GM/ES-077 Millstone Hill 22nd Nov

As the weather forecast predicted a windy weekend, I decided to stay low, which I think was a wise choice. At 409m, Millstone Hill is a 1 pointer about 40 minutes drive north of my home QTH. Contrary to a lot of the summits I have activated lately, there is an excellent waymarked path all the way to the top, starting at a Forestry Commission car park. Keen hill walkers can continue on from the summit to the next highest, Mither Tap - see photo. A considerable effort has gone into constructing the path, particularly the uppermost section, where enormous blocks of granite have been laid down.
On reaching the top, there was a pretty strong wind blowing from the West but luckily the east side of the hill just below the summit cairn drops abruptly about 12 feet and provided a nice sheltered spot to set up. The only downside was the fact that the hillside consists of deep heather, covering boulders, which made walking around interesting and it was difficult to find enough earth to stick guy pegs in securely.
The top of my (shortened) DX Commander mast waved around a bit in the wind but seemed stable enough with the 20m delta loop (but see later…). My other antenna for the day was my trusty Hyendfed Mini, which went up with no problems. I have decided not to bother with 2 and 6m until next year I think - too much time and effort with little to show for it so far.
First QSO at 1032 on 20m was OH3GZ and I had a steady run of contacts until 1100 including 3 S2S and two new countries in 4Z4DX and IC8CUQ. Had a look at 15m which was open but mainly inhabited by LZ contest stations, then found 10m was open and managed 3 QSOs including a local one with Paul 2M1EUB whom I chatted to last week from Morven ES-018. Then switched to 40m and had a good run until around midday, including 2 S2S. Wind had dropped by then as well but it picked up again later. 10 and 15m having closed, I went back to 20m for the rest of the day. 6 more S2S, another two new countries in OD5ZZ and 5B4ALG and 4 across the pond with N4EX NC, W0JX (good suffix that) Ohio who also gave me a comparison report between the delta loop and Hyendfed (delta loop 2 S points better - thanks Dennis), W1OW Mass and VE3EXY in Ottawa. At 1430 the delta loop was blown down by a particularly strong gust while I was in QSO with EA3HAB and I had to quickly switch to the Hyendfed. No damage done though and I got the loop back up within 15 mins. Started to pack up just after 1500 as the wind was getting stronger and I was finally getting a bit cold.
During the day there was a fairly steady stream of walkers on the hill and a few stopped to ask what I was doing. One downside though of a popular hill is that I have to time toilet breaks carefully - I’m afraid at my age my bladder is not as strong as it was :roll_eyes:

As usual, thanks to all the chasers and fellow activators for making it a fun day and giving me my best QSO total yet of 150.
Looking North from summit cairn with Mither Tap in the background:


Unfortunately, despite appearances, Mither Tap is not the summit of ES-061, it is Oxen Crags the “minor” lump to the left in your photo. You would not be the first to think the obvious hill fort is the top, most residents of Aberdeenshire make the same assumption!!

Thanks for the s2s on 40m Simon. Glad you had a good day.

A report of my activation is up on my Blog
and thanks to all the chasers and activators.

73 and looking forward to the next time.

Allan GW4VPX

1 Like

You misread my post. I did not mean that Mither Tap was the next SOTA summit, but it is the next highest summit to Millstone Hill when you look at the map. I know very well that Bennachie-Oxen Craig is ES-061 and have been up it several times in the past but with dogs and family pre-Sota. In the 1980s in my batchelor days I used to live in a cottage outside Oldmeldrum, so saw Bennachie every day - ah memories, memories - then I had a TH6DXX at 40ft and worked the world with a TS520.