GM/ES-061 Bennachie-Oxencraig plus BOTA

Bennachie is a local (45 minutes drive) 2 pointer that I hadn’t activated before, largely because it is a very popular easy summit for walkers etc which can get crowded, so I picked a weekday and also decided to do a BOTA bunker en route. Bunker B/GM-0006 is located relatively close to Bennachie near the village of Pitcaple.
For the bunker, I picked a spot in some local woods from Google Earth, only to find that most of the trees had been recently felled.

The activation went well, with 44 in the log from 0830-0930 UTC mostly on 40m, with one US contact on 20m. A few chasers were common from SOTA: GM6ZAK, G4IAR,G0FVH, M0BKV, 2E0FEH, GM0AXY, so it was nice to hear some familiar calls. It was also great to get a call from GM0WHS, Chris, who was testing the new club station at Wick High School and I was the first QSO in their log. In fact, I worked the club again from home the next day, and talked to two pupils, Scott and Vie.
My activation of GM/ES-061 was slightly delayed, as I had forgotten to pack my walking poles. Luckily my XYL was happy to meet me half-way to hand them over.
The route up is very straightforward from the large Back O’Bennachie car park, where a ticket for the day costs £3. Toilets are also on site. The track up is well-maintained and sign-posted, although strangely none of the signposts mention Bennachie or Oxencraig - they point to Mither Tap Quarry, Mither Tap being the very prominent summit East of Oxencraig and only a few metres lower in height.

At the top, a strong wind was blowing from the South West. but there is a nicely sheltered area just down from the summit indicator, so only the antenna was in the wind.

The summit view guide actually has the height as 528m, while the OS map and Sota database show 529m.

Equipment: 857d, Sotabeams linked dipole 20/40m, HF delta loops, half-wave vertical for 10m (ref G5TM), 2m loop.

Starting at 1300 UTC on 2m FM, I got a couple of locals in the log -MM7MWL and GM0VGI, but with just a simple loop I wasn’t expecting much more.
40m provided 19 chasers, inluding one BOTA, MM3PDM/M, for my first BOTA-SOTA exchange.
20m was in good shape to EU, with 33 in the log, including my only S2S of the day with S57MS/P.
10m was well open and the vertical produced 5 chasers including KF9D,EC8ADS and W4JKC.
15m sounded busy, so I put the delta loop up and was rewarded with another 13, including WB6POT Ca, K0JU Co and YB3GER -my first chase from Indonesia. Manuel, EA2DT also called in and told me that it was our first QSO on 15m - actually our 81st since I started SOTA, Manuel being my top chaser. EA1FNS was last in the log at 1500UTC.

72 for the day and some nice DX. Thanks to all.

Views from the top:
Looking towards Mither Tap

A closer view of Mither Tap

Delta loop plus summit view indicator