Activation Report: Broomy Law GM/SS-209

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 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)

In reply to MM0FMF:

Good work Andy, seems like I only just finished working you and here’s the report. There’s efficiency!

Thanks for the contact and the write-up, looking forward to the next.

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to MM0FMF:

Interesting report Andy. Pleased to see your trip out was worthwhile, both radio wise and for the autumn splendour.

Just a thought - if everyone has the right to roam anywhere in Scotland (responsible access) and farmers are not permitted to keep bulls where the public have access, then where do they keep them?

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

if everyone has the right to roam anywhere in Scotland

You can’t walk near where one of the directors of Stagecoach lives, she went to great trouble to win a court case but I think it may now have gone to appeal. Legal bills in the £300,000 region being mentioned!

It’s an interesting point though. We had walked into a farmyard, past two huge sheds and through several open gates before we reached the field holding the bull. The gate to this field was closed. The bull has to go somewhere and the farmer didn’t have him next door to a kids playground with a flimsy fence but securely contained. The only problem being us sad fools wanting to walk to the summit and the quickest route being through the bull’s field.


In reply to G4OIG:
The regulations on on bulls seems to be mainly constructed under Health and Safety legislation and seem mainly to focus on public footpaths where a farmer may not have any bull over 10 months old from a recognised dairy variety in any field with a PROW. For non dairy bulls, they can only be in a field that is crossed by a PROW if they are accompanied by cows. For Scotland in particular, the statement is that “Deliberately placing an animal or animals known to be aggressive in order to deter access is likely to be regarded as obstruction under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act.” This must present a some problem for Scottish farmers who have dairy bulls as this could mean that they are somewhat constrained but for non dairy bulls there should be no issue.

I have usually found that most non dairy bulls are fairly timid and my daughter has been quite amused to see them hiding from me amongst the cows. Certainly if you find two bulls in the same field they will almost certainly be more afraid of you that you should be of them. The dairy bulls to be cautious of include Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry.

Although not specifically referred to in law or access/walking sites, I would also be cautious about Aberdeen Angus bulls or Belted Galloway whether bull or cow as sometimes these can be aggressive. Funny how Galloway seams to bring up negative connotations for several activators.
73 jim g0cqk

In reply to MM0FMF:

Sorry Andy my callsign seems to have hijacked your posting - not sure how that happened!

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to MM0FMF:
Interesting report, thanks. Good to hear you stronger than normal too… or was my local QRM lower?.. Hehe.

I presume you were in Scottish Borders from your location description, rather than Lothian (South?)

Graham G4FUJ

I have never worried about bulls in fields. I just ignore then and they have always ignored me. Maybe I have been lucky, but I always feel that animals seem to smell your fear. No fear, no bull. I think the trick if they do charge is to zigzag rather than run straight or stand your ground, sidestep at the last moment and then poke it with your walking pole while shouting “Ole!”

The only time I was worried by cattle was once when a dog started barking in the lane at the opposite side of a field I was crossing and a herd of cows decided to stampede towards us. Luckily we were almost at the stile and were over it in double quick time. They where all cows and not a bull in site.

The only animal that ever attacked me while out walking me was a swan. They can be pretty intimidating when they take a dislike to you.

73 Steve GW7AAV or as Harpo Marx would say Honk Honk!

As always a very good read Andy. What a pleasure to see your photos back on the sota Flickr group, nice one, and cracking pictures to.

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to GW0DSP:
I’d put them all back but I only get to do 40 a month!