Tag Archives: Beinn Narnain

2012… in retrothingy…….part one

‘Twas the night( four sleeps actually) before Christmas !

It has come around to that time again but this year being a pessimist I thought waiting just to make sure those Mayans had it totally wrong SO at 11.12 UTC (December 21st) I sat down to write this as I still know I have an audience. You are still out there, are you or has it all past me by ?

Sitting comfortably are we ?

2012 almost started with an activation but due to the weather being extremely seasonal the trip out was abandoned. It took me until late April to make my first appearance on a hill although the local hilltops got pounded in pursuit of points. At the beginning of February I did activate Corlic in its guise as a ‘HuMP‘, the official title being GM/HSS 088. I had headed there to try and catch fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was on Cruach Tairbeirt in the Arrochar area so a hybrid summit to summit to start.

The first SOTA activation took place in April with a visit to that hill which no one likes, the Hill of Stake the highest point in Renfrewshire although on the ’11 visit I got put wise to a drier route which was still boggy but not sink to the knees boggy. I did manage four STS (summit to summit) that day including one to EI land (Ireland). I think a visit in ’13 why not ?.

GAX on a'Mhanaich

GAX on a’Mhanaich ® Roddy 2MØIOB

This was quickly followed at the start of May to another of my now yearly visits, I headed to Beinn ‘a’Mhanaich on the west side of the Luss hills only this time, Roddy 2MØIOB had accompanied me but we split hills, Roddy headed to the nearby Beinn Chaorach which managed to evade a visit this year, I’m sure we could have had a STS in semaphore but we did have one not only on 2m FM but also using PMR, a first for us both. We had used PMR to keep in touch during the ascents.

The next weekend on what was a boomerang visit to Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick hills, I had done an activation there in 2009 and on what was a sunny but very breezy day, I headed up an exellent aggregate track before following an occasionally damp grassy track until a short, sharp ascent. It was a busy day out on the GM slopes as I worked another 4 STS. As I researched Duncolm I came across the inference that Duncolm was a major part of ‘Glasgow’s Secret Geometry’, interesting. I like that kinda stuff as it makes you think. Unfortunately the main links to the original site with this info has a malware warning.

I now turned to serious stuff ( for me anyway !) as mid June saw me heading to the Arrochar Alps and on what turned out to be a miserable wet, cloud day I headed to the summit of Beinn Narnain and after a pleasant ascent, the weather or more to the point, a dark cloud decided to position itself over the hill and kill visibility and later on another activation I saw that the descent from the summit was one I’d rather have done in clearer conditions. I still enjoyed my day as it cleared up literally as I left the rock field just before the summit.

Narnain summit from Beinn Ime

Narnain summit from Beinn Ime

Four weeks later I headed the same route only this time, I had set my sights on the Cobbler but after a good walk in, I saw the path heading up Beinn Ime was kinda saying ‘ C’mon Mhor’ so off it was. Was it worth it ? I bet as the views in all directions were exceptional, a hill worth a return ( the Cobbler to do first though).

This was my last GM activation for 2012 but on my now regular yearly Lake District visit, I took the time to ascent Blencathra and although I had RX problems with a hand-held I enjoyed a day on a hill I had often looked at, I did the opposite route from the guidebook starting up Blaise Fell from near Threlkeld and although I did have a look down Sharp Edge, I thought better of it. I had read that this hill was riddled with paths and on the descent and I had to consult the map on more than a few occasions. I had finally exited down Mousethwaite Combe then a short walk to Scales. A good activation.

The following day, Katie and I headed to Latrigg which overlooks Keswick and I managed to sneak a handie and  activated the WOTA fell. A good day for a stroll plus it was fun to take my beloved with me plus Katie toddled along too. I meant my 2m handie ..what did you think I meant ?

Following on from the previous years visit to Mull and Ben More, it was off to the Lakes with both Roddy 2MØIOB and Patsy UPG. I’d planned more than a few hills but the main target was Scafell Pike, the highest point in England-shire and on what turned out to be four seasons in a day, the cloud lifted as we topped the hill and even the RAF saluted us with a 360 fly past as we arrived on the summit proper.

Mr Mhor on Scafell Pike

Mr Mhor on Scafell Pike

The following day I’d pencilled in a double activation, Robinson and Dale Head and surprisingly there was no achy legs and both hills proved no problems, Dale Head is worth the walk just to see the view northwards. It did end with Bob being slightly forgotten.

Two days later was to finish my outings for the year, Stony Cove Pike is ascended from the top of the Kirkstone Pass and I activated the hill as I had done the previous three hills on 4m FM only popping on to 2m FM to give out the odd WOTA point.

Highlights ?

Them all of course.

I enjoy heading out even it is only on to my local hillsides to work those who have taken the time to head out and on a sunny day there is nothing better than turning the beam round to bring in someone. I did manage to pass what I call my portable chasing sloth (1,000 points) at one point, it fair beats sitting at home.

Next year ?

I have already chosen 2013’s intentions and pinned it to my computer desk, I did the same last year and managed one or two of them but this year I have downsized and have only three…

The ridge walk to Hallsfell Top

The ridge walk to Hallsfell Top

We will see….

For my blog posts for the above…just go HERE

Yep you have guessed it, a pt.2 will be in production soon. Keep an eye out.

My thanks as usual to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and Roddy IOB for use of an image taken through a monocular !

I hope that the holiday period has been good for you and I look forward to either ‘chasing’ or working you from a hilltop in ’13.

Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh !

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr dhuibh uile!

To embiggen any image just click on it…

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Left Or Right ? Ime Going Right !

‘Left or right ?’……..

Plans had been laid soon after I ‘conquered’ Beinn Narnain roughly four weeks previous for a return trip to the hills known as the ‘Arrochar Alps‘, I had looked at the Cobbler or perhaps if I was feeling fit, Beinn Ime.

If you read my blog post on the Narnain trip, you will remember the weather was not the kindest so the next jaunt in that area had to be excellent so I could enjoy the views from whatever hill I ‘visited’, a trip two weekends previous to this was arranged and due to the expedition driver having a longish lie, it was put off which in retrospect was not good as conditions were excellent later that day so I had just headed locally to the trig point area at Lurg Moor.

It was agreed that on the next suitable day that I would head out and the Arrochar area would be visited. Family matters came into play in the following days and finally the plan was scheduled and I kept scanning the forecast and it was pencilled in for the Wednesday, a top up of the handie batteries and a last check of the equipment and the rucksack was packed. Scran and water would be decided in the morning, the only blip was the mountain forecast for strong yep, strong sunshine, a hat was shoved into the rukkie as well as a midge net for when as any lack of breeze at this time of year would bring the ‘curse’ out.

Wednesday morning arrived, I checked out the view to the North West and although Ben Lomond had some high cloud showing. It was time to get going. I placed an alert on the SOTA website for (GM/SS 020) the Cobbler.

a'Chrois ,Narnain and Lomond

a’Chrois ,Narnain and Lomond

First stop was to fill up the car with petrol and finally we left Port Glasgow heading for Erskine Bridge then left to Tarbet on Lomondside where we then headed for Arrochar. The road was very quiet and good time made.

I got dropped off at the car park at Succoth and started up the newish zigzag track, I find that the route signage here is pretty lacking as it seems to follow the colour band system with no signs saying this or that way. I later spoke with a couple from Devon on my descent who mentioned the same and the conflicting literature available.

I headed up the rough track and I was actually passing others heading up the path, changed days as I was always the one being overtaken. After just over a mile you emerge on to open countryside and today a cooling breeze was coming down from the coire, I headed for just over two miles when I decided to have a quick break just before the Narnain boulders, I sat down and instantly the breeze dropped and I got ‘attacked’ by both ants and the midge. I headed and ate some scran on the run so to speak. Heading up the coire I could see the tops of the Cobbler to the left and to the right Beinn Narnain and I could see clearly the ‘Spearhead’ on Narnain. I was feeling good leg wise so thoughts of Ime started in my mind.

I was getting near the bealach where the path splits, left is the north path to the Cobbler and right is the path to Narnain and Ime.

Glen Kinglas

Glen Kinglas

I saw Ime’s double top and thought ‘It’s now or never’ and off I set across a boggy (in places) bealach and followed a path which tends to disappear in places but still keeping an eye on the gate where I should pass through. I reached the gate and saw the Cobbler had a few people on its summit today and I walked on slowly picking my way around wet and soggy patches, I could see the path snaking up the hillside and off I headed. I ascended at my usual speed with many breaks, I do not do very steep too well.

At this point I pondered the advice I had received from both Graeme GIL and Neil NCM as both had climbed Ime with different routes, Neil had recommended the short sharp route from Glen Croe whilst Graeme had climbed from Butterbridge, I had looked at these but decided the gradual but much longer ascent from Succoth would be my best bet with the near 1,300 ft height push from the Bealach a’Mhaim the last steep ascent. I do not do ‘steep’ very well.

Keeping a steady pace I was ascending the hill slow but sure and as I got higher the path tended to be drier. I had put my handie on scan when I left the bealach and just about a third of the way up, I heard a station activating Beinn Dubh which I could see to the south-east of me. I called in and had caught Kenny ZUN as he was just about to head back off his hill, two chaser points to start the day….I’ll take that.

I kept heading upwards and stopped to fill my water bottle with some fresh cold water. It was cold and refreshing.

Yer man himself

Yer man himself

I saw a distant figure emerging from between the two tops and soon he was telling me that I wasn’t having far to go, I was  feeling the heat by this time but armed with this info I headed quickly to the top and walked along a level path and there it was the summit shelter. I had made it.

I left the rukkie and antenna stuff and headed to the summit, the trig point is no more and only the iron base pegs still show. I stood and took in the view which was excellent, Ime is the highest hill in the local area and the views in all directions are stunning.

No time to stand about so I looked at my watch and I had declared that I would be ‘active’ at 13.00 UTC so I wasn’t that far out. I called Roddy 2OØIOB using the handie and asked him to place a ‘spot’ for me mentioning my change of summit plus he was the first contact in the log.

Next was getting the 5 element beam ready, there was only a slight breeze which hopefully was to keep all those biting critturs away. I called and Steve UAU called back, I later worked Steve on 4m FM which I intended to try but I ended up just using the 4m handie and the duck antenna with no more success.

Another Paisley club member Stuart OXQ was next in the log, Stuart was in the Ayr area and just to the north in Troon, I next spoke with Tony BAO.  Alan VTV from Greenock was next and I would imagine from his QTH it was line of sight and we discussed various radio related stuff before I broke off to find more contacts, regular chaser Andy USU from the Falkirk area was next in the log and after a short QSO, I called on .500 and hooked up with Kenny ZUN who was heading back to the Glasgow area after his activation of Beinn Dubh, it was his first activation so hopefully he will have been bitten with the bug and we have another keen VHF activator in the Central Belt area.  Finally on 2m was another PARC member  Brian HMZ who had headed just above Paisley to work me. It is good to have so many PARC members interested in SOTA either on the chasing and activating side, at last count 5 activators and slightly more chasers.

Looking N from Ime

Looking N from Ime

Contacts had been slow but steady but dried up after eight 2M FM contacts and one on 4M FM.

In between the radio work, I had stopped and spoke with the steady stream of walkers who made the summit. Mention has to be made of two Dutch lads who had hiked to the summit of Ime via Narnain, they had done the direct route over Narnain via the Spearhead dropped down into the bealach and then to Ime’s summit…with 25 kg plus packs!!! They had marked a spot just below the summit in which they were bivvying out overnight now that would have been fun. I looked across at the last rocky scramble I had done when on Narnain and noted how narrow the area I crossed to the summit was.

I had spent just over two hours on the summit playing radio and lazing when it was time to pack up and head back down the reverse route. It was a quick last look around then it was off down the occasionally slippery slopes to the bealach where I would pick up the path back to the junction at the head of the coire.

The path here is excellent and as I descended I spoke with most people I met. The before mentioned couple from Devon could not believe how beautiful this area was and I told them to wait and see what views awaited them from the top of the Cobbler their intended destination.

Luibhean and Beinn an Lochain

Luibhean and Beinn an Lochain

At the Narnain boulders I met a French couple who were looking for a camping spot on the Narnain side but everything was boggy, I told them of the other lads who were roughing it on Ime….. a walk too far for them I thought. The coire would be alive with the midge as soon as the breeze dropped.

Slowly but surely I made my way down the open hillside until I met the zigzag path again and made sure I wasn’t intending to stop for obvious reasons.

Two hours and a bit later, I spotted Katie and Lora waiting on me. The expedition backup had brought fresh orange juice but secretly I had lain dreaming of a cold pint of cider on Ime’s summit….someday eh ?

I’m glad I finally got Ime ticked off, the ‘butter mountain’ had always intrigued me. Will I return ? possibly but the Cobbler is next or maybe Luibhean which seems to be the forgotten hill in the area.

To finish what is a longer than usual post, I spoke with two obvious Munro baggers who ‘moaned’ about the boggy parts of Ime and when our conversation turned around to views from the top of the other local hills, I put forward Ben Donich as one of my favourites, ‘Is it a Munro?’ what else can I say…….

Click on post images for full size photo…

right click on Gallery images to go full size

Stats Overload…..

Beinn Ime is 1011m ASL (3.317 ft)

translates as ‘the Butter mountain’

Peakbagger info HERE

Just as a wee extra…

Beinn Ime climbing info HERE

Beinn Narnain climbing info HERE

the Cobbler North Peak info HERE South Peak HERE

Geograph images HERE

Once again , thanks goes to Wikipedia, GeographPeakbagger and UKClimbing

Beinn Narn…….Rain ?????

The planned outing on the Saturday was cancelled on Friday evening due to the strengthening East winds.

The map printouts which I’ve previously mentioned were still to be used and it was the top one which kept catching my eye, the Arrochar Alps. Mmmmm?

SOTA Activation of Beinn Narnain GM/SS 016 17th June 2012

SOTA Activation of Beinn Narnain GM/SS 016 17th June 2012

A check on Sunday’s weather forecast on the Met Office site, it said cloudy then the sun was to appear mid afternoon, I had to ask Katie first as she would have to ‘taxi’ me. Some of the old Bawb charm and it was on….

I’d everything packed ready so it was an empty of my rukkie and a recheck to make sure everything was there, I did pack another layer as the forecasted temperature was to be in single figures for 900m and over.

I had a quick keek out of the window about 5.30am and the sky was clear, Lomond’s summit was showing and no cloud was seen looking towards Donich and Cnoc Coinnish. Excellent. I started to prepare everything very quietly as everyone else were still in dreamland.

I stacked everything at the front door and then had a leisurely breakfast whilst waiting to head away. I posted an alert and packed the car, okay I flung everything on the back seat.

I remarked whilst on the Erskine Bridge and later towards Luss that the road had been strangely quiet for a Sunday morning but off towards Tarbet and the usual below 30 mph drive through Tarbet as it is very prone to someone standing with a radar gun pointing at you as head towards Arrochar.

The car park was reasonably full as we arrived and I got kitted up and waved goodbye as I crossed the road. I headed up the track through woodland which I knew is infested especially on a still cloudy morning like today with the midge. I got bitten occasionally as I rose in height among the trees not wanting to stop as I knew the consequences. I met and passed a large group from the Glasgow area whom I kept passing and getting passed by on my way up the path which finally leaves the wooded area behind, a fresh cool breeze was coming down the through the airy glen between the Cobbler and Beinn Narnain.

the Cobbler from ascent

the Cobbler from ascent

After an hour, it was time for to be fed and watered. I looked either side of me and the tops and lower down were shrouded in mist, not what I had hoped for. Roddy had alerted to me that fellow PARC member Craig HCF was heading just to the SW of me on Ben Donich. I started the steady climb up the glen floor on a well maintained path.

I reached the junction of the path at the bealach where routes to Ime, the Cobbler and my target Narnain break off, just under 1,000 ft of height still to gain.

The bealach and path was in a drier condition than I expected especially after the deluge that fell the previous day. A worn and occasionally rocky path headed slowly upwards towards what looked like a very claggy summit but I kept going until I met the more serious of two rocky scrambles over large scree rock, little did I know the after this one, the summit was within reach.

About three-year ago, Euan had originally wanted me to go with him up the direct route from Arrochar and on a day like it was today, I’m glad I chose the what would be called the ‘Tourist Route’ and for once, I never questioned ‘why I was doing this ?’…

The trig point eventually came in sight through the cloud, I had summitted. A quick look at the trig, it is a pity all the trig points were not built in this style. I looked around and found a sheltered bit to the east of the trig and settled down to grab a quick bite and set up for 4m, I chatted with someone who had arrived via the direct route then I called out on 4m and called and called. No takers here today. A hit and miss band lately.

Beinn Narnain Trig point

Beinn Narnain Trig point

Whilst calling, I assembled the 5 ele yagi for 2m and then took down the 4m JPole, attached the beam and first call, I worked Craig HCF on Ben Donich which fleetingly appeared and disappeared as it suddenly got cooler, next in the log was Stuart OXQ from Paisley then a third PARC member Roddy 2MØIOB called in from Gourock. The cloud then got thicker and as it chilled down, the rain came on lightly at first so I thought, a quick activation but I called again on S20 and worked Rick CIN from SW Ayrshire. I next worked Jack COX from the Lanarkshire area, I had heard Jack on my way up the last ascent and had wondered if he was out and about but not today. Billy AHJ from Glasgow then Barrie KZX from Dumbarton popped in.

The rain had now started to get heavier and I spent some time trying to cover everything up but I nipped back to s20 and worked Morgan CDW then Eric FSZ from Girvan and after a quick chat about the previous day, it was back to call again and Alan VCV from Greenock answered my call followed by Andy, USU a regular chaser from Falkirk.

Finally I was to work Martin, PXI who was on the summit of Brown Carrick Hill just south of Ayr, Martin wasn’t doing SOTA so a chasing point and a STS lost. I called again on s20 and searched through the band but nothing was heard or answered my call. It was still raining so a quick break down of the station then it was time to head off a wet summit. I looked for the cairn and headed off down the path I had come up. I’d had been earlier asked if I wanted to head back down the direct route but I thought as the rocky parts would possibly be slippy with the rain I would be safer going off the way I had arrived.

A brief glimpse of Loch Long

A brief glimpse of Loch Long

As I left the summit, possibly about a couple of hundred feet lower I came out of the clag to what looked as if the weather was starting to clear and I could see most of the surrounding hills, Ime was still hidden beneath cloud which was a pity as I intend to return to activate it. The mysterious summit awaits me at some point in the future. I headed down to the bealach taking care as I descended the now damp grass.

I was back on the main path back towards the forest area and enjoyed the descent passing the famous Narnain Boulders, I finally got a signal on my phone and arranged my lift back home.  Dropping steadily I reached the forested area where I again never tarried due to the curse. I met a walker who had rather sillily stopped and was being eaten alive, classic midge attack.

Looking down Loch Long

Looking down Loch Long

I reached the car park and waited on Katie then it was off home to dry everything out.

12 contacts on a day which turned for the worse weather wise but I’d bagged another Munro, I’m now about 3% towards compleating them haha. Looking back on it, it was worthwhile getting out and the weather obviously put literally a damper on the day. I’ve decided to go back to the old Bawb activating weather, blue sky and no clouds before I head…

A good day spoiled by the lack of a view from the top but who knows I may return.

Thanks goes to Wikipedia and to those I have linked to.

Narnain Facts…

928m (3,044 ft)

a Munro, Marilyn..

translated as ‘the hill of notches’

Munro number 259

GeoHack info HERE

Climbing info HERE

Other info…

Local climbing history HERE ( I think the video links are down)

Click on images to view full size !!

Narnain Ascent route

Narnain Ascent route

(Feb) Radio Days ’12

Another month on…

No SOTA activations to report but with a new kid on the block, Summitbase’s ‘HuMPs’ Awards which brings me to Corlic, my favourite hill is now a HuMP with the title of GM/HSS 088. I activated the hill although this activation was unintentional. Blog post on the activation HERE.

First contact was a ‘mongrel’ summit to summit with Neil 2MØNCM on a SOTA ‘Marilyn‘  Cruach Tairbeirt, I had picked out Corlic to go and work Neil as I before had trouble working another station on the same hill on some lower ground a few weeks earlier, a hill surrounded on 360 by higher hills. I also worked local stations that day locally plus a mobile station going to Carnwath, good going on 2w and the IOB beam. Another hill related facet of our hobby which promotes activity.

Corlic Hill From Dam Wall

Corlic Hill From Dam Wall

SOTA…

Quiet month for me once again as this pounding the local tarmac and green tracks is taking me out of opportunities to work stations who are out, sadly not everywhere has good take off when I’m out. I do try to estimate my walks to take in higher spots but it never seems to work out that way. I’ll take what I can get until hopefully the summer months and lying toasting on a summit waiting.

First station worked was Neil 2MØNCM with the aforementioned contact then later that day I caught Bob AWV who was on the summit of Beinn Dubh on west Lomondside, I caught Bob from the wrong side of the hill as I was leaving the ruined farmstead area at Glenbrae. A good one to get considering location.

Two weeks later, I caught Iain WJZ from Beinn Narnain in the Arrochar Alps, I have promised a visit to this hill since I first worked Neil way in Sept 2009, I’ll get there. Later that day, Craig HCF kept up his recent activation run with my first ever SOTA activating summit, the much dreaded Hill of Stake, this hill is also my nearest Marilyn.

The following week, I headed out and caught Iain WJZ on Broad Law from the trig point just to the east of the local golf course, a regular chasing spot for me. The next day, I caught Bob AWV this time on Meikle Bin, his XYL Eunice UVL was making this a dual activation so two in the log.

That was another quiet ‘chasing’ month for me but I’m sure the miles being walked will stand me in good stead if I manage to get back out activating.

HF….

Not much difference in the previous two months, I’m still calling out but not as much as usual. I am mostly on JT65 or PSK as I’ve given OPERA a rest. I did spend some time monitoring for other modes such as Contestia and Olivia but the latter seems to be passing me by. Nothing exciting to report DXCC wise. I seem to miss the better openings.

I’ve trialed Multipsk more specifically for the HF Fax and Acars, sadly the Acars is a limited part of the program but at 20 quid for the full program it could be an excellent addition to my data programs. My present Acars decoding program is complicated to set up but there again it has its advantages over Multipsk.

One wee extra this month..

I came across this article here on Lifehacker HERE.

This is as lightweight as you may get for a wild camp in the wilds, I know you can sleep under the stars but I can’t because the midge family love dining on me….I had a one man tent in my earlier years but believe me, it wasn’t very light. I know those of you who know me personally will wonder how I could even manage to fit into such a small space then…Just read that a mosquito was found in a house locally…oh boy!

Bobby early 1980s

Bobby early 1980s

Which leads me on to a photo that Ailsa my youngest found whilst looking through some old photos, it shows a rather young Bobby Mhor. If I remember correctly this photo was taken on a trip oop north to the Glen Feshie area, the previous week I had done a week’s volunteer work for the RSPB at Insh Marshes, a thing I would say was a worthwhile exercise.

Unfortunately and happily for me, the image on the blog is actual size I scanned. What a beard though !

Once again, thanks to all those sites I have linked to, Wikipedia and others.

Summitsbase has recently started their ‘HuMPs’ awards and many have started activating mostly down south ( England and Wales) on both HF and VHF, the site itself is an ongoing work in progress and by becoming a member you can take part in this exciting venture, the site is one in which you can share your local knowledge for others to learn routes etc. I know some regular readers of this blog are contributors. If you are a Radio Amateur, go register and join in….any queries I am sure an email to one of the team will soon sort you out.

‘Hundred Metres Preference’ or ‘HuMP’

‘HuMPS’ ebook (pdf) HERE