Tag Archives: Munro

On Tintock Tap, There Stands a Mhor

With apologies to this old Scots rhyme..

On Tintock Tap, there is a mist

On Tintock Tap, there is a kist

And in that kist, there is a cup

And in that cup, there is a drap

Tak’ up that cup, and drink that drap, that’s in yon kist, on Tintock Tap !

Time to tell the story of the day of  how Mhor and Roddy took to Tintock Tap…

Tinto Sign

Tinto Sign

This had been planned around the festive holiday period but initially Tinto was not the target hill(s) but was then pencilled in for the last weekend but a careful  watch on the weather made a switch to Tinto but strong winds and with the possibility of rain showers knocked it on the head.

We decided on Tinto as the next hill and with texts and calls back and forth over Thursday and Friday with a decision to go on early Saturday morning.

The morning dawned misty with cloud levels on the Luss hills about 1400 ft but we knew Tinto had a path in case of low cloud or mist.

We headed through Glasgow then south along the M74 and as we do or should I say me ! I rabbited on that much we missed the turning so a diversion back towards Thankerton and the Tinto car park. We arrived slightly later than planned  but all gear looked out and off I headed, I get sent ahead for two options, first because I’m slow and I can scout out any problem, I think the former is the correct one. There was cloud covering what we perceived was the summit area. The forecast was for sunshine at midday with a wind chill in the region of minus 9c.

I headed through some soggy bits which with a light overnight frost had made the going easier but after I passed the Iron Age fort the going got steeper but much drier. The Iron Age fort stands proud but it is better to view this from a higher height but you will recognise this as you see the ditch defences as you pass.

Looking down the hill

Looking down the hill

I headed steadily up occasionally stopping to look back and take in the views, Endomondo told me that the first mile had passed and not long after this I was joined by Roddy at the top of the first steep rise that cuts along the side of Totherin Hill, the path here is broken rock and is relatively easy-going but steadily rising and passing the rather funnily named ‘Maurice’s Cleuch’ on the right.( Cleuch means ‘narrow glen or valley’)

I could hear the occasional  ‘chut!chut!chut!chuttt’ of a grouse… and the hillside towards Scaut Hill is cut in patches for grouse management, click  HERE for more info.

We could see the summit as we headed over the second steep rise and it was then on to the last climb which eventually we were to summit.

First stop was a suitable spot next to a very handy fence line, I dropped the rukkie and headed to ‘bag’ the trig point. A short walk away is the Bronze Age cairn to which I added the stone I had carried from the ascent as I hoped this would be the catalyst for a good day. Photos were taken whilst the sun shone but there was a hazy horizon of rolling hills not the usual jagged outlines of northern hills. No panorama taken this time, an excuse to return.

Time to get the radio set up, I bungeed the mast to a fence post and called and called on 4m. Nothing ! I heard Roddy working Iain WJZ who was on Buachaille Etive Beag northern peak the impressively named Stob Coire Raineach and I was to later catch Iain on its other Munro top Stob Dubh. The day’s weather had brought more than a few GM stations out so next in the log was Colwyn YCJ on Stuc a’Chroin, his second summit of the day and to the immediate south of YCJ  next was Jack COX on the summit of Uamh Bheag .

The summit cairn

The summit cairn

I tried 4m FM again and got called by Duncan AHL who lives the other side of the river from me. I had a quick talk with Duncan before calling again but to no avail. I dismantled the JPole and up I put the beam which I had assembled between calls on 4m.

70cm FM was my next band of choice and after a few calls I got a pleasant surprise being called back by Derek MIX who was out walking nearby the shores of Loweswater in the Lake District. I had last spoken with Derek from the summit of Robinson the previous September. A good contact. This followed by a chat with Billy VYU who was in nearby Carluke. This was all I raised on 70cm but I had activated the hill for myself.

Meanwhile the wind chill was starting to take effect and much moving of hands and upper body to stay warm, my feet ? no problem as I had recently acquired a pair of mid weight boots which are designed for cold conditions. Toasty toes..

Roddy IOB at summit cairn

Roddy IOB at summit cairn

Further to the NE, Adrian DHY was worked on the summit of Meikle Say Law in the Lammermuir hills whilst I then swung the beam south when I heard Richard JTD on WOTA summit Lank Rigg to the south-east of Whitehaven. I did briefly hear a well kent Lancaster station talking to Richard. Another WOTA point for the log. I had said that I was going back up to S20 the calling frequency and as a result I worked two stations in the Annan area, Mark MPB and this time at his home town Geoff WHA.

Whilst scanning the 2m band I heard Jack COX talking to Robin PKT who was on the summit of Beinn nam Beathrach just the south of Loch Sunart in the Morvern area. With some fiddling about, changing this and that we finally got the summit to summit with Robin, a good contact of about 170 kms away with some bigger hills between. This was the last STS of the day, a total of  six STSs, one STS to a WOTA fell.

The last calls in the log were Liz EPW and Colin XSD based in the Cumbrian village of Frizington.

A good end to a chilly day on Tinto. It was time to descend as the ground was firming under our feet.

I packed everything back in the rukkie in its usual haphazard way and off we set down the path and after only 50 mins Roddy was brewing the hot water for a cuppa. An excellent hot ending to Tinto.

The car park is in great condition and seeing the amount of folk and dogs who trekked to the top in the time we were there it certainly paid off extending and upgrading it.

Looking south

Looking south

Heading home we took the right road this time and a cracking view of the setting sun having the sky on fire to the SW of us had Roddy stopping to photograph this although rather strangely he attracted an entire field of ewes who came trotting  nay running towards him and looked whimsically at him when he returned to the Landy and drove away. Perhaps his  ‘Ewe de Cologne’ ?

A first activation of 2013, a lot earlier than the previous year and hopefully more activity for me on the summits in ’13. A few pointers  taken out of this activation and will be put into practice next hill.

A big thanks to Roddy 2MØIOB for the tour and waiting on me again !

Thanks again to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and any other websites I have linked to.

To embiggen any image just right-click and they should open in a separate window.

Typical in my preparing this I managed to make 4 errors…yeah 4 but thanks to my eagle eyed ‘friends?’, Neil and Roddy.

Tinto Facts..

Tinto means ‘Fire (or Fiery) hill’ from the Gaelic, there are other meanings due to the colour of red stone present.

it is 707m or 711m, the lesser is ground level and the higher is on top of the Bronze Age burial cairn.

Hill classification : Marilyn, Graham, Donald

Geohack Info HERE

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Looking towards Loch Scridain

Muile, Myl or simply Mull, the activation…….

Plans had been laid a few month earlier to visit the Isle of Mull, to activate Ben More the only Munroon the island….and one of only 5 Munros on the SOTA GM/SI (Scottish Islands) list.

Activation of Ben More, Isle of Mull GM/SI 003 2/10/2011

Activation of Ben More, Isle of Mull GM/SI 003 2/10/2011

The original dates we had booked were due to circumstances cancelled but we had shifted our booking a few weeks forward. In hindsight this was a godsend as the tail end of Hurricane Katia battered the west coast of Scotland and dropped almost half the Atlantic as rain, not camping weather I think.

The weekend chosen was the first one in October not known for its balmy weather but we arrived on Mull at Craignure on the Saturday.

We decided to recce our prospective route to More’s summit. We left our campsite and wended through the single track roads which are the norm on the island and arrived at the beach parking spot at Dhiseig (NM 494359). The hill strangely looked a bit less than its height, a quick run through the route and off we headed back to Craignure.

Ben More from sea level

Ben More from sea level

The weather forecast was not promising, there was possibly a weather window of no rain between 13.00 and 18.00 but this was to prove very wrong as the rain poured continuously from 1am until 6.30 am Sunday morning.

Equipment and scran were prepared and after a hearty brekkie, the Discovery was packed and off we set to our destination. The weather had dried but there was mist still showing on the tops as we headed towards our start point.

We arrived at Dhiseig and our summit was clear, time to get moving, I had called Neil 2MØNCM earlier to post an alert on the SOTA site as the internet connection had been a bit flaky so 14.00 UTC was the target.

Off we set and headed up a rough track and passed the keepers cottage and headed on to open hillside through a gate, the first part of the route kept us to the left of the Abhainn Dhiseig burn, the ground was boggy at times but slow progress was made and as I had badly sprained my right ankle four weeks earlier and was still not 100%, I had made a note if I felt any discomfort or pain I would just turn around and head back down.

The first mile was over rising grassy land and it soon changed after we crossed the burn and headed on to a much rockier and broken path. The pace was slowing down here as we picked our way up this path knowing the last steep push was looming near. Slowly but steadily we rose as there is not much respite as the climb is continuous. A scran break was had just below what was our last stage of the ascent, a steep scree filled area with a ridge leading to a steep final rise to the summit plateau.

As expected the views were getting better as we rose, a sunny day makes all the difference.

Off we trudged, slowly making up height with the usual encouraging words from those ascending, I had spoken to a lad heading down who said that a couple were drinking champagne to celebrate their completion of the Munro list. Ben More seems to be a popular last hill for many.

Plodding up and up the landscape turned from a grassy, boggy and rocky area into a rock strewn landscape with a path snaking its way upwards, I met the couple from Edinburgh who had boozed at the top and congratulated them on their feat, I still have 270 odd to do…after a quick chat and the promise of the summit within reach, I struck out for the top and within minutes, I arrived at the summit plateau and a few hundred yards away was the summit shelter in which the ruined Trig Point ( search and see the original Trig Point) still shows its base. Roddy had almost got his four contacts to activate the hill, Patsy soon arrived.

Roddy 2M0IOB in summit shelter

Roddy 2M0IOB in summit shelter

I had decided a 70s day, 4M FM and 70cm FM so the 4m JPole was set up but before I called out, I spoke with Iain, WJZ who was on Beinn Chaorach and Robin, PKT was on Beinn Lora. Two ‘summit to summit’ to start the day !

I called out on 4M and eventually raised three contacts, Angus BCA who was on South Uist, club member Brian HMZ who was in the Howwood area and finally using only a handie, Bill RBR on the Isle of Skye. I next nipped back on to 2m to speak with Neil, 2MØNCM who had driven to Ballantrae to try to catch us, it was good to return the points as it is generally us ‘chasing’ Neil. Jack COX was next to call in from near Law in Lanarkshire whilst my last 2m contact was Graeme 2MØGIL who was portable in the Mugdock area in the north-west area of Glasgow.

I was speaking to a couple who taken the ridge scramble from a’Chioch and they had mentioned the ‘airyness’ of the drop just next to us. I had a quick look and approx 1,100 ft below was the next stop after where we stood…I resisted the temptation to ask them to step back as I took some photos of them.

Sadly the weather over the rest of the country was wet and windy, there had been only a handful of activations down south so hopes of G and GW contacts disappeared but our weather was as if we had hand-picked it. After the usual round of photographs, we decided to head off the hill.

Heading slowly back down, it was more concentration on foot falls for me but after only one little slip on level ground, I eventually reached the set off point as darkness fell, I was in contact with Roddy and Patsy who arrived 10 mins later and yes, the weather window then closed, it started to drizzle first then rain lightly.

We drove back to Craignure, tired but elated.

One statistic I must mention, Ben More is the 7th highest hill in the UK as its prominence is exactly the same as it’s height – see table HERE

Please feel free to click on the images below for better size and quality pictures, the panorama photo was taken from near the junction of the A849 and B8035 (OS ref NM 544292).

My own take on it..

A cracking hill to do plus also to enjoy the delights of Mull, one hill not to be forgotten, it was busy as expected on such a glorious day, the sunny day had been the icing on the cake.

I had badly sprained an ankle trying to get some legwork and fitness up for the original trip and over the following four weeks, the ankle wasn’t healing as fast as I hoped. I guess in my advancing years things take longer to heal but after a lot of rest and a total last week of rest, my ankle held up although it still aches on occasion. It can rest now… GM/SI 003 is in the bag…

I’ll do another piece on the other things we done on Mull and the diversions on our trip back home from Oban…soon

Information Overload…

Ben More is the highest point on the Isle of Mull.

In Gaelic it means ‘ Big mountain’

It is 966m (3,169) ASL

Geohack Info HERE

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>

(December) Radio Days

VHF….

Once again not much happening on the ‘local’ front, Barrie GM0 and Graham MM0 on occasions..

SOTA activity was ‘chasing’ Iain, MM3 on Ben Lomond on the 4th, the Ben had quite been well ‘topped’ in fresh snow the night before. On the following Saturday, Iain was active again from Meall a’Bhuiridh, a ‘Munro‘ at the entrance to Glencoe whilst earlier that morning Neil 2M0 had also made the long haul up from South Ayrshire to activate Cnoc Connich on the west bank of Loch Long, Neil and Iain had done well activating as the wind chill had been high. Winter activations, are they worth the extra bonus points?
One week later, Graeme 2M0GIL activated a fog bound Earl’s Seat. (link to Graeme’s ‘Earl’s Seat’ Blog Post)
VHF is still quiet.

HF….

20m psk was once again the main mode, the usual European and occasional North American stations were worked, nothing exciting DX wise to report but the odd eQSL card from previous months are still trickling in….in the short period since July, over 600 contacts have been made on psk31.

PSK waterfall

PSK waterfall

Odds

Audio problems dogged my psk work in the latter part of the month, still to be fixed…