Six not out?
Nah, it’s really seven not out as I was on a’Mhanaich April ’14 but no activation.
This was a last-minute thought as no arrangements made until late Friday evening. I had planned a slightly longer bike ride for the Saturday morning when I mentioned that the weather would have been ideal for a hillwalk. A rush then to charge everything as I have lacked in my used to having everything ready to go..
The FT817 and SLaB were forgotten due to time constraints so it was handhelds only and with charging the handie batteries during the night, I was ready just to pack the rukkie first thing in the morning. The plan was an early, early start so I could get back home to catch the next to the last stage in the TdF which finished on Alpe D’Huez. It never works out the way I plan things as it was the back of 9 we left. Like last time I did a hill (Beinn Dubh) across the water, we had nipped into to a garage en route for an excellent coffee and bacon roll, we stopped again. Still good.
The roads were quiet heading with a build up heading south. The A817, the Haul Rd was soon turned into and it was off up along this rollercoaster of a road. In a car you don’t notice this but my memories of cycling it last year W to E does. Soon I could see the route up the Strone as we climbed the last steep hill and parked in a draw off bit where I checked I had everything before waving goodbye to Katie. ‘Remember this spot please’ I said but more on this later.
I set my GPS devices and headed up..
It was up a now well familiar track which looks as if it is not used as often, I kept to the right of the ubiquitous ‘Military Firing Range’ signs, I have heard on two occasions, gunfire on my ascents. Keep further right, I thought.
After a mile the ground and path level out and a steady uphill walk to where the signs disappear to your left, a walk across a somewhat boggy area before heading up the next steep rise where at the top you can see the summit cairn in the distance, the rest is an easy level walk until a short sharp climb to the summit.
It had been breezy on the way up, a welcome NW cooling one and I moved slightly off summit to a nook just below the cairn.
I sat and enjoyed the views before getting to business, Robin PKT was just to the NE on Beinn Dubh so it was a quick contact by the handie with him, I had a quick word with Stevie SGO and Brian HMZ before I set up the 4m JPole, 4M was my first choice today and more in hope, I gave out a call, Brian HMZ came back and that was at least one. I next called and worked Eric FSZ in Girvan, I kept plugging away and the third contact was Norrie in Edinburgh before I got Neil NCM on Ailsa Craig , I’d activated the hill on 4m, a rarity for me and I later logged Alan NLA on the island. A SOTA expedition was happening on the island plus I could see the Craig 75 kms away down the firth. Once again the views were excellent, I could see the big Ben briefly before some cloud killed the further views NW…
It was time for a scran break and as I knew 2m would be busy with NCM and PKT. I scanned the other hills and I only could see a figure across the glen on Chaorach.
I put up the beam and made various contacts to as far east as Edinburgh, Girvan, Glasgow, Ailsa Craig, Irvine, Ayr, Donaghadee (NI), Lanarkshire and I had packed away everything except a handie to wait for a final summit to summit (3 km away) with Robin PKT on Doune Hill. I did see him near the trig point.
A good day, fine weather and an enjoyable walk over now familiar ground.
Whilst waiting I could see three folk coming up from the glen floor, a steep rise of almost 1200 ft..they had also did the direct route to Chaorach from Auchengaich reservoir which I had done (and promised to never do again). I then worked PKT and COX and started my way back down the hill. I’d contacted hom to arrange the pick up and had given myself plenty time to descend and enjoy the views. I meandered down the last track and waited..
I’d no phone signal but got an occasional weak internet access so I got in touch with home and an hour later than I thought I’d got my lift home. Someone had stopped at wrong lay-by and dozed off in the heat of the day. The ribbing continues..
Another good day spent in the hills and hopefully my enthusiasm has returned.
I had been asked if I’d cycled there, now if there weren’t a steep ascent from Garelochhead plus 30 odd miles after coming back down, I could think about it. Unfortunately not many hills are within easy cycling range (for me!)