2014, The Year That Was……………Pt.1

Yearly review time again, folks.

Time seems its moving quicker as one gets nearer this year-end.

The blog which started as a diary type chronicling my hill-top and other radio work has taken an almost 180° turn into more a story of my cycling outs mixed with my now occasional SOTA activity in 2014. Car problems earlier in 2014 are now resolved with Mrs Mhor running about in a wee red motor. SOTA activity? I’m stepping it up next year. I did get some hills activated in ’14 so what better than to start than the radio work resumé.

I took ages to get going (May in fact) with the first activation being my now annual yomp across the marshy bogs of Muirshiel Park out to the highest point of the county, the Hill of Stake. It fools you with an excellent track to the old mine area but as you head south, no path nothing but bog and heather until you reach the base of the hill.

Father and son

Father and son

An excellent day was had with contacts as far north as Stob Ban, Am Bodach, The Saddle and Aonach air Chrith, as far south as Helvellyn and Bleaberry Fell in the Lakes . a total of 10 STS (summit to summits). An excellent day out. Blog post HERE

That had been the trial run for the biggie of the year, I’d promised myself that I’d stand atop the Buachaille Etive Mor after my 60th birthday in ’13 but a trip to Snowdonia and other family stuff took preference. Finally Euan and I headed north and after a steep haul, we stood at the top of Stob Dearg, was I emotional? yep.

Radio took second place on this one but I soon had the hill activated, it is one of the harder hills I have activated but I got there with six contacts of which four were STS’s. I later caught Iain WJZ and Graeme HLQ when I had arrived on top of Stob na Doire on another part of the ridge walk. A day to remember as we drove home, weary but elated.

I returned to the Lake District for a long weekend in August, the weather forecast was not good and the planned hill got forgotten due to the heavy rain on the Fri but weather windows were to prove handy as I ascended a now familiar Dale Head on Fri evening, working on both 4 and 2m FM. Contacts as far south as Flintshire, Bangor and across to west, Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland. A cracking total of 16 contacts for early evening.

Working HLQ

Working HLQ

The following day, Great Mell Fell I chose for logistical reasons, a quick ascent etc..

I got to the summit and it poured, it poured harder, it blew and yes, it blew harder.

I’d got three contacts on the handie and had to throw up the beam to activate the hill. 6 contacts hard-fought for.

A drookit Bob was met with laughter as I got to the pick up point, ‘You are soaked’ Mrs Mhor said between howls of laughter. Humiliated I was.

On the last day, its neighbour Little Mell Fell was the choice, the same reasons as for the Great…

The weather decided to mock me as it was excellent as I summited the short ascent, I got 7 contacts that day, excellent views to Ullswater from such a low hill..and a chance to have longer QSOs with

Blog post to cover these activations HERE

Dale Head cairn

Dale Head cairn

That was the total, five hills except for this debacle HERE

Other radio..

I have been busy on HF Data bands, 15, 12 and 10m mostly but occasional trips to the lower bands.

DXCC now reached, 80 verified on LoTW, 93 on LoTW and eQSL…now at 101 so pleased..

I’m making progress on WAS (Worked All States) with only four to find so if you are in Hawaii, Arkansas, Nevada or North Dakota, I’d like to hear from you.

46 worked, 45 LoTW verified and 46 with LoTW and eQSL verified.

SOTA chasing points were well down in ’14, only 349 to date, I was overtaken on the roll of honour by one of our other bloggers (and gloated at)

Cycling.

Where can I start as ’14 was an epic year for me with ‘oots’ to various places in the surrounding area.

Garrison House

Garrison House

First ‘biggie’ was a run to Largs followed by a Tour de Great Cumbrae.

A mix of road and forest track with a long downhill run over the ‘Old Largs Rd’ from Loch Thom, a quick run around where I stayed in Largs in the early ’70s then a short ferry trip and landing at the ‘Tattie Pier’ or the new styled ‘Cumbrae Slip’ before interspersing a circuit of the island geocaching en route, a fish supper in Largs before an arduous run up the coast road to Greenock and quick rise back over Loch Thom to home. One to repeat. Blog post HERE

The feet got itchy for some new roads and on a May holiday Monday it was a return trip to Largs, this time Route 75 to Linwood before heading down to Kilbirnie on Route 7, a quick off and over the A760 to Largs dropping down the infamous Haylie Brae (did I ever mention about the time I used to shovel salt and sand into a rotating hopper on this very road at all hours of night? No gritting machines then!)

Arran from St Blanes

Arran from St Blanes

Too early for the traditional fish supper so a scran break on the Esplanade then home via the coast road but then using local knowledge to avoid the main climbs through Greenock..

I’d discussed this next one with Euan (and Roddy at one point) but sitting at work one day, next day I said. I’m impulsive as you may have guessed.

It was a train journey to Wemyss Bay and boy, do they give you very little time to get your ticket if you are a cyclist, on-line booking please, Cal Mac?

After a smooth sailing, I was disembarking in Rothesay,  checking the wind en route as it can make all the difference on an island circuit. I set off down past Ascog, rising over Mount Stuart. I stopped at the

St Blanes Church

St Blanes Church

War Memorial (geocache) and set off down the A844 taking what is breathtaking views towards Arran and beyond, for old times sake, a diversion to Kilchattan Bay (don’t ask) then soon after a trip down to see St Blanes Church past the Airstrip. If over, this is a must and worth the diversion.

Time to head to Ettrick bay for scran, fully fed it was back to meet the A886 and a quick run up to Rhubodach (a reconnaissance run) then off for the ferry back to the mainland. Blog post HERE

Part 2 to follow…………

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About gm7something

64, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?
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2 Responses to 2014, The Year That Was……………Pt.1

  1. 2m0iob says:

    I’m impressed with your DXCC and WAS figures, very good. Forgot you were down South this year, pity we never managed a SOTAEX this time, hopefully in 2015. A review of my year would be pretty short, I managed to do very little in the past 12 months, but enjoyed doing it :-). Looking forward to part 2 of your excellent adventures.

    • gm7something says:

      Its been a lot of hard work, patience and waiting on such a weak HF set up with only a stealth dipole.
      I’m more pleased with the WAS, a lot of grey-line monitoring.
      Missed the SOTA-ex this year..
      I think 2015 has a helluva lot to live up to.
      Can I top 2014?
      We’ll see.

      Mhor

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