Tag Archives: Dungavel Hill

Ben Lomond

(July) Radio Days 2011

Another good month SOTAwise. I had two activations near the end of the month plus these were also my first ones in England (G land), I had visited the Lake District for a few days and reached the summits of Skiddaw and Dale Head.

On local VHF the local contacts were made on 2m FM whilst I did some SOTA chasing from two of my local hills, one was an activation of Corlic which now has the status being a HuMP and its official title is GM/HSS 088, which roughly translates as GM ( Scotland) H (Hump) SS (Southern Scotland) and 088 is its relevance in height total, the other local hill was Creuch which lies to the south of Greenock, I had not been there in almost two years but had frequented this hill during the old 11m days.


First logged contact was with on my Corlic (GM/HSS 088)activation ( unofficial as yet). Robin PKT was worked from the summit of Creag Meagaidh, approx 115 km away, a good one to start whilst Neil 2MØNCM was next on Beinn Mhor on the Cowal peninsula, I spoke to Jack on Dungavel Hill whilst waiting on Iain WJZ who I unfortunately missed due to conditions but finally working Robin again on his second summit of Beinn a’Chaorainn.

The next weekend was a quiet one due to weather but I still worked Colwyn YCJ who activated Beinn a’Bhuiridh in the Cruachan area, the following day, a single summit worked, Robin PKT was on Meall Nan Tarmachan, a hill I activated in 2010.

Meall Nan Tarmachan ridge

Meall Nan Tarmachan ridge

Robin was out and about for the next seven days, first was from the summit of Na Maoilean between Bonawe and Connal then two days later I caught him on Sgor Gaoith which under the conditions was a good contact, next was Beinn Euniach and Beinn a’Chochuill. On the second last Saturday Robin PKT was on Ben Oss and Beinn Dubhchraig whilst I worked Ian WJZ on Ben Starav, a hill in my ‘Etive triangle’ and finally that day,Jack COX was on Ben Challum.

The next trip out for me was to Creuch Hill south of Greenock, a good day weather wise with cracking views led to contacts with fellow PARC members Craig on Ben Bowie, Graeme 2MØGIL on Ben Lui then Iain WJZ on Stob Dubh and finally Robin PKT on Stob Ghabhar altogether a worthwhile hike to Creuch.

The Lake District chases were all STS (summit to summit) on my visit. On Skiddaw I worked John VCO on Arnside Knott, Dave JDH on Pillar and finally, JImmy EYP in the Borders area on Slighty Crag. The last one for the month was a STS with with Jimmy EYP who was still in the same area  but this time was on the top of Peel Fell. The month wasn’t finished with on the last weekend, I worked Robin PKT on the summit of Starav and finally on the Sunday, fellow club member Brian MM1HMZ braved a wet and windy summit of Ben Lomond, well done fella !

Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

A good month point wise considering the occasional rainy day, PKT was out in force and also good to see PARC members out activating.


Conditions have not been the best this month but I have been spending more time than usual on the lower bands, still mostly working psk31 but had a foray into looking at working some Olivia but I obviously was searching in the wrong places as I could not find any signals in the couple of sessions I had put aside for this, conditions mostly paid a part in this.

I have towards the very end of the month been looking another data mode JT65 using the interface programme JT65HF, initial results have been encouraging but more of this next month.

ROS ? due to the looking at other data modes, ROS has been lying on the back burner but I shall return to it soon. I still occasionally use WSPR especially when propagation looks out or I’m doing something else ( watching Baseball, mostly)…


Plans are being construed as we speak for a SI activation in Sept, I’ll need to try up my fitness for that one and let’s hope the weather will be good for it. If not a weekend away should be fun.

More ‘playing’ about with the regular data modes with a bit more time using JT65HF I think as some DX stations have popped up. I guess my SWL days have come back, the difference between then and now is considerable as you had CW, voice or RTTY only. Are we going away from the tradional methods or more likely, it is evolving quickly as the internet has taken hold of our pastime.

I must admit the information available on line regarding help with any installation problems etc really helps greatly.

If bored , go look at my two new pages with some of my boring old stuff on them..

‘My SOTA Activations’ and ‘Radio Days’….

As usual, I will probably edit and add to this, I tend to tweak a lot.

Once again, a big thanks to Wikipedia…

Roseneath peninsula and the Cowal Tops

GM/HSS 088….or Corlic

Corlic is now a HuMP…

it now it has its own HuMP reference number. GM/HSS 088

HuMP means a hill of a relative height of over 100 metres, all Marilyns are HuMPs (Hundred Metre Prominence) , follow this link to for explanations of various hill name types <HERE>.

That over…..

A good weekend forecast meant that Sunday looked possible for a trip to my 1000 ft mast, I would have preferred a trip across the Clyde to a Marilyn but as I was working on the Saturday, I got everything ready for Corlic. It was just as well as I spent Saturday on my feet the whole day, my legs were weary from that and a surfeit of golf in the last week.

Looking toward Dunrod and Hillside Hill

Looking toward Dunrod and Hillside Hill

I woke up and looked out towards the hills to the north, the sky was cloud free and Ben Lomond and the adjacent summits all looked tempting but Corlic was the place I was heading.

The summer hill clothes were quickly looked out, sun cream applied when Katie dropped me off at my usual drop off point. There seemed to be a heat haze already and it was only 11.00 local time ( this UTC throws me out). Climbing over the gate and into a grassy field, I headed towards the next gate where I would be then on open moorland, sadly this ascent has no paths just the occasional sheep trail between the high spots, the marshy bits were just as you would expect in winter but with a good steady rise to the trig point where 40 mins later, I stood at the trig point.

I immediately set up the 2m handie as I knew Robin PKT was due on Creag Meagaidh as I attached the helically wound ‘duck’, I heard a couple of local stations calling Robin. The 2m 5 element beam was quickly made up and attached to the mast and all connections checked, I had just switched the radio on and heard him call. A quick move to another frequency and Creag Meagaidh was in the log.

Looking North and a plethora of Marilyns

Looking North and a plethora of Marilyns

A good contact as the hill is 115 km to the north. I switched back down to wait for Neil 2MØNCM who was heading Cowal way to activate Beinn Mhor at the top of Glen Masson, I didn’t have long to wait as Neil called out, we headed off to a lower frequency and I spoke to Neil between his calls looking for contracts to activate the hill, the four contacts made easily. I heard a ‘break’ station and left it to Neil but it was Graeme 2MØGIL who was calling me from his home QTH in Glasgow. A quick word with Graeme and I left the frequency in Neil’s capable hands and we were visited by Jack COX who was on Dungavel Hill in Lanarkshire, Iain WJZ who was on Goar Bheinn (or Gulvain ) and in between all this activity, the scourge (midges) appeared every time the breeze disappeared and this Bob soon was regretting leaving his midge net at home. They seem to hover in clouds waiting to attack you.

I had a quick word with Jack COX about his ‘fame’ in the Walkhighlands forum, look <HERE> , other walkers have various ideas what we are up to from the summits. So far, I’ve been a weatherman, watching TV, an amateur astronomer listening for the Space Station and the cutest one was a bloke explaining to his daughter that I was broadcasting, true in theory I suppose. I wonder what would have happened during the ‘Cold War‘ period if you had been seen setting up an antenna on say, Beinn a’Mhanaich as it overlooks Faslane Naval base.

Roseneath peninsula and the Cowal Tops

Roseneath peninsula and the Cowal Tops

The hill was quiet today as normally it gets a few visitors on a sunny day, it is the local ‘Trades Fair’ holiday period but after I left, I could see a couple of walkers at the summit.

I had my beam pointing north but strange conditions on Iain’s lowish signal which was peaking and disappearing, at best he was a reasonable signal then it would fade into the noise and the same happened when Robin PKT appeared later on Beinn a’Chaorainn, SW of Creag Meagaidh. I made contact with Robin but the same happened with his signal, the nearest analogy was slow QSB ( fading), I had called back to Robin as he was leaving to try another band and the signal this time was a lot stronger. I thought it was me but no Roddy, 2MØIOB had noticed the same conditions, Roddy was just over a mile to the west of me, strange. Brian HMZ and locally, Steve UAU popped in to work the activators as they appeared.

We had all been waiting on Robin PKT and a comment from Neil’s YL Cat said it was like waiting for Santa. Robin duly appeared and contact made.

We continued to keep the frequency open and then finally it was time to break down the station and head home.

Looking toward the Holy Loch and Beinn Mhor amongst others

Looking toward the Holy Loch and Beinn Mhor among others

The cloud cover had gone by now and the temperature was rising as I made my way through the boggy areas the humidity was overpowering. I had made my way down to the drop off point but as is normal now, I headed down past the old ruins of Harelaw Cottage. I was looking at the hay getting cut when I saw a sheep in distress, it was on its back, okay have your jokes now please. I made my way over and its lamb was by its side. A big ewe so I used my Sota pole to lever her on to her feet but after a couple attempts she eventually righted and made her way back to the flock. My good deed done for the day. Stop tittering please.

I headed across the fields to the bottom half of the golf course, I headed to the rough track which takes me back to the golf clubhouse. I had entertained thoughts of a cold cider but kinda blew this as I had jumped across a  marshy bit but eh, made a boo boo and estimated wrongly, a splash or more a splodge….hmmmm.

As I reached the water tower I knew it was all downhill and soon I was back home, the mud had dried by now.

A great day out with good contacts, my appreciation for those who did the hard work today and climbed high.

On a finishing note, I very rarely mention I am out portable as some stations think I’m on a  SOTA hill, I mentioned it once today and you’ve guessed, a station appeared. Happily Neil was still on frequency…

Photos were taken whilst testing out an new Android app, limited size till I buy or not. I’ve found so far the quality is far superior than the bog standard app supplied with phone…I did take a panorama with my mobile, I have put it on the post but not the best quality I’m afraid.

My route to this hill mostly is from south-east, at 23 secs into the video you can see two groups of trees and my start point is from there.

(April) Radio Days….2011


Working 2m from home, still monitoring 4m FM and 70cm but not much activity.


One activation this month, a visit to King’s Seat in the Sidlaw Hills to the W of Dundee.


First in log was two summit to summit contacts from the top of King’s Seat, Iain WJZ was first, Ian was on the summit of Corserine in the Galloway Hills, a cracking STS across country and Barry TOE was to the N on the summit of Mealna Letter for the next STS, a worthwhile activation for me.

Looking NW to the Lawers Range

Looking NW to the Lawers Range

The following weekend, I worked Jack COX on Dungavel Hill and later that day, Iain WJZ on Sgor Gaibhre. On the Sunday, Bob AWV was on Conic Hill near Balmaha and this day it was the turn of Neil 2MØNCM to be on Dungavel Hill. The following Sunday, I made tracks to Corlic as a few alerts were posted. Firstly fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL was on Beinn Dubhchraig whilst at the same time, Neil 2MØNCM was making up his way up to its sister summit of Ben Oss

Looking to the Lui summits

Looking to the Lui summits

whilst unknown to all of us, Alan XXP was making tracks up Ben Lui a stone throw to the N of both hills. Next in the log was Alan EYO who was on a GM land activation holiday, Alan was on Schiehallion to the NE. In a busy day chasing wise, Jack COX was to the south of EYO on Meall Corranaich in the Lawers range. 40 odd points in one day, nice one.

I noticed another visitor to GM land was activating Ben More on the Isle of Mull mid-week so I monitored S20 waiting on him, the points from Gerald AQU were in the bag. A couple of days later, Corlic was my base while Robin PKT started his day off on one of the Beinn a’Ghlo summits followed later by a visit to the summit of Braigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, I heard his third activation as I headed back home but failed to make the contact.. In between this, Neil 2MØNCM was line of sight on the Hill of Stake, hill for some reason that some activators hate, dunno why ?.The Holiday Monday I was on Corlic again to chase Graeme 2MØGIL as he was to activate two ‘Munros’, Sqiath Chuil and Meall Glas but whilst I waited on Graeme, Seamus OVV activated Conic Hill, another point.

The next weekend was another holiday weekend and on the Friday, Robin PKT activated two of the hills which make up the Great Wall of Rannoch, first I worked him on Beinn a’Dothaidh and next on Beinn Dorain, the next day he was back out and I ‘chased’ him on both summits of Buachaille Etive Beag whilst at the same time, Gerald AQU popped in to the frequency and Stob Ghabhar was in the bag.

A frenetic month and my quest for Shack Sloth status was about to be realised with just a few more points to go.


Still scanning the bands from 40m to 12m looking for psk contacts. Working European stations with the odd sprinkling of stations outside. One new DXCC in SV5 Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean Sea. I occasionally had the WSPR set up in operation but for no extended period, 5 watts can certainly carry far in this excellent mode. I’m using what it I guess a ‘stealth’ antenna partially inside my loft space and finally running down behind the outside downpipes. It isn’t the best but it gets out there, five continents so far…

Another thanks to Wikipedia for outside links..

If Donich is a 10 then Cruach Ardrain is a 7

Aye right !!

Activation of Cruach Ardrain GM/SS 004 1/5/2011

Activation of Cruach Ardrain GM/SS 004 1/5/2011

ISW or International SOTA Weekend was looming and the hunt was on for a summit, a few possibles were looked at and finally, Cruach Ardrain was the choice with a backup of a lower hill just in case of weather problems. The usual palaver of pouring over maps, checking for routes in the Scottish walking forums but as a couple of fellow bloggers had already ‘climbed’ this hill so email was duly fired out for advice, Graeme had made his way from the South from the Braes of Balquidder whilst ‘baggingBeinn Tulaichean on the way in. Neil (of whom the title of the post refers to) had accessed the hill from the A82, this was the route chosen as it seemed the easier of the two.

Once again the activating team of 2MØIOB (or 2RØIOB this time) and myself headed swiftly northwards to find the parking spot at NN368238 which was busy even at the early time of 8am. A quick look and the summit was viewable from our setting out point. A check of equipment and it was off over the stile heading to the railway bridge underpass which leads onto a rough track which had been driven into the glen possibly for grouse shooting.

Our track now veered off to the left and said goodbye to a couple of walkers we had met and who were heading on to An Caisteal. We now reached the rickety bridge which was gingerly crossed and then it was now into the serious stuff, a relentless upward slog over grass following a faint path along a forestry fence, the first scran break was taken just before the end of this section.

It was then upwards until we met the start of the ridge walk which would take us to the last uphill push to the summit. A quick rise to the top of Grey Height then a gradually rising ridge walk where the all-round views were improving the more height we gained, Crainlarich with its green valley and looking N you could see the recognisable shape of Beinn Dorain and to the west the summits of Bens Lui, Oss and Dubhchraig. The twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean were constantly in view to the E until we met the summit of the ridge walk which has Meall Dhamh to your left. We could see the summit cairn and thought ‘eh ? have we got to go there? we had to.

The summit from the top of the ridge walk

The summit from the top of the ridge walk

It was now descent time into the bealach 150 ft below then it was a quick up and over another lump of rock until it was time to strike up the last steep section, this was proving a bit of a hill too far for myself. Just as we struck out for the top, we worked Robin PKT who was on Gaor Bheinn (Gulvain) then relentlessly we drove on and the summit was slowly getting nearer but every time I checked the gps phone app, I swear the summit was moving further east or I was going in reverse. Roddy then pressed on but just at the point I was cussing under my breath at my stupidity, I met the path between summits and off I headed (slowly) to the left and after another up and over, the summit was metres away.

I first, headed to the summit cairn and touched it. Sadly there was no trig point (white or otherwise). Roddy by this time had ‘activated’ the hill. I had a quick scran break and although windy I put up the 4m JPole and proceeded to call out, 15 mins later and with no contacts it was down with the 4m antenna and the 70cm JPole erected in its place, nothing again until I made contact STS (summit to summit) with both Bob AWV and Eunice UVL who were on Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick Hills, I tried again but no takers. A bit disappointing as I had thought 4m would have been good from over 3,000ft but it was a cracking sunny day and I guess most sensible folk would be out doing more relaxing things than playing radio.

I headed back on 2m and worked Dave TAP who was in the Selkirk area then STS with Neil who was on Kirkland Hill near Kirkconnel, next STS in the log was Barry XFM who was just to the E of us on the summit of Ben Lawers. Next was by fellow blogger Graeme 2MØGIL who was on Conic Hill near Balamha. Jack COX was out hunting STS, Jack was on Dungavel Hill in Lanarkshire, next in the log was Christine YMM from Edinburgh and finally, a cracking STS to finish the day was with Colwyn CYJ who was in the Wester Ross region NW of us on Beinn Eighe – Rhuad Stac Mor near Kinlochewe approx 150 km away.

It was then time to break down the station and head back of the hill, slowly but surely the steepish section was manoeuvred and it was time to climb up the 150ft to the ridge, this was painful but soon done and it a pleasant walk back down to descend off the Grey Height and now the relentless plod down the steep grassy slope until we took a break at the ricketty bridge before the last walk down the track to the parking area on the A82. The walk was finally done ( and so was I !)

A last look at Cruach Ardrain summit then it was off back to civilisation.

Would I do it again ? No…

Would I recommend it.. Yes !

A contrast in answers but the views from the summit cairn were fantastic, too many summits to name but the twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean were as if you could reach out and touch them, Ben Lawers showing through their bealach, the Tarmachan ridge, Ben Nevis with its patches of snow, the trio of Lui, Oss and Dubhchraig, Ben Lomond, the Trossach hills Venue and Ledi and an old favourite far on the south horizon, the Hill of Stake.

Rather interestingly, ‘Naismith’s Rule‘ was created during a walk on Cruach Ardrain on the way to Ben More, obviously my pace wasn’t taken into consideration.

My thanks once again go to Roddy as he suffered my slow pace etc. Funnily I’ve just received a text from him about a much lighter pack will be carried next time, I must be staying at home….

I’ll explain the title of the post..

I asked Neil his views on how ‘hard’ the ascent would be and that was his reply….I fell for it again.

Information Overload…

Cruach Ardrain means ‘Stack of the high part’ or some say ‘Heap of stones’…

it is 1,046m ( 3,462 ft ) ASL

is 87 in the Munro list

Geohack info <HERE>

Round trip of over 12km.

All photos of activation <HERE>