Tag Archives: Meall Corranaich

Ben More and Stobinnean

(Sept) Radio Days 2011

Bit later than normal, folks….

SOTA

No activations to report this month, the Sept trip to the Isle of Mull was cancelled and rescheduled for October, don’t miss next months thrilling instalment HI

Back to another busy months chasing, first out the blocks was Simon IWN who was on Ben Lawers midweek on a trip up north.

Ben Nevis from the Lawers Range

Ben Nevis from the Lawers Range

The weekend weather was kind to Neil 2MØNCM who took the journey across to the Cowal Peninsula and activated two Marilyns, Cruach nan Capull and Black Craig, a long walk…but topping all that was his following midweek ‘Lawers Round’ activation with another ‘Munro’ casually flung in….Neil headed west on to Meall Greigh then moved on to Meall Garbh before topping out at just under 4,000 ft on Ben Lawers, Neil bagged Beinn Ghlas, a non Marilyn Munro before a final descent and climb to Meall Corranaich, impressive and 36 pts to those who managed all contacts with him. On the same day, Richard JTD had done both Ben More and Stobinnean on a visit north but I only caught him latterly on Stobinnean.

The following weekend, the tail end of Hurricane Katia paid GM land a visit and with awfy strong winds and torrential rain, sensible people stayed indoors and we stayed on the mainland.

The following weekend I worked Robin PKT who was first out on Beinn a’Chreachain and later on Beinn Achaladair, I had caught Robin from the trig point on Lurg Moor on the his hill.

On the final weekend, Ian WJZ turned up on Beinn Ime near Arrochar whilst the next day, Neil 2MØNCM climbed the biggie, Ben Nevis on which turned into a windy wet activation, keen or what? Finally, a contact with Jim GLM on Stronend in the Fintry Hills to finish the month. Another busy month and once again, thanks to all those who ventured out.

Neil’s blog posts on

Lawers Round 

Ben Nevis

Ben More and Stobinnean

Ben More and Stobinnean

HF….

Varied month with conditions improving as the month moved along. Spent most of the time using JT65 with an occasional venture on to PSK, plenty ‘spots’, made the 6 continents in one day on 20m with a first ‘spot’ in South America which evades me normally. Venezuela to be exact.

I was not as active on WSPR as much but will rectify this in the coming months.

I downloaded V4 protocol towards the end of the month and tried some CQs but this mode is growing slowly and I’ll keep an eye there. I tried to contact an ON station but we seen each other but no connection could be made. More info on the mode HERE

Outlook…

Dunno, more work on V4 protocol perhaps…Less time on the radio and more walking, the intention to play more golf never came to fruition, next year?

eQSL is still my preferred exchange option plus I also use LoTW but funnily enough still receiving eQSLs from the period I used GA prefix although quite possible other stations loading up their ADIF files when starting to use eQSL…I’m not a member of the UK bureau so eQSL is handier and instant in most cases. It would grow if and when the ARRL will accept eQSL cards for awards but this seems unlikely .

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Lawers is a 10, a 10 point ‘Marilyn’

My son Euan mentioned the previous week that we could ‘do’ a hill together so like a good father I sent him to see his mum for a wee loan of her car, it never fails. I have to say here that he drives and I don’t. I mentioned the weather wasn’t looking the best but we would keep an eye on the prospects toward the end of the following week.

The chosen hill ?

Activation of Ben Lawers GM/CS 001 2/6/2011

Activation of Ben Lawers GM/CS 001 2/6/2011

‘Just surprise me’ I said and so on the day we would leave home and we would head but he would not tell me the destination although I said it has to be a Marilyn for obvious reasons.

Thursday looked good weatherwise and I got all the equipment together but this time I was going to travel with the barest minimum. I debated leaving home the 4m handie but thought if any problem with the 2m stuff, I would have least 4m FM.

We decided, okay he decided a 8am start, I thought it must be local as I remember being told once by him that I wouldn’t be fit enough to ‘do’ Ben Lomond so naturally, I wondered where we would go. Off across the usual northern route, the Balloch roundabout was passed so we were now heading further up Loch Lomondside, I had a sneaking suspicion it would be in the Arrochar area but nope it wasn’t to be as we turned right at Tarbet. Heading further northwards to Crainlarich, I thought please no not Ardrain again !!! but soon we passed the Ardrain set off point and minutes later we arrived in Crainlarich, we turned right. More? nope, we passed and looked up the daunting relentless slopes of this fine hill. Onward then it became clear it was the Lawers area but what one ? Corranaich ? Tarmachan on a return trip ? nope, straight into the Ben Lawers car park. It was Lawers !!

Panic ? yep, I panicked…are you kidding ? remember my last time out ? I’ll tell your mum !! I’ll boot yer **** !!!

‘You’ll do it !’ he says casually, comforting words from the oldest in the family who will inherit my meagre pittance, I did text my youngest to tell her mum, HELP !!!!!

‘Move it, Bob’ he says and off we joining the merry throng who all seemed to set off at the same time….

My thoughts at that time ?

It’s just quarter after 10 so this looks like a 4pm activation, my mind was working overtime trying to remember the route as I had planned this at one point but after the last Munro, the idea was shelved.

It was pretty breezy as we headed through the Nature Area exiting through the last gate and on to the open hillside, the dress of some of the parties heading up was making my head shake with disbelief..

I’m not going to head off on a rant but it was like a walk along the beach for some. I spoke to one woman who was struggling and offered her a few wine gums(sugar fix), she said she had some chocolate biscuits and a near empty litre bottle of water. I think she retraced back just before Beinn Ghlas.

Off again I’m still ascending slowly as I do, a wee break then I walk more and a wee break. It works for me!

It was getting serious now and a constant ascent to the first Munro Beinn Ghlas, I stopped after the first 60 mins for a wee break and some scran ( for those gourmonds among you the choice(again) was Toast with mature cheese washed down with a cheeky little drop of Chateau Loch Thom (tap water)).

Our first target

Our first target

Off and upwards I headed with the mist and cloud rolling in, rather atmospheric I thought but it was that ‘smirry’ stuff which just clings to you, the one advantage was that the wind was almost directly behind me but even a hurricane cannot move me, I spoke to someone who was on the down and he assured me that the first summit was within easy reach. I headed upwards and soon heard Euan call me into a sheltered area, a wee scran break again.

Minutes later, another ‘Munro’ was bagged although it was pretty nondescript and unexciting but then you start heading down to the bealach, the ridge walk is good for the short time it lasts, a bit ‘airy’ to your left into the glen below whilst Meall Corranaich and Meall a’Choire Leith could be seen occasionally when the cloud lifted. I had thought Beinn Ghlas was only just over the basic ‘Munro’ height but my memory had failed me, it was 1103m.

Lawers was continually shrouded in scurrying cloud but I now thought that from the bealach I still had a 1000ft climb to the trig point although it was really a haul of approx 550ft which looked straight up. The wind was now strong and constant and I slowly worked my way up to the summit, the path was heavily eroded.  ‘Not long now, big fella, only 10 mins to go’, Aye, right, I’ve heard this before but no, there it was ‘The Trig (and the nearby Direction Indicator). I thought as I was getting nearer it was moving backwards but no, Euan appeared and I finally reached out and touched the Trig point or to be honest used it to hold me up. The wind was now pretty horrendous, Euan had found a slightly sheltered area where I could use the 5 element 2m beam, I thought no 4m FM today unless I struggled with 2m FM which I did.

Our ubiquitous fellow blogger and my sometimes joint activator, Roddy 2MØIOB was waiting on my call, ten points to you !!. I know ‘giving’ ten chaser points and mentioning CS/001 just sounded so good. I never thought I’d manage a ten pointer. One contact down with three to go and boy, I struggled.

Next call in the log was Denis YDN who was near Girvan, we had a good chat and finally, I thought I better go and try and find more contacts. I called on S20, nothing so off through the band I looked and came upon Derek MIX who was activating Knott in the Lake District and once our beams headed in the right direction, a strong signal both ways, I had a quick chat and the conditions weather wise in the Lake District were much better but I guess as I was nearly at 4,000 ft, it would be different.

Off now to catch the fourth contact, this one would activate the hill fully for my points, Steven TMS in Fife answered my call, a chat about SOTA and I was off once more to find more contacts, it turned out to be only another one, Iain, MIM in the Falkirk area. I had a further search around the band, I could hear with a strong MØ station but my attempts to ‘break’ went unheeded, I also heard a Welsh accent very low in signal strength but as it was getting on, I dropped the beam and mast which had a mind of its own at times.Sadly 2m was not in good use this day.

Looking back to Beinn Ghlas as Bob starts final push

Looking back to Beinn Ghlas as Bob starts final push

Packed away it was time to head off the summit, windblown and slightly chilly we descended towards the bealach taking care on the steep eroded sections. We discussed our plan to head down the lower path avoiding the climb back up to Ghlas as this path looked a steady but gentle way down. The path was excellent, no erosion and a steady descent. A thought for ascent if one wasn’t ‘munro’ minded. We could now see both Meall Corranaich and Meall a’Choire an Leith and the ridge between them across the glen.

A slow but steady descent and suddenly views of Loch Tay and the Tarmachan ridge came into view. We entered the Nature Area and soon we arrived back at the car park. Time to head home……

I had done it !!!!!! another victory for this ancient overweight lump, number 10 on the Munro height list, only 270 odd to do.

What a day although I must say to be honest, the walk to Lawers starts at 440m and this is a great help, the path over Beinn Ghlas is pretty much in bad condition as is the final ascent to Lawers but visitors to both hills must run into thousands each year. The return path into Coire Odhar which we used which skirts to the north side of Beinn Ghlas is in excellent condition and if you decide not to bag Ghlas then it may be a better thought to use this path on your walk in.

My pack was lighter this trip as Euan had kindly carried my mast and beam and my much lightened box of tricks. I had carried extra food, water and clothing. It certainly helped, I wonder my progress would have slowed much with the extra equipment, I thought maybe slightly.

In the grand scheme of things SOTA, a ten point hill is the pinnacle, I have achieved one. I know that those who visit the blog have been on these lofty heights but for me, it was an achievement.

Sadly the constant cloud meant I could not have a panorama view from the top, I think I would have struggled to stand in the wind as well. The mist and cloud did not help the photo opportunities either.

I have posted a very short scan of the summit area.

Information Overload…..

Ben Lawers ( Beinn Labhair ) is 1412m ASL ( 3,983 ft) and is the ‘Hill of the loud stream ‘

is number 10 on the Munro list

Beinn Ghlas is 1103m ASL (3,619 ft) and it’s Gaelic meaning is the ‘Grey-Green Mountain’

is number 47 on the Munro list

Ben Lawers Geohack Info <HERE>

(April) Radio Days….2011

VHF….

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

SOTA….

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

Chasing..

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.

HF…

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..

Funny Hats…..and the 1000 ft mast

For about a year now, I’ve been calling our fellow blogger, Neil… ‘Funny Hat Man’ as he has a collection of, in my opinion, wacky ‘hats’ or Buffs as they are called ( I’m reliably informed). Little did I know that plans were taking place down South Ayrshire way to convert yer man to wearing them, I had once again referred to Neil as ‘Funny Hat Man’ in an email and soon after I received a picture message from Cat asking me which one did I prefer.

There was a choice of three, the centre one of ‘love hearts’ on a dark background was definitely out as even I couldn’t carry that off. I made a choice and within a day, the said article arrived via the post. Thanks to you both ( esp Cat)

The look of disbelief on my kids faces had to be seen, ‘What age are you ?, ‘Surely not ?’ were amongst the advice and giggles offered. I felt I had a duty to give it a go…..you can see in the photo.

Bob with hat

Bob with hat

Now to the radio side of things…

The ‘Alerts’ page on the Sunday morning was alive with GM activations all on high summits, email communications flew back and forth so I decided it was to be a trip to my 1000 ft mast.

I was taken to the Greenock end of the track into Corlic from just south of the Whinhill golf course, I stuck on my ‘funny hat’ and got Katie to take this photo as proof ( she forgot to tell me to tuck my chins in ). The weather was warm with a steady light breeze from the south west as I headed along the track which is tarred until the MOD mast when it turns to a rough farm track, I reached the base of the hill and headed over the stile and 5 mins later stood at the summit. It is a rise of approx 150 ft, looking back I could see other walkers heading towards the hill.

I switched on my 2m handie and immediately heard Jack COX who was talking to Graeme 2MØGIL, I quickly set up the 2m beam and pegged the mast and made contact with Graeme who was on Beinn Dubhnchraig, Graeme had intended to also ‘activate’ Ben Oss later in mid afternoon but as we spoke, Neil 2MØNCM was heading to the summit of Ben Oss. Neil had as usual, sent me his position on the hill so I could keep track of his progress.

I next caught Alan EYO who is up in Scotland on a four day ‘activation’ holiday, he was on Schiehallion, a quick chat and he was off to find the other lads who were already on the tops. I had a ‘scran’ break and had a few words with some walkers who had arrived at the summit, one told his wee lass that the man is ‘broadcasting’….Radio Bawb anyone? experience ? I DJ’ed in the early/mid 70s in the heyday of Disco…

The handie was switched back on and I heard Robin PKT calling from Geal-charn, I called back and we moved to another frequency, signal reports back and forth were pretty weak but all words were understood and contact made, more points in the bag. I then got called by a couple of stations in the Lanarkshire area, WNR/P and VYU and whilst working them, Jack COX called in to give me the chasing points for Meall Corranaich before he took off for another hill, another eight points bagged !

I caught up with Neil 2MØNCM and made the contact to Ben Oss and whilst talking to Neil, Alan XXP called in as he was nearing the summit of Ben Lui and said he would be on about 20 mins. I spoke to Neil then left him to chase the other activators for his STS’s (summit to summit).

Alan XXP soon appeared so I got to work him on 2m FM with the usual sked arranged to work him on 4m FM, Neil also had his 4m handie and dipole so we had a four way QSO once Graeme 2MØGIL arrived on the summit of Oss, superb.

I decided it was time to head back to the hacienda and I broke down everything so it was off to descend my usual trip through occasional knee deep heather and bog, I had a quick look at the old burn controls as I neared the road between Greenock and Kilmacolm and headed north along the roadside until I cut through a gap in a fence and headed past the Harelaw and Knocknair reservoirs and traisped over the fields to the golf course where I headed down home, five mins away.

A cracking day out with a good walk in, a fine days ‘chasing’ and an excellent walk home in almost perfect weather plus a few hours spent talking to those who ascended much higher hills than mine…

One of the activators arrived home just after midnight….who says radio isn’t fun ?

The ‘cairn’ in the photo ‘Remnant of the Second World War’ is possibly related to the Whitelees Decoy station or the MOD building which is now a telecommunications station ( I think). A lot of activity took place on the this area above Greenock during the Second World War.

Once I claim all the points, I have 98 left to achieve my goal of Slothdom...onwards and upwards plus what is next ? A bottle of Fizz awaits.

Whilst ‘Googling’, I found this. It is part of a poem by Daniel King..

No more by the river, lake, or deep fountain,
No more over Corlic, high hill, or mountain,
In deep musing mood will he wander alone ;