I was heading out for a local walk and knowing that some SOTA alerts for GM land were posted I thought I better take in some high points on the route.
I left home and headed towards the cycle track to the east of me and then headed east towards Kilmacolm and just after 2.5 ml from home, I headed down what is called Netherwood Rd, I passed over the River Gryfe which is more really a stream at this point and at the road t-junction, I headed left instead of my normal right, I was looking for access to get to the Side Hill trig point and found good access at NS 340697. There are two gates next to each other, I found out after I got into the field and climbed over some barbed wire that I should have taken the east gate, in my defence I just hadn’t seen it until I was in the field.
I headed up a short but steep grassy field and then doubled back to the junction of two drystane dykes and then climb over an awkward wire fence. I started out in the direction I thought the trig point would be plus the ground was pitted where the cattle had been but I arrived at the trig in no time at all. Ordnance Survey and TP UK use ‘Side Hill‘ as the name for this trig point, I googled this and found no local mention of the name but for the blog post we will use the OS name which is funnily not mentioned on the map either….
Update : Roddy 2MØIOB has mailed me with a probable reason for ‘Side Hill’, there are 4 or 5 farms on either side of this ridge with have in their name the word ‘side’ or in one case ‘syde’
I took a few photos at the trig point before having a quick check of the SOTA website then I decided to head for the middle hill for a break but I found the underfoot conditions very soggy and had to make a few diversions to avoid swampy areas. Each drystane dyke I had to pass had a wire fence at the other side and with a little difficulty I eventually reached the ‘Pap of Kilmacolm’ NS 331696 as I have now christened this middle top. This top has a cracking cairn which puts some higher hills to shame, I had just put my rukkie down and I heard a CQ SOTA call and I recognised the voice it was Craig HCF, he then working a station in the Kirkintilloch area whom was strong to me. I called in and made the contact to Scald Law in the Pentland Hills, I never stayed long as Craig was intending to do some other hills so I packed my rukkie and off I headed and had my radio on watch.
I received word from Neil NCM who said he would be active in the next 15 mins so I headed to what I found later to be the highest of the three tops at NS 325702. I had a quick word with Roddy 2MØIOB who was on the Greenock Cut then it was back to try work into the Galloway hills, I could hear Neil very weakly on occasion but sadly no contact made, I had only the 2 watt handie with me connected it to the IOB 2 element beam. I could see the rain sweeping my way from Cruech Hill so it was time to head off this hill to a nearby familiar bit of road which I had been on the previous day, climbing the gate at NS 322704 carefully. It was down past Mathernock Bridge then left at the farm until it was time to head over the Green Road towards the golf course and home. I reached the southernmost end of the golf course and could weakly hear Iain WJZ who was on Sgiath Chuil, I hurried up the rise to get to the top of the hill but no joy, Iain had gone. The OS map says a rise of only 13m, I thought a miscalculation but on checking the GPS this is correct although it feels and looks more..
Whilst heading down the track towards home , I heard fellow PARC member Brian HMZ parked on a high spot to the south-east of me, I had a quick chat then headed home, muddy, wet and weary. I think this tramping about on muddy wet hilltops is best left for the summer months.
We have SOTA (Summits On The Air), WOTA (Wainwrights On The Air), CASHOTA (Castles On The Air) and many others so why not TPOTA or TOTA (Trig Points On The Air)…done in the same style as the WOTA system, one contact would be all that is needed…
I have started ‘bagging’ trig points although not in my usual fanatical way but as an aside to everything, if it is nearby I’ll nip up and bag it. This one was bugging me as I pass nearby on a regular basis.
Two chaser points collected but a satisfying day nonetheless plus to work three fellow club members.
The gate you should head through HERE
The gate you should leave at HERE
PS… it is a flattish area the hills mentioned are amongst the highest spots on what could be probably described as a extended plateau.
Since I wrote this I have seen an online reference to the Balrossie Ridge..mind you ‘Aonach Kilmacush’ kinda rings better..