I remember doing this hill in 2009 and thinking it an arduous uphill slog with false summits but being compensated by the fine views over Luss and the south basin of Loch Lomond. I had pencilled it in a few activations ago but with snow conditions and low cloud I opted for Duncolm instead.
Roddy 2MØIOB has told me of his intention to activate a Borders fell so rather than having a look at possible local hills to catch him, I’d head out and activate myself. I choose Dubh as it had a good path to Roddy’s intended fell. Roddy’s blog post HERE
The weather forecast was predicting cloudy so I loaded a track into the GPS just as insurance if I had to find my way of the hill but this is a well trodden path from near Luss to Beinn Dubh and as I found later on back via Glen Striddle to the top of the single track road in Glen Luss.
I had everything ready to go but waited until I woke up early Sunday morning, just after 4am to be exact and as the hills across the river were cloud free. I sneaked another hour before having an early breakfast and to pack the rukkie.
We set off in bright sunshine heading in what is now a well driven route for us and arrived just short of an hour at the turn off for Glen Luss at approx NS 356930, the parking or drop off point in this case is just as you leave the main road. A quick check of everything and I waved Katie off as I headed along to start my upward journey.
I had loaded the GPS with details of five geocaches spread along the route and headed through the lower hillside covered in bluebells to the first cache, soon I was heading upwards and just after half way I turned on the handie to hear Iain WJZ on the summit of White Coomb to the south of me. I spoke briefly with Iain and hoped I would make the summit before he broke his station down. I had already picked off the three caches this side of the summit of Beinn Dubh.
I hurried faster than my usual snail pace and was feeling my previous days exertion on my bike, I tried to beat my best 10 mile time but failed miserably by some 40 seconds, next time eh ? This ascent is a tale of false summits but soon the welcoming sight of the fence along the hillside meant it wasn’t far to go.
I arrived at the cairn and headed straight to the fence line and picked a post to attach my mast on to. I switched on the handie and heard Iain. I first caught Robert GUF in Biggar as I erected the antenna and when I was ready to go, I said my goodbyes and it was off to find Iain.
The first STS (summit to summit) was in the bag and I left Iain knowing that more than a few activators would be out later. next in the log was Brian HMZ who had been out the previous day on Meikle Bin so an exchange of chaser points.
As expected local signals were at a maximum as I had an excellent take of in all directions, much higher hills to the N,W and NE but clear all the way south.
I was next called by fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL who was driving along the Haul Road in Glen Fruin as he was heading to Beinn a’Mhanaich just 7 km away from my perch. Graeme’s blog post HERE. Steve UAU from Greenock was next, thanks for the ‘spot’ ! quickly followed by another fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was on Saugh Hill near Girvan just before he was to ‘do’ his race marshal. Oh and whilst I remember congratulations to Neil on reaching his half-century and slowly catching up on me.I spoke with Neil before Andy USU called in from near Falkirk and from the same area Ken KCD popped in.
It was shortly after this I made the first contact with Roddy on his perch on Ellson Fell in the Borders roughly about 140 kms away but it was no problem and signals were strong. We made arrangements to hook up later and to go see what else was doing about the bands. I did my usual scan from .250 to .575 looking for other outward stations and returned to work Robin PKT to the N of me on Stob a’Choire Odhair above Loch Tulla. Conditions were excellent and I remembered my last visit when I worked stations in North Wales and further down to Gloucester.
It was now contacts coming thick and fast, next in the log was a quick chat with Paul DDQ who was mobile just south of Balloch then I got a report from a station in Paisley who wondered what my station set up was. Craig PHT was next and I had asked how he had got on in his previous day activation of Dumyat. Bob AWV called in next from the summit of Corse Hill and this was the first of two STS in a row. Next was Graeme 2MØGIL on the summit of a’Mhanaich to the SW of me, its summit hidden behind nearby Beinn Eich. I left Graeme to look for the other activators whilst I next made contact with Andy GDE in East Kilbride.
I had a scran break before my next contact Kevin DHA who was above Largs on Girtley Hill, I thought of the nearby ‘Cats Eye’ a deep pool at Greeto Bridge that we used on hot summer days in the early ’70s, a dip there would be welcome today.
I got called next by Jim GLM on Innerdouny Hill near Kinross who I found out I had missed the previous week but no chasing was allowed as I was busy doing some garden work. Jim is now active again and after a quick discussion about bikes it was off to find other contacts and next was Brian YUP in Clydebank, a regular contact this year. Chris GPL in Shandon was the next in the log before I made contact with Liz EPW who was on Mellbreak, a fell in the Lake District so a STS and a WOTA chasing point for me.
I said goodbye to Liz and decided to go to SSB and got called by Bill PMB in Ayr, Roddy IOB called in so a chat with Roddy before it was back to FM to finish off the day, I’d been speaking with Stuart PAZ in Ayr when my battery gave up. I quickly said goodbye as that was the day almost finished. I stuck on my handie as I knew Graeme GIL was heading to Chaorach and he was near the top and as I chatted with some lads at the cairn I heard Steve UAU calling me to say Graeme was setting up. I sat and waited and worked my last STS and contact of the day.
I’d 25 contacts in the log, 8 STS all on 2m but I had tried 4m FM and made more than a few calls on 70cm FM and SSB but to no avail.
I had two caches still to find and it was off along a well-trodden path towards the summit of Mid Hill, the views along this path were superb and as I neared the summit of Mid Hill the view towards Arrochar Alps were fantastic. I stopped for a water break before following the path towards the steep descent into Glen Luss.
I knew by the contours on the OS map that it was to be steep but this WAS steep, I slowly moved down and about halfway I felt what I thought was the start of a blister on the sole of my foot. I gingerly made my way down until my phone rang and it was Expedition driver (and nutritionist) Katie. I told her about my foot and without asking she headed up the glen to pick me up, good lass.
The road as it reached Duck Bay was its usual Sunday afternoon tail to tail traffic but soon we got clear and sped home where I found not a blister but a bruised foot near the heel, I guess a piece of grit or something had worked its way to the insole of the boot which I now have to replace. Oh and I got sunburnt ‘hoops’ so it was a day of pain but an excellent day nonetheless.
A fantastic day of just lazing in the sun whilst playing radio, what more could you ask for ? I take back what I have previously said about Beinn Dubh and will certainly return with another visit in the following winter months, Mid Hill ? yes but I think the reverse route back to Dubh next time.
PS. 50 caches now logged..
My thanks as usual goes to Wikipedia, Peakbagger, westhighlands and any other website I have linked to and to you for taking the time to read the sometimes inane, insane ramblings of Mhor.
My previous blog post of Beinn Dubh HERE
Beinn Dubh 642m (2,106 ft) ASL(OS)
there are some variance on the height as Peakbagger gives 657m, Mid Hill is 657m..confusing.
Dubh means ‘Black’ in the gaelic…