Well my time in Europe is drawing to a close as I am due to jump onto the plane home this evening.
I didn’t end up activating in France, but managed to get 5 summits whilst in the UK - 2 in Scotland, 2 in England and 1 in Wales (2 x 2 pointers and 3 x 1 pointer summits). Must say that none of them were in the particularly easy category, although ironically the 2 pointers were probably easier than the 1 pointers!
The first summit was GM/SS-272 Aurthurs Seat where I managed a huge 4 contacts. Due to a running race being held the day I was there, access from the carpark was not available meaning that I had to walk in from the main gate - and of course I decided to walk up the more difficult SE corner and scramble down near vertical cliffs (it looked quicker…) - which made for a much more difficult summit than a 1 pointer has any right to be. On arrival at the summit was advised by some stranger that I had already gone past the best activation point . Although somewhat tired from the walk up, I eventually put two and two together to realise that this stranger commenting on activation details and wearing a SOTA hat was probably a local amateur - thanks to Andy MM0FMF for taking the effort and time to play host on his local summit!
After a trip the outer Hebridees and unfortunately no activation of summits on Barra Island as planned (due mainly to the ferry strike - thanks guys, that was really helpful - NOT), I managed to squeeze in an activation of Common Hill GM/SS-174 with a huge 5 contacts. One S2S on 40m with Adrian GW4AZS on GW/NW-018 was the highlight of this activation. There were a large number of wind turbines on this hill which made for an impressive background, but not sure I can blame the heavy QSB that several commented about as it was really the garbage conditions being responsible for the bands being in the state they were in. The walk in was quite long, although being up a road, not overly difficult.
Then to England and into the Lakes District to G/LD-037 Little Mell Fell, a nice easy 2 pointer with a relatively short walk in (but quite steep). 15 contacts made from Little Mell Fell with 20m delivering the best results - 40m continued to be very poor. Quite a nice little summit with some great views of the nearby lake and countryside to the north.
The following morning I headed to G/LD-053 Craife Heights - on the surface it appeared to be an easy walk in, but as noted by previous activators, the forestry work and poor maps I was using made it a long walk in and initially difficult to find the actual summit. Only made 9 contacts this time but as a consolation, 40m seemed to have improved with all except one contact being made on 40m (the other contact was a S2S on 20m to DL/G1INK on DM/TH-046). Quite a lot of effort for only one point!
My Final summit was in Wales on GW/NW-043 Cyrn-y-Brain, a nice 2 pointer requiring about a 2km walk in from a cafe. The bands were in very good shape with a total of 25 contacts being made on 40m and 10m including two 10m S2S contacts - DL/G1INK on DM/TH-064 and HB9BIN/P on HB/LU-027 S2S. Unfortunately timings meant I had to cut it short and also precluded activating the second summit on the other side of the road as we were very short of time with quite a long drive to get down to the South Coast.
There were so many summits around that I would have loved to activate, but travelling with family who are not particularly interested in radios makes it a little difficult to take the time to do any where near as many as I would have liked. I will be coming back to do some more in the UK but will also have to take the time to get some others in Europe - I think the next trip over this part of the world will be less touristy and much more radio focussed. Only problem being when do I include North America and Korea/Japan in the planning!
Thanks to the support from the EU chasers and other activators for making my unfortunately brief radio time such an enjoyable part of my trip over here. Unfortunately no contacts back into VK, but at the times that I was able to activate, not really surprised to get no VK contacts in the log…