GM/ES-028 Monamenach 21st Aug 2022

After my failure to get up GM/ES-025 in the heat, I thought I would go for a shorter outing
this time. Monamenach is a very straightforward 4 pointer in Glen Isla, about 1hr 30m drive from my home QTH in Aboyne, with easy parking near the start and a good ATV track for 2/3 of the way up.The final 1/3 is a steep “Route 1” pull, up a mainly grassy track. The summit cairn is a small pile of stones and the featureless top offers no shelter at all, so it wouldn’t be great on a really windy/bad WX day.

Parking point is next to the river just past the holiday accomodation of Auchavan. The road to Auchavan is a dead-end, heading up Glen Isla from a turning off the B951 that leads past Forter Castle. The ATV track up starts just past a gateway next to Auchavan.

Route up. ©Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey. Media 041/22

The path that heads directly to the summit is the first branch off the ATV track, where the latter starts to get very grassy.

Summit cairn, looking roughly West

I was dampened by a passing shower on the way up, after that the weather was quite settled but with a strong breeze. The walk up took about 1 hour 20m. I tried setting up my tarp as a tent, but the walking pole holding it up just kept blowing over (see next activation report on Ben Rinnes GM/ES-021 Ben Rinnes 23rd Aug 2022). The only other folk I saw all day were a couple with a dog who sat and had their lunch by the cairn.


My usual gear: 857d, 40m dipole + wire delta loops for HF and 5el yagi for 2m. O2 phone signal wasn’t great - my spots sent OK but Sotawatch was very slow loading, so I didn’t do much S2S hunting.

Starting on 2m FM at 1058 utc, I got 5 in the log, with MM7SWM in Glasgow being furthest at 125km. Switching to SSB I got one contact, G1ZJQ, near Newcastle 219km.

On 40m the band was quite busy with Lighthouse activators and with short skip. 18 in the log, including 6 “local” GMs, one S2S with GW4TQE/P, a few Gs and just 2 EU (EA2CKX and PA7RA).

I went briefly back to 2m FM for a S2S with Fraser MM0EFI/P who was up on GM/ES-041 about 100 km North of me and then moved to 20m. 29 in the log, all EU and a nice S2S with TF/HB9GKR/P.

17m brought 8 contacts, with best DX SV2SOQ.

I ended the day on 15m which brought 5 more for the log, including AE4FZ(a tricky 41/33 exchange) as best DX chaser and my best DX of the day 8H77I on Java, using a special call for the 77th aniversary of Indonesian independence. - I called him and he was last in the log at 1422 utc and I found I could download a QSL from him later that evening.

68 QSOs for the day. Thanks to all as usual.

There were some nice views from the top:

Looking North up Glen Isla:

Looking South at Mount Blair GM/ES-035

The first 15 minutes of the drive home were quite interesting - first I encountered a white duck dawdling down the middle of the road who was not very interested in getting out of the way. Next I came across an abandoned 4WD with farm trailer which had crashed into a power line pole. The power line was dangling across the road but thankfully still high enough not to trouble my little Skoda. Further on I flagged down a couple of approaching cars to warn them. Then a mile or so later I met what looked like two small racing cars, similar to Formula 5000 but no rear spoilers. All this before I got back on the B951 :crazy_face:


Many thanks for the great report Simon, especially the info on the start of the quad bike track which is much clearer now in my mind. I’ve got this one teamed up with CS-077 for a winter bonus outing… most likely along with an overnight stay to pull in the trio of two pointers nearby. I need to get a bit more value for money for all the miles travelled.

73, Gerald


Nice one Simon! That view north is amazing, isnt it? Nice to get you for another Summit to Summit. I was on the handheld and whip at the time.

It was blowing a hoolie when I went up there. I seem to remember lying flat out against the minuscule cairn to try and keep out of the wind.


Better WX than when I was there. The view is to die for though.


We (with M0JLA) ascended this hill in June and we hadn’t found any information about parking so shoehorned our car onto the verge just before Auchavan thinking that was the only parking. By the time we returned there were about 4 cars parked down by the river but we were happy not to add any more to the walk. We followed the good track up the valley and then staggered up the small path to the summit - and looked for shelter from the stiff breeze. There wasn’t any and I needed to be high as possible so I was lying on the ground trying to hide behind the (very) small cairn trying to persuade my dipole to stay up. I eventually spoke to MM0XET in Dundee on both 2m and 70cm then shortly afterwards a S2S on 2m with GM0GAV on Cruach Ardrain and … and … . I called and called and got colder and colder. After 45mins I gave up, packed everything away, rejoined Rod who was sheltering beside a wire fence (!) and we started the steep descent and were nearly halfway down when a voice was heard. I quickly replied and engaged reverse gear as swiftly as I could to regain the AZ. 2M0DOI in Arbroath patiently waited for me to stop panting and become audible so that was 3 on 2m… so a few more CQs were emitted and GM6ZAK from Coupar appeared to give the vital 4th - and a welcome 2nd on 70cm. Many thanks to all. Mission accomplished - but no super views were spied possibly because we were too cold or intent on staying upright. I was so delighted to actually qualify this hill using 5w on the VX-7R that I suggested we toddled up Mount Blair (GM/ES-035) on the way home as we were passing the (almost non-existent) parking place. This enthusiasm wore off very quickly as the path went relentlessly uphill (well, what did we expect?) but there was a large cairn to shelter behind as well as a very impressive mast. After an hour I had qualified on both bands but it was still quite an effort to get back down to the car. The hills round there are a bit bigger than in the Welsh Borders!! Thanks for the pictures which jogged the memory.
73 Viki M6BWA


Viki, they also worth a few more points. :grinning: I love them, can’t wait to get back, but looking to earn a few extra points when I do. I’ll definitely be running 25w of 2m SSB and the 5 element. Call me a cheat. :joy:


If you are a cheat running 25w, what does that make me, running 50 ? :crazy_face:


Well done for persevering, especially going back up! If you got cold on a windy day in June its not one to think about on a windy day in November, unless you bring your own shelter.

Definitely not if you are carrying the kit. I used to carry an 857D - not any more and no RF amplifier either. I just don’t make many contacts (7 on Monamenach) or get very far except on the odd occasion.

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I now carry a bothy bag almost all of the time although I often forget it is there (Oh! THAT was why my sack felt so heavy when is was being scorched in the Welsh borders last Saturday!) but it has been used only rarely (Mourne Mts, Isle of Harris…) as I try not to go out when the weather is expected to be bad. Hence I don’t think I’ll be up in Scotland in November but I do remember a sudden white-out in the Brecon Beacons long long before SOTA came into my life, but for the navigational skills of M0JLA I’d still be there (and with only one of those orange plastic bags we used to carry in those days). Very frightening and totally unexpected.

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