After 5 days on exped at Fort William I had a day in Edinburgh before heading down to the Lake District for the weekend. I’d been looking at getting onto the Pentland Hills on my last visit to Edinburgh but never managed it. Having spent the day catching up with friends and searching and eventually finding someone who could do a small spot of welding on my car, the weather was suggesting a beautiful evening so I headed to the car park at Flotterstone on the A702, 5 minutes from the Edinburgh City bypass. I hadn’t put a alert out as I wasn’t really sure if or when I’d be able to get up to the hills so this was to be on a bit of a wing and a prayer.
On a weekend this carpark can be heaving, today there was only half a dozen cars parked up. A quick change, a bite to eat and a check of the rucksack and off I went. From Flotterstone to Scald Law is a climb to Turnhouse Hill then a nice ridge walk over Carnethy Hill and then on to Scald Law (GM/SS-125), about 70 minutes from the car park. The summit is broad and grassy and I was able to pick out the Wallace monument up near Stirling, I chose to set up the beam a few meters north of the trig point. 6 QSO’s on 2m FM (from Greenock in the west to Berwick in the east) and one very squashed loaf of Jamaican ginger cake later I was packing away the kit and chatting to a local resident of Pencuik who was curious as to what I was doing.
Descending back to the col between Scald Law and Carnethy Hill and then north west to the top of Loganlea reservoir, stopping briefly to chat with a chap training for the 3 peaks. Walking down the tarmac to Glencorse reservoir passing many fishermen and being past by a few mountain bikers. But there was still plenty of daylight left so I decided that the plan to also activate Allermuir Hill (GM/SS-171) was still on (this had been dependant on how long I had spent on Scald Law).
Taking the signposted path from the northern most point of the reservoir and almost immeadiately taking a grassy track north to Capelaw Hill. From the summit of Capelaw hill I was able to see the sun low in the sky and reflected in the Firth of Forth. Walking on to the summit of Allermuir Hill I was continuously looking to my left to admire the sunset as the sun & sky were getting increasingly red. This was to be one of the best sunsets I’ve seen in a long time.
Reaching the summit I quickly set up the beam using the hole in the trig point and setting the 817 up using the trig point as a mini table – at this time of evening there was no one else on the summit. So I was able to stand up at the trig point, play radio and watch an amazing red sunset. But the contacts on 2m FM weren’t so easy this time – probably not helped by the late hour. As the sun set and darkness almost complete I had 3 QSO’s and was resigned to not qualifying the activation – given the sunset I’d seen the evening was still a good one, when at the last minute I stumbled across a couple of local stations who were kind enough to allow me to interrupt them for 2 contacts to qualify the summit – magic!
Pulling out my headtorch as it was now nice & dark I quickly packed up and took one last look around to check I hadn’t forgotten anything and set of to run back down the the car. After the initial descent of the summit I joined a nice track taking me most of the way back to the car although I’m sure a few sheep were surprised to see an idiot appearing out of the darkness running towards them with a headtorch and a “fishing pole”. I’ve decided that the hinge on my headtorch needs tightening as the beam kept dropping to my feet rather than a few feet in-front of me where I wanted it. 30 minutes saw me back to the car and an empty carpark. A quick drive back into Edinburgh and a few drinks at a friends party beckoned.
Many thanks to the stations worked.