Culter Fell GM/SS-049

The WX forecast was bound to be rubbish during the Christmas Break… I couldn’t get time off before when there was great weather once you climbed out of the gloom. No it’s been quite wet. But the forecast for the 30th showed it would brighten up mid morning. Into the car with all the gear and off I set.

I thought I’d done this summit more times but not so. Anyway it’s 10.5 years since I’d been up the normal tourist route so off to Culter Water and the lovely glen. There’s parking for about 10 cars, 7-8 near Culter Allers Farm and 2-3 more just before the sign saying end of public road. It was well busy when I arrived but I got a space near the end of the road sign. Now it was meant to be brightening up by now but the rain was pishing down and the cloud base was about 50m above the car park. Bah! I sat in the car thinking I’d give it 30mins and if it wasn’t dry then I’d go home. As it was, it was brighter after 15mins. I saw 2 more cars arrive and squeeze in. The occupants were walking past as I decided to get out and boot up. Talking to them about the weather one guy said “You! I know you”. “Well I didn’t know she was your wife!” I replied. It turned out to be someone I worked with when I moved to Scotland and hadn’t seen for 20 years. We had a 10min chat and then he raced off to catch up his friends and I put my boots on.

I did the classic route, along the road from Culter Allers Farm, left up the track at NT031305 and then second grassy path on the right. It used to be a terrible bog here but it looks like work has been done to improve things. This is the route to Grouse butts so not surprising really. After that it’s up, up, and up as you climb Fell Shin. There is an easy path, it wasn’t too bad considering the rain. It’s a good thigh warmer, about 200m ascent in 1km. After that the slope evens out and you can see the next steep section. Then it’s a gentle, almost flat walk to the trig.

At the top of Fell Shin. The WX was brightening up nicely, The Pentlands in distance.

Looking at Tinto Hill GM/SS-064. It’s 721m and Culter Fell is 748m so I expect some mist at the top.

Looking across the 1st flatish section, a wee climb remaining then another flat section to the trig. The flat sections were wet but not horrible, nothing where your boot sinks to your ankle!

At the top of the next section the mist came down and the wind became obvious. Still it was warm even in the wind.

I set up at the trig using the fence to support the pole. After aborting 20m last time out, I started on 20m CW with the antenna aimed to the NE-SW. 20m was lively. No stunning DX but non-stop callers for 40mins. I was so very pleased to get chased by Guru EA2IF. A nice change was to have an LY chaser, not too many of them. Conditions were good, most QSOs were 599 both ways. However, I was so engrossed in the radio I didn’t notice the wind go from strong to very, very strong. I was in the mist but didn’t feel damp though sat under the antenna, the water was dripping on to me. 20m went quiet after 25 QSOs from SP, HN9, DL, SM, OK, EA, S5, OE, LY, I & CT. I jumped up and was nearly blown over and flipped the links for 17m and went on to work 4 more quick on CW as the WX got worse. F, SP & I were worked. I was getting worried as I hadn’t been chased by Eric F5JKK but he was the 1st one on 17m.

OK, qualified on 17m so I packed after 5 CQs with no reply. It was really manic in the wind. I nipped over the wire fence to coil up the antenna and caught my boot on the loose wire in the top of the fence. As I fell I tried to stay up and, don’t ask how, manage to get my leg caught between the top and next lines of fence wire with top wire under my leg and the middle wire on top. As I fell to the ground the wires tightened and hurt. Hurt a lot :frowning: I looked and expected the wires to act like a cheese-wire and neatly severe my lower leg. They didn’t but with a lot of swearing I was able to stand and relieve the tension and extricate myself. That was exceptionally scary. The rest of the pack up was done carefully. I had been wearing my Hagloffs Belay Jacket which is normally too hot to walk in but I wanted to be down to lower levels so kept it on.

MM0FMF/P at the trig point, Culter Fell GM/SS-049. Hmm… signs of Christmas belly in that photo: time for some serious dieting now.

Walk out was the reverse. I didn’t remember there being so much flatish walking on the route but it’s not difficult, the path is quite obvious even in the dreich. 1hr20mins to the summit and just over an hour back to the car. I met a group coming up at the top of Fell Shin. Parents and children (aged 10 or so) with decent footwear but no map, no compass, no proper GPS, just a phone app and they were about to walk in to a half-gale in thick mist. Lunacy in my opinion.

Back at the car the wind was nothing but the clouds were descending and it was a bit drizzly. Gear off and back home to continue the Christmas feasting with dieting ideas postponed for a few more days.

The next day I found my leg felt like it does when you have had a cramp, sharp pains when extending the calf muscle and there is a big bruise where it was trapped in the wires. This not something I want to repeat again as watching the wires close around my leg was more scary than the time I drove my Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 Coupe into a lamp post at 30mph having skidded on black ice. Complete lack of control and the realisation that the only thing that was going to stop me was hitting the lamp post and the big stone wall. That wrote off the post and the car and nearly me. If I hadn’t leant sideways into the passenger seat at the last minute the post would have hit me on the head as it lowered the roof above the driver by a good 6 inches. It left a live mains cable jumping about in the road and as it was posh area, set off all the burglar alarms for several blocks. Oh was I favourite of the month with the police! :slight_smile:

Anyway, 7pts, a load of calories used and Guru chased me which made it much, much more worthwhile.


Hi Andy,

Many thanks for interesting report.
I hope those wires on the summit have not been energized …

Tnx QSO :wink:

73, Jarek

I quite liked Culter Fell. Paul and I activated Gathersnow afterwards and gathered some serious snow! It was a whiteout on the descent to the valley, but cleared as we neared the water… then the long trudge back.

What’s all this about Christmas belly?.. dereliction of duty I call it. I managed to limit it to 2.3kg and took most of that off during last week. Nothing added over New Year, so I’m now raring to go! :grin:

Hi Andy

Thanks for a great report. I was wondering if Culter Fell is pronounced as Cooter Fell like Peterculter and Maryculter in Aberdeenshire but strangely Cults is not pronounced as Coots. I know it is a bit off topic but I am interested in this sort of thing.

73 & Happy New Year

Mrs. FMF’s cooking has been sublime this year. It’s always good but this Christmas it was all so good. We brought in the New Year with her home made Clementine Vodka (we buy Vodka and add the clementines etc.) You drink 2 parts Clementine Vodka to 3 parts Prosecco. It has the effect of neutralising signals from your brain to your legs after only 2 glasses. Well that works out in the flute glasses we were using as 8 units of alcohol in 2 drinks. Explains a lot.

Yes it is. The river is Culter Water, the hill is Culter Fell, the top of the river is Culter Waterhead and all pronounced Cooter. Yet the reservoir at the top of the valley is Coulter Water and the village at the bottom is Coulter. I’ve only heard people say “Cool-ter” for the village. Maybe they were just twisting the melons of an ex-pat Sassenach? :slight_smile:


Thanks Andy. We have many anomalies down here in England too. One spelling difference is the town of Guisborough that is close to G/TW-003 Gisborough Moor and we have the hamlet of Chop Gate pronounced as Chop Yat near G/TW-001 Urra Moor - Round Hill and G/TW-002 Cringle Moor. One of the funniest mispronunciations that I heard was someone pronouncing Loughborough as Loogabarooga!

Probably the same American guy who I heard some years ago calling Knaresborough Narrisbaroo!

Happy New Year Nick!

Hi andy,

Was late on your summit activation and :crazy_face: :+1: find you on 17m with nice signal, we have to count with this nice SFI !

73 Éric

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Hi Andy, great activation report and photos. Well done. :+1:

HNY to you and cheers to you :partying_face: :beers: :beers:

Geoff vk3sq

We had a bunch of our American colleagues over here some years ago … they insisted on Worcestershire = “Wer-sester-shy-er” as in sauce. We retaliated by taking them to a cricket match at New Road.



Well to be fair, it’s hard enough knowing how to pronounce some names even when you live in the country. Who would have thought Cholmondeley is pronounced Chumley? Anyway there was a boy in my school with the surname Bottomley that everyone called Bumley! He didn’t like it.

So back to that Alfa which I wrote off. Intriguing story to that car. It was my company car (aged 22!) and was not terribly fast in today’s world (0-100kph in 10.1secs) but in 1983/84 it was a fast car and more so it had much more handling than power so you could really get a move on when you wanted to. There were no speed cameras in those days and so much less traffic so you could do what young men in sporty cars do, drive like an idiot which I did. It was easy to find quiet motorways and sit at 110-115mph for extended periods. Can’t do that now, too much traffic and being 40 years older, it just doesn’t seem like a sensible idea unlike when you are just past the spotty stage.

Given how it was driven, you’d be right in thinking I would do something daft and write it off when at speed. Except I was chugging home from work on January evening when I hit an extended run of black ice. It was a RWD car and the back started to step out so I lifted off and steered into the skid which had no effect. So I did a 360 spin and continued sliding at 30mph. And then another 360. Then I was on the wrong side of the road and could see a car reversing out of its driveway. “Oh, don’t hit that” I thought and tried to hit the lamppost on the passenger side but failed and hit it straight in front of me. The post snapped off just below the bumper, drove a 12in post shaped impression into the bonnet, fell over the car, made a 6in deep V groove in the roof, fell on the tailgate which folded up around the post like butterfly wings. I emerged to see the mains cable from the lamp jumping about and arcing and hearing all the burglar alarms.

4 police cars attended. 2 of which skidded on the ice gently bumping into each other and several policemen fell on the icy road. As such it was hard for them to suggest I’d be driving too fast etc. That was the end to a great car. Unlike most 4 year old Alfas of the time, there was no rust anywhere as I had Waxyoyl it when I got it.

This could have been mine! I miss it to this day even though it’s 38 years since I drove it.

I lived in S. Liverpool at the time. 2 years later living on The Wirral across the River Mersey, I was driving away when my car was sat in the next door neighbour but one’s drive. I pulled in and yes, it was my Alfa, HGH 729T. It still had a Apple Computer sticker in the rear window I had put in. I spoke to the guy who lived there. He said his son had bought it and wanted to do some work on it so it was in my neighbour’s double garage. He wasn’t happy when I said I had written it off. Turns out it was rebuilt by some dodgy car dealers and whilst it looked fine there was no knowing how straight or well repaired it was. Especially as the words “insurance write off” were never mentioned. His son extracted a significant rebate from the dealer for not telling the truth about it. It sat in the garage about 50m from my house for the next 10 years till it was finished and driven off into the sunset.

I don’t know about you but what are the chances that you crash and write off a car, move 20 miles away and your next door neighbour but one ends up with the same car in his garage 2 years later. Made more unlikely in that his son lived in Chester, a good 15 miles away again and it was only there because his son didn’t have the space that it came to be near me.

It’s still around now but SORNed. Last sold in 2012 and someone is obviously keeping with a view to putting it back on the road. I’m sure that it is only still in existence (few 43 year old Alfas on UK roads) because I spent so many weekends injecting Waxyoyl into it.