The forecast was for another nice day, though with more cloud then yesterday. We headed out on a good minor road towards the Eastern Sperrins with Mullaghaneany and Mullaghmore as our targets for the day. We parked in a wide gate entrance on the opposite side of the road to a ruined cottage at C706004, though realised that there was more space at the next track entrance to the south. The route was simple: across the road to the forest track by the cottage, then up the track through a felled area to a junction where trees returned, turning left and then right up a firebreak to head over a fence out of the forest onto the open hill. It was then a matter of heading up the spur of the hill to yet another rounded summit. The views were good but misty, and there was a cooling breeze so we added windproof layers. On the way up we managed to chase Dave MI1EVV on Agnew’s Hill: making that a complete for us.
Mullaghmore from wide firebreak on ascent of Mullaghaneany
Caroline was yet again able to use a fence post to support the VHF antenna, with Martyn setting up HF among the tussocky grass and minor peat hags. Despite looking boggy the top was actually reasonably dry so we could operate radios in comfort. Caroline again had a 2m FM/7MHz sandwich: qualify on 2FM with 4 contacts, then a respectable 13 on 7MHz, including an S2S with DL/ON4UP for both of us, followed by 2 more 2FM contacts. The other HF bands were middling – 8 on 5MHz and 7 on 14MHz for Martyn.
We could see our next target Mullaghmore across the valley as we returned via our outbound route. We had considered approaching it via Moydamlight Forest to the south, but didn’t really have time for that route. Victor GI4ONL had told Caroline that it was possible to park at the base of the transmitter track and then pop over the gate and head up the transmitter track for an easy ascent. As we left the parking for Mullaghaneany we heard Dave GI0EVV calling from Big Collin, but he was having long QSOs so we drove to the transmitter track at C730727, from where we chased him before setting off up the hill. Unfortunately, he wasn’t staying long, so no chance of an S2S.
The only challenge of the walk was getting over the gate. As we ascended the track we got slightly misty views of the fine scarp of Benbradagh to the north, before turning back south to the transmitters at the summit, with the true summit a little beyond it. It was windy at the top, so we headed a little beyond the true summit to find a little shelter. There was no trig point so Caroline propped the VHF antenna up against a rock, and for a change had it qualified on 2m FM in under 10 minutes, getting a total of 7 contacts. 7MHz was not too bad, with 15 contacts for Caroline, after Martyn had 11 on 5MHz but just two on 14MHz.
Main Sperrin range from Mullaghmore
Mullaghmore: permanent antennas and our antennas
It was a lovely evening as we descended, and when we arrived back at the cottage we spent some time interacting with the farm animals and stroking the cat before going in for our dinner.
M(I)3ZCB with Martyn M(I)1MAJ