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: