Tag Archives: The Cobbler

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.


(March) Radio Days…2011

I thought I had posted this as ‘Latest Post’ on the wall but the post was hidden in the ‘Musings’ section…plus I thought I’d better add the year to the post title as it could get a bit confusing if you search for any of these posts.

Beinn Ime

Beinn Ime

I think the format of this monthly post as it is turning out to be a blow-by-blow account of my SOTA chasing for the relevant month. I’ve a few ideas rattling about in my mostly empty head and I’ll see if anything suits.


Still spending some time on 2m and the occasional visits to 4m and 70cm.



Two this month, a misty visit to the Trossachs and the summit of Ben Venue, most memorable for the antics of Roddy IOB and his crossing of a snow field and finally a jaunt up Ben Donich for the SOTA UHF Fun Day on the last Sunday of the month.


First points ‘chased’ this month were from Bob AWV who was activating Beinn Dubh near Luss whilst we were on the cloudy summit of Ben Venue. The following day was again busy out in the hills as first, I ‘chased’ fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was out on Broughton Heights followed by Alan XXP who appeared on Black Mount and as is usual, I also worked Alan on 4m FM. Later that day, I worked a MM6 station who was on Duncolm, I pointed him toward the SOTA website but no points for this one.

In what was another good ‘chasing’ day, Robin PKT activated Beinn Odhar in the Tyndrum area and was quickly followed by another fellow blogger, Graeme GIL who was in the Campsies on the summit of Earls Seat, a busy day in which I got some contacts from my local summit and finished the day at home.

One week later, only XXP was out, I walked up to the top of the golf course to work Alan on 4 and 2m. Unfortunately I have approx a 200 ft tall solid lump of igneous rock to the SE and S of me. The hill itself is 659 ft ASL but is a quick, handy and easy summit to get to.

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain

The next weekend was the test of Roddy’s 2m beam, we headed for higher ground on the border of Port Glasgow and Greenock. Iain WJZ had alerted for Schiehallion so that would be a good test for it and we also worked Jack COX who was on Culter Fell. The following day, Robert GUF was on Tinto and later, Neil NCM popped up on Nutberry Hill.

Finally, the last weekend saw the UHF Fun Day and as mentioned before, Ben Donich was the base for this one. First STS (summit to summit) was with Graeme GIL who was on Sgiath a’Chaise quickly followed by Robin PKT was further to the NE on Meall Ghaordaidh and to finish the day, I worked Jack COX who was across Gleann a’Chro on the summit of Ben Arthur better known as the Cobbler during our ascent off the hill.

A busy chasing month again and the quest to reach ‘Shack Sloth’ status continues.


Busy, busy month as propagation is picking up and more ‘exotic’ stations are popping up and being worked but not by me. The disadvantage of having a stealth antenna is just that but each contact is ‘worked’ for. Trips across the ‘pond’ and contacts in to Africa, Asia as well as the regular European traffic.

I never did any WSPR work this month, hopefully the higher HF bands may come more into play as the summer arrives.

‘Ben Donich from Beinn an Lochain‘ photo © Neil 2MØNCM…

Beinn Dòmhnaich’…a return

We left my house and headed towards the usual route to Loch Lomondside where we took the road to Arrochar at Tarbet, Loch Long was quickly left as we headed up the famous A82 ‘Rest and Be Thankful‘ road until the Lochgoilhead turn off.

Activation of Ben Donich UHF Fun Day 27th March 2011

Activation of Ben Donich UHF Fun Day 27th March 2011

Ben Donich, a ‘Corbett‘ located due south of its more famous neighbours across Glen Croe, the Arrochar Alps of Ime, Narnain, Luibnean and ‘The Cobbler’ (Ben Arthur). The hill name literally translates to ‘Brown Hill’ but other theories lead to a possible link with St. Donan, a disciple connected with St. Columba or the opposite ‘Dona‘ which could translate as ‘Evil’. Intriguing !

The route steadily climbs up the North Ridge which starts at the junction of Glen Croe and Allt Glinne Mhor. You park in  a Forestry Commission car park about 600m from the junction of the B828 Lochgoilhead and the top of the ‘Rest and Be Thankful’, the trek starts along a forest track when you meet the signpost which points you to head steeply up towards a gate where the hill walk starts ‘properly’, a relentless climb upwards towards the summit in which there is an odd level break from the almost non stop climb. One hour in to the ascent, we stopped for a welcome ‘scran’ break, watered and refreshed we headed onwards, a few false summits later you reach the ‘Scramble’ which is self-explanatory, you now descend down a rock ‘wall’  of 15 to 20 feet in height, the hand holds are excellent although care would need taken when rock is wet.

Yer Man on the Scramble

Yer Man on the Scramble

Once again after you get through what is in geological terms called a ‘ Rock Slope Failure’ plus you must also avoid the ‘fissures’ next to the path, you now steadily climb to the summit plateau  topped by a trig point.

The weather had not been what the Met Office had forecasted for the area, there was a strong breeze racing up Allt Glinne Mhor as we set out and as we headed up, the weather steadily deteriorated to a ‘smirry‘ wet cloudy day and we had spoken with a lone walker who had headed on up past us and was now on her descent informed us the wind was strong and it was cold on the top. Mmmm.

We kept on until we eventually reached the plateau and trig point. We took shelter behind rocks to keep the chilling wind at bay, we had arrived earlier than our proposed ‘alert’ so it was time for a quick scran break before getting active on the radios. Visibility was poor.

I set up the 5 element beam first and called out on 70cm FM ( as it was a UHF Fun Day), I quickly had a reply from Steve UAU in Greenock followed by a call from Eric FSZ in the south Ayrshire area. Next was a welcome STS (summit to summit) contact with fellow blogger Graeme  on Sgiath a’Chaise, I also made the contact on 2m with Graeme. I called but no more takers so it was time to try my other band of choice, 4m FM, I instantly made the trip into Paisley to Robert IZC and after a quick QSO it was time to take a break.

After a short break it was back on to 4m where I next contacted Alan, XXP in Larkhall, a good contact as Alan was only using his handie with its  ‘Rubber Duck’ from his house.

Lastly I made contact on 70cm FM with blog regular, Robin PKT who was on the summit of Meall Ghaordaidh. I spent the rest of the time having a look round the summit area and marvelling at the fantastic views as with the cold air the clarity was excellent. I could see to the SW, Arran, Bute, the Cumbraes, the Paps of Jura, the hills of Islay, Ben More on Mull and coming round clockwise, Ben Cruachan, Ben Starav, Stob an Eas, Beinn Bhuidhe, Beinn Oss, the Arrochar Alps, Ben Vorlich, Ben More ( Crainlarich), Ben Lomond and too many more to mention….a panorama of snow-capped peaks in a 270 degree vista. This makes the journey more worthwhile. It was getting past mid afternoon when we broke down our stations and packed everything away, we headed back down and as we left the activation zone, Jack COX called out on 2m FM so first, Roddy then myself made the contact as we descended, the ‘scramble’ was negotiated and it was a steady walk down the path which surprising was dry although the weather had been reasonably dry the week running up to this activation. We reached the gate and a quick walk down the track where we had parked Roddy’s Land Rover, a last look at Donich and the Brack from our drive down the’ Rest and Be Thankful’, an hour later we were back in Inverclyde.

Once again, an enjoyable dual activation with Roddy, he once again slowed down to my pace whilst ascending and laughed at my rotten jokes. Thanks !

This hill has more to offer than just a slog up a well-worn path, the views from the summit are breathtaking plus ‘the scramble’ adds a bit of spice and avoiding the deep fissures which run along the path on occasions, it is advisable to avoid this hill in the snow for this reason. Sadly as recent as 2005, a walker lost his life by falling into one of the aforementioned crevasses on their descent (input from Neil 2MØNCM).

I will be back.

Photos of ‘Yer man on the Scramble’ and ‘Donich Ascent’ © Roddy 2MØIOB

A massive thanks to Wikipedia once again for all the linking material.

Information Overload

Ben Donich

My previous Ben Donich blog Post <HERE>

Picasa set <HERE>

GPX file of ascent <HERE>

Ben Donich…at last !!!

I had worked one of our regulars, Neil, 2M0NCM on Donich last year. I had intended to activate it at the end of last year but if you are a regular reader of the blog, you know I never got there.

I had the chance of ‘activating’ on the Saturday and kept a watchful eye on the Met Office site, the weather forecast was looking good, misty in the morning but clearing in the afternoon, they got it correct.

The Scramble

The Scramble

My daughter Lora kindly drove me to the top of the Rest and Be Thankful and to the forestry car park where the Donich walk begins. I looked skywards and saw little, cloud and mist were skirting over the first part of the climb. I set off and slowly started to make height on a well made path which suddenly disappeared, quite possibly the top bit of the path has washed away. I passed through the gate which then let me on to the real stuff, the path is a classic hill path, showing in most places and occasionally disappearing, slowly I made progress, Neil had told me it was a moderate climb, for me? steepish in most parts.

I stopped and had a ‘food’ break after one hour of climbing, the mist was still skirting quickly over the hill. The top was not for showing this early. Ten minutes later, off I started uphill until I came across the ‘the scramble’, it is a drop down of approx 20 ft ? but with good hand holds it was no problem, I then rather foolishly took a short cut down a flattish rock,  I slipped and cut a finger, it looked nasty at first but once cleaned, I carried on.

The summit you see as you climb upwards here is a false one, near the top of this, I met a lone walker on his way down and after a quick conversation in which he had said ’10 mins to the top’ then at the top of this false summit, the path veers eventually leftward and through the mist I could see the trig point.

The Cobbler with Beinn Narnain

The Cobbler with Beinn Narnain

The going was relatively flattish by this time. Two notes of warning, there are many cracks and fissures around the path edges and if you misjudged one of these, it could be dangerous. Keep to the path but secondly, the path disappears in places on the last trudge to the summit so if coming off in mist, keep on the path once you find it. Steep drops abound on this walk.

Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

I reached the trig point.

As I reached the top, the cloud and mist started to disappear slowly, the view was stunning, the list of nearby hills include Beinn’s Ime, Luibhean, an Lochain and Narnain. The Cobbler ( Ben Arthur) is just to the north, The Brack and Cnoc Connich, Ben’s Lomond, More, Oss and countless more are viewable. I could see my home area. The view down the Firth of  Clyde is stunning.

The mast was quickly erected and 2m FM tried first, I first worked seven stations, had a quick break and set up for 4m FM, I made four contacts including one to the Isle of Whithorn area in SW Scotland. I had another food break then on going back to 2m FM, I called and spoke to blog regular Graeme, 2M0GIL who was portable in the Whangie area then had another six contacts including a G1 station on Skiddaw in the Lake District then it was time to break down the station and head back down the hill.

Looking down the Firth of Clyde (Loch Goil in foreground)

Looking down the Firth of Clyde (Loch Goil in foreground)

I followed the path back and on reaching the ‘the scramble’, I sensibly kept to the path this time, climbed to the top and headed slowly down to the parking area. It was good to have done this hill, I was most surprised to complete the uphill section in just 2 hrs 17 mins ( my phone GPS told me I was only moving for 62mins hihi). A hill which I enjoyed after waiting so long to activate it. I was also surprised how popular a hill it is with walkers, a constant stream arrived and departed over the two hours I was on the summit.

If you look at the ‘Information Overload’ section, I have posted that the hill meaning is ‘the Brown hill’ but after some research, the Gaelic name for the hill has other meanings, I must explore further !

I will of course return to keep adding to this post . Be sure to pop in occasionally !!!!

Now for ‘Information Overload’…….

Ben Donich is 847m ASL

Ben Donich ascent is 577m (1,893ft) from NN 227069

Ben Donich in Gaelic is ‘Beinn Dòmhnaich’, its meaning is  ‘the brown hill (?)’.  Wikipedia article <HERE> (See above)

Ben Donich Landslip explanation <HERE>

Ben Donich Geohack Info <HERE> ( this is a cracking info centre)

Flickr photo set <HERE>