I had previously activated Ben Bouie ( see further down blog) with a local station, MM0GON around the same time last year. I had taken shelter just below the summit due to the cold biting NW wind that day but this time round, the weather was sunny with just a cooling breeze. Excellent activating weather.
Why redo a 1 pointer?
Ben Bouie is the nearest ‘Marilyn‘ to my home, just under 10 km away although a more roundabout journey has to be made to the start point, between Daligan and Wester Bannachra Farms, at NS 327842 . Room for cars either at side of road or adjacent to track.
I left the house and took the usual route to Lomondside via the Erskine Bridge, instead of heading to Helensburgh along the shore road, we headed to Arden roundabout where we took the the B832 Arden to Helensburgh road, it was much easier as it saved time by missing out all the urban chaos of traffic lights etc. I arrived in just under 45 mins from home and set off onto the track which leads into Bannachra Wood heading upwards towards the Bannachra Moor area, extensive conifer planting has taken place in this area. After about a 3km walk on a good track, at NS 344828 you come to a sharp bend in the track you then take off southwards along a lightly defined track towards a gated fence. This walk to gate is shown as forested in the OS map. Please take care in this short section as there are hidden drainage ditches and holes. A check with a walking pole or SOTA pole is advisable each step.
Climb the gate and you next head west along the fence line, it was a little soggy in bits but carry on along the fence until NS 339828 where you see a very slight path heading northwards up the hill, you then climb over the fence and within minutes, you are at the summit. It took me just under an hour to reach the summit.
There are three ‘summits’ all of the same height according to the Ordnance Survey maps, I, of course, chose the first one. Funnily enough, the sister hill to the east, Killoeter also has three summits.
I proceeded to set up the HF (rybakov type) vertical antenna as my intention was to open the activation with a general CQ SOTA call on 60m. I set up the antenna, got everything checked and proceeded to call out. Nothing came back after the first few calls, I tried again, nothing. I knew Steve UAU had posted a spot for me on the SOTA ‘spot’ page so decided to have a quick bite and a drink. Five minutes had passed, I called again and again and again, nothing.
I then checked all the connections , the whole shebang, nothing was amiss. I checked other HF bands, 40m was busy, very busy and 20m was the same. I had another attempt, nothing. I gave up with the HF 60m experiment. I have worked stations using the same set up but yesterday, who knows.
I proceeded to set up the 4m JPole when I discover I hadn’t brought the adaptor for the coax to handie (or I thought I hadn’t), I then set up the 2m JPole and called out on S20 using the FT 817 and proceeded to make the four contacts needed to activate the hill, my first contact without shame admitted he was at the kitchen sink. I will not name and shame our fellow ‘blogee’.
Whilst going to check the antenna guy ropes, I spotted something glistening in the grass, you have guessed it, the ‘ not forgotten’ adaptor. It was now time to try 4m, down with the 2m JPole and the 4m one now erected. I caught Steve UAU right away, I could have shouted to him as he was only just across the river, I next spoke to Ray, a GM7 station who now regularly calls in on my 4m activations. I made another local contact on 4m before heading back to 2m to look for Neil, 2M0NCM who was activating Beinn Each near Loch Lubnaig, I called then chatted with other stations from as far away as Slamannan near Falkirk. The summit was only 1026 ft ASL so I wasn’t expecting any real long distance contacts. I took a break for juice and a bit of chocolate, Steve UAU then called me on 2m and whilst talking to Steve, a ‘break’ station called in, Neil had arrived on the Each summit, we now both had a Summit to Summit in the log. I then arranged a pick up time with Katie and I chatted to Neil for a short time until I had to break down the station and head back down the hill.
Over the fence, walk to the gate, climb gate then through the rough path until it met the track, for some reason it seemed much longer descending perhaps it was being enclosed and not being able to see in the distance.
I arrived back at the starting point 45 mins after leaving the summit. We headed back home, a good activation and one I would thoroughly recommend albeit a one point hill. The summit views were fantastic for such a ‘wee’ hill. The panorama I have in this post does not do it full justice.
Stations worked were in Gourock, Greenock, Slamannan, Howwood, Glasgow, Alexandria, Helensburgh and on Beinn Each.
9 contacts on 2m and 3 on 4m.
*If you look close at this Bing map representation, you can see a path heading back to the main track from the summits <HERE>, I had a look on both activations for any sign of any path heading to the hill from the track but saw nothing visible. The track is visible on Bing leading into the forest so it must be used on a regular basis. You will have to use the zoom facility to see the path heading back towards the forested area.*
Just as an aside, there is mention of Ben Bouie been used as the hill name, I have always used this pronunciation instead of the anglicised ‘Bowie’ which the Ordnance Survey use.
Ben Bowie/ Bouie could possibly mean ‘Yellow Mountain’ (Ben Buidhe) or also possible is known as ‘Victory Mountain’ (Ben Buaidh) as a ‘skirmish’ once took place on its slopes, I have looked on the web but can find no reference to this.
An easy jaunt this time…
Boggieness ? only at gate for approx 100m.
Flickr set <HERE>
Music provided by Reel Big Fish <HERE>
Ben Bowie / Bouie is 314 m ASL (1026 ft)
Round Trip of approx. 8.04 kms ( the correct distance round trip this time)
Total Ascent (actual) 239 m ( 784 ft)
Google Maps , my route <HERE>
Previous blog post <HERE>
SOTA summit information :