Author Archives: gm7something

About gm7something

64, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?

Corlic Hill……………..by bike

Not for the first time, I’ve taken the bike hillwalking.

Previously HERE I pushed Polly to the top of Corlic (or Corlick, the OS map says). Five years ago!!!

I checked to see if any SOTA alerts for the day were posted, I saw one for a hill on the Isle of Mull. I thought ‘where could I work it?’.

Corlic(k)…..

I’d treated myself to a bike pannier rack which fits on the seat post, I quickly fitted it and checked over everything, I did this on a spur of the moment and I ran about looking for my antenna, portable mast etc. I packed the pannier bag, a power pack to charge my phone en route. This was an late off the wall decision. I’d 90 mins to the alerted time of 11.30. I left and dropped down on to NCN 75 where it would take me into Greenock, along some back roads and then I joined Old Largs Rd out of Greenock and the constant climb until my destination, one lower part has sections of around 20% which test the legs but as I passed a farm en-route and saw an OS NBM, I stopped to take a photo. By this time it was hot and I was glad of the buff below my helmet. It was a steady climb to where I’d turn left up the narrow single track road to the base of the hill.

Trig Point, Polly and 2m Beam

Trig Point, Polly and 2m Beam

Passing a radio mast, the tarmac ends and I ‘bounced’ slowly down a rough track and made my way to the base of the hill. When you approach, you can see the faint track running up the hill to the top. As the rough track turns north, there is a stile to the right of you, so I lifted the bike over a wire fence then it was a push up the rest of the way. I was glad of a steady cooling breeze from the south west. I arrived at a familiar summit.

Polly on the summit

Polly on the summit

I parked the bike at the trig point and got busy setting up the portable pole and fitting the delta quad beam. I had the other handie in my handlebar bag and heard Robin PKT. I quickly called him and made the 2 M contact to Mull, he was on Beinn Chreagach, a 377 metre high Marilyn in the Borlass area of the island. A few higher hills in the Cowal area between us but no problem. I worked him later on the 4 m band.

View N

View N

I checked APRS and saw another possible contact heading up Ben More on the same Island, I’d been on the same hill in 2011 HERE. I just sat in the sun and enjoyed the view, the panorama

Not long after, I saw they had reached the summit so I answered their call and worked Caroline ZCB. Time to head home, they way I’d came? I decided to head back by the rough forest track at Garshangan before enjoying a run downhill to join NCN75 between Kilmacolm and Port Glasgow, I was two miles from home and a welcome cuppa.

Plenty of WW2 activity took place in these hills,

War Department Boundary Marker

War Department Boundary Marker

Cairn marker

Cairn marker

 

Cycle profile

Corlic run

Corlic run

Advertisements

Mhor meets Mhor

Fancy Beinn Mhor on Sunday?‘ An email drops in my inbox on a midweek evening..

Seconds later, reply sent ‘Aye’no thought needed.

I’ve never been on any of the Cowal hills (I’ve cycled over a few!) so a trip to the highest and of course, the name Mhor was not to be missed. Sunday couldn’t come quick enough.

got everything charged and ready, packed on Saturday, walking boots nixwaxed etc.

8.30 at Roddy’s, well…

I’d been up to the early hours following baseball and had slightly? Overslept, with a quick look out the window to check the Luss Hills across the water, mist to 1800 ft, it’ll clear they said. Saturday afternoon I‘d watched a spectacular fork lightning display just beyond the summits of a’MhanaichChaorach and Banknock. I‘d followed the storm moving SW but the wind changed and we (locally) avoided any of the tremendous downpours or localised lightning. I‘d thought if it had reached Glen Masson, the place would be damp and alive with midges next day. I had prepared for this by wearing a merino mid layer long sleeved, of course and a pair of lightweight walking trousers and my regular floppy hat.

Off to tie up with Roddy and Gordon, our canine pal for the trip.

A sail across a flat Firth to Hunters Quay then off along the west side of the Holy Loch and a turn to travel up the single-track road in Glen Masson.

River Masson parking spot

River Masson parking spot

The Landy was parked in a designated parking spot next to a pool on the river, a 1.5 mile trek along the Glen to the rough track which would steer us up through the hillside pine forest en route to Beinn Mhor. After a leisurely walkit was upup then up whilst moving quick to avoid any of the flying insects, the path stopped and it was a 200 metre steep walk up a grassy break in the forest on to open ground where we followed a faint quad track to the left which led us almost to Sron Mhorit made for an easier ascent to the summit via the ridge.

Looking through to Glen Tarsan

Looking through to Glen Tarsan

You could go directissma but in this heat, the ridge remained the more preferred option.  I would say to take a grid reference or GPS waypoint as you come out the firebreak as any of the other breaks would be a difficult way back down. I used OS Locate (app) on my phone for an approx reading (I always carry OS mapping with me and a compass, in case). Roddy took a GPX way point.

Beinn Mhor summit

Beinn Mhor summit

The track can be faint occasionally but can be easily picked up again and there are occasional ancient metal fence posts heading to below the summit. Views west and south west to Glen Tarsan and beyond so it is worth stopping to take these in (and a breather). Horizon views were slightly hazy due to the day it was, sunny and warm, very warm.

We arrived at the summit with its views across to Inverclyde, the North Ayrshire hills, Old Kilpatrick hills but to the west, north and east, the panorama is superb. It had taken 2 and 3/4 hours with plenty of breathers to walk the 4.7 miles.

Countless hills to try make out, Ben LomondLuiBeinn Bhuidehills out Kintyre way and countless others I couldn’t place a name to. It would be worth a return visit on a crisp Autumn or Spring day.

Holy Loch and the Firth of Clyde

Holy Loch and the Firth of Clyde

We sat down and had some scran before setting up the radio equipment .

Roddy had the hill activated (SOTA – Summits on the Air), I‘ll explain we are both radio hams and the activation was a small part of the reason we ascended Mhor. I’d often thought Mhor would be an excellent hill for this.

I started off on 4M FM,70 mhz, and established three contacts within minutes, I had solely operated the handheld radio and small centre loaded antenna. I spoke with Jack COX in Lanarkshire, Andy GDE in East Kilbride and a new contact in Jim NTL in Sanquhar. Jim had just recently set up 4 m and I was his first contact on this band 105 kms away, good.

Sron Mhor and Loch Tarsan

Sron Mhor and Loch Tarsan

Whilst I had been calling, I‘d set up the main 2M 144-146 mhz beam and had attached it on to the pole, attached another handheld to it and I was ready to go (you can identify it in the video below). A quick break then I spoke with COX, John KSJ on the nearby Isle of Bute, Ken AXY and Christine YMM in Edinburgh, Steve XPZ in Greenock (also on 4M), Tony AIB who up in holiday at North Ledaig, a site I spent a few holiday breaks at over 30 years ago. Next was Peter HWB in Motherwell then Steve XPZ who told me Robin PKT was summiting Buachaille Etive Beag (Stob Coire Raineach) in Glencoe. It was back to 2M and make contact.

Roddy and Gordon

Roddy and Gordon

A few more calls with turning the beam but no more takers so it was time to break the equipment down and pack away the radios, etc.

I walked about capturing some photos and a panorama video, a lie on the grass, some sugary sweets and water then it was the 4.7-mile journey back down to the Landy back in Glen Masson.

I was glad of the breeze at the top and on the way to the forest where once again, there were no lengthy stops. Roddy had pointed out the forestry roads and their end points so I anticipate a trip across on Polly and a further explore at some point soon.

Beinn Mhor

Beinn Mhor

It was easier on the descent and soon back on the glen floor track back to our set off point.

Leg weary and knowing that a good day once again spent in the hills and thanks to Roddy IOB and Gordon. Another enjoyable day spent in the hills.

 

Where next? Indeed.

Click on any image to embiggen.

 

Time to get the walking boots on…………….

I looked North and saw hills shrouded in low cloud, will I won’t I?

I’d the rucksack packed just waiting. Yeah, time to go….

I’d worked a couple of SOTA stations the previous weekend and thought it was time to stick on the boots and head into the hills

But what hill?

Plenty of choice within an hour from home, the Arrochar Alps with it’s four Marilyns, Ben Donich amongst many others. I can sit here and see thirteen ‘Marilyns’ from my window.

forestry path

forestry path

I settled on Ben Arthur or as it is more widely known, The Cobbler, last visited in 2013 so time to renew our acquaintance.  In Gaelic Artair, one recent TV programme suggested a possible connection with King Arthur, mmm.

The day started well, a drive to the car park at Succoth, still only a quid , I’m sure if this was the Lakes or Snowdonia, a much heftier charge would be made, well done to the local council.

the iconic view

the iconic view

Boots on, quick check, rucksack on the back and I said goodbye to Katie. The first mile and a bit is spent ascending up through a purpose made path through a conifer forest, advice here is to keep moving as this area is notorious for its midge population. Just under an hour later, I was on open ground slowly rising on a well worn path running alongside the Allt. The Narnain boulders are handy for stopping for a break.

looking to Loch Long

looking to Loch Long

Mist still clung to the top of the Cobbler and the south west steep flanks of Narnain, it promised to clear around midday. I came to the junction, The junction on the path at this point leads you on to an improved path to near the base of Beinn Ime, there were volunteers working on repairing a section of the lower Narnain path, eight lads I assumed from the Forces as they passed me on the lower forestry section, some carrying pinch bars. I asked if this was a daily occurrence, one lad said ‘Our last day’. The mist was still around 2,200 ft but I turned left up the steep rock stairs of the north flank, slow progress was made as by this time it had got hot, a steady pace soon found me on more level ground and in the disappearing mist I could see the last push to the main summit. The hill was busy today. I should have done some more walking on the lead up to this.

north summit

north summit

Most folk tended to be on the north summit and I arrived to an almost empty summit with two lads ‘threading the needle’ (see the Wikpedia article for this). Once I had been fed and watered, I erected the mast and tried my luck on 4m FM first, two contacts, Paddy IPO Paisley then Steve XPZ Greenock. I gave a few calls but nothing, time to head to 2m FM. First call back was CMK sitting at Tyndrum, Stuart ROT in my home town was next. I now swung the beam to point south and had a listen but I’d started much later in the day around 2 PM. I’m almost up and away by this time on other occasions. I like to have a couple of hours working the bands but midweek especially on a sunny day would be quieter.

Off again and spoke with Eric FSZ in Girvan, chats are normally kept short due to weather conditions but today would have no WX problems apart from a strong sun beating down, bringing my wide brimmed hat was a good choice.

Beinn Ime

Beinn Ime

Norn Iron next with Bernie POC calling me from Bangor. Things started to slow down and I finsihed with ZNC Bill in KIlmarnock, XPZ Steve, WER James in Paisley and finally Niall SXV on the Haul Road above Helensburgh.

Ten contents in just over an hour, I walked around and snapped some photos before packing everything away, a drink of water and a phone call to Katie. The views were a bit hazy and not as clear as previous visits to the hill.

It was off the hill, I took my time heading down the ‘steps’ and soon was on the path down the hillside, at the Narnain Stones, I watched eight deer making their way up the side of the track. The small dam looked tempting but I imagine the water would be freezing cold, pass.

The forest was quickly passed through and I saw Katie waiting in the car park, she had visited nearby Dunoon and Inverary.

A cold drink and cookies were waiting, nice.

Another enjoyable day if not too hot.

Thanks again to Wikipedia…

Click on the images to embiggen.

King Edward VIII postbox…………..

Edward VIII post box

Edward VIII post box

Found this in Glasgow’s West End, there are still a few to be found in Scotland.  This one apparently is a listed building, it has Category B listed status. This one resides at the corner of Cecil Street and Great George Street, other Glasgow Edward VIII’s reside in nearby Hyndland Road, Shields Road (G41), Cathcart Road (G42), Nithsdale Rd/Pollockshaws road (G41), Clarkson Rd (G44), Afton Street (G41) and Cartside Street (G42) and there could be others. Glasgow has its fair share, these have still to be verified as still in use.

During the short reign of Edward VIII, approximately 161 of this type of box were erected throughout Britain.

Edward VIII box

Edward VIII box

Found a local connection, Suttie of Greenock produced an ornate box circa 1856-1857. It was ‘stove’ shaped and had a crown on top. Only used in the UK in Scotland, none in present use. They were used in the British Empire, Pakistan and India.

(I did find mention of a Thomas Suttie and Co, Blacksmith, Grate Maker and Bell Hangers at 18 Cathcart Street, Greenock in a Post Office Greenock Directory 1857-1858, I assume the box maker)

Found this image of a Suttie (the one on the right)

BLW_Fluted_and_Suttie_pillar_boxes

Attributed to Mike Peel under  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales license.