It’s good to still be allowed out! I’m picking hills that I hope will be relatively quiet. Also, being professionally cheap, I don’t have a printer because there’s a brilliant A3 colour laser at work that is free to use. So when it comes to maps, print at work, use at the weekend, save in the map files for next time. Except there is no visiting the office at present This means I’m revisiting hills were I already have a map. It also means I’m looking at buying a cheap colour laser for home.
It’s 13 years since I last did Ettrick Pen. I remembered it as being a bit steep. I was 9months in to SOTA then and very unfit and fat. I’m less fat now but less fit due to being stuck inside a lot of this year. I’m also not in my mid-40s any more. Still the ascent was easier than expected.
I parked at the Potburn turning circle at the end of the public road in Ettrick Valley. Room for 8 well parked cars. Down the Southern Upland Way past the old abandoned farmhouse at Potburn which is being restored. Down to Over Pawthorpe Bothy which looked busy. Then off the Southern Upland way and up the track towards Ettrick Pen. There’s a finger board if you can’t spot the biggest hill in the area.
First good view of Ettrick Pen, the stripes are recently planted Spruce trees. Zillions of them. The modern planting stile too, dig a 500mmx500mmx500mm cube out of the ground, dump that by the hole, plant sapling in the pile. This allows the roots to drain. It also leaves loads of holes in the ground, climbing this in snow will be unpleasant. Lots of saplings, this could make this approach much harder in 5-8 years.
Go up (young) man. Basically go straight up. One past the saplings I found a track that wanders right to the summit. Easy. Computer said 1hr40 and I took 1hr25, pleased with that.
Up at the top I used the fence to support the antenna and did 30-40-60-20 in that order. Moderately decent signals. EA CW contest on 40 CW was a pain… just so many stations active. Noticed the power cable to the 817 felt wrong plugging in. Imminent failure coming!
WX was intermittent sun and cloud but it was windy and the wind was baltic cold. In mid July I ended up with a buff, fleece and hollowfill jacket and gloves and was still cool. In July By the time I was proper cold the sun spent more time on show but it was time to move on.
White Combe GM/SS-030
Socially distanced walkers, Ettrick Pen summit GM/SS-074
Left hill is Croft Head GM/SS-100 and right is Capel Fell GM/SS-082. You should be able to see the now 15year old “new” path on the front of Croft Head up the ridge Cat Shoulder.
Wind swept and cold MM0FMF at the top.