Close to the Edge

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.

Parking Spot - 7 miles down a minor road.

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.

The Lodge


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…

The Weathervane

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.

Nearly there…

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” 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….

  1. Paul

PS (3) I will try to add some more summits as the week goes on, but at the moment the weather isn’t encouraging!


Nice one Paul! Looks like some really nice wilderness.

Hope you can bag a further new one while out there. It just a shame we had the same hills in mind. I actually intended on doing these ones last autumn, however didn’t manage to get across as I had a lot of domestic stuff to deal with. The day I did them was the first free time I had since the begining of March. (January and February is no time to go to the Outer Hebrides.)

Now the bad news. You need to edit your post. Fraser with an ‘s’. :grin:

This. This a thousand times. To me it looks like some proper Siberian Khatru :wink:

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Great report Paul, I’m glad you got the first activation you were after.
Hopefully the weather will improve for some more summits.
I concur about Public Service Broadcasting’s album “The race for space”, did the route out to the summit remind you of "Magnificent Desolation! ?

Now there’s one that deserves a play… maybe later today. I actually met Roger Dean (who designed many Yes album covers) to discuss a project and still have his business card somewhere. Now that will bug me until I find it. I wonder it has got to… :thinking:

Anyway, well done on activating that summit Paul. I had a listen for you, but you were in the noise at this end. Frustrating as I could hear several people call and work you.

73, Gerald

Snap in 1984. He designed some artwork for computer games I was working on. He had a working lunch and he was a Vegan all those years ago. (Surprised he’s lived this long on that diet :rofl: ) No internet in those days when a big hard disk was 10Mbyte but fortunately his secretary provided a list of suitable foods. After he left on a taxi to the airport we all went to the pub downstairs and had burgers and beer!


Well done Paul (and a nice report). I’d been looking at the Outer Hebrides too. The bothy on the west coast looks nice, but you won’t need it with your mobile palace!

Paul, your wild horses look like Highland ponies. Some estates keep them. They are used to carry deer carcases down the hill.

Done FraSer! (Sorry)

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Todays activation was a short walk in the rain, parking at the bottom of the track to the mast - which amongst other things is the NATS receiver in Lewis ( I assume air traffic ). There had been quite a lot of recent digging by BT - presumably installing fibre…

Anyway as it was wet I took the FT817, which I thought I had checked, but hadn’t done this as carefully as expected, with the result the PA switching was … sub optimal… Really struggled for contacts on both 40m and 20m, not sure if it was conditions, the wrong time of day or if there is another fault somewhere. Thanks to those who chased me and in particular to 2W0LWF/P in what was The Brecon Beacons for being very patient whist we completed the QSO.

Tomorrows Plan (always dangerous having a plan as it seems to cause problems with the weather gods…) is Clisham GM/SI-012 but if the weather isn’t playing I may do something smaller.

( View from the summit, the golden beaches even look spectacular in drizzle )

  1. Paul

Listened out for you Paul, but unfortunately could not hear you.
Good luck tomorrow!
73, Robert

I was fortunate, Paul, as the propagation gods - and the weather gods - were in a good mood last May when I activated Forsnaval. I worked my first VK from there on 10w. it’s a grand wee hill.

Sadly, the weather gods took severe umbrage thereafter and we didn’t manage another activation for the rest of the week but I sincerely hope you have much better fortune on Clisham and elsewhere during your stay. 73 es gl. Mike


Thanks Paul, great report and photos.

Geoff vk3sq

Chaipaval. GM/SI-129

I stopped on the lay-by on the roar to Tarbert and even had a short wander on the footpath in the drizzle. The top of An Cliseam was shrouded in cloud and after some thought I decided that it would wait for another day, an easier walk was called for which didn’t have a wet summit to contend with. The weather was also due to be better later in the day. ( I ought to explain that on the previous summit a sudden drop in signal strength was explained not by atmospherics, but discovering on leaving my shelter a spaniel wrapped around a guy line and mast lying on the ground… I’h have probably got away with it on CW…)

The next plan was Chepeval, which as you will see from the photographs has to be one of the most stunning summits that I have ever climbed, and it is really close to the edge, the next stop being St Kilda…

It is probably a good idea not to ignore the sign explaining no car parking past this point…

Ceapabhal (The spelling seems to change - this is the version that OS use)

View on the way up

Nearly there

Summit Cairn (Just past the trig point), with St Kilda just visible in the distance.

The bands seemed a bit better today - thanks to all the chasers.

In an earlier post I wondered what could possibly go wrong, and came up with a huge list, none of which has failed. I have spare radios, batteries, antennas, maps logbooks, and I thought I had a backup of almost everything… but somehow I neglected to bring a spare left ankle, so I’m rather hoping that a quiet rest day puts things right. Probably a good job the motorhome is automatic… so apologies for the no show on 145 alive, I think I need to find some deep heat instead.


One is the Anglicised version and one is Gaelic. There is no soft “ch” in Scots place namesc, it’s always hard so “ch” is said like the “ch” in loch ( lock ) not “sh” as in Chardonnay . In Gaelic “bh” is like an English “v” as in victory .

Chepeval and Ceapabhal thus are pronounced the same… kepaval.

See you just say them as they are written :slight_smile:

Nice photos.


Hi Paul

What a great adventure you are having. I am reading it all again with Runrig playing Edge of the World in the background.

Nick G4OOE


Superb Paul! I seem to remember that is a rather steep wee climb. Mo and I did it in a heatwave, pre-SOTA, and it was a little too hazy to see St.Kilda. There’s a nice cafe at the bottom too!

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Greabhal. GM/SI-165

Had a quiet day yesterday, and today my ankle seemed much improved and despite the weather forecast being rain I decided to give the hill a go. I followed the same route that Rod and Vicky described and it is a very steep start. The gradient improved a bit further on, but as the hill was in the mist it was harder to judge.

Ceapabhal in the mist, van tucked in near the sheep fold.

I didn’t put the shelter up at the top as it wasn’t raining, but shortly after Nick (G4OOE) called me the rain started so I’m afraid it was a rather short activation - and rather surprisingly a complete for me!

Thanks again to all the chasers, in particular those who cope so well with the canine QRM. As I type this Woody is sitting quietly at my feet… perhaps I should take a laptop to the summit ?

  1. Paul

PS Fraser - The coffee shop was closed - winter opening hours!


Well done activating these summits Paul. It seems I’m not the only one with personal bad weather, but it is what it is. Seems that you enjoyed the walks despite tge dampness. I’m not sure whether I’ll ever get to the Outer Hebrides. Getting back to Mull is proving hard enough. :grinning:

Beinn Mhor ( N Uist ) GM/SI-207

A shorter walk today following a fairly early start for the ferry from Harris to N Uist. I’m glad I don’t have to navigate that leg, there are so many reefs and shallows that the ferry zig zags over the entire route.

Beinn Mhor is in the N of Uist and is a fairly easy walk, but is still over heathery, bouldery terrain, and although the ankle no longer requires paracetamol it isn’t totally recovered.

(Beinn Mhor is the hill to the right)

Despite a squall appearing on the horizon, it remained dry and windy on the summit. The shelter added significantly to the noise - apologies…

(Looking North to Harris - Capabhal and Greabhal activated last week)

Looking West across the Atlantic. Once again many thanks to all the chasers who were out in force today!

Finally can I apologise for some difficulties when logging QSO’s. Most of you may well have heard Woody attempting to join the QSO, Jet has a different approach to getting in the log…

Will probably try another shortish one tomorrow - I think the dogs are getting tired …

PS. I came across the local repeater - literally GB3EI is signposted and attached to a holiday let nearby…

  1. Paul