I like to take the opportunity on International SOTA weekend to try to activate a rare or previously unactivated summit and CS-027 fitted the bill perfectly, I had failed to reach it two years ago when activating its neighbour An Sgarsoch so in beautiful weather this was the one to go for. It also happened to be the last summit I had to activate in the Cairngorms National Park (prior to its expansion – now I have to re-check to see which others have been included!!).
This was going to be a long day totalling some 50Km so the use of diabolical transport (a mountain bike) would be necessary for the initial access. Parking is available at the National Trust for Scotland car park at Linn of Dee (NO062898) and the track from here via White Bridge (NO018885) to the drop off point above the Geldie Burn at NN958873 is on gravel tracks. The more hardy and dedicated mountain biker could easily (!!!) go much further. I received endless amusement from several bikers using this track who planted their front wheels in bog, up to the axle, and proceeded to somersault over the handlebars. A perfect score of 10 was achieved by one athletic soul who managed a full handstand on the handlebars, somersaulted across and landed gracefully on his feet at the front (and by his companion who landed on her backside in the bog!); this is the same guy who described me as “a tough old bugger”!
The track is sometimes difficult to follow but fairly unchallenging. The descent by the mythical, non- existent, track at NN916881 means heather and bog hopping. There is a large pile of stones at the trackside and the river handrail that is your next turn point is readily visible so just work your way down to the indistinct track at the riverside. The river has washed out all evidence of the track on the bend at NN915874 so this means bog hopping over this section, keep clear of the edge the peat is severely undercut and you could easily get an unwanted bath. Once round the bend descend onto the grassy bank and you will find the track again with care. The ascent track is visible heading over a drumlin and the first peak is marked with a small cairn. Once you find this then the main ascent is tracked quite well to the hill and you can discover walkers tracks higher up which guide you to the summit.
Plenty of space up here for a wire antenna and the number of visitors is likely to be very small – I saw nobody. I set-up and started on 5MHz. First in the log was G4ZRP this was followed by GW7AAV (who spotted me) GW4CQZ, GM4COX/P (for a long natter), G0TDM and MM0ZRN. With no further takers I switched to 40m but with no way of self spotting I couldn’t get a single contact. I did try breaking the pile-up for a summit to summit with DL3SBA but without luck. I had purposely only taken the FT817 and a wire antenna to keep my pack weight as low as possible (I am not getting any younger) so 2m was out of the question, anyway it was quite windy, and cold, on the summit so I didn’t intend hanging about. Unable to generate any further contacts, but with this previously unactivated hill qualified, it was back to the bike and the ride out. I should explain that in the interests of the welfare of my dog I kept the pace on the bike relatively slow; he ran alongside of me (or more often behind me) and whenever I stopped to “give him a rest” he wasn’t even panting. 50Km on his feet, running more than half of it and he wasn’t even tired!
Perhaps I should explain why I refer to a mountain bike as “diabolical transport”. Come the Final Reckoning or Last Trump the Devil will provide Mountain Bikes for that final journey to Hell. My nether regions feel as if I have arrived, rough tracks and no suspension do not help the welfare of the backend!
Thanks to the Chasers I worked, hopefully somebody else will work the summit now and give more the chance to chase it; how about combining it with Beinn Bhreac the last unactivated summit in the area for a long day out – it will have to be somebody fitter than me though.