Close to the Edge

Good to get you in the log today at last, Paul, and to have Woody also sending best regards during your QSOs. If he could learn to bark in CW, it would open up a whole new dimension for SOTA. A “GK9” prefix callsign, perhaps…:joy: 73 Mike


Beinn Sgntheann GM/SI-209

Another short day and a different island - Eirisgeigh and the most activated summit in the Outer Hebridies. ( It is interesting that as you zoom into the OS map as the scale changes so does the language, I think they are still changing things from the English version.

This was a short and sharp walk and was both dry and out of this mist. ( This is my excuse for not doing Beinn Mhor on S Uist - it was hiding in the cloud…

From the summit looking South

North showing the causeway

Thanks again to the chasers, one more day on Uist, it might be N Lee and S Lee tomorrow depending how the legs feel…

  1. Paul

Mariehabal GM/SI-186

Weather not so good today so went for another relatively easy walk, and I had to do some present shopping before my return…

Looking at the map Mariehabal seemed like a nice easy stroll, even in the drizzle so I aimed directly for the end of the wood, and after about 10 minutes had moved about 50m through what appeared to be heather floating on the top of a swamp. I didn’t recall anyone else finding it that difficult so I stopped almost immediately spotting the obvious vehicle track about 50m away. After my initial failings this was actually the easiest hill of the trip, there are feint quad bike tracks up to the summit which avoid the worst of the bog, and the heather is very short.

The initially not so obvious track…

On the summits the trig points are all remarkably intact complete with cover caps.

I made a better effort with the shelter today - and as I didn’t expect any visitors I anchored the tarp to the trig point.

I’m not entirely sure why the side effect of putting up a shelter seems to silence Woody, and he just settles inside the tarp…mostly…

Our Other dog Jet is much quieter but needs attention. ( We are the 7th owners so I think he needs to know he is staying ) and he settled down next to me whist I completed the log.

Some of you reading this drivel will probably be wondering when it will ever end, well the Long Isle bit ends at 6-30 tomorrow morning, a couple of days on Skye and then a long drive home.

Thoughts - at 60 I have noticed the odd muscular niggle taking longer to clear up so I haven’t managed as many hills as I hoped. With hindsight I’m really pleased with my “First Activation” badge, but I’m quite happy for there to be a few left for others. The ones in SE Lewis are really remote and demanding. If doing it again I’d probably stay in Harris for longer, there were several summits which would have been relatively easy and the views are stunning. Another observation is how similar much of the wildlife is to the North Pennines - for a while we lives at 1400 ft ASL and both the ground underfoot and the birds seemed remarkably similar. And finally on the Uists I have not got used to driving through what appears to be a desolate empty landscape for a coop to appear in the middle of nowhere. Not only is it unexpected but once inside they are laid out in exactly the same way as the ones in Teesdale with almost exactly the same foods at the same prices…

Tomorrow - hopefully Meall na SuiramachGM/SI-058 on Skye…

PS For Nick this has been written to Runrig - The Last Dance. Most bands farewell concerts seem a bit weak, but this sounds excellent!

Thanks again to all the chasers


After a few busy days without any chance of getting into the shack, it’s been a real pleasure catching up with your reports Paul. I can certainly appreciate the pleasure of activating these island summits and I’m sure you will return for more given the opportunity.

The “First Activation” badge is certainly something special and is becoming increasingly difficult to attain in Scotland, so well done on that. :grinning:

73, Gerald


“So long and thanks for all the pot holes?”

Meall na Suiramach. GM/SI-058
Bioda Buidhe GM/SI-081

Well the journey away from the edge (Uist) started very early with a dog walk at 4-30 AM (A time that really ought to exist once in a day) and involved a quick dog walk and a drive to the ferry terminal. They are having a new car park and there was lots of tarmac and no markings, so I parked - sensibly. A short time later I was moved, and told that I was in the standby queue. As the booking was made months ago I was a bit confused but it is another ferry problem, the boat that they are supposed to have has gone for its MOT rather late as the one I was sailing on ( The Clansman ) apparently needed a bit of welding to pass its MOT…. All was well in the end, but I have never been in a ferry so tightly packed, it was almost impossible to even walk between the vehicles.

My plan for Skye was to activate the couple of summits near the A’ Chuith-Raing ( Quiraing ), and it all started really well with an empty car park. Both activations went well, and with such good weather no shelter was needed so Woody was in full voice…

By the time I returned I was somewhat frustrated to discover that the empty car park was now full, and that someone had conveniently parked about 30cm behind me, and someone else about 30cm in front…. I general I was very impressed with the standard of driving and courtesy to an old fart driving in a large van on the Outer Hebrides , unfortunately this does not seem to extend to Skye, the highlight being the **** who thought it was a clever idea to ignore the 20MPH limit at 3PM as the school was closing in Portree, and overtake me at about 40 MPH…(and yes one of my ex-pupils did get knocked over by a car)… (rant over). Skye does not really feel very remote and (prepare to be shot down) seems to share some of the less positive aspects of tourists like bits of Cornwall … There is no doubt that the mountains are stunning, but it just feels a bit over commercialised.

Sithean Bhealaich Chumhaing GM/SI-115

My last island day was a complete for me (up to 68!) and was a good walk out of Portree, which again was really nice at 9AM, and somewhat less so by 3PM…

The summit is best pronounced as 115 - unless someone can enlighten me!

The walk had a path, and the drop to the sea down the cliff was stunning, but to be honest I didn’t fancy getting particularly close when attached to a couple of Spaniels who would probably follow a rabbit off a cliff edge…. There was a fence to climb which presented me with a problem not unlike crossing a river in a small boat with a chicken and a dog when there isn’t space. Two dogs which would need lifting over individually, one long lead and one short joined lead and one me who is definitely not capable of simultaneously lifting two dogs over a 4ft fence….

Dog and Fence Problem

Dog and dipole problem

Thanks again to the chasers, and apologies for not hanging around on the summit, it was a nice day but I wanted to start the long journey home.

And the title… Skye seems to have more pot holes - well more like caverns in the road than anywhere else!

  1. Paul


Hi Paul

Thank you for the report and photos. Unfortunately I was unable to chase you on these three but your report brings back fond memories of when I activated them a few years ago. Good luck with your visit and activations on Skye…enjoy.

73 Allan GW4VPX

Good to get up ITL Paul, and it looks like you were enjoying better views and WX, than I was having on Pen y Fan during our QSO :grin:

It’s not. The bridge saw to that. We tend to only visit in winter these days, although Mo and I had an incredible few days one May walking the Skye trail from north to south. The only crowds we saw were at The Storr, which is suffering from terrible erosion due to heavy foot traffic.

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