My alert for this hill had to contain a caveat on the activation time. It may be a little pimple with a “road” alongside it but the landowner is terminally anal and has surrounded the hill with a deer fence. There are two laybys on the A9 at NN654867 and the access to CS-035 doubles for this hill. After passing through the gate I turned immediately left and followed the track to the underpass below the A9. The track continues parallel to the road (don’t go under it) and the river crossing proved easy and there was a gate in the deer fence (NN658870) – success, the short route! If the river is ever in spate (unlikely) it would be possible to climb the bank to the road, cross the road bridge and descend to the gate. The ascent of the hill is simple enough although it is just rough ground with shaggy heather, no paths; aim for the obvious ridge and the summit is to the right hand side of the lump ahead of you.
Setting up the gear on the summit was a problem, there was very strong wind and the lee of the summit is steep. I manage to get the antenna “sort of” in the air and managed my first CQ at about 1120. I was called by GW7AAV with a stonking strong signal and he kindly spotted me. Then followed 10 minutes of pathetic CQ’s until GW7AAU took sympathy and gave me my second contact. Peter G3PLX called and said that the critical frequency was above 6MHz (unfortunately my freeze dried brain registered that as bad news not good news – but Peter put me straight). Then followed a steady stream of contacts interspersed with a collapsing antenna; will somebody ever design a fishing pole that doesn’t collapse in strong winds? It was good to work new (for me) SOTA contacts G6WRW and G3OHC – hope to hear more of you in the coming months.
A switch of frequencies to 40m (thanks G8ADD for spotting me) brought a few extra QSO’s including regular G0RQL who couldn’t hear me on 60m and ON3WAB who I haven’t worked in ages. After just over an hour of operating it was time to clear up and find somewhere out of the wind for lunch. This is a cracking ridge above the loch and a pleasant walk with excellent views; halfway along the ridge the fence has a gate BUT it also has an electric fence (working) so take care. A contour down into the glen gave some respite from the wind and a good lunch break (late). The track alongside the loch is an easy way out even if the loch is fenced-off (why – can deer really swim a deep broad loch then ascend a precipitous scree slope on the far side ???) The final gate on this track was impossible to open, the catch was jammed tight - so much for the right of access!
All in all a pleasant day even if it did tip down with rain for the last hour.
My thanks to the chasers and in particular the spotters – it now leaves me with just 7 summits to complete the National Park round!