My car needed a service and a work colleague got me a good deal at a garage run by a friend. The only problem was it was the far side of Edinburgh. I decided I’d have a day of retail therapy “down the smoke” whilst my car was being pampered.
What I noticed was an alert by Jirka OK2BDF for Arthur’s Seat SS-272 the same day. This summit is in the middle of Edinburgh and was only a 20min bus ride from where my car was going to be. A plan emerged…
Car dropped off and wallet prepared for the inevitable pillaging that would happen later, I got the bus into Edinburgh. I was actually early compared to the alert time so I sat on a pavement cafe in the sun having a coffee. Hang on, sun? Scotland? Yes, it was a belter of a day. It was already hot and sunny by 900am! After that I meandered down past the building which should have cost Â£40million but cost Â£400million. Funny, politicians had no problem awarding themselves 10x the funds to build their own parliament building. Should have all been lined up and shot for wasting my taxes.
Anyway, past there and wow there’s a mountain in the carpark! I wandered across the back of Holyrood Palace and started up the path that runs under Salisbury Crags. Apart from the fact I was but one of the thousands of people wandering along it was a great morning. The crags are really quite impressive, not the height, but the length of nearly vertical rock wall. It was hot I whilst I had decent trainers on (Scarpa with Goretex and a grippy aggressive sole) I was not dressed for exertion in jeans and shirt. I took it easy and was in no rush.
After the crags you have 3 choices, through Hunter’s Bog which is mainly flat and around the back of the summit, or the gentle up hill route or the steep uphill route. I took the gentle uphill route which climbs gently in the undergrowth and keeps you out of the fairly ferocious (for Scotland) Sun. This turns and doubles back and meets the path that climbs from the far end of Hunter’s Bog. I wandered along amongst the vast herds of tourists, never have you heard so many different langauges being spoken. Or seen so many people climbing a volcano in the wrong shoes!
It’s hard to go wrong, just follow any path going up especially if it’s full of people! It wasn’t long before it was a bit steeper but I could see the give-away signs of SOTA… a fishing pole sticking up in the air! A minute later I was sat by Jirka. He was QRV on 40m. Jirka speaks little English but he speaks a helluva lot more English than I do Czech. I showed him my international SOTA passport, a baseball cap with a SOTA logo and my callsign embroidered on. He smiled. When his pileup finished we smiled and shook hands and tried as we could to talk. Jirka then spoke the international ham language of friendship… he past his key over to me and spotted me on SOTAwatch. I worked about 8 stations and as soon as that was cleared, I stopped.
I thanked Jirka and left him to activate 30m whilst I climbed the last few metres to the top and took my turn in the queue to touch the trig point. Yes, it’s that busy. I had a chat to Ken GM0AXY and Christine GM4YMM on 2m and then walked back by a different route. Back at ground level I wandered the 20mins or so it takes to get from Arthur’s Seat to the Royal Mile and treated myself to a nice lunch and pint of ice cold foaming brew. It was now about 22C, clouding up a little and very, very humid. The beer did wonders. Just as I finished lunch I got the message my car was ready and the final cost was not such a pillaging of the wallet as first thought.
A splendid day in the sun and tourists, a quick activation, a nice lunch and the car not needing a service for another 20000miles. Looking on the computerised maps, I have walked a total of 8.7km and climbed 362m (includes Edinburgh as well as Arthur’s Seat) which is not a bad walk.
Thanks to Jirka for letting me use his station in my own back yard!
EDIT: Looking at the photos reminded me of the superb bonus gained on this activation. Walking back for lunch I found a genuine 1860’s Penfold Octagonal Postbox marked VR for Victoria Regina. I never knew there was a Victorian postbox in Edinburgh.