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Smaller UK summits - and access rights


Good afternoon, all.

As the subject of smaller summits just came up in another context, I did a very quick check on the smaller summits list for CE (my area).

There are 5 Marilyns in CE as you all know only too well … Of the 26 summits in the list, 16 have public access. 7 do not (to the summit itself) and it would be possible to stretch a point on the remaining 3.

I wouldn’t mind betting that a similar distribution exists in the SE and SC areas where people hope activity will be transformed by the addition of these lower summits.

I, for one, wouldn’t be interested in covert operations and really couldn’t spend the time chasing landowners so I can envisage an impossible situation developing between those who have the bottle to do it and those who don’t. I don’t think this would do SOTA any good - nor would any adverse publicity resulting from such activations.

(Three of these summits are on my doorstep BTW. I could walk there from home - but there’s no access.)

I think it would be wise to stick to the Marilyns list. There are very few ‘iffy ones’. I’ve always said it was an inspired choice in the first place.

73, Richard G4ERP


In reply to G4ERP:

A very good point Richard, and certainly one requiring analysis in the quest for what is right for SOTA.

Covert operations do not come in to it - they are invalid as far as I am concerned and according to the General Rules.

The fact that permission is required is not a bar to inclusion of a hill, I have carried out several activations where permission has been required and obtained.

A source of regret to me is that when requesting permissions I feel unable to refer people to the SOTA website for fear of them finding their way to accounts of activations without permission; a circumstance that could prejudice my chances of gaining permission.

73 de Paul G4MD


In reply to G4MD:
I imagine that where free access to some part of the AZ is impossible, and where it is clear that permitted access is not going to be available, it could be possible for them to be not included, or marked in the program as not available and the computer would not recognise the score. I don’t know how much work it would be to do this, but it strikes me as the ethical thing to do if it can be managed.

It is a little surprising to me that so few summits are unavailable in this country, remembering that 40-odd years ago a friend and I had to seek official permission to operate from Greenlowther on 2m and 160m!


Brian G8ADD


Hi All

Although Richard’s point is valid, I tend to agree more with Paul.

IF summit criteria are adopted that place them in an area without public access… then so be it. It just makes them “DX” and any activation should be subject to proper permission etc.

It actually makes those potential extra 1 pointers quite interesting and maybe worth the effort of seeking out the landowner… with the caveat that Paul raises of ensuring that it does not highlight previous illegal activity.

One way forward could be to have the local AM “approve” activations from non-publicly accessible summits before they can be loaded to the database. That will at least ensure that the activator demonstrate that permission has been gained… rather like the DXCC desk approving expeditions I suppose. A little heavy handed in some peoples eyes I would think but it would avoid some motivation for “covert activity”

Anyway my point is that although Richard makes a very important point, I do not think access rights should be connected with the question of inclusion within the SOTA programme.

73 Marc G0AZS (with a vested interest in G/CE land too)


I would not want to see G SOTA move away from a 100% objective definition Brian. They’re either in or they’re out. Permission to access, where required, should remain the responsibility of the activator, rather than pre-judged by the online resources. Ther would be nothing wrong with reflector topics and summit articles on here discussing access or otherwise to individual private summits of course, but the database “knowing” the situation and scoring accordingly is a step too far IMHO. As mentioned, the General Rules already take care of unauthorised access to private land.



In reply to M1EYP:

There are quite a number of summits that are on private land yet access has been gained easily and subsequent activations by others have not been challenged. I’m thinking about such summits as Mynydd Rhyd Ddu NW-073, Pegwn Mawr MW-006 and Graig Syfyrddin SW-020 to name just a few.

73, Gerald


In reply to M1EYP:
The rules do indeed take care of unauthorised access, Tom, but I don’t see any means of checking that access is authorised. Marking some summits as n/a would prevent unscrupulous individuals from profiting from illegal access, whilst leaving the way open to reclassify the summit if the access situation changes. However, having said that, I am not sufficiently computer-literate to know how difficult it would be to put something like that into effect, so as the idea seems unpalatable I’ll leave it at that.


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G4ERP:

Firstly an apology Richard, for the totally unintended brusqueness of my reply to your post, which became apparent when I reread it.

Secondly a clarification of my meaning - by analysis what I meant was that we need to look at how many summits are affected by access issues. A few may not be a problem, but if it amounts to dozens then a factor that will need to be considered is the potential harm to SOTA due to the propagation of a (misguided) perception that access is a problem for SOTA activators, which could be counterproductive.

73 de Paul G4MD


In reply to G4MD:

Hi, Paul (et al). No apology needed.

I raised the subject because for me, the whole process of getting permission etc is a turn-off. One of the excellent things about the Marilyns list of summits is the public access for the vast majority.

This probably explains why I still haven’t done Myarth, despite the good work that you did paving the way.

73, Richard


In reply to G8ADD:

I’m sure you realise from my previous post Brian that any authorisation check would have to be applied across the whole summit base and not just those under discussion.

Incidentally, I met the farmer on the way up Pegwn Mawr. He was only interested that the Countryside Code would be adhered to and was rather bemused by the fact that I had got my car through his farmyard at 7 a.m. without his dogs barking. With the right approach, people are generally amenable, but as for getting a written consent out of a hard working farmer, well basically think again!

73, Gerald


In reply to G4OIG:

Permissions come in varying degrees - from the friendly word with a farmer when you wish to take your vehicle up a private track to approach a summit more closely, to a formal written request for permission to enter an area surrounded by fences and “keep out” signs - and for this reason would be very difficult to “legislate” for.

For this reason I feel that obtaining the necessary must be left in the hands of the individual activator. With the assistance of what information is available on the summit information pages of course.

73 de Paul G4MD


In reply to G8ADD:

to operate from Greenlowther

Was the big old radar on the summit back then Brian? A local ham told me of a 2m contest operation from there when the old corner reflector without a radome was there. He was in his tent at the other end of the ridge trying to sleep late in the evening but could hear a click every few seconds. Thinking he had left a radio on he searched about. In the end he found that it was an extension speaker making the click. The only problem being the speaker wasn’t plugged in, it had about 2m of trailing lead ending in a jack plug. I would suspect the near field V/m figure was quite substantial!



In reply to MM0FMF:
Thats right, Andy, we had to clear it with “headquarters” and then on arrival at the summit put out signals so that the operator could check for problems. After all that condx were lousy and we got hardly any contacts!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to MM0FMF:

Talking of radar installations, the only time I have been refused a permission in connection with a SOTA activation, was when I activated Saxa Vord GM/SI-157 on Shetland. The summit is surrounded by a (now in the process of decommissioning) Cold War radar station. I was requested not to enter the compound surrounding the installation because of health and safety issues, which I complied with out of respect for my hosts. So I operated from outside, which was well within the AZ. Picture on Flickr if anyone’s interested - being there was quite an awesome and eerie experience.

73 de Paul G4MD