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27 June 2016: First activation of GM/SI-090 Beinn Bhreac

The forecast was again for clouds on the higher hills with some rain, but it looked as though west would be best, so we decided to try to do the only previously unactivated summit on Skye GM/SI-090 Beinn Bhreac, with the possibility of its near neighbour GM/SI-119 Biod Mor afterwards. In the end we tried to work Beinn Bhreac on as many bands as we could and just do the one activation.

The clouds we just topping the hills as we drove down the narrow road to Eynort. We had hoped to park in the small parking area at the end of the public road, but at first sight it looked full, but we managed to contrive to park tight in on a verge while still leaving enough space for turning – the alternative would have been further back up the road near the phone box, but that also looked quite full. We the headed SW down the track passing through farms, leaving the track to head up through a gate before reaching the ruined church by the edge of Loch Eynort, and ascend to the north of a stream. We crossed a track through an awkward gate and continued upwards to reach Bealach na Croiche, where we contoured round the lower slopes of Biod Mor and dropped down into Clachan Gorma. This has a barbed wire fence running through the bottom of it, with no obvious crossing places. We wandered along it for a bit to NG 3639 2674 where we managed to find a bit where the top row of barbs was missing near a tensioner. We then headed up to ascend over Beinn na Cuinnelg, but descending the other side were disappointed to find yet another barbed wire fence (this one not marked on the 1:25000 map). We headed north along it to around NG 3545 2700 where we found a section where three were only unbarbed horizontal wires below the top row of barbed wire. The fence was too high for our little legs to climb, but there was enough slack in the horizontal wires that we could squeeze through by taking our rucksacks off and passing them through the same gap.

We dropped down to cross a stream before ascending more steeply up the other side, which unfortunately took us into the clouds and poor visibility, so navigation was by compass & GPS. After a while a steep higher section loomed in front of us, but we worked out that was the lower of the two 448m summits: we wanted the further more southerly true summit, which also has the trig point (at 445m rather than at the true summit). We contoured round the northern summit and made our way round to the cylindrical trig point. We didn’t have much of a view to start with but the clouds did eventually lift.

It was windy at the summit, and there was no hole in the trig point to support the VHF antenna, so Caroline just bungeed the antenna to the trig point, but the wind tended to blow it over. She managed only one VHF contact, Gordon GM4OAS in Mallaig: the path to the east being blocked by higher hills. Martyn did better with 5MHz getting 9 contacts before passing the HF station to Caroline for her to qualify with 11 7MHz contacts. Martyn then tried 14MHz but got just 8 contacts. Keen to activate the hill on as many bands as possible we had a listen on 10m, but it seemed dead. There seemed a little life on 80m, but although Caroline heard Don G0RQL he couldn’t hear her well enough to make the contact, and there were no other callers. Martyn put out a final call on 5MHz for two more contacts, but it was then time to pack up and descend.

We got slightly confused coming off the hill working on sight now we could see the lie of the land, we managed to head for the wrong lake, but then realised our mistake and contoured round the hill to pick up our outward path, getting better views along the way. We crossed the two awkward fences in the same place, getting better views on the return. We had a look round the isolated ruined church and cemetery before returning to the car – now alone in the parking area.

5 Likes

Hi Caroline,

Good reports so far on your SOTA activation on the Isle of Skye. Will you also be doing some reports on your recent activations in GI? GI is my favourite SOTA association (probably because I am half GI) and I would like to compare notes on the activations of the summits over there that my and my dad Tom M1EYP recently activated over there and also I would be interested in looking at the reports on some of the SOTA summits over there that we haven’t activated yet and are looking to activate next year when we will be activated the remaining GI uniques to complete the GI association?

Jimmy M0HGY

Yes, I have some notes on the GI activations that I hope to turn into activation reports, but probably not until I’ve done the Skye ones. Unfortunately other aspects of life (and in particular work) keep getting in the way of SOTA and SOTA related activities :slight_frown:.

Caroline M3ZCB

Thanks for the report Caroline and Martyn and for all the Skye activations, thanks for trying 80 hopefully next time on 80 Caroline conditions will be better. 73/88 Don.G0RQL.