Tag Archives: Stob Binnean

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>



2010…that was the year that was…part one


Since I wrote the blog post ‘12 months have past’, a few personal ambitions for 2010 have been achieved.

SOTAwise higher summits have been activated, a few have been revisited.

Visits to Hill of Stake, Beinn a’Mhanaich, Beinn Chaorach, Meikle Bin, Meall Nan Tramachan, Ben Lomond, Ben Donich, Goat Fell, Ben Bowie and finally a return journey to the top of Beinn Eich.

Not as many hills as last year but logisitics came into play.

Achieving a * ‘one point’ hill is still the same as the achievement of any hill, we have been blessed with magnificent scenery in our country. The views vary from sea level to the highest summit but each has its own unique highs.

The views from Meall Nan Tarmachan at 1044 m (3,425 ft) ASL on the perfect ‘blue sky’ day I activated it were tremendous, to the East you can see its sister hill Ben Lawers then to the north-east, the Cairngorm range whilst over to the north-west stood our highest mountain Ben Nevis and finally to the south-west Ben More , Stob BinneanBen Lomond and Beinn Ime stood out, superb scenery indeed. In contrast, the 360 view from Ben Bowie at 313m (1027 ft) ASL to Loch Lomond, the Firth of Clyde and westward to the Cowal hills was as enjoyable.

For 2010, I had started each activation not on my regular 2m FM but on 4m FM (70 mhz ), slow progress was being made during these  activations until I finally had my first hill fully activated on the 4m band, Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran took the honours, I had worked eight stations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. What will next years band of choice be ? I think 70 cms possibly with 2 and 4m of course.

The activating year started with the Hill of Stake, I chose a ‘wintry’ frosty day as this is a very wet route in normal conditions, the first 4m contacts were made, 2m FM as usual made the most contacts. Next were return visits to a’Mhanaich and Chaorach, these hills  are presently covered with snow whilst I write this.

The highlights hillwise were Meall Nan Tarmachan which had been the first Munro I had climbed since the mid ’70s, Ben Lomond, another hill I can see from here and Goat Fell was with thanks to Roddy IOB, a most enjoyable day ! The downside of the Goat Fell activation was the ‘carry out’ (take away) suppers we had whilst waiting on the ferry plus one of our fellow bloggers advice that the start of the climb wasn’t that far away, you know who you are.

Activating the Corbett Ben Donich was my 2010 personal highlight, a hill of just over 847m (2,778 ft) often overlooked because of its more famous neighbours at Arrochar. Neil NCM had activated this hill in 2010 and as I normally do I checked out the route etc (Neil had kindly sent me photos of the route), I decided I wanted to climb this hill and I was not disappointed. An excellent hill which proves you do not have to climb the highest hills to meet satisfaction, one I recommend, the view down Loch Goil towards the Firth of Clyde was in my opinion, simply stunning.

Best contact ?

they all are but one ‘summit to summit’ contact stands out, I ‘worked’ GC0000, a club call used by John who was on the summit of Tal Y Fan (GW/NW-040), a hill situated in the Carneddau mountains of North Wales, I was on the summit of Beinn Chaorach (GM/SS 062) in the Luss Hills area, a 322 km contact, a cracker. No reports of any ‘lift’.

I also made a contact from Beinn Eich into the Lake District to Great Calva, Phil a M0 station was using a handie with a 40cm helically wound ‘duck’ type antenna. The hill is a WOTA summit.

Contacts were made into England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and of course, Scotland over the year.

I have no problem revisiting hills to activate, the hills which are ‘near’ to me are mostly all within an hour of my house and if like me, you have to rely on others to get you there.

Those who have read the blog have noticed that my ‘rucksack’ had humorously written a post about life with me, I’ll forgive it but I’ve changed my password and details since, just in case.

The usual visits to Corlic, one of my local hills were documented too, this year a mix of HF and VHF, an excellent place to do some HF portable testing, I must admit I should have out more often. Next year maybe.

SOTA Chasing…

A good year pointwise..

I’m well on track to break 680 points in total since the beginning of 2009 with 60% coming this year, my target of 1,000 is slowly getting there, over 95% of the points are VHF and although HF could speed up my rate of points, Ill concentrate on VHF as long as the excellent activators we have here in Scotland are active.

My thanks go  to all those who have taken the time to ‘work’ me when I have been out activating also a ”big’ thanks once again to those regular activators who suffer all sorts of weather to let us ‘chasers’ get our points.

Part Two, coming soon

* – For the SOTA scoring system explanation HERE refer to section 3.11

Picasa photos of each activation –

Hill Of Stake Beinn a’Mhanaich Beinn Chaorach Meikle Bin Ben Lomond

Meall Nan Tarmachan Goat Fell Ben Donich Ben Bowie Beinn Eich

You Tube summit panoramas  – GM7something

(June) Radio Days

I know this is a bit late but it is holiday time, well you know what I mean…

A quick update, our fellow blogee, Roddy 2M0IOB has queried who Alex is ( see photo below) and about the padlock on the trig point.

The said padlock

The said padlock

He is a pal and work mate, the man who started the Ben Lomond expedition ( Expedition – a bit dramatic but hey, it sounds good ).

The padlock seems to be a mystery but see my separate blog post ‘Ben Lomond Trig Point Padlock’ <HERE>


Pretty quiet, spoke to 2M0IOB Roddy on occasion. I’ve not had radio monitoring S20 due to some computer project work.

SOTA activity for June.

Now this was a busy month as many stations took advantage of the dry conditions to activate.  I managed to activate Ben Lomond mid month, a pleasant ascent on a perfect walking day.

Alex at Ben Lomond Trig point

Alex at Ben Lomond Trig point

First out of the blocks was the afore mentioned Roddy, 2M0IOB who activated Beinn Mhor, a hill in the Cowal area, a virgin SOTA summit , no less. Later that day, I made contact with Bob, a local MM1 station who was activating Ben Lomond, Lomond has been busy this early part of ’10.

Activity was quiet until Neil, 2M0NCM, a well kent regular on this blog activated two hills in the Lomond area, as an aside, I can see both these summits from where I type this. Neil firstly activated  Binnean Nan Gobhar then Beinn Uird,  these hills have normally a wet walk in but with the dryish winter and spring this was an ideal time to activate them.

Later that day, it was good to hear Caroline, a (M)M3 station back holidaying in GM land with her other half Martin, a (M)M1 station. Caroline was on Meall Corranaich in the Lawers area.

Two days later, I next caught Caroline on Meall Ghaordaidh, a summit in the Glen Lyon area. 48 hours later, I caught both her and Martin on Schiehallion on 2m SSB. Many thanks for the contacts and the chasing points !! haste ye back.

The last week of June then got busy, firstly oor Roddy 2M0IOB continued his activation of Cowal summits with a trip to Sgorach Mor,  another virgin activation and later that day, Robin GM7, another blog regular activated Schiehallion. The following day,  our fellow blogger Graeme, 2M0GIL climbed and activated An Caisteal, Graeme had to suffer pretty poor conditions weather wise. Link to his blog below. It was a day for the regulars, Neil made his way north to Ben Lui, the weather conditions had improved later that day.

The last chaser points for the month were gotten from Robin, GM7 who activated both Ben More and Stob Binnean in one trip.

A busy month indeed.


Nothing great to report, mostly European stations with the odd outside Europe station. A few contacts into the south coast of England. The European PSK Club had  special event stations operating in all European ( and other) countries so a fair part was spent chasing the special calls.

New DXCC country was Jersey.

Blog links – Roddy 2M0IOB <HERE>

– Graeme 2M0GIL <HERE>

Corlic Hill, Portable 13/9/09

Looking W

Looking W towards Dunrod Hill and the Cowal Hills

The weather was fine and the golf had been cancelled so I returned to one of my old favourite ‘tops’, Corlic Hill 996ft ASL above Greenock.


I had known of Graeme’s, 2M0GIL, intention to SOTA activate Stob Binnean in the Crainlarich Alps area so why not get myself to a local ‘top’. I packed everything I had unpacked the previous evening and then got dropped off about 1.75 km from the summit, the ascent was very boggy due to the wet summer we have had and was quite a slog through heather and reeds to arrive at the summit, I moved then to my usual spot just below the summit on the east side of the hill, if I extend the pole/mast to it’s full height, the beam is just over 1000 ft ASL.

I was setting up when I heard Graeme calling on S20, made the contact, another 10 chasing points !!!, I then finished setting the beam etc, I must admit I had brought the FT 817 with an external SLAbattery but DOH !!!forgot the power lead connection colours, the 817 has no reverse polarity safety built in so it stayed in the rucksack, the old faithful Puxing 888 was called into service again.

I listened to Graeme making some excellent contacts into South Cumbria, GI land and to Walney Island in Cumbria (G land). I heard though for the first time, a station from Islay making contact with Graeme, I have worked the local hills this year and apart from Robin, GM7/P I have never heard any station from out westwards or further north on air.  I then occasionally scoured the band looking for other SOTA activators, I had heard Caroline, a M3 (or MM3 this activation), she and her hubby are regular activators in Scotland, talking to Graeme on her ascent of Corserine. I had heard a G8 station calling CQ from a G/LD (Lake District) summit but the frequency was in use in Ayrshire so I didn’t try a call back.


Looking N towards the Gareloch and the Arrochar Alps

The weather was excellent except when the breeze would drop, the ‘flying’ ants would appear. I then took a sandwich break,next I spoke to a station who was ‘mobile’ passing along the A9 at Braco in Perthshire.

I then looked for and worked Neil, a 2M0/P station who was activating Beinn Narnain in the Arrochar Alps, it was line of sight as I could see Narnain to the N of me. More chaser points !!! I next spoke again with Graeme who was getting ready to pack up and head back down, I left Graeme and next heard Caroline, a M(M)3 station mentioned previously,  she was on the summit of Corserine in the Galloway hills. Reports were exchanged and I then broke down the station, packed up and headed off the hill.


Further photos are HERE