Euan had suggested that I ‘activate’ Meikle Bin whilst he sampled the mountain bike trails which recently had opened in the Carron Valley Reservoir forest area.
This weekend had been pencilled in and looking at the weather forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, it was decided on the Friday evening that Sunday offered the better day weatherwise…..Wrong !!!!
Saturday had turned out to a reasonable day but we prepared for Sunday although the weather report wasn’t as good as we had hoped.
We travelled across the Erskine Bridge then through Hardgate, skirted Milngavie and then through Killearn and Fintry until we arrived at the ‘car park’ opposite Todholes Farm. The hill and surrounding countryside were under cloud and mist, I headed off whilst Euan pedalled off into the distance, the track is a typical Forestry one and I followed the route map and then rising gradually until I came across the fire break in which the final ascent of the ‘Bin’ could be made, visibility was down to 20 metres as I headed up a steepish well-worn path, I eventually reached the summit and its trig point just 100 mins after setting out. It seemed a succession of false summits especially in the cloud cover.
I had a quick bite to eat then as usual now, I erected the mast with the 4m JPole antenna, I had posted my arrival and activation time for around 12.00 BST (11.00UTC), I called out and first to come back to my call was Steve , GM7 station from Greenock, had a quick chat with Steve and had then tried a few more calls on 4m but no other takers. I hear an Irish accent on 70.425 FM but after trying to ‘break’ in a few times, I gave up, I listened for about 10 mins and not a callsign was uttered.
I then took the mast down and this time fitted the 2m JPole, Morgan, a MM1 station from Inverkip returned my call, the weather then deteriorated to a steady light rain but I next made contact with Robert, GM4 from Biggar, another blog regular, following Robert was Bob, MM1 who was mobile in Greenock, Bob is an activator and chaser so had a quick chat then I heard fellow bloggee Graeme, 2M0GIL call me , Graeme was out walking in the Loch Ardinning nature reserve just outside Strathblane, Graeme hung in there whilst I spoke to Dennis, MM0 in the Glasgow area and finally on 2m, I spoke with Jim 2M0 from the Bellshill area, I said farewells as the weather was still wet and the wind had got up but I tried once more on 4m FM, I got a call from Alan, MM0 from Lanarkshire so another contact made on 4m, this one was handheld to handheld using both supplied antennas. Alan was line of sight so there was no problem signal wise. I had a quick look around 2M FM for Neil, 2M0NCM who was to activate The Brack, it turned out I missed Neil by 10 mins, I was lucky with the weather compared to Neil who encountered heavy snow whilst on the summit.
The cloud cover lifted briefly but wasn’t long enough to get a panorama or many photos.
The summit had a steady stream of walkers who appeared and left into the mist at times, most stopping for a quick bite of lunch.
I stripped everything down, packed and headed back down the route I had ascended, stopping to look at the wing section of a Fairey Firefly which tragically crashed near the summit, an engine is further down the hill side, more on the story <HERE>, the grass was pretty slippy with the previous rain so I had to tread carefully on the steepish bits, once back through the fire break it was back onto the forest track. I stopped for a drink when I eventually saw the ‘Bin’ in its glory, a quick photo then on my way, about halfway, Euan had cycled up to meet me, we headed back to the car and I arrived back in just 75 mins.
I trialled an app for my Android based phone, ‘My Tracks’, I had forgotten to set it when I first left to ascend the hill but started it about 750 metres into the ascent, it supplies handy details of your route using Google Maps, the distance , the time taken (how long you actually walked and how long you rested !!), height difference etc. I’ll certainly use it again.
We left and headed back through Glasgow and as we passed Dumgoyne, the weather now looked like a fine summers day.
Another new hill and activation was over. The views I saw briefly would encourage me back on a better day, next year maybe ?
Meikle Bin in Scots translates into ‘Great Hill’ is 570m ( 1,870ft ASL)
Total walk 12kms
Total Ascent approx 370m ( 1,213 ft)
Flickr photos to follow