Radio first this month….
No activations to report as I seem to have ‘stopped’ since the Welsh trip, I have lazily got out of the habit of ‘Friday’ charging of everything.
First contact of the month was Iain WJZ who kept us VHF chasers active during the month. Iain appeared on the first weekend on Beinn Each, followed the next weekend with a visit to Arrochar and the Cobbler. I’m sure he had better views that day than I had on my October cycle trip which took me via Arrochar HERE. I later caught Adrain DHY by chance on Beinn Dorain that day.
Two weeks later, Jack COX was first in the log on his summit of Torlum, I was surprised to work him as I had struggled to work a non-SOTA station from the same hill before whilst using the beam in my front garden but still welcome points. Iain WJZ had alerted for Stobinnein later but I had decided on a whim to head out for a cycle with Euan and took my handie hoping to catch him before I headed SE. I stopped at the highest point of the cycle track in Port Glasgow and voila, Iain was on air, a quick ‘hello and cheerio’ and I was on my way.
The last weekend, I caught Iain WJZ on the ‘forgotten’ hill of the Arrochar Alps, the Corbett Beinn Luibhean. A quick information trawl from Iain as to his route as I still have to bag this one. 2014 now I think. Final logged contact was Jack COX on Beinn Dearg, SW of Callander.
A quiet chasing month but expected at this time of year. I checked my yearly total and surprised it was over 700 pts which I’m more than pleased with considering I’d spent more time in the last quarter of ’13 doing other things.
Spent a lot of time monitoring the data sections of the bands with contacts in my quest for WAS but still many European stations logged. The bands of 12m and 10m were the main destination and most days as the early evening greyline approached, some good DX spotted but luck wasn’t with me.
Where do I start?
Geocaching first I think, I hid my first caches either side of Kilmacolm as the start of a series between Port Glasgow and Brookfield, I used an unusual cache holder, a plastic ice cream cone at Netherwood and a magnetic nano at 18, a cycle track sculpture just E of Kilmacolm. Good to say they have both been logged into double figures. Two more are ready to place.
I passed the magic century mark with a visit to Clyde Muirshiel Country Park of which was part of a day-off work cycle ride, the day had started as a run on the cycle track coming off at Netherwood (Strava‘s fault) before heading south along the B786 to just outside Lochwinnoch and took the single track road out to Clyde Muirshiel Park which I had underestimated the constant 3 mile climb to the Ranger Centre. One to remember.
I logged five that day but it had been a coldish ride out, I had originally planned to freewheel back down to Lochwinnoch and grab a bar lunch then lazily take the cycle track home but no, the Hardridge track was too much of a temptation. I have headed out the Mines track on more than a few occasions but this was my first trip over the moors to meet the track heading west from Hardridge farm.
I had one cache to catch at the summit of Craig of Todhole and a quick dash up through heather, locating the cache then back to Polly (my bike). I looked towards the west as I came off the summit and five minutes later, a hailstorm was upon me. I thought ‘ Shorts not a good idea, Bob’ but it quickly passed , the first part of this track is a steady rough uphill climb BUT by the time I was on the last third, I thought that this was a route to take in the drier summer months. I waded through knee-deep water filled track and crossed a couple of fast-moving streams. I had just gave up trying to find detours and just splashed my way through.
The worst was yet to come as there was a herd of highland cows which graze in this area and they were all standing between me and the gate where I would join the track which would take me off the hill. I stopped, they looked, they got back to grazing, I thought ‘I ain’t going back’ so a wee slow movement towards the gate and slowly they one by one moved away. It was all done in slow motion. Those horns are not to be messed with. I later read this HERE.
I opened the gate and was on the other side and cattle free zone, phew! I cycled up the short distance to where the old grouse track railway passes over the Blacketty Burn and it was scran and water time. For further reading on this area HERE.
It was all downhill from here literally, I still had some wading to do and finally through the last gate and on to what is a mixture of tarmac and potholes. I soon took the Gateside road heading towards Pomillan where I cut across towards Quarriers and a quick dash home on the cycle track.My trainers were still squishing as I headed up the path to my back garden. A hot Radox bath was in order.
Later in the month, Roddy IOB had extended an invitation to head across the river to Bowling and a trip along the cycle path. We decided to head to Balloch, you could see our breath in the cold air as we set off from Bowling Harbour (minus 2 c at Glasgow Airport) towards Dumbarton where we headed down to take a look at the Rock. It was a gentle ride along the path which follows the River Leven to its meeting with Loch Lomond, we stopped and had a quick look at the PS Maid of the Loch before deciding to keep going north and as we stopped for a water break at Fruin Bridge which had a connection with General Wade, we decided to head up to Luss about 5 miles away.
The track is a mixture of A82 roadside and occasionally heading down along the old lochside road until we reached Luss. A quick Coffee and sausage roll break before a return the same route. The track was quiet for midday Sunday but I’m guessing the cold temperatures would keep numbers down.
We were soon heading along the Leven which was in fine fettle as we sped south towards Dumbarton. The track after Dumbarton was getting busy and to round-up our mile total we took a run along to under the Erskine Bridge. We spent some time down at the harbour itself before hitching the bikes on the rack and heading home. 41 miles enjoyed. I would recommend this run…
Other planned routes are saved away for future trips…
Oh and the temperature had risen to plus 2….
We’d been sent to a local farm to get a load of well-rotted manure and as we headed along Auchentiber Rd we chanced upon what I took to be the local Hunt, the dogs were being called by the hunting horn before passing us by. It was the first time I’d seen them up this end. I would have followed if I had been on my bike, oh well. It was off to shovel **** instead (and the roses are doing well).
I reread an old Sport Illustrated article on the contesting side of amateur radio from 1958..go have a shuffty HERE. An interesting read, folks.
A varied month with weekday holidays being used up on days that were hoped to be good cycling weather.
More than a few to take this month before Xmas time.
My thanks to Wikipedia and any other site I may have linked to.
Wishes for the holiday period to all those regulars and to anyone who chances on this post.