Tag Archives: Hill of Stake

(Feb) Radio Days

Late again, I need to get my act together.

The shortest month of the year, so how much did I manage to cram in to it ?

Lets see !

SOTA…

Activations ? Two, what I would call my now annual visits to first, Beinn a’Mhanaich and secondly the Hill of Stake.

a’Mhanaich I did on a cold windy day but I was kept busy with 24 contacts from Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Later in midweek I headed to the Hill of Stake in ideal conditions for walking in and out but I must add not for sitting about on the summit, this hill is best done in ‘cold’ conditions as some of you know fine well it can a boggy pathless ascent. ‘Crisp’ is what I would describe as the best attack plan. I made 19 contacts all in Scotland but nonetheless a good midweek total. I gave a call out on my 70mhz FM handie and snagged one contact to Steve UAU in Greenock but at the HoS, I decided to try 70 cm FM and made three contacts which for midweek was good. I’ll try 70 cm as 70 mhz seems to be quiet in the Central Belt but if S of the HoS, I will consider 70 mhz FM as I know a few stations in NI and some in the NW England area are normally about.

Looking down the Firth from a'Mhanaich

Looking down the Firth from a’Mhanaich

Chasing…

The month started with working Iain WJZ who activated Beinn Dorain, another of those iconic Scottish mountains. I had been out walking and waited to catch him from the local golf course car park about 400m W from my house. One done by handie.

On what seemed a slow start to the month, I caught Iain seven days later Schiehallion SE of Loch Rannoch this time I was at home. Iain had just activated two hills I have looked at very closely lately. The following weekend I ‘chased’ from Beinn a’Mhanaich and logged Iain this time from Creag Meagaidh well to the N of me near Glen Spean , Robin PKT who was Beinn Chaorach nr Tyndrum, Jack COX to the E on Cairnpapple Hill, John BLV who was on Moel Famau in North Wales and finally Alister BKQ whom I caught on Skiddaw in the Lake District, a good haul of contacts. I was down on HF when I get tipped the wink by Steve UAU that Colwyn YCJ was on Ben Clach to the NW of Braco, an unexpected one in the log.

On the last weekend of the month, I caught Robin PKT on Sgurr Mhic Eacharna then the following day on Beinn Leamhain both hills in the Morvern area and the last contact for the month was Bob AWV directly across the river on Ben Bowie. A reasonable month considering the poor weather at times.

Quiet but still a worthwhile time considering hill conditions.

Brr

Brr

HF…

Another month in which JT65 and to a lesser degree JT9-1 were my go to modes. I must return to PSK at some point as some interesting propagation has been showing lately. Nothing new DXCC wise although I’m trying hard trying to work grey line or monitoring bands as they open or start to close which seems to be my best chance. Right place right time I hope will pay off for me.

Odds..

I’m still playing about with the SDR dongle stuff but still not devoting the time that I should, I must try to source a box to fit the upconverter in as more a shield than anything else. It is remarkable how sensitive the dongles are for the price that you pay for them and with some excellent free software to run them with. I think the winter months will be spent trying some of the Softrock projects.

That’s been short and sweet for Feb, a month in which I crammed in so much but found I’d very little to write in this piece. If it seems a dry post, I may put that down to short memory hihi.

My post on Beinn a’Mhanaich HERE

Ditto …Hill of Stake HERE

73

Thanks again to all those I have linked to, Wikipedia, Peakbagger and others…

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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…

The Long Weekend….

With thanks to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who this week celebrates her Golden Jubilee and as they deemed to give us a day off in celebration, it has been a long weekend break from work, thank you Ma’am !

Back to the fun in hand, I had a lazy day on the Friday after walking to work. I thought four days ahead and I’m sure I’ll be out.

Sunday..

I had part arranged with fellow blogger Roddy (blog HERE) to visit and play radio from the Lurg Moor trig point but an early rise had shown that one of the regular activators had declared for three of the Mamores so plans were slightly altered to head to a higher destination at just over 1400 ft but after the original post was changed to activate Meall a Bhuiridh, the ski centre hill at the east end of Glencoe. It was a return to the original plan.

5 ele beam

5 ele beam

I set out trying to pre-guess arrival times and arrived 40 mins later having walked to the trig point from my house, just under two miles with a steady rise most of the way, I had the FT 817 and my SLAb in my back pack so much heavier than usual. I quickly erected the beam and settled down to enjoy the day and to await Roddy’s appearance. I knew fellow PARC member Craig HCF would be out on Beinn Ime which I could see to the North of me, the views with the crisp air were superb, the effort of ten minutes walking from the roadside makes this view all worthwhile. Below me and to the west, the urban sprawl of central Greenock with the docks along its waterfront and the vista of hills stretching in a 270 degree direction W to SE and for the other 90 degrees the moorland stretches behind towards Corlic and I could see the Hill of Stake on the boundary of Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.

Roddy soon arrived and it was time to sit and enjoy the radio and talk about this years SOTA expedition to the Lakes. First logged was Craig HCF on Beinn Ime followed soon after by Robin PKT on Meall a’Bhuiridh, eighteen quick points. We decided to sit and enjoy the day and wait for Robin for his move to Creise.

Whilst sitting I heard Neil 2MØNCM working Robin and waited until Neil had got himself organised on Saugh Hill just outside of Girvan, we had a QSO until Neil had to go and help steward a local hill race.  Graeme 2MØGIL was out and about in the Dumgoyne area and called in for a quick chat before he headed off the hill and home, I found out later he had dumped us to head home as it was his wedding anniversary, shocking. Soon after that Jim GLM called in from Stronend to the NE of us so more points in the bag.

There was a slight chill came down just after mid afternoon but Roddy has snuck himself in his bivvy bag and more plans for an overnight stay on a hill somewhere being made.

Greenock and trig point

Greenock and trig point

Robin soon arrived on the summit of Creise and this was a unique for me as I find the hill is snuck in behind higher hills which blocks the signal for me at home. I heard Robin talking to Iain WJZ, Ian was on Sgurr nan Gillean on the Isle of Skye, I could occasionally hear Ian but very weakly so I asked to call him but sadly I wasn’t to be heard, the earlier idea of 1400ft+ would have helped. Oh well !

A good day ‘chasing’ wise and to spend the day just yattering away.

We broke down the antennas and headed the short distance off the hill, Roddy to his car and me ? the long way home (by foot).

Monday…

More SOTA chasing with a newcomer or a station surprised at the response he got, Stewart STU had called from Ben More in the Crianlarich Alps and later appeared on Stobinnean and in-between his summitting, Robin PKT appeared on Bidean nam Bian the highest of the Glencoe hills, more chaser points in the bag and the push to get 2,000 gets nearer.

Tuesday…

Left home slightly after 7 am and headed with the intent of just doing a round walk of approx 7 ml but I looked west as I walked along the B788 and saw Corlic ‘calling’ me so at the substation, I leapt the gate and headed towards the summit and summitted just under 30 mins later, I had sent a text to Roddy IOB who then gave me a call on s20 and we chatted until he had reached his place of work. I called on both 2m and 70cms but no takers, I assumed this was because of the earliness.

The Arran Hills in the distance

The Arran Hills in the distance

I headed off the summit after taking in the views, the outline of Goat Fell was just showing above Garvock Hill, the distant sky to the west and east had a light brown tinge to it this morning whilst to the north it looked dark and threatening, I had seen light rain sweeping across to the south of me but I later headed in that direction passing through the ruined farm of Glenbrae before heading across the dam wall which separates the Higher and Lower Gryffe reservoirs.

I met one of the rangers from the local Centre at Cornalees and spent 15 mins talking about the fly tipping which sadly gets dumped in these out-of-the-way areas, soon I was on my way as the ‘scourge’ appeared and before I could get eaten alive I headed to find someone had ‘removed’ part of a recently erected stile, what can I say ?

Heading now towards home, I now made good time on the tarmac track and as I came out on to the B788, I could see a model (?) airplane doing all the turns and acrobatics so I had to be nosey.

Ready for take off

Ready for take off

I walked down and watched whilst a bigger plane than I expected took off and did its thing. Very interesting. The video below runs for over four mins but rather than editing I just left it intact.

Time to finally head back home along the B788 and along to the base of the Green Rd, up over the golf course and dropped down to home. 10 ml in the bag.

I prefer the old ‘Stobinnean’ instead of the present use.

The Trig Point details are HERE

I would like to thank Wikipedia and other sites I have linked to and of course, you…if you haven’t dozed off by now.

That Was The Year That Was ’11…Pt 1

2011..a rewind pt 1

Another busy year…..

The first 10pt summit Ben Lawers, my first English activation Skiddaw and a visit to the Isle of Mull to activate the islands only ‘Munro’ Ben More are among my highlights of this years in pursuit of both activating’ and ‘chasing. Each summit reached and every contact made valued, 1pt or 10pt and the chance to talk to those who regularly are out on the hills or in their shack makes it all worthwhile. I have tended to make trying to chase more from the local hills, I have ‘chased’ locally from Corlic (now a HuMP), Hillside Hill, Cruech Hill, the trig point at Lurg Moor and the golf course trig  at my back door.  Handy places for chasing those out on the summit. Being oot’n’aboot adds a little more fun to it. A new name for this is ‘Extreme Chasing’….groan.

View to the Gareloch

View to the Gareloch

There has been an increase of VHF activity mainly on 2m in this past year and this is in thanks to new activators and the regulars. I occasionally head out myself to activate averaging one per month over the year.

It has been great fun in all aspects…..and a cracking year ( yet to finish !)

We’ll start with my Jan – June Activations..

No rest for the holidays as SOTA devotees decided that a VHF Fun Day was being held on the 2nd day of the New Year. Roddy 2MØIOB had suggested a joint activation so it was a hill within easy reach and a good lift off esp to the South.

Beinn a’Mhanaich was the choice, my third visit to this hill. The day promised dry and snow free so that was a good start at this time of year and we duly activated with 4m FM contacts to Wales, Northern Ireland, England and of course, Scotland. An excellent day and 6 summit to summit contacts, apart from the STS’s the memorable part of the day was how quickly the ground froze under our feet, a cobweb clearer.

Beinn a'Mhanaich from Eich summit

Beinn a'Mhanaich from Eich summit

I did a second activation in January on my first ever SOTA hill, the Hill of Stake, a hill no one else seems to like but I’ll be returning again in 2012, best to do this in frosty conditions. Only contacts were localish..

My next activation was a trip with Roddy IOB to a claggy Ben Venue, on a March day where the views were just not seen. The visit  topped by top quality guiding by Roddy which led to us both sinking to our erses in snow on the descent.. A good day out. I worked mostly 4m and 70cm where the latter band surprised me with more contacts than before achieved on 70cm on SOTA duty. The day finally started to clear as we finished the day.

A UHF Fun Day  proposed for late March so another hill with good take off south chosen, Ben Donich..I will recommend this to anyone who has never graced this hill. Please visit on a clear day as these views are exceptional. Mere words or photos cannot not describe these views, read my blog post HERE and click on the images. It was good to say both the Fun Days being well supported by so many fellow Scottish stations… Whilst we were descending Jack COX called out and a first in the fact that we could see Jack  across the glen on the Cobbler summit, it was not a STS but the chaser points were still most welcome.

The following weekend had a first for me, an activation on the East coast. The hill in question was Kings Seat, one of the highest tops in the Sidlaws overlooking to the east, Dundee. It was a relatively easy climb going via an unconventional route from the west. The wind was blowing strong and it was a chore keeping the 2m beam pointing the way intended. Nonetheless I worked Iain WJZ who was on Corserine in the Galloway Hills approx 110 miles away, mention also must be made as I worked Steve UAU back in Greenock on 4m plus Jim FVM in Berwick area on the same band. A hill worth returning to.

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

Cruach Ardrain summit from the ridge walk

The SOTA International weekend was the first one in May and another trip with Roddy IOB  made to the 8pt summit of Cruach Ardrain, wx wise the day was excellent, my choice of hill ? let us just say memorable, I had fallen for the words and advice of a charlatan, you know who you are. I struggled on this one but TBH on reflection it was an exciting day. Roddy IØB had activated the hill with 4 STS before I stumbled/dragged myself to the top. A long day..

One month later was my surprise CS visit, my son Euan had chosen unknown to me the top of the list Ben Lawers and I tried on the ascent to post an alert but no internet. There were so many people ascending it looked like a conga line heading to Beinn Ghlas, only 5 contacts and disappointingly none on 4m but a STS to Derek MIX who was down in the Lake District on Pillar. My first 10pt hill..

June was a busy month for me as I followed this with a dual activation of Beinn Eich and Doune Hill in the Luss Hills, I had done this before in 2009, the weather this day was excellent and is memorable for trying to figure out where the couple who had been just in front of me totally disappearing on the first part of the descent into Glen Mollachan, I looked and looked and finally looking back saw them appearing from what looked like a cave, strange..

That finishes what was a busy six month activation period for me.  I’ll soon finish the rest of the year in pt2 and cram everything else into it (hopefully)..

For the blog posts on each of these activations and of my earlier ones, follow this link HERE 

Thanks for taking the time to read this first part and I hope that it wasn’t a total bore..

You can now again click on each image to see full size in a separate window.