The first time I have been able to get out in weeks, the xyl not needing me to man the emporium and the weatherman predicting a nice day with the feint possibility of a light shower, (I also believe in Father Christmas and fairies!).
The route I used up ES-064 is the same as Andy’s (MM0FMF) detailed on the resources page for the summit. My only comment (it is a twin peaked summit with a descent out of the activation zone to reach the second peak â€“ very Marilyn!) is that the high point is stated as that pile of stones â€“ Antiquity in OS speak â€“ just by the fence on the first summit.
I set up in lovely sunshine (I had rain throughout my drive south through the National Park) and found 40m rather quiet. A self spot soon brought a pile of responses although most stations complained of the qrm on the frequency â€“ no such problem my end. The pile-up being exhausted I tried CW without any response â€“ not surprising when I opened up the bandwidth it was wall to wall CW stations, none calling me! Onto 18MHz and another self spot, quiet as the grave then I thought a DL called me but then the qsb lifted and there was a spectacularly strong station â€“ no callsign of course â€“ running contest style through a pileup right on my advised frequency. Then the rig shut down â€“ battery failure and the spare in the car! Quick descent and off to the next hill with a spot of lunch on the way.
There are several possible routes to Mile Hill ES-076 but having had a look at the number of burn crossings and the advice of barbed wire and electric fence on the usual listed routes (and a Labrador that would have needed help across them) I decided to go in another way. There is a parking space someway, about 200m, south of the house at NO282576, the house can be identified by the nautical style mast in the garden! Head along the track to Newton where there is a most interesting house restoration in progress. Perhaps I should point out that when I left the car the sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky so I took my softshell jacket just in case â€“ it is â€œshowerproofâ€ after all!!! Just after Newton, walking alongside the felled woodland, the rain started, just a few drops nothing to give me any problems. When it didn’t ease I put on the jacket and kept going â€“ what a mistake. Another Km or so and it was pouring down â€“ shower my foot, this was full blown rain and softshells don’t work! There is shelter at the abandoned farm of Gairlaw which I took advantage of until the rain stopped. The ascent from here is obvious â€“ cross the burn, through the gate, diagonally across the field to another gate then the ascent â€“ but what an ascent. Think Ben More (Crianlarich) but not as long and on grass all the way â€“ it is steep, very steep!
I set-up on the summit in lovely sunshine, spotted myself and shortly afterwards was called by EA2CKX, followed by G4ZRP, who both complained of the severe qrm at their end so I qsy’d up the band and worked the pile-up. Looking North towards Glenshee and another torrent was on its way, so operation was contest-style, banging though at 4 or 5 qso’s a minute, until demand was exhausted. Down with the antenna and away though the gathering storm. Yes, I got wet!
Quick check on the phone with memsahib to find that the sun had been cracking the pavements in the Northern Cairngorms so the moral is â€“ do not believe the soothsayers of the Met Office and MWIS when they say â€œGo South â€œyoungâ€ manâ€.
Thanks to the Chasers, especially when I hurried you along. Now why did the battery fail?