First summit completed yesterday: GM/SS-269 Woodhead.
“I thinks that is the one” says Helen pointing out of the window of our cottage. “We could be up that one and back for lunch.”
It seemed quite simple on the write up we had and did not look much on the map, so off we went.
We parked in a lay-by on the A711 and walked back to a forestry road and passed the entrance to a farm. A little further on there was a cottage where the write up we had made no mention of a fork to the right but did mention an “obvious” mountain bike path of which we could see no sign so we kept on walking for about a mile before we met a group of men rebuilding a drystone wall. Chatting to them they said there was no way up on that side of the hill and we should have turned down the forestry road. We turned heel and walked back down and at the junction there was a sign for mountain bikes that we missed because the reverse was blank. The sign we should have seen was on the other side of the road and had been knocked down and was lying in the undergrowth.
A couple of miles up the second forestry road there was a rough trail going up the hill in to the woods, but Helen carried on up the forestry road for another mile as from there it looked a flat walk to the summit. Unfortunately there was no access as it was too overgrown and boggy.
Back to the rough trail and up through the woods following the mountain bike tracks and occasional markers. After sometime we appeared to be on the highest part of the hill, but there was no where to put up any sort of antenna. We sent out my son Stuart as a scout and he reported that he had found a relatively flat spot. A little further on from this the track opened out and we could see the sky. There was a long straight section of track and I reckoned I could get the dipole in the gap between the trees either side. Helen at last had a GPS signal and we where bang on the highest point where we set up. I tied one end to a fallen tree and the other to a post which once held up a deer fence. With a little luck and cunning I threaded the SOTApole through the branches. There seemed no point in trying VHF as the antenna would have been well below the thick lines of trees.
I started on 5MHz we the intention of doing other bands later but after a great run on 60 metres including a summit to summit with G4MD/P on G/SB-004 everyone was complaining of feeling cold and I reluctantly packed up and we headed down.
We had all missed lunch so we headed the car for Morrisons in Dumfries and hot meal from the cafe washed down with large and sugary cold drinks. It is a good job the cottage has lots of bathrooms as seven tired walkers all wanted to go straight in the shower and never did a shower seem so welcoming.
Checking the GPS we walked about seven miles, but at least we have the corrected GPS route so the anyone else doing the summit just does the two and a half miles each way, give or take the weaving through the forest. One of the problems we had was that the well established forest roads where not shown on our map.
A bit of a rest today and we will try to do another tomorrow, but the WX is dark and grey here at the moment.
Thanks to all the chasers who worked us.
Regards Steve GW7AAV