I’m burning up vacation days and would have considered spending some time away on a bagging trip. But it’s the first week of November and difficult to predict Scotland’s fickle weather. However, it looked OK so decided to bag some G/SB summits and have a night away. As the time got nearer the WX for the start of the week look less good and better for later. Well I’ll bag my SB summits and get up early and bag a good highland summit on Thursday, WX looks excellent but cold.
At the start of the week my very good friend Paul W6PNG/M0SNA texted me to say he’d finally escaped W6 land to his UK address. Now one of my SB targets is 30mins from Paul’s /A QTH. I don’t know about you but if one my friends passed close by to activate and didn’t let me know I’d be a bit upset. So I told Paul I would be down on Tuesday / Wednesday and a quick plan tweek and we did our first summit in the UK. We’ve done 3x HB9, 1x HB0, 2x I, 1x OE, 1x DL and 1x DM summits together but never a UK one.
We wanted another joint activation for today, Thursday. I could have suggested to Paul he leg it up to mine then we could driver for hours to get a highland summit. But that seemed a waste of time. The highland summits will always be there but your friends wont. So it made sense to do something in GM/SS around the Scottish Borders. As the WX was meant to be spectacular, Trahenna GM/SS-143 and Broughton Heights GM/SS-128 make a good pairing with the walk along the Hammerhead ridge between them.
I left the house early to get some diesel and some fuel for us. I pass The Apple Pie Bakery in Carnwath all the time and it is always busy. So I called in and picked up Steak Bridies and Apple Pie for both us. We met up at the car park in Broughton Palace, booted, checked bags and set off. On the ascent which took about 45mins Paul said he didn’t feel 100% but we got to the top in the mist and set up. Now the Geomagnetc Storm was raging so I didn’t expect marvels on the air but we both qualified, I concentrated on CW leaving SSB to Paul meaning we should, bands willing, be able to work more chaser. The WX was really cold, well below 0C with windchill. Initially we were in mist but it was patchy and blown by the wind. When it cleared the views were rather good, something Paul commented on.
Paul packed up ahead of our “must stop” time and I have to say he did not look good. He was feeling not well at all but we thought we’d see how he felt after the 10min walk back to the main path. It was 20-25min back to the car or 1hr25 to Broughton Heights then 1hr10 back to the car. Paul was most upset to say he needed to go home. He offered me the option to walk on to the next summit on my own but, let’s be realistic here, your friend isn’t looking well and says he doesn’t feel well, you’re not going to leave him to make his own way back. So we walked back together.
Back at the car he looked a bit better and I checked he had essentials should he have a “stomach event” and he did, so after 10mins R&R, he drove off and was told to text me once home.
Now I have done Trahenna this year so it was “nul points” for me. Broughton Heights would be 2 points. I’m not so motivated anymore by points, completes, S2S and uniques drive me now. Leaving Broughton for now means I can bag it with Winter Bonus should I fancy it. I took a different route home that passed by Scald Law GM/SS-125. Another summit I’ve done this year. I was again not interested in points but in the exercise. I am trying to get some fitness back so as I had my head torch and checking with the clock there was enough time for a quick activation to get back before dark if the bands were still rubbish and stay longer if the sky was working. It wasn’t. But I qualified it on 20/30m and got back at official sunset.
I did get a text from Paul saying he was home safe. As he was in a self imposed “nil by mouth” state when I left him, his report he’d eaten his Bridie and Pie meant he must be feeling much better. I had mine just after summiting Scald Law. By heck it was bloody marvellous. Which is bad because I will have to call there more often and that will do my waistline no good.
Thanks to the chasers and to Eric F5JKK for extra spotting duty as I had a wildcard alert in place. Much appreciated Eric. No points but I was pleased with the exercise and times to both summits. But it was proper cold on Scald Law in the setting sun. Winter is coming…