Such beautiful weather needs to be savoured especially after the persistent rainfall of 2007 so this was a chance to tick-off a couple more of the summits in the National Park. Nothing very special you might say – two small 2 pointers – but the views were magnificent and the weather spectacular.
I parked at NN660935, there is space on the side of the road for a single car, and walked into the field; the fence provides a handrail if visibility is poor. There is a squeeze between a fence strainer and an outcrop, otherwise the ascent is uneventful. Leave the fence at NN666925 where it takes a sharp turn and head for the summit. The gash that crosses your path comes as a bit of a surprise but causes no difficulties and the summit, with its cylindrical trig point, is soon reached.
The antenna pole sits comfortably inside the trig point and it is relatively easy to set out the dipole legs (tip: set out the southerly leg first, the hill drops off quite steeply on that side). A quick call on 5MHz brought an instant reply from GW0VMZ and the activation was away resulting in 14 contacts. A plaintive call from G4BLH needed a qsy to make the contact but that is all part of the fun! A summit to summit with GW1INK/P was the icing on the cake, I announced a move to 40m and pulled the links on the dipole but absolutely nothing resulted; this was when I realised that I had done the complete activation on 2½ watts, so my apologies if anybody had problems copying. I was inclined to hang around on the hill, it was really pleasant and the views equally so but WS-277 called so it was back to the car and a short drive to NN635910.
The obvious route in is via the track leading south beside the bridge but I have preference for circular routes so I headed a short way back up the road and took the track to Loch Glas-choire. My intention was to head for the ridge and walk this to the summit, unfortunately the landowner has had numerous deer fences erected so the route was rather forced by the need to access the gate like objects (these are made of wood and look like gates filling a gap in the fence, unfortunately they are held in place by wire and are not hinged – you have to climb them!) The ridge is gained by a very steep pull but I had to detour off the ridge to bypass a gully which splits it in two – very steep and definitely a climb not a scramble. The outcome of this was a delayed activation, not helped by stopping to enjoy the sunshine and a sandwich.
Once again it was an easy matter to erect the antenna on the summit; despite its appearance this hill has a nice open space on the top for an HF dipole. 5MHz sounded as if somebody was frying chips but a brief CQ resulted in a reply from GW4 EVX and resulted in 14 contacts – this time on 5 watts! I qsy’d to 40m (7060) and got an immediate response from G0RQL who kindly spotted me. Despite calling CQ for ages I made no contacts and gave up when an OK called CQ on top of me.
I admit to dawdling on the summit, but as the sun was rapidly descending I took the obvious route down the ridge taking numerous detours round the crags. It was easy to see the track out but even walking (through bog) on a constant heading finding the track was much more difficult. Eventually I found it and the walk back to the car was uneventful despite the two river crossing just metres from the car!
My thanks to all the chasers once again for a good activation on a great day