Don’t tell anyone but it didn’t rain much today. It’s also a peach of an evening right now!
I’ve reviewed my recent activations. 1/6/2012 Meall Buidhe CS-048 (recommended), 1/7/2012 Ben Ledi SS-023 (fallback as the A85 was allegedly closed. Not much mainly due to the awful WX here. I lost 2 weekends to holidays and the MT meeting but that’s not many activations for the middle of Summer.
The forecast for today was looking good for Bridge of Orchy area which is where I was heading on 1/7/2012. But a late check showed it had deteriated to periods of heavy rain. Angus Glens looked to have the best WX and that’s where I went. I also checked spaceweather.com to see how the sky was after the Sun’s burp on Friday… broken was the answer, mucho Aurora I did wonder if I’d work anything but thought to hell with the radio, I need a decent walk.
The target was Ben Tirran (The Goet) ES-016. This is down Glen Clova. You need to drive in the Angus Glens to appreciate their splendour. Magic places. Anyway, 1hr45 after leaving home I pulled in to the Glen Clova Hotel car park. Boots on and study the sky. Whilst booting up, it drizzled, the sun came out, it drizzled and the wind blew. Ah July in Scotland. At least there were no midges. Talking to some other walkers we all agreed it would be wet and windy, so I put 2 fleeces and a soft shell in my bag.
The path starts behind the hotel and is quite brutally steep straight away. Not hard but you know you’re climbing and you’ve not had a chance to warm up. The path is excellent, man made to resist the erosion of the Mongolian Hordes of walkers. I counted 12 people following me. There’s a gentle bit as you approach Loch Brandy then you get to the loch’s natural morraine dam and you can truly appreciate the Corrie of Clova and Cliffs of Brandy. Loch Brandy makes you think of Loch Skeen at White Combe. Not surprising, they were formed by identical processes. The natural dam is an impressive pile of morraine left after the glacier melted. The loch level is well below this height the dam will support as the outflow has eroded away part of the morraine wall letting the water escape.
From there you can climb either side of the loch. Real men do The Snub, a quick climb of 200m in 700m, about 1 in 3. It was actually easy as the path meanders nicely. It didn’t take long to get to the top. This was where the WX stopped being sunny, drizzle, sunny and became windy & grey, windy & drizzle, windy & grey. The wind was strong enough to dry me as fast as the drizzle fell. I’d checked the route from others reports but had missed the bit that there was a great big descent from The Snub followed by the same ascent. Grr!
At the bottom of this drop was the 1st nasty bit of ground. A few large planks have been placed to help you cross the worst bog. I checked and my walking pole went in to the handle with no effort. A very deep and soft bog. I checked the plank before trusting it. Up the climb and there should be a path to follow. I couldn’t see it so I walked to the top of Green Hill. I wondered why there are two big cairns. I found out the Western most marks where the path (what path?) splits. You cannot see the path walking East. You can walking West! I missed the smallest cairn in the world where the path next splits but found it on the return. With no path, I walked in the direction of The Goet, I could see the summit cairn 2km away. Some nasty bogs to cross too.
In fact this whole plateau would be a navigation challenge in the mist. Yes you could follow your GPS, but we want to do things properly and not be muckles. That and the bogs make this a fun place. I found 3 bogs to cross where the gloop was at least as deep as my walking pole and the consistency of runny porridge. You could have some real problems crossing this when it’s covered with snow if the bogs aren’t frozen solid. So forewarned is forearmed as a mentor of mine would say.
From here I followed my nose to the summit. By now the wind was howling, so it was on with all the coats and fleeces. I had to wear a hat and Buff to keep my head warm. The pole was bungied to the cairn and I went straight to 40m CW. No point trying 60 based on the K, A indexes. It was a real stuggle but I found David G3RDQ. David lost me in the QSB but my end of the QSO was good. I asked for a spot and David obliged. That stirred up some activity, a little. I worked 2xG, 2xF, 1xHB9, 2xDL, 1xPA. I think I could hear G4AFI calling at times but I guess he wasn’t sure I was calling him back. I tried 60m, nothing. Not true really, no chasers, VOLMET was reasonably loud. I could hear G3CRH and CM3TAY/p working. G3CRH was a good signal but he didn’t hear me. I looked him up on QRZ, 86 years young and still having fun on the air, there’s hope for us all
I had a listen on 20m, nothing. 30m has some fast RTTY on 10.118 and I couldn’t get a mobile signal despite seeing numerous phone masts in the distance. I packed up fast and set off as I was now frozen. The route was essentially the same as before but I was determined to find the path. So down along the double electric fence to the lochan at the col with White Hill. Up to the lochan on White Hill. Straight down to the col then up to the unamed 857m high point. Same again to Green Hill. I found the wee cairn marking the path split and the path. It’s obvious walking West. Stopping and turning 180 degs and it vanished! Over the top and at the second big cairn I could see the path that descends the other side of Loch Brandy. Around the loch at the bottom and back down the ascent path.
Bish, bash, bosh and back at the hotel just as it rained hard for a few minutes. Off with the boots and in for a nice pot of Rosy Lea and a play on the hotel Wifi.
At times, the views to Lochnagar, Dreish, Mount Keen etc. were excellent. Then they disappeared in the showers. I have to say I never needed waterproofs all day. Windproofs and gloves yes, but waterproofs no. I can heartily recommend this summit. A good climb, plateau walking and some fine views. LOS to the Angus beacon on the Angus TV mast at Dundee, so it was 59++++ on the handy Just remember the bogs seem unforgiving here and you’re best not doing it 48hrs after a X-class flare with CME!
Totalk walked: 15.2km, total ascent: 894m, total driven: 190miles.
200 up? My 200th unique activation. It’s taking ages to get that next certificate.