Broughton Heights, Windy Standard and Penvalla

#Broughton Heights GM/SS-128

Started out nice and went downhill. Park at Broughton Place, follow the track to the col. Follow the fence to the trig point. With hard frozen ground and frozen snow it was easy. Sadly by the time I got to the summit it was blowing a gale and the mist came down. By the time I left the temp had risen and it was a bogfest of mud and sloppy snow coming back. And windier. I think the descent was harder.

At the summit the wind was too cold to stay at the fence so I dropped down to find about 60cms of snow. I had to shovel a lot away to make somewhere to setup out of the wind. I was hoping to stay long enough to work US winter S2S stations but it was too cold and after 90mins of activity I packed up and quit. However, having done some exercise I blew the benefit by having a Bacon Roll and Pot of Tea at the Laurel Bank Tea Room in Broughton.

View of Black Mount SS-158 with the mist swirling about in the valley.

Broad Law SS-029, the biggest hill in these parts.

#Windy Standard GM/SS-071

I don’t know why this is so infrequently activated but it is. I parked at the Afton Reservoir treatment works car park. Plenty of space but on a weekend this does fill up as I found when I got back. No cars when I arrived, over 10 when I came to leave. From the car park I followed the road to the dam and so as the trees cleared I went up over the rough ground to the top track, NS627052 to say NS620051. It was a misty day and again very windy but I was hoping the mist would clear when I got to the top. Follow the track till just before it enters the trees again and turn left and follow the fence all the way to the AZ. The ground was wet and soft but not terrible. Don’t do it if you don’t have waterproof boots though! As I got the near the turbines the wind got worse and the noise got louder. These are 1996 vintage turbines so are small by today’s standard but very noisy.

At the summit I was in thick mist and the wind was howling. I set up by the fence and 2 turbines at NS621012. I tried to rig a wind break out of my survival bag on the fence and it did help massively. I stayed on the air as long as I could until I couldn’t bear the cold or the howling wind noise from the turbines any longer. Return was back down following the fence to NS628029 the straight down to the trees by the reservoir. The woods are quite sparse in places so I squeezed through the trees and picked up the track at NS634034 and followed that back to the car park. Despite the wind and murky sky, the walk at water level was really good.

The main ridge and majority of turbines.

View to the summit… it’s in the mist somewhere.

Nearly back at the car park, still misty. This is the overflow from the Afton Water reservoir which was full.

#Penvalla GM/SS-145

Another very windy activation. The forecast was for it to be sunny with the odd shower but windy. Wow was it windy. Again I couldn’t be bothered driving for 2hrs to pickup a unique on a not brilliant day so I plumped for Penvalla as it’s 2 years since I was here last. The first time I did this I thought I’d trekked around the world, er it’s 9.5km, a mere stroll. I parked in Stobo and followed the track which runs to the base of the hill. If you follow it further it eventually meets up with the track from Broughton Place at the col for Broughton Heights.

Again very windy and there was a heavy shower on the walk in, I simply stood in the trees to avoid the rain. Then it’s a trudge up the hill and again there was a heavy shower. Goretex on this time and I cowered down to keep out of the heavy droplets driven by the wind. Hiding from the 3 showers on route added 30mins to the walk in time. At the summit the windy was a joke. I had to go a long way down to get some shelter and still I though the mast would break. It didn’t. This Shakespeare pole is just brilliant even after 350+ activations it’s going strong.

I could hardly hear the sidetone on the 817 above the wind and there were plenty of showers that caused a temporary halt to the activation. I also had my 1st static rain shower. In one big shower the S meter showed S9++++ and there was a howl from the speaker. I unplugged whilst it passed and the earthed the centre of the BNC to ground for a few seconds through my pencil before reconnecting. After about an hour it was so windy and I was again cold. I’d had enough buffeting so I packed up and walked back. It was quite sunny in between the showers and the photo shows Penvalla looking might fine on what could be a nice Spring day. You cannot tell just how windy it was though.

Looking back at Penvalla on the descent.

The walking for all these is easy, but the wind and cold made it 15 hard earned points.