Firstly apologies for only doing one summit yesterday and for being so late… But it was Friday the 13th.
The day started pretty well wx wise so we posted an alert for EI/IN-010 for 12:30 UTC and were optimistic of achieving this target - WRONG big-time!
We left the campsite bathed in sunshine with the temperature a slightly chilly 6 degrees but had only travelled a short distance before it started raining, despite a 100% dry forecast. On arrival at our parking spot we thought, ok let’s have a quick snack and hopefully the rain will soon cease. The rain did cease but took a bit longer than expected and by now we were already nearly an hour behind schedule. After walking a short distance into the forest it became obvious that the OS map (sheet 2) was far from accurate when we arrived at a fork that was not depicted. A quick visual recce of the area made it look as though the road to the right was relatively new, so we decided to go left - WRONG! Everything was still looking good, this track was on the map, (we assumed), and on reaching the end we would arrive at a fence line - WRONG! The track did come to an end, right in the middle of an area which had recently been harvested - now what? We came to the conclusion that this was the new track and despite travelling on the correct bearing we were parallel with the correct track. Decision time, should we backtrack to the junction which was going to take about 30 minutes, or, should we try to negotiate a way through the tree stumps and debris to the other track which we guessed was about 500 metres away. Our assessment of 500 metre was fairly accurate however after approx 200 metres the terrain became VERY difficult with lots of discarded branches, tangled roots and, to add insult to injury, wet spongy bog. Again it was time for an executive decision, do we go on or turn back? Let’s go on it cant get any worse- WRONG - it did. At one point the dog tried to jump from one high spot to another, mis-judged the distance and almost disappeared, emerging with a sudden colour change from brilliant white to dark brown. Ok don’t follow the dog. Eventually we got onto the next track, checked our position on the GPS, cross referenced this with the map, and apparently we were standing in the middle of dense forestry, WRONG, we were on a track which appeared to go in the right direction. We followed the track for about 300 metres before coming to a Y junction, oh dear decision time again. Ok, after another look at the GPS & map, left appeared to be the way to go. Eventually we found out this was indeed the correct way, but when we were consulting the map the dog decided to go hunting in the forest, promptly got disorientated and couldn’t find us. After what felt like an eternity, (15/20 mins), she emerged from the undergrowth and appeared quite happy to see us, as were we with her! From here on things were pretty straightforward, we reached the fence line and turned right heading for the top. It was a steady climb over decent ground which became quite rocky and about 500 metres from the summit there was lots of scree. The top was reached 3hrs behind our estimated time, but at least we were there.
This was a very solid top with a virtually no vegetation so we had to build rock supports for the masts and wrap the guys around sizeable rocks because trying to drive in pegs was futile. Ok both stations set-up time for some dx - WRONG! I had tried to spot by sms but my Irish phone wouldn’t work so we thought put a few calls out and soon the log sheets will fill up - WRONG. I called & called on 7.032ish but didn’t get any replies, JST had a similar experience on 14.285. He QSYd to 40 metres SSB and I moved to 10.120. Again we called in vain and eventually decided to turn on data roaming to send a spot, after all it wont cost too much - VERY WRONG. It cost Victor just over £20. Because we had been away from our home network for a few days, when they got the chance our smart phones decided to download lots of data hence the huge cost. I still haven’t had the courage to check my bill. It was very cold and windy and we were still struggling to get any contacts. Eventually I got 7, got fed up & went QRT and walked over to see how Victor was doing. I found him shivering by the rig and asked why he wasn’t wearing his hat, I cant print his reply but he was saying he had lost it somewhere on the way up and only discovered it’s absence after he had the station QRV. The 2 Victors have several things in common, the most obvious being we are fairly follically challenged so I can imagine how cold he was. Luckily, I always carry 2 hats, so being the friend that I am, I gave him the pre-heated one off my head and promptly donned an even better one and he had the cheek to complain, huh some people are never happy. EI/MI0JST/P had managed to get 4 contacts logged so we decided it was time to leave this desolate mountain top. Both of us had given and received good signal reports and were at a loss as to why, for a 1st time activation , we had so few contacts - the mystery remains.
We agreed it was time for home, packed up the gear and decided to descend via the shortest, but steepest, route. At one point I dislodged a small rock and we watched as it rolled end-over-end a very long way down the slope, mmmmmm must remember not to fall here! One hour forty minutes later we arrived back at the car somewhat dis-heartened by the days proceedings, but at least we had successfully activated the summit.
Three tired bodies arrived back at the campsite to some much needed food & beverage, beer for the homo-sapiens the poor canine only getting water, but she did get the luxury of some gravy with her dinner.
One unexpected product from the day was the night time QRM, caused by…the dog snoring
Back to the title, Friday 13th syndrome …does it exist?
Until the next time,
73 from the Victors GI4ONL & MI0JST