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