Tag Archives: Beinn Dubh

GM/HSS 088 HuMP activation or to cry it its other name, Corlic

Firstly before I start my usual rambling article.

I would like to pass congratulations on to one of the newest additions to our ranks, Cat CNC. Oor Cat who is mentioned occasionally throughout this blog and occasionally accompanies Neil 2MØNCM on his activations but now hopefully a new addition to the SOTA ranks. It will be fun to see who get the mike first on a joint activation. I was ‘wound up’ by both of them whilst they returned from the Arrochar area. I was chuffed to be her first contact. Nice one, Cat !

This never happened as a planned activation. I knew Neil 2MØNCM was declaring for Cruach Tairbairt in the Arrochar area, a lower hill covered on 360 deg by higher hills. I reckoned I would have to find a highish point to work him.

I had left home trying to guess the time of which I would take to my destination and if it ties in with the activators intended time. Off I set over the golf course and down the Green Rd, I was listening to the end of the RSGB news and the ‘call in’ afterwards. I had kinda thought that Corlic would be my destination but had left the decision to when I reached the bottom of the track.

One to Gryffe Reservoirs, please !

One to Gryffe Reservoirs, please !

As I approached the tarmac back road, I said to myself ‘Why not?’ so off I headed west until I reached the B788, a left turn then not before long a right turn down the single lane road which would take to the dam wall where I would head north to Corlic. The road was quiet as I slowly headed the slowly rising road until I reached the first of the Gryffe Reservoirs, their names being self-explanatory,’ Lower’ and ‘Higher’. The track levels out and now starts dropping very gently at Garshangan (which means ‘field of ants’ apparently). Icy patches were surprisingly still present on the side roads I had trekked over (they were gone on the return journey). In the distance is the conifer forested area which has archaeology dating back  to the Neolithic period. I still wonder what the settlers to our area including the Romans thought of the ‘midge’.

I reached the dam wall at the ‘Higher’ reservoir and set out over the recently built set of steps along the dam wall. I could see a party of folk on the top of my intended target Corlic, a quick count let me know that ten people were there.

As I reached the end of the dam wall, I took a walk down to an old pump house (UPDATE : this may be an Air shaft according to a local authority map) where in older times, a tunnel was created in which water was pumped across the lower area between Corlic and Crawberry Hill before heading down Burnhead Moor to another pump station at NS 284742 where it once headed across to a nearby water treatment works above Greenock. There are (or were) ‘Air Shafts’ (Photo HERE) which originally were roughly 8 ft high round vents built with local stone but at sometime earlier this decade these were demolished and replaced by metal ‘lids’. Sadly these are another local landmark which have disappeared but the ‘health and safety’ police have had their way.

Old Pumphouse( may be an Air Shaft)

Old Pumphouse( may be an Air Shaft)

I then came upon the ruined farmstead of Glenbrae where the last attempt by me to walk to Corlic from home then return was dashed by my rather silly coming off a gate from a height and badly spraining my ankle and then having to literally hobble a slow way out the west track. Lesson hopefully learned.

Within minutes of leaving Glenbrae, you soon reach the ruins of another cottage, Burnhead, sadly these have both been left to fall in to ruins by the local estate. I am sure these would have been excellent places to live if they had been renovated at an earlier time, a bit lonely but quiet.

The party has just passed along the track heading west as I reached the stile at the bottom of the hill, I heard Roddy 2MØIOB speaking to Neil as I headed up the last short steep ascent to the summit.

I quickly set up the IOB two element yagi and almost right away worked Neil, he still had contacts to make on VHF before he was going to head to HF. I had a quick chat then headed to s20 and called out and worked Paul PJD who was mobile from Biggar heading east to Carnwath. I next hooked up with Roddy 2MØIOB in Gourock and passed the time as we were both waiting on another alert.

I left him and headed back to S20 and called out on both 4m and 2m FM, I then made contact with Chris GDL across the river in Shandon, this was a line of sight contact, I spoke with Chris until I found the cold damp weather was becoming a bit uncomfortable as the wind started getting up.

The IOB Yagi

The IOB Yagi

I had enough contacts to activate the hill for the new HuMP award being promoted by the then active Summitsbase website.

Corlic Hill From Dam Wall

Corlic Hill From Dam Wall

Having looked at the options for my return journey, I decided just to retrace my steps as the usual route off east would be boggier than it was a fortnight ago. The longer route adds about 2 miles to the journey but underfoot conditions would be far better.

Passing the ruins of ‘Glenbrae’, I heard Bob AWV calling CQ SOTA and as I set up the IOB yagi, the jungle drums (or a text from IOB) alerted me. I had to wait whilst Bob worked stronger stations to him and when I did catch him, he said it had started to snow. I looked around and for once in the day everywhere was bathed in sunshine. Bob was on Beinn Dubh to the west of Luss on Loch Lomondside. Another couple of ‘chasing’ points in the bag.

Breaking down the IOB beam then over a newly installed stile and off along the dam wall before long I was heading quickly back home. Almost 11 miles walked, poor auld Bob’s pegs were wabbit.

Contact Location Band Mode
Neil 2MØNCM/p Cruach Tairbairt GM/SS 218 2m FM
Roddy 2MØIOB/p Gourock 2m FM
Paul GMØPJD/m Biggar/Carnwath 2m FM
Chris MMØGPL Shandon 2m FM

Other Stuff…

Gryffe or Gryfe ? both mean the same with no apparent meaning.. Strathgryffe  (Gaelic : Srath Ghriobhaidh) is the strath or valley to the east of the reservoirs.

Both Gryffe Reservoirs and the tunnel I have previously mentioned were built to supply Greenock with drinking water around the start of 1870’s.

Gryffe Reservoirs Geohack info HERE

Local archaeological links in this area

Gryfe Reservoir HERE . Go to page 161.

From Canmore HERE

For more HERE  (Canmore), just type ‘Gryfe Reservoir’.

I may add to this bit as I look through local history sites.

My thanks once again to Wikipedia, Canmore and to the authors of the other links on this post.

Music supplied by the KLF.

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(March) Radio Days…2011

I thought I had posted this as ‘Latest Post’ on the wall but the post was hidden in the ‘Musings’ section…plus I thought I’d better add the year to the post title as it could get a bit confusing if you search for any of these posts.

Beinn Ime

Beinn Ime

I think the format of this monthly post as it is turning out to be a blow-by-blow account of my SOTA chasing for the relevant month. I’ve a few ideas rattling about in my mostly empty head and I’ll see if anything suits.

VHF….

Still spending some time on 2m and the occasional visits to 4m and 70cm.

SOTA…

Activations..

Two this month, a misty visit to the Trossachs and the summit of Ben Venue, most memorable for the antics of Roddy IOB and his crossing of a snow field and finally a jaunt up Ben Donich for the SOTA UHF Fun Day on the last Sunday of the month.

Chasing..

First points ‘chased’ this month were from Bob AWV who was activating Beinn Dubh near Luss whilst we were on the cloudy summit of Ben Venue. The following day was again busy out in the hills as first, I ‘chased’ fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was out on Broughton Heights followed by Alan XXP who appeared on Black Mount and as is usual, I also worked Alan on 4m FM. Later that day, I worked a MM6 station who was on Duncolm, I pointed him toward the SOTA website but no points for this one.

In what was another good ‘chasing’ day, Robin PKT activated Beinn Odhar in the Tyndrum area and was quickly followed by another fellow blogger, Graeme GIL who was in the Campsies on the summit of Earls Seat, a busy day in which I got some contacts from my local summit and finished the day at home.

One week later, only XXP was out, I walked up to the top of the golf course to work Alan on 4 and 2m. Unfortunately I have approx a 200 ft tall solid lump of igneous rock to the SE and S of me. The hill itself is 659 ft ASL but is a quick, handy and easy summit to get to.

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

The next weekend was the test of Roddy’s 2m beam, we headed for higher ground on the border of Port Glasgow and Greenock. Iain WJZ had alerted for Schiehallion so that would be a good test for it and we also worked Jack COX who was on Culter Fell. The following day, Robert GUF was on Tinto and later, Neil NCM popped up on Nutberry Hill.

Finally, the last weekend saw the UHF Fun Day and as mentioned before, Ben Donich was the base for this one. First STS (summit to summit) was with Graeme GIL who was on Sgiath a’Chaise quickly followed by Robin PKT was further to the NE on Meall Ghaordaidh and to finish the day, I worked Jack COX who was across Gleann a’Chro on the summit of Ben Arthur better known as the Cobbler during our ascent off the hill.

A busy chasing month again and the quest to reach ‘Shack Sloth’ status continues.

HF…. 

Busy, busy month as propagation is picking up and more ‘exotic’ stations are popping up and being worked but not by me. The disadvantage of having a stealth antenna is just that but each contact is ‘worked’ for. Trips across the ‘pond’ and contacts in to Africa, Asia as well as the regular European traffic.

I never did any WSPR work this month, hopefully the higher HF bands may come more into play as the summer arrives.

‘Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain‘ photo © Neil 2MØNCM…

(December) Radio Days

VHF….

Last month of 2010 and still 2m is relatively quiet, I did have a few calls occasionally on 70cms, both FM and SSB but nothing. I had the usual occasional QSO on 2m.

SOTA…

No activations but a busy, busy month with two new Scottish Mountain Goat activators, first to reach 1,000 pts was Iain, WJZ who built up to reaching his points total with an activation on snow covered Ben Cruachan, a fitting hill on which to achieve the total. Later in the month after multiple December activations, Allan BJP also reached the magic total with a visit to Binnean Nan Gobhar, east of Loch Lomond. Neil NCM headed North late in the month to visit Tullich Hill.

Ben Lomond summit from the Ptarmigan Ridge
Ben Lomond summit from the Ptarmigan Ridge

My first points of the month came from Iain, WJZ who was on a snowbound Ben Lomond, one week later, Iain was on Hart Fell, this time I had nipped up to the trig point on my local hill, 650 ft ASL. Iain was on Earls Seat the following day whilst Allan BJP was activating Beinn Bhreac at roughly the same time of day.

The following Saturday, Allan BJP activated a trio of Luss Hills, Beinn Eich, Doune Hill and lastly Cruach an t-Sidhean, the weather at times on this activation sounded pretty uncomfortable but Allan had walked out through Glen Luss. The next day, Iain WJZ qualified  Ben Cruachan, a hill unusually not overly activated, his 1,000pts had been achieved.

Near the end of the month, BJP crept nearer the 1,000pts with a visit of Beinn Dubh.

Neil NCM finally headed north and activated Tullich Hill whilst 60 mins later that day, Alan achieved his 1,000pts on activating Binnean Nan Gobhar.

A great month for ‘chasing’ but also to see the fourth and fifth SOTA Scottish ‘Mountain Goat’ awards being achieved.

HF….

Nothing different from the recent previous months, basically roamed the bands from 40m to 12m. European contacts in the main, new DXCC in Corsica. A quiet month for me on HF.

WSPR..

I did almost no WSPR work in December although a look on occasion to see what was happening in the forum.

Odds….

Have a few irons in the fire , hopefully get these going in late January


Only one this time….

Last year I when I visited this area, I activated Beinn Eich and then headed along the ridge to Doune Hill. This time round, Eich was my only target.

I had posted the alert on the ‘SOTA Alert Page‘ whilst I packed all the equipment necessary, as always a double-check and just as I was ready to leave, I was quickly reminded I had a ‘date’ with Katy Perry, Ms Perry was quickly dealt with and off we headed the usual route northwards before taking the single track road heading west off the A82 near Luss at NS 357930.

I arrived at Glenmollochan farm where there is a small lay by at NS 331942. I got kitted out and waved goodbye as Katie headed back homewards down what is a very narrow single track road. The hill looked just as I remembered it, steep. I walked down the track over two stone bridges to just before Edentaggart where a signpost points the way.

The first part of this walk is the boggiest part and due to the recent wet conditions, the path showed well.

A long steady rising climb with excellent views looking back down Glen Luss towards the south basin of Loch Lomond. Glen Luss and Glen Mollachan are at each side of  the steep flanks of Eich, memories of Glen Mollachan the previous year and of the wetness of the glen floor.

Beinn Eich fron a'Mhanaich

Beinn Eich fron a'Mhanaich

As you quickly rise, views start coming in all sides, Chaorach shows to your left, Beinn Dubh and Mid Hill, the Glen Striddle Horseshoe walk, to your right and to the NW , Beinn Ime and the Arrochar Alps start to show.

I took a break after 60 mins into the climb to enjoy the views and to have a ‘scran’ break.

This walk gets drier as you rise in height, a false summit shows but when you reach this the going starts easing as you reach the summit, ground ‘collapses’ to your left show as you near the last stretch to the summit. I then spoke to one couple who were intending to head towards Doune Hill which is about 80 mins away (my time) from Eich’s summit.

The summit of Eich is a start of a grassy narrow ridgewalk , there is a stone cairn or to be precise, a heap of stones. If you carry on, almost immediately the ridge starts running downhill.

I decided to have some food before I set up, I guyed up the mast and attached the 4m JPole first, as this is my band of choice this year is 4m FM. I switched the Wuxoun handie on and the calling channel was in use, I broke in and explained my situation and got my first two contacts in the book, Chris in Alexandria and Duncan in nearby Dumbarton. Steve UAU was next in the log and I then returned to call again, next to call me was one of my regular 4m contacts, Alan XXP in Larkhall. The last call on 4m put me in touch with Clive FZH in the Isle of Whithorn area. I had worked Clive from Ben Donich earlier this year.

I took down the mast and removed the 4m JPole and replaced it with the 2m version.

I first had a look around 2m fm and heard two stations working each other in the Lake District, I waited and called in and worked Phil, a M0 station who was activating for WOTA on Great Calva LDW -095, Phil was using a handie with a 40cm helical antenna which made this contact a good ‘un.

It was then time to go to S20 as I was running around 45 mins behind schedule, Ms Perry to blame.

I called out and a breathless fellow blogger Graeme, 2M0GIL called back to me, Graeme was on the steepest part of Dumgoyne outside Glasgow.We ad a quick chat and I left Graeme to his ascent. I had found out Allan, BJP had activated Chaorach early on and I had literally just missed him, ces’t la vie, a STS and 4 points gone. Next call in was ‘Mr Tinto‘, Robert GUF in Biggar.  Andy USU in the Falkirk area called in. Stations now came thick and fast, AXY in Edinburgh, UAU in Greenock and next to call in was Roddy 2M0IOB who was mobile through the Cowal Glens, Roddy stopped at a high point and had a quick chat before heading on his way.

Another mobile station YEQ called in from the Clydebank area, next was another regular Brian HMZ from Howwood looking for points, it seems Brian and another station before mentioned have a friendly ‘chasing’ rivalry going on. Last two contacts were John, OIN in Ayr and Paul, DDQ who was visiting an old haunt of mine on the Isle of Bute, Kilchattan Bay.

It had been hectic, everyone had mentioned how they were bathed in sunshine, me ? a black cloud hung over the summit for the short time I spent there, the couple I met earlier who had carried on to Doune Hill had backtracked and decided to exit back to Glen Luss via Eich. A quick chat with them then I broke down the mast and antenna, packed everything away, had a quick biccy and some juice and headed back down the hill, I looked back and the summit was now bathed in sunshine, someone was trying to tell me something.

I ‘toodled’ back down the hill pausing to talk with another couple heading to the top, I had a break halfway down and watched the farmer rounding up his sheep in Glen Mollachan. Just as I was exiting the hill walk, more walkers were heading to the summit. A busy day for this walk I guess.

Back on the ‘black stuff’, I walked back to the start point whilst having a good look at the old stone bridges over the burns, there were inscriptions on them but too worn to make anything out. On another note, as I was descending I could see a shaped mound to the side of Luss Water, I have had a good search online for any information but I did notice there was an old chapel now gone, St. Michael’s in the immediate area.

The hill had been activated , twice probably is enough, I’m restricted to what I can travel to so who knows.

The climb had been a hard steepish slog in places.

The day over, I was picked up and headed back to civilisation.

Information Overload

Beinn Eich is 703 m ASL (2305 ft)  ‘the horse hill’

Total Ascent (approx) 563 m (1847 ft)

Round Trip of approx. 9.12 kms ( 5.6m)

Previous Beinn Eich blog post <HERE>

The rating for this walk….

Just as an aside regarding Glen Luss and St.Michaels Chapel:

There was a chapel in Glen Luss dedicated to St Michael. Not far from where St Michael’s Chapel was situated is a farm called Edentaggart, an anglicisation of aodan t-sagairt – the hill face of the priest. In Glen Luss also is Gleann na Caorainn – the glen of the rowans.  The local name was Glen MacKern or a variation. This may be a corruption from the Gaelic ‘gleann na caorainn’ .  The name MacKern appears on a document of 1429 as Glean Mackerne and is possibly an Anglicised spelling of Gleann mo Chiarain or St Ciarans Glen.