This is a really easy simple 1 point hill. It was the nearest hill to my QTH I had still to do and we selected it simply to keep both of our legs exercised. The wx Saturday morning was fairly grim, grey with the sky nearly touching the ground and some drizzle but after lunch it was brightening up.
I’d looked at this hill before, it’s situated on the very busy A702 from Edinburgh on quite a nasty bend. Unless you park at the farm half way up the hill, the nearest parking is by some houses at NT072415. Park with consideration for the people who live here if you choose this place. We walked carefully along the A702 and headed up the old Roman Road towards the farm. Just as you turn the bend there is a track off through a gate. We weren’t sure where this really led to and continued towards the farmyard. The 1:25000 map shows the road leads from the farmyard to the summit. I was a little uneasy walking into someone’s farmyard but there was nobody about to ask if it was OK. We were passed by a car that pulled into the farmhouse and the driver didn’t ask us where we were going so we pressed on.
It was Brian who saw the bull in the field we had to walk through next. A right big meaty chap he was (the bull, not Brian). I reckoned I could run faster than Brian which was all that really mattered to me but Brian didn’t think this was a good plan. The neighbouring field contained sheep and we Brian suggested we go up through there and cross back into the first field in the far corner some distance away from the bull at NT078424. From there we followed the high quality track to the summit. There are many comms towers at the top hence the very good surface on the track. Probably the bull would have been more interested in the nice lady cows in his field and we were just being typical townies who don’t understand country ways. Still I didn’t want to find out the bulls opinion on this and so discretion was the better part of valour!
The summit was gained after about 30mins of walking. It was 35mins of elapsed time but that involved almost 5 mins of faffing about setting a waypoint on Brian’s new GPS. No we didn’t set a waypoint for where the bull was, Brian was just learning a new feature a day. The track is steep in places but neither of us really broke into a sweat on the way up, apart from the time we saw the bull.
We setup on the fence near the Northernmost tower carefully avoiding the electric fence wire. We never found out if it was on or not due to careful draping of the wires. There was quite a stiff breeze by now and this held the wires away from the fence. Also the sun decided to break through the gloom and the whole area was a tapestry of Autumn colours along with sunny patches and more darker heather. 5MHz was in really good form and we worked 22 between us. We came on air just as Frank G(W)3RMD/p was finishing his activation and having had a quick chat with Frank we left him to work 3 CW contacts. As soon as I called CQ all hell erupted with a fairly stunning pileup of stations. It was a complete melee of calls and simply sheer luck enabled Don G0RQL to be saying “quebec lima” just as the noise subsided.
Activation completed we took some photos now at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mm0fmf and packed up and headed down. We checked out the route to see if we could reach the A702 without walking through the farmyard. It can be done, coming down the track there is a gate right by the corner of the plantation at NT078424. Through the gate and follow the edge of the trees. Turn left through 90degrees and follow the trees down the hill. From there a gate can be seen and the old Roman Road which is marked on the 1:25000 and 1:50000 maps. This road leads through some gates back around the farmyard and farmhouse and meets with the track we weren’t sure about. This means you don’t need to disturb anyone to reach the summit. This is a working farm so watch out for tractors etc. and more importantly that damn great bull.
Distance walked: 2.52miles, total ascent:194m/636ft, distance driven: 42miles.
Andy MM0FMF (with Brian GM4ZRP)