We set off from Scarborough early this morning for Cairnryan where we caught the ferry to Larne. We have now arrived at our base in Rostrevor, County Down ready to tackle the Mournes. We had time to briefly activate GM/SS-281 Cairn Pat on 145-fm. We are sorry we didn’t use hf as alerted but we were getting hungry and needed to find food before we caught the boat. Tomorrow we hope to activate GI/MM-001 and GI/MM-002 on 145-fm qro. Our activation times are very approximate because we aren’t sure about traffic in this area.
Geoff & Nick
The Mournes are fabulous - enjoy!
I would listen for you but I won’t hear anything on 145Mhz!
GI/MM-001 is worth every one of the 850 metres climb.
Dip your foot in the sea at the start and you know you’ve earned every metre
We had a fantastic day today. The weather mostly was kind and we had great views from Slieve Donard but the chill factor did kick in and it was very cold. Slieve Commedagh was much colder with bitingly cold rain that was almost like sleet! We had contacts with EI, G, GI, GM & GW so were very pleased with Geoff’s ‘pocket rocket’ (FT-1802) running at 40 watts to a dipole. Tomorrow we have three planned and the weather forecast is much the same as today.
Thank you to all the stations that worked us today and thanks also for the spots.
Maybe some HF tomorrow Pete!
Geoff & Nick
A much easier today for us today, starting with the drive on at EI/IE-021 Black Mountain. The weather was foul with very heavy rain but we took shelter under our golfing umbrella. VHF on this one was disappointing with no contacts. However, I did manage to qualify on 40m cw with the FT-817 qrp but I needed to use the amplifier to get any success on 40m ssb. For future reference there will be a new seat in the area close to the transmitter site. I did feel sorry for the poor workman building the seat trying to work in unsuitable clothing in such conditions. We then drove on to tackle GI/MM-014 Knockchree, this one was a pleasant walk through the wood to the summit with sea views. We managed our 4 contacts on 2m. The last one of the day GI/MM-011 Slievemartin proved more difficult with very heavy winds on the summit. We managed to tie the antenna to the trig point and after initially struggling we limped home again with 4 contacts. The forecasters are saying that the weekend weather will improve so we have changed the running order for tomorrow and are doing three lower ones. Thanks again for spots and working us today. Hopefully more HF tomorrow.
Geoff & Nick
Very windy conditions but no rain today so that was a welcome relief. Our first summit Slieve Croob was a walk up a service road to the telecoms towers. HF drew a blank, I could hear Phil G4OBK calling me on 7-cw but very little else on the band and it was very difficult to check the swr but I suspected that I had an antenna fault. So we once again had to rely on the ‘pocket rocket’ and 145-fm for our 5 contacts. Our second one was Slievenalargy and this was a walk partly along tracks and partly across boggy ground to the summit plateau. MOIML and G4VPX on Red Screes were the first two in the log on 145-fm. We used a different HF antenna and managed a few contacts on 7-cw & ssb.The last one for the day, Gruggandoo was very similar to the second one. However, on this one we only managed a couple of contacts on 145-fm but 7-cw & ssb proved more productive with the new antenna. The wx forecast is much better for tomorrow and the next few days, hopefully this will give us the opportunity to do some more of the higher Mourne summits. Tom you are right about the Mourne Mountains being fabulous, we are certainly enjoying the challenge and the views!
Thanks everyone again for your support.
Geoff & Nick
I was going to say the same!
When you self spotted on the first 2 summits I listened and heard nothing.
A quick look on RBN revealed nothing at 1000 and later at 1320 you were only spotted by a single skimmer at ON5KQ.
The last activation seemed to be more like normal although the skip had already gone long
Enjoy the hills, I’ll be over on 22nd and have ordered the usual sunshine
Apologies for our timings being way out. When I first put up the alerts we were set to do longer routes to these summits but we decided on more direct routes and I forgot to change the times. Slieve Muck was a hard slog up in muddy conditions - hi hi! We only took 2 metres on this one and we had 9 contacts. Great views from the summit and the wall offered great protection from the wind. We took HF on to the second summit Slevenaglogh. We managed to qualify on 2m FM I then tried 7.033-cw and 7.118-ssb with no takers whatsoever. The band was quite lively with Field Day stations active so I did give LA1KP/P a call and managed a qso on ssb so I was confident that the equipment was working. However, no other calls were made with and without the amplifier! So I am thinking that the skip must have gone long again. We spent a long time on this summit, not a problem when the weather was so glorious apart from the wind but we had good shelter against the wall.
Pete thanks very much for your input for yesterday, I think that it explains what happend this afternoon.
Tomorrow we have a much tougher walk Slievelamagan and Slieve Binnian so that will be just 2 metres again to keep the weight down.
Geoff & Nick
Thanks for trying Nick. I have checked out every one of your CW spots on 7 MHz CW, and not a whisper has been heard of you all week.
We live in hope, but band conditions are abysmal
At least today he was being heard in Anglesey
Hi Roy - HF has been a big disappointment with equipment problems and poor conditions.
Hi Pete - 145-fm into Anglesey - FB hi hi!
Today we had a very hard walk (for me anyway) A long walk in to tackle Slievelamagan, a mountain with stones and peat and the odd bit of path if your lucky. We eventually reached the summit where there is a small cairn but the wind was very strong so we decided to just try the handheld and thanks to Darrell GI4KSO’s spots and being able to break into an Irish net we managed 6 contacts. The descent was almost as bad as the ascent. Slieve Binnian was a bit easier but still required quite an effort. Once again with Darrell doing the business for us we worked another 6 stations including S2S contacts with Barry M0IML/P and Allan G4VPX/P on G/LD-007 Fairfield. We had done 9 miles with 3,490 feet of ascent - We will sleep tonight! Tomorrow we are tackling Slieve Bernagh and Slieve Meelbeg.
Geoff & Nick
Yes that’s a hellishly long walk-in to Slievelamagan - and then you have to climb the thing, up what is described locally as its “fearsome slopes”. Jimmy and I ran out of time to possibly consider tackling Binnian as a second summit for the day, even though this was our original intention.
Bernagh and Meelbeg - now that’s another demanding walk. The ascent of Bernagh is particularly steep, and so steep that descending it is even harder! Top tip: From the saddle between the two, by the Mourne Wall, look out for a direct path heading up towards the saddle between Meelbeg and the mountain directly in front of you - Slieve Meelmore. This path does not appear on any maps, but is pretty good and established on the ground, and will save you having to climb over Meelmore on a demanding enough day.
ISTR I wanted to sleep for a week after doing Slievelamagan as a one summit day, so GL doing Bernagh/Meelbeg the day after Slievelamagan/Binnian!
Tom - Thanks very much for the tip, we will look out for that track. The running order isn’t ideal I know but we changed things around hopefully to get better weather for the more demanding summits.
I heard you on MM-011 Nick but you obviously couldn’t hear me
Yes I quite understand that you were tired after those two yesterday - we certainly were. We did them frmo the Carrick Little car park but ascended Binnian first ('tho Rod found that putting up a long wire was rather challenging amongst the large outcrops!), did the long descent to the saddle and then found almost no path up Slievelamagan. It was a very unpleasant steep ascent which was mostly weaving between rocks and trying to stick to the grass which seemed safer. After a rather too successful activation on my part (my 5w 70cm signal on the dipole reached G and GW easily) we decided to try a ‘new’ route and continue NE along the ridge towards Cove Mt and hope there was a path down from the saddle so we could skirt round the side of this unpleasant hill and (eventually) join the path up. This worked but it was a very long stagger back to the car. It was no coincidence that our rest day was deferred no longer (but we did wander up Slieve Croob which surprised our faithful chasers!)
We thus had this day ‘off’ before the ascent (from the Trassey track) up Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Meelbeg and I found the final ascent of the first hill ‘beside the wall’ very steep and rough so didn’t welcome the added uncertainty as to which was the actual high point (which I couldn’t reach anyway, as I have no head for heights). The wind, as always, was blowing strongly, and I was absolutely perished tucked on a rock as high as I could get. Once again the descent was very steep but with a few paths which could be followed with care. I see that Tom suggests that you contour past Meelmore and then up to Meelbeg. I hope you didn’t take his advice as you will then have to return on another day to visit the summit of Slieve Meelmore to tick off your third and last Mourne Wall watchtower - plus you hardly notice the ascent up to Meelbeg as automatic pilot has long since taken over and told you that you are never going to stop going uphill! Of course we knew we had to leave the next day and move to Ballycastle and thus, reluctantly would not be able to ascent the remaining summits. Good luck with Eagle Mountain and Slievemoughanmore to-morrow, they are still on our list but were left to last as they sounded rather challenging (and soggy). Very glad that you have had some good enough weather at last to appreciate what lovely hills the Mourne Mountains are. I wish they were a bit closer. Best of luck
Keep the info coming
There are many ways to skin a cat!
A good resource for route information is Mountain Views. (you may need to resister)
Useful details on parking spots etc. too.
Thank you for your contributions.
Viki - We didn’t go up Slieve Meelmore so we missed that watchtower. Is there an Watchtower on the Air Award I wonder?
2E0XSD (I am sorry I don’t know your name). Sorry we didn’t hear you on GI/MM-011.
Pete - thanks for the info, I will check it out when I get home.
Very hot today, after 10 minutes we were taking off layers and the midges were flying. We had drizzle in the morning and the climb up Slieve Bearnagh was quite a slog but not quite as hard as Slievelamagan, There was no wind at all. The pocket rocket running at 40 watts with the dipole brought in 14 contacts including S2S contacts with Allan G4VPX/P and Barry M0IML/P on Stoney Cove Pike and Steve GW1ZVC/P on Snowdon. Other notable contacts included Bill M1AIX/P in St Ives, Cornwall. Our second summit of the day was Slieve Meelbeg, quite steep but a relatively short climb from the col. At the summit we were on the other side of the wall from the cairn, a big mistake as the whole area had been used as a toilet for sheep! We fired up the PR again and we logged 8 stations on this one. Thanks very much Darrell GI4KSO and Sean MW3PZO for the spots. Tomorrow is our last big day when we hope to do Eagle Mountain and Slievemoughmore.
Thanks for the support.
Geoff & Nick
Hi Geoff & Nick,
It is Colin M0XSD, 2E0XSD was my Intermediate Callsign that the Reflector seems to have reverted to ever since it was updated.
Thanks for the MM contacts
Actually if you log in using username 2E0XSD then you will use the 2E0XSD account. There is an M6XSD and M0XSD account for you on the system, all you need to do is log in using the M0XSD account and stop logging in as 2E0XSD. Once you are sorted as M0XSD again we can deactivate the old accounts so they don’t get in the way.
Last day in the Mournes and this was the hardest slog of them all. What a boggy, wet, awful experience and that was just to get to the Mourne Wall before the steep ascents! The weather was pretty awful as well, damp with very low visibility, On our way back to the car the sun did appear and we could see where we had been. The activations of Eagle Mountain and Slievemoughanmore went well with 6 2m-fm contacts on each using the pocket rocket at 40w with a dipole up 15 feet. We decided to try a different, possibly better route back - wrong decison as we were walking along the Ulster Way footpath which for a good part must have been under the bog because we couldn’t see it anywhere. We both fell over several times in knee high grass set in very boggy ground that thankfully cushioned our falls! However, all that said we were euphoric having completed our challenge of doing the Mournes in eight days. (For completeness we hope to do GI/MM-017 Cairngaver on the way back to the boat. although in our opinion isn’t a real Mourne anyway - hi hi.) We would like to thank everyone for their support with the spots and qsos during our trip. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone that we have met over here and we are delighted to have made many new friends over the radio. Our next adventure will be a few days in the Lake District 19-21 September and will include Scafell Pike.
Geoff & Nick