I’d been eyeing this one up for a while. It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. Various books and websites suggest an approach from the Blair Atholl side, but I really didn’t fancy (or have time for) the long drive round to the west.
Then I found Andy’s excellent report.
He must have had ione of those rare Scottish hill days where everything comes together to make an amazing day.
Anyway, that was the route for me - from Tarvie on the A924. Around 10 miles/16km with 2000’/600m ascent.
All times UTC.
I dropped Mo off at work in Ballater at 0800 and headed over Glenshee on empty roads. It was around 50 miles to the estate entrance. Parking was an issue but I squeezed the car onto a verge near the estate entrance.
Setting off at 0910h and following the road through the estate towards the big house, I found a rough track that would avoid me tramping through their front garden. I then picked up the main track again and followed this over moors, eventually leading to a day bothy. I only got lost once, when I failed to see a left fork in the track.
there is a left fork here. No, I didn’t spot it either
the tea shed
After the iron shed, the track was less distinct and I lost in in a few places. Heather, grass and some quite dry peat hags followed, surprisingly dry,
despite recent wet weather and a thaw. After climbing over and around a few bumps I finally saw Ben Vuirich, eventually reaching the summit at 1105, the hike having taken almost 2 hours.
approaching Ben Vuirich GM/CS-049
Ben Vuirich is a bit of a rounded lump, but Oh the views!! They are amazing. Wish I’d kept this one for a better day.
The wind that had been pushing me along now bacame an issue! Probably a steady 35mph/50kph, from the SE and quite chilly. Thankfully there was a summit shelter. Unfortunately the only snow on the summit was inside it!
snow seeking preservation
I was trying some new stuff. Stuff I’d meant to try in my garden…Oh well…
I’d organised my radio kit a bit better into a small case. I felt it was time I started looking after the KX2 a bit more. It has a hard life with me.
I also wanted to see how the sotabeams carbon 6 pole fared in bad weather. I rigged it using a single guy near the top and then backed this up with three guys only 1m off the ground. I’d brought an EFHW 40, 20, 15, 10m wire with me and this was strung from the top of a walking pole across the mast and down to the ground on the far side.
I sat at the northern outer side of the shelter with the KX2 on my lap, it connected to the feedpoint with a freshly crimped 5m length of RG-174.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the HF bands today as there has been a lot of solar activity. Expectations were low.
My view was entirely taken up by Beinn a’Ghlo. Like a wide-screen TV just a metre from my eyes. It reminded me of my activation of its’ three tops late last year, when band conditions were poor and I was lucky to get four or five QSO’s on each summit. As I wasn’t due on air until 1130, I grabbed some food, soaked up the ever changing view, before finally keying the mic. at exactly 1130, which felt rather planned and organised for a change.
the office window
I needn’t have worried about conditions. 40m SSB brought a raft of stations, from just up the road to Spain and Norway. All the usuals featured, plus a few new ones. Caught a few Reflector Regulars too. Thanks Chaps!
Some QSB at times, but nothing major. I then switched to 20m, thankful that I didn’t need to venture out into the wind to unlink anything. Instant pileup, subsiding quickly and another handful of stations in the log (which was VK Porta-log today).
Throughout, I used the mic. in my gloved right hand, keeping my ungloved left hand in a cosy down pocket, only removing it to enter the log in my phone.
just a cold me, and Beinn a’Ghlo
I was getting rather cold now, so resisted the temptation to try any higher bands. Dismantling the station took longer than erecting it had, the biting cold getting to me today.
I was eventually off of the summit at 1225, back at the shed an hour after that and back at the car 30 mins later. Initially I’d done a better job of keeping to the faint track on the decent, but soon lost it again. Anyway, heather bashing is always much easier on the downhill.
I got back to Ballater at 1500 and wasn’t due to collect Mo from work until 1600, which is why I’ve had time to grab a coffee, a cake and type this report on my phone for you lovely people.
Accidental Prepper - The GO Bag - YouTube
My thoughts on my new bag