500) and after a bit of initial confusion, I settled down to work local stations,
Roddy, a 2M0 station was operating portable from Corlic Hill above Greenock, Dennis , a MM0 station from Glasgow popped in, I next worked a Special Event Station, GG100GGR who was based at the Guide camp near Kilmacolm. Next to call in was Eunice, MM3 who is one of the Guide leaders. A regular to this blog, Steve , GM7 station from Greenock was next followed by another regular Robin , GM7/P who was activating Beinn Teallach in the area NE of Fort William, an STS (summit to summit) was in the bag. I was coldish at 1700ft ASL, I wonder what it was at 3,000 ft ASL ?
One of the stations who had activated the hill two weeks earlier popped in, Kai, a MM1 had been on the hill two weeks previous and had renamed this hill to , the ‘Hill of Hell’, conditions when they ascended the hill had been pretty poor. Alan, MM0 from the Carluke area popped in and I arranged a 70m FM sked with him , lastly on 2m FM was Ray , a GM4 who was driving through Glasgow. I had a break and set up the 4m Jpole and called CQ and then worked Alan again, this time on 70.425 FM then after a quick chat, Alan popped off to try catch Robin, GM7/P and I was called by Dave, a GM3 station from Prestwick, we chatted for some time then I broke down the mast and antennas, had a quick cuppa, phoned home to arrange a pick up time and left the hill.
This hill is a strange hill to come off, once down at the foot of the main hill , everywhere looks the same, boggy and heathery, I use the compass if necessary but there is a couple of landmarks to head too although following the burn down will get you eventually there but it tends to meander slightly.
I arrived at the Mine ‘container’ bothy had a quick seat, some juice and then headed back along the 4km track to the Ranger Centre where Katie was waiting.
The winter inactivity had shown as I ended the day with tired legs, more than a gentle reminder to exercise more hihi.
A good day with no long distance contacts S and SW this time but agreeable nevertheless.
Hill of Stake is 522 m ASL (1712 ft) the name is self explanatory
Round Trip of approx. 12.2 kms
Total Ascent and Descent (approx) 267 m (875 ft)