Hmmm… more FT817 shenanigans, more on that later. I’ve not been out for a few weekends, WX, VHF field day, looking after the time-share hound. I’ve accrued lots of vacation and as the WX is spectacular, time for some SOTA. But the WX is too spectacular, temperatures up around 28C are being reported for the Scotland North of Glasgow Edinburgh with wall to wall sun in the West and morning mist and afternoon wall to wall sun in the East. It was misty this morning till 1000Z then the sun appeared at 1200Z and now it’s “Scorchio”. It was the same yesterday. I was going West but it looked to be too hot for a long walk. So I revisited and old pair I last did in Dec 2007, 13 1/2 years ago.
Meall nan Caorach (sounds like coo-rack) and Meal Reamhar (sound like ree-far with a soft f) are located 20km NW of Perth in a nice glacial glen that runs parallel to 'Sma Glen and Glen Shee (the one near Perth!) The summits are 1km apart so the descent and re-ascent is “noticeable” The access is easy as there is a splended track that runs the whole length of the glen. If the WX was not so splendid I’d have done the longer Southern approach but as it was hot I repeated the shorter route from the North.
I parked in the wide access track for Girron Farm on the main road about 1/2 mile South of the village of Amulree. Last time I parked in the village but even on Dec21st there was lots of traffic on the road making walking hazardous. There is plenty of space to park and not restrict the access for large farm vehicles. This time the car said 17C when I pulled up and the hill tops where in thick mist and it was very overcast, last time it was wall to wall sun but -11C. I was glad of the mist, it would keep the temperature down for some of the ascent. But a 28C change in temp is quite something for Scotland
Boots on, I’d already added 2x 2L water bottles to the car and added an extra 1L of water to my bag making 2L carried. There are a few streams but with the heat and long dry spell I could not rely on them. Just a simple HF activation plan hence 60/40/30 and 30/20/17 dipoles and a 2m J-pole. I applied lots and lots of sun creme, the thick white stuff that is all Titanium Dioxide (really cheap factor 30 from the supermarket), I’ve been using this for Summer walks for years, it works for me and doesn’t remove itself with all the sweat and annoys midges as well. I locked the car and was off. The path leads to Girron Farm which doesn’t look abandoned but was devoid of life. The path goes round the back of the farm and meets an overground looking path that leads all the way to Logiealmond the other side of the hills. It also goes past the foot of both targets.
The view from Girron Farm to the targets. This was taken on the return as you couldn’t see more than 200m up the glen because of the mist when I was setting off. Mean nan Caorach on the left, Meall Reamhar on the right of the valley. There was a glacier here 10000 years ago
From here I followed the track watching the mist come and go. It’s an easy climb although I was feeling the heat and humidity so I struck a positive but laid back rate. Well I had all day to do these and loads of daylight. . When I got level with the col between Meal nan Caorach and Carn Ghorm I struck up to the col. It’s about 150m ascent in 600m or 1:4 slope so I made it easier by taking a more diagonal approach to the summit. Despite the heat and long wet grass from the mist, it was not that much of a challenge and soon on the ridge. From there it was much easier and I followed a newer fence to the trig at the top. Of course, we must not leave litter when we’re out, someone should tell the landowner, there were extensive trip hazards of old fence wire and posts to keep a very sweaty FMF on his toes!
The computer said 1h19m to the top and it took me 1h25 and I was happy with that. It was weird to be in thick mist and not cold. Then it lifted and the scenery was brilliant, then it came back. It did that for most of my time on the summit and was always misty to the South. Only once I was half way to Meal Reamhar did it clear up.
After a measured drink and a firtle with my clothes due to the sweaty nature I set up with the 60/40/30 dipole, I had alerted for 30/20/17 but forgot. Now I’m in the process of changing mobile provider after 13 years with Three. The simple reason is Three wont provision VoLTE on my phone as I didn’t buy it from them. Discussions with people closer involved in UK networks persuaded me to try EE. A PAYG SIM in my phone unlocked all the 4G featues Three say “is not possible with that model of phone” such VoLTE and Wifi calling. But that isn’t what impressed me, no it was the signal strength. The last time I used EE was in August 2019 up near Ben Loyal, it was better than the Three but not much. But I had the EE SIM in an old 4G phone and now my Three SIM is in the old phone so I can receive calls to my longtime number and the EE is a much newer phone. All I can say is WOW!
I was calling CQ on 60m and trying to type in a spot but immediately worked John GW4TQE/P for an S2S. We had a quick natter and John QSY’d. I got my spot out and worked 3 more stations then called in CW and had GM3XOQ come back in SSB. We had a good old natter and I eventually left him the frequency. His audio sounded lovely and I wasn’t surprised to hear him say he was using a TS-590… they always sound nice to me. After that 40m CW then 30m then 20m CW. I didn’t mean to miss out SSB, I simply forgot I’d not done it.
The mist came and went but there were some damn fine views. First looking West at Ben Chonzie GM/SS-015 and Auchnafree Hill GM/SS-039. Ben Chonzie still has the low clouds sticking to it.
Looking North. The white building, middle distance left is Girron Farm passed on the way in. Near distance right is Carn Ghorm and the ascent was up to the col between this hill and the summit. In the far distance on the left is the lovely Schiehallion GM/CS-005. The pointy hill on the right is Farragon Hill GM/CS081
Look at the next target Meall Reamhar GM/SS-105. The route was straight down by the fence and as straight as possible up the other side. Still very misty that way.
Finally the 30/30/17 setup. Compact and strong poles like this are unobtanium at present so I am treaty mine with great tenderness. It’s going to be Feb 2022 before this type will be back in stock The sky is much clearer this side of the glen.