Beinn Moor - The Pairc SE Lewis GM/SI-049
Following from Fraser’s excellent write up of the Uig Hills ( Sota at the edge ) it seemed an appropriate title, with the added benefit of being able to listen again to an interesting album…
This walk has been rather long in the planning, as one of my aims was to manage a first activation. The best advice might have been to start in 2004 when there was a lot of choice, but in 2023 there really isn’t many hills left, a handful of of 1 pointers in fairly inaccessible parts of the Scottish Mainland or a few on the Hebrides, in Lewis. Many hours of Googling later and reading obscure posts on the sub 2000 sites I had narrowed down my choice of hills. Little did I know that in the Bothy Fraser was probably doing exactly the same homework and had also identified the hills near Uig where there was some 2 pointers which sounded manageable. He dropped me a message, and two weeks ago I managed the conciliation prize of being first in the log for two of the summits which he activated. This left some summits on The Pairc in SE Lewis which isn’t awfully accessible, which may well explain why no one has got there first, although due to the state of my legs Muaitheabhal (GM/SI-102) remains unactivated and would be broadly similar to Beinn Moor .
The forecast for Wednesday was good, so the trip was on….
( OS Licence … 2023)
The old SMC guide seems to suggest mooring your Yacht at the head of the loch where some good moorings are to be found, unfortunately that is slightly beyond my means so I started at Eishken which is a shooting estate, the lodge of which can be booked for about the price of a kidney. There is ample Parking about a further half mile up the road in an area that has been used as a tip for hardcore.
The walk through the less wild part of the estate was quiet, but finding what appeared to be wild horses was a surprise, there dogs were less impressed and were well behaved when walking past.
After that the path became somewhat less distinct eventually crossing a small gorge via a bridge. Yes it stayed up - so I suppose it has been strength tested to about 14 stone….
On the other side of the bridge there is a network of well maintained stalkers paths that cover another couple of miles before finishing at the remains of a weathervane. I don’t mean finishing as in petering out - these paths just stop in the middle of nowhere.
The well maintained path no nowhere…
After that I did my best to convince myself this was no worse than a longer version of Burnhope Seat (G/NP-003), but considering it was just 400m of ascent over about 4km it felt longer. The ground was a mixture of bog and stones, and a bit like some puddings with a slick top layer prone to sliding away unexpectedly.
My original plan was for a circular route, adding in an activation of Muaitheabhal but during the activation I decided that returning via the same route was a sensible choice, particularly as I was unsure of the state of the footbridge, and given the remoteness of the location I wanted a huge safety margin.
There was a substantial cairn at the summit, so I quickly jammed the mast in and put up the linked dipole, working several stations on both 40m and 20m including a couple of S2S It seemed that conditions were not brilliant, but I did work another G station on 20, so there was a tiny bit of short skip.
The Summit… ( Woody joined in several QSO’s and Jet did his best to help with the logging… )
The descent was broadly similar and by the time reached the van my watch informed me that I had completed some “Intense” exercise. I nearly forgot to mention that a Golden Eagle flew over me on the way down the hill, but I didn’t get the camera out in time…
There was a chance to try out the outside shower on the van, and two dogs were hauled under the shower to remove the worst of the mud. ( It is quite posh - the water is heated… )
So a successful first activation, and this mornings rain is a good opportunity to get the log uploaded, write this drivel and get everything charged up….
PS (1). Being new to motorhoming I’m discovering that being obsessed with battery voltages isn’t just a SOTA thing, and as I’m not plugged in I’m watching the watts!
PS (2). I have listed again to Close to the Edge by Yes, and still really like “And you and I”, although the album cover isn’t quite as magical as some of the later ones…. … and to go completely off topic I recently discovered the band “Public Service Broadcasting”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXZ7AKDfDwk which manages to combine music with an audio track of the landing of Apollo on the moon. I wonder if it could be modified to a pre SOTA checklist … Batteries are Go, Antennas are Go, Navigation is Go….or perhaps I just need to increase the medication….
PS (3) I will try to add some more summits as the week goes on, but at the moment the weather isn’t encouraging!