GM/ES-058 and 035 we deserve a winter bonus!

It’s spring, right? The bulbs are blooming, the grass is greening, the snow is… falling!

TBH, the forecast wasn’t very promising for the weekend, as per usual after a working week of blue skies and light winds. But it did seem like the overnight rain was due to clear by 10AM, thereafter to be windy with wintry showers. Worth a punt.

The plan was to go for Mount Blair (GM/ES-035) but to tackle it from the minor road on the south side rather than the more usual north so as to add in a bit of circular walk and do the lower Meall Mor (GM/ES-058) as well to make the walk a bit longer and so worth the effort of going there. After the usual McD breckie outside Forfar we were on site about 11AM. It was clear the WX wasn’t as advertised. Or more to the point “unclear”. No wind and thick low level cloud/fog. Mount Blair poses a few challenges coming from the south in the form of crags and cliffs, there is no obvious path and going there in low visibility seemed a bad idea, so we went in reverse and did Meall Mor first.

The other weather feature, was a) it was only 2C and b) there was quite a bit of snow on the ground.

It took us longer than we expected to get up there, with only a 160m climb (just makes it in!), the low visibility didn’t help,neither did the amount of fallen trees on what seems to be the track up there

we found a better route down once we could see where we were going!

Despite the CQ contest, 40m didn’t seem too crowded. But for the first time I didn’t have any data on a hill, but Francois, on5swa, kindly spotted me and I had a useful run after. Interestingly with a high proportion of repeat qsos on the next summit 7 out of 14 on 40m and 3 out of 15 of those on 17M. Good signals were heard on 40m, the qrp stations of m3zcb and m3feh getting into the log from both summits. Only 17m and 40m were activated.

The weather changed dramatically in the 40minutes we spent up there and it all became very much clearer! And a howling gale. We were very glad we hadn’t attempted Mount Blair without being able to see it:

the view from Meall Mor shows a number of places you wouldn’t want to go. Descent back to the road was quite quick, about 30 minutes and then the ascent up was interesting. There is no obvious path but thankfully there seemed to be a usable fire break cut in the heather which seemed to go the right way. Walking in deep heather is a thankless task, particularly all the way up the climb of 360m

What you can’t really see is the wind,which was so strong that it was very hard to breath! We set up on the East side of the top to try and find a bit of shelter. The terrain here is treacherous. It’s made up of chaotic boulders with a “veneer” of heather on top. It looks like solid ground, that is until your leg vanishes into a hole past the knee. nasty.
The same bands were activated as before, 40/17 with a repeat of half of the qsos, nice to hear the familiar voices!

Nice views from the top, you can even see the sea! And my aerial:

That’s Meall Mor (058) on the left.

There was still quite a bit of snow to the north west:

Thanks for the QSOs, unfortunately 20m was wiped out by the contest and 40m made quite difficult which cut the qsos quite a bit, but good signals from several.


Couldn’t resist a pop up Turin hill GM/SS-271 to finish off Sunday, It seemed to rain everywhere but there:

Good signals on 40m and pleased to make n4ex on 17m.
No doubts as to the validity of the Trig point activation on this one:

It made a handy shelter and backrest, even the wind moderted for a wee while, but an incoming snow shower flushed me off the hill:


Last time I was there they had been harvesting which always spoils things with detritus. But there is (was?) a path that leads from the minor road through the woods then a path along the woods to the base of the summit cone. Then it’s up that and over the wall and an amble to the top. It’s a lovely wee hill and so easy it’s rude not to bag it every year!

I’ve not done Mount Blair from that side but have looked at it from Meall Mor. Looks much more fun that the tourist route from the Forter road.

We started out just up from the lochan, there’s a track up through the trees. You reach a part where there is a clearing all the way to the top on the left and we made the mistake by not going up there but continuing along the track which became increasingly difficult with fallen trees. Obvious when you can see but with the poor vis on the way up… we came down that way.

I start further up the road. Here’s an aerial photo with my route marked in yellow.

I don’t think I’d have done 3 in day on a day like today! :wink:

Yes, that looks better! Probably the route we’d have ended up on if we’d had the visibility to do plan A! I think that’s where there’s a wee bit of a pull off to park in too.

I realise I created ambiguity in my report, ES58/35 were on Saturday, I did Turin on Sunday. You credit me with too much stamina ;-).

Ah, I can accept 2 + 1 :wink: Where did you park for Turin? There’s meant to be a right nasty GOML at one of the farms there.

The past two times I’ve parked on the b9134 west of the hill and cut through a field that was fallow to arrive just west of the woods before the summit, but that’s now ploughed. This time I started where the lane heads south to the small cluster of houses, didn’t see anyone as I walked up.

Some lovely photos once again.

Thanks for the summits and contacts :smiley:


The interesting but expected drop in UK activation’s since the end of the WB is definitely apparent. Maybe a linear fade of points might be a more tempting proposition for the MT to consider. As you say Andy its still mighty cold out there …

It’s snowing quite hard at 10.15am. There again, we’re further North than Moscow here.

Winter bonus - we could qualify for one for 10 months of the year as it can snow in the village (let alone the High Tops) all months except July and August - and we got close 3 years ago when snow was lying on the Main Street on 30 June! :smiley:

About 30mm right now on the grass - 1200UTC

1 Like

I remember back in ‘74 signing up for a week at the Glencoe Winter Climbing School in March. We stayed at Hamish McInnes’ cottage (which has since become notorious for an entirely unconnected reason!) and had a week of glorious weather. On the Tuesday my party climbed SC Gully on Stob Coire nan Lochan - I particularly remember hand jamming up between two enormous icicles before the long stride onto an ice-plated ramp - but at the summit there was warm sunshine and not a breath of wind. We took our shirts off and sunbathed on snow-free rocks, and gradually other people joined us so that there was a crowd of white-skinned climbers courting sunburn! The point to this no doubt boring anecdote is that on one summit on one day we had winter and summer at one and the same time!

A month later I was back and traversing the Aonach Eagach in warm sunshine while across the valley there were the occasional distant thunderous roars as the still snow-filled gullies avalanched.

Winter bonus dates can only be guesswork.


That must have been a bizarre experience especially in Glencoe. Its a shock to the system when the WB stops, suddenly activating becomes much less point scoring orientated.

I don’t think I have been able to operate in a tee-shirt yet in Wales. Last summer wasn’t very good. The most pleasing activation was on Foel Goch - GW/NW-039 there is something very satisfying about it. Probably because it was the first time I used one of my new homebrew sets.

I did The Stob GM/SS-048 with Brian G4ZRP the 2nd week in October. We started off on a dismal gloomy day and it was cold at the car park. After a few hundred metres of climbing we had to strip off some layers as it was low teens C in temp. Then around 600m ASL we broke the inversion layer into wondrous sunshine. At the top it was 20C+, gorgeous sun, no breeze, perfect T-shirt weather. We could hear PI7CIS at 58/59 on 2m using a simple vertical but no 2m DX was worked. I didn’t want to leave to be honest. By the time we got back to the car with the sun almost set under a clear sky it was damn cold and ice was forming on the roof of the car. Absolutely wonderful day out.

I can recommend SS-048 as a must do summit as the views to Stob Binnein and Ben More plus all the other big Crianlarich summits is really excellent.