This was my first activation since last August because I have been laid up with a chronic bout of plantar fasciitis which I really do not recommend! I finally gave in to a severe bout of cabin fever and decided to activate this tiny one pointer as an experiment. The route is well described on the Glenlivet Estate website (Glenlivet Estate) but has to be modified as the bridge at NJ220254 is washed out so access from Tombae is not practicable. Park instead at Allanreid NJ236248 and follow way-marked trail 3 to Glack farmhouse (NJ238241) then head up hill to an obvious gate and the route of Walk 10. This route is left here and an ascent to the summit of The Bochel (the shepherd in the local dialect modification of the gaelic word bhuachaill) is made across the normally heathery slopes; although today it was a case of kicking steps into the snow for most of the ascent. The summit is marked by a large pile of stones.
I had no idea what conditions would be like but a brief call on 5MHz brought a reply from G0VOF, who spotted me, and then I was able to work a string of regulars without any great difficulty on my part. Most signals were a constant 57 to 59+ with very little qrm; the same couldn’t be said for the chaser end of the contacts where local qrm made conditions really difficult for most. I tried several times with G1TPO, who was a solid 59+ with me, but completely failed to get my report across.
I then shifted to 40m and was spotted immediately so once I had changed the links in the antenna I was already being called. Then followed a pile-up of mammoth proportions and I struggled to keep up with the callers – it shows what 6 months plus lack of practice does. I was working my way down the pileup when an alligator (PA0 – you probably are not reading this) decided to tune up right on top of the pileup and call CQ Contest. You cannot tell me that when probably eight or ten stations, all running 100w plus, are calling from all over Europe on, or around, the same frequency you cannot hear them. I apologise for all the chasers wanting this quite rare one pointer but my 5 watts cannot beat this level of ignorance. Knowing that John, GW4BVE, was due on a summit I went back to 5MHz to get my one summit to summit for the day. I had been putting out the odd call on 2m FM while waiting for John but no takers and, as I was now very cold, it was time to continue the walk.
Descent from the summit is roughly southeast to connect back up with waymarked path 10 at NJ237227 and a completion of the circular walk.
My thanks to all the chasers and my apologies to those I couldn’t make contact with once the contest had taken over the band. My New Year resolution is to make some effort at getting my CW to a state where I will actually use it in anger from the hill so another time I can qsy.