Saturday presented a chance to “knock-off” two more National Park summits minimising repeat driving south of Aviemore. The forecast was for snow showers but no real problems – for once the weather forecast was spot on!
I was late leaving home (pure lethargy) and then I met loads of traffic using the old A9 between Aviemore and Kingussie to avoid the extensive roadworks on the main A9. A tractor between Kingussie and the Laggan road also slowed me down a lot so by the time I was walking I was 45 minutes behind. There is a small layby just west of Inverpattack lodge at NN557901 and a gate through the deer fence by the lodge track. Ascent of the hill was straightforward – up to the beallach between the two summits, trot through the bog of the watershed and then the steepish pull onto the main summit and its cylindrical trig point. I think the Red Deer on the summit were a little surprised to see me! Setting up the antenna was relatively easy and right on time (+45 mins) I was qrv. Conditions on 5MHz were not ideal with deep qsb but soon in the log were several regulars, starting with GW0VMZ, with some stations having quite a bit of difficulty hearing me (I have to admit that the antenna stayed up but the flexing of the pole put the hot ends of the dipole on the ground at regular intervals). In total 11 contacts on 5MHz. I then tried to find a spot on 40m with 7.116 having the least qrm from the music (?) stations. G3RMD spotted me here and worked me, but despite much calling Frank was the only contact. I had a quick chat with MM3YBQ on 2m before packing up and heading down in heavy snow.
I moved the car the few hundred yards to NN570905, the start of the right of way between Feoraig and Dalwhinnie. This should have proved a good route to WS-247 but the forestry commission are felling and had prohibition notices on the main route. The Scottish Rights of Way Society have signposted the drove road off this road just beyond the aquaduct and the local community have waymarked routes over the hill via the old settlement at Druim an Aird and this bypasses the felling. I followed this route (by the way do not believe the sign for Dalwhinnie – that is the last evidence of the alleged RoW on the ground) and dropped back onto the well made forestry track beyond the settlement. I wanted to be on this track as the OS 1:25000 shows a footbridge across the wide river at NN576893. Once again the facts do not match the map, there is no bridge! The well made ford would be wade able if the river was not in spate but not this time. In frustration, I decided to abandon the attempt and go home. I followed the track I had initially planned to walk and found absolutely no evidence of current forest working; so the Forestry Commission signs were a red herring too!
Two goes at WS-247 and no activation yet!
Thanks to all the chasers and for the spots – incidentally I had failed to recognise another plus factor for spotting activators – the spot puts an activator in a known position at a known time if there is ever a need for the rescue services to be called-out (trust my xyl to identify this!), a great benefit over just knowing where they last left a car.