Like most of my radio/hillwalking posts, nothing seems is planned much in advance.
I received a text for my oldest daughter Lora asking if I’d like to head up a hill the next day as she was off on a day’s holiday.
I think she already knew the answer!
What I didn’t think was she wanted to join me, ‘Do you mind if I play radio for a short time?’, ‘No problem’ so where to go, time to think.
I thought initially one of the Arrochar Alps but on reflection, Beinn Dubh or Conic Hill ticked the boxes for our first hill together, I chose Dubh for its spectacular views of the south basin of Loch Lomond plus the 270° vista of tops as far as you can see at its summit. It was off to charge the handie batteries and get the equipment looked out and all set to pack early the next morning.
Maps printed early, equipment all double checked, scran prepared (the advantage was Lora had bought some quality eats) plus almost a gallon of water packed away.
In to the car then off to fuel then off towards Erskine, the A82 to just beyond Luss, oh and a pit shop for (real) coffee and a bacon roll en route, this is style, we turned into Glen Luss and parked the car.
A quick check, GPS on and off up over the stile, I had explained this hill had more than a few false summits but once we arrive at the fence, it gets easier and were not far from an almost level walk to the summit, the views past the first cairn W and N are cracking.
As we ascended the views behind us over Luss and Loch Lomond spread out before us, this was my third visit to this hill and I think I could never tire of them. I did the Glen Striddle Horseshoe walk last time and would thoroughly recommend it but today we stopped short and we just retraced our footsteps from whence we ascended.
We headed up grabbing occasional water breaks, the temperature was warmer especially in this lower section where there was no breeze and this of course meant that the dreaded beasties made occasional appearances, this was a spur to keep going.
The wood section with its show of bluebells and wood anemones everywhere was soon left and it was now the slog to the first summit, the hill quieter than I thought it would be as it was a weekday. The sun was now beating down and I stopped occasionally to put sunscreen on my nose which was showing the effects of the weeks earlier cycling trips.
Slowly we headed upwards, the fence was soon reached and not before long we passed the first cairn. It plateaued now and soon we arrived at the summit.
It took me minutes to throw up the antenna and mast, I’d just taken the Yaesu handie with a spare battery as I intended to just activate using 2m FM, I’d left the 4m handie at home.
I gave a few calls with no response, knowing I was earlier than I’d alerted for but I soon got someone answering my call but I also heard STS(Summit to summit) being called.
I called the station back and it was Viki BWA who was on Slieve Bearnagh in the Mourne mountains in Northern Ireland, I’d noticed the alert before I had left home and funnily, my only other previous STS to NI was from this summit on my first visit in 2009. Info on our respective hills passed before I worked Rod JLA who was doing a joint activation with Viki. The first two in the log, two to go..
Next call was Eric FSZ down South Ayrshire way, I should have brought my 4m handie after all, eh? after a ‘catching up’ I needed one more contact and not before long, I logged Stevie SGO who was ironically portable about 500m from my home..
The hill activated, time for some scran before calling again, Robert GUF was next (and last) but this time he wasn’t on his normal place of Tinto. We spoke about VHF/UHF activity nights, I must get organised and head out on (breezy) nights to see what exactly this is all about.
I called on all points of the compass with the beam but nothing, I did hear one G station but no joy….
One woman asked Lora if I was spying on the Russians, another had stopped to ask what I was doing just as I finished talking to Rod JLA and was impressed that I could work as far as NI.
I broke everything down, packed it away and got ready to head off the hill.
We spent some time looking at what hills were in their glory today and some to the N still had patches of snow on them, once again the photos do not give you full beauty.
I pointed out the names of nearby hills, I’ve been on them all except one, Cruach an t-Sidhean, ‘the fairy hill’, someday. I’ll wander through the glen for this one and see the history I have only read about. I must see if there is a path from Auchengaich Reservoir to the ruined Gleann na Caorainn. A SW ridge runs to Chaorach’s summit not far away. Sidhein would be best done after dropping down the west ridge of Eich.
I pointed out the path down into Striddle but no, we retraced our steps.
The path was drier than normal with only the odd damp patch to hop across and we had just passed the end of the fence and saw a pair of black socks at the side of the path, we hadn’t seen them on the way up so bemused we headed on and not before long, we got called by a couple descending behind us asking if we had dropped socks.
They hadn’t spotted them on the ascent either, three people had passed us earlier so we assumed it was them. Funny.
We arrived back at the car after a reasonably quick ascent. The parking area felt like an oven and it was quickly we headed back south on the A82 , windows down and the cooling breeze was brill.
It was not long until we reached home and I immediately had a chilled beer.
Unfortunately not many contacts but it was sunny, a weekday so I was happy to bag 5 contacts. 2 points in the bag and my first activation for almost 10 months. I must get going.
I think the Lakes will be on for my annual visit late July/August, I better look out some hills for then.
I’ve not gone overboard with images of the walk as they are on earlier blog posts(see below)
Images © Lora
My thanks first to Lora, for our day out and to the next hill….. also Wikipedia, Peakbagger and walkhighlands whom I have linked to..