With low cloud forecast for most of the morning, I decided to stay low and headed North to Ben Aigan, where the forecast for the afternoon was much better. This is an easy 1 pointer next to the small town of Rothes in Moray. The starting point for the walk up is in a forestry car park just off the A95 - Ben Aigan car park, which is a destination in Google maps so navigation is a doddle. There is space for about 15 cars in amongst the trees. The excellent forestry track leading up has a walk-around gated start visible from the parking area. Follow this past the first junction with another track and then take a fire break between the trees - this at the start looks a bit like a downhill bike track but soon widens out. There was one fallen tree to hop over.
Route up from satellite
At the top of the fire break, turn left onto the broad forestry track and then stay immediately left taking the older track where the newer track (not on satellite image) diverges. As the old track comes out of the trees, take the track to the right that goes uphill. This winds its way right to the summit.
Summit trig point with the Moray Firth in the background.
There is no shelter at the top but it was not needed, with just a slight breeze and sun breaking through the clouds - a shirt sleeves day. I had one visitor all day - a local chap who came over for a chat and then brewed himself a cup of tea by the trig point.
Gear: 857d, Sotabeams linked dipole 40/20, wire delta loops for 17/15/12/10m, 2 Dx Commander 7m fibreglass poles.
40m was quiet and in reasonable shape to G-land and EU and produced 19 QSOs including 2 S2S.
20m was similar to EU, with some good 59/59 exchanges - no short skip though, so I couldn’t hear any of the G or GW summits that were QRV. 3 more EU S2S logged plus a bit of a surprise when Chris KQ2RP/1 called in from Maine - he was running a KX3.
17m was quiet but a spot brought 5 EU chasers, with Eric F5JKK very strong.
I briefly dropped down to 20m for a S2S with OE6ADE/P and then tuned back to 17m where I found HS0ZNR calling CQ with a 59 signal. I got lucky as nobody else called him and we had a short QSO - he managed to hear me through his local S6-7 noise. Brad was located up north, near the Laos-Cambodia border. A few minutes later and he was under a huge pile-up.
After that success I put out another spot and was called by JR7AQL, Nob in Morioka, who was furthest DX for the day. 8 more QSOs followed, 7 EU and TA2BU.
I couldn’t hear any signals on 15m but I put out a spot anyway and was rewarded with 4 EU chasers including a S2S with OM/SQ9MDF/P.
10m wasn’t open and all I could hear on 12m was FT8, so I put out a last spot on 17m and raised Alexander S57S who was last in the log at 1355 utc. I would have stayed QRV longer but I had to get ready for a family video call.
61 QSOs for the day including 7 S2S. All good fun as usual - thanks everyone.
Looking down on Rothes - the large facility on the right is a CHP station which burns wood and bio-waste from the Speyside distilleries.
Nearby Comms mast
Ben Rinnes, GM/ES-021