GM/NS-052. Ben Loyal, partial activation

Apologies for the curtailed activation of Ben Loyal yesterday. After two VHF contacts and some success on 20m in the damp cloud, the antenna blew down (thankfully undamaged) , the rain started, I was getting cold and so I fled from the wind blasted summit. The trig pillar is on a very fine rocky summit tor which is awkward to scramble up. I was on my own and I think if I had been with others we would have chosen to go for a coffee instead!

As it turned out the descent was no problem helped by the following wind. By the time I got back to the car the sun was shining, although the summit was still in cloud. I think need to get my winter clothing out.

I will try to do better in future.




Well I can remember when we did Ailsa Craig and how you climbed up an abandoned building part way up the ascent. You went up the outside of the stone building like Spiderman and within seconds were at one of the upper windows. “What super spidey powers Colwyn has!” were my thoughts.

When I did Ben Loyal, I looked at the tor and then checked that I was in the AZ without climbing it. I was, so activated from the foot of the tor. Two very attractive ladies asked me how to get up and I said I didn’t know nor like the look of it. They came back 15mins later as I was packing up and said it was “reasonably easy after the first scramble”. So I had a bash at it in order to save face with myself and managed to get to the top. I don’t like scrambling and didn’t like it at all until I got to the flatter part after which it was easy. I didn’t like coming down one bit, worse than going up!

It reassures me no end to see you say it was “awkward to scramble up” having seen your Spiderman actions and having done it myself. You must be human after all :slight_smile:

Don’t forget you only need a single QSO to claim the unique.


Hi Colwyn,
When I climbed it from Loch Loyal with my son in the 1990’s, I fell for the same procedure and I found it quite hard to climb up. In 2007 when coming in from the north (Ribigill) I could see that you just go around the back (west) of the castle and walk up to the trig easily.

It’s a wonderful mountain and I envy you being there. Certainly not in that WX however! As Andy pointed out, less than 4 contacts still has some value but it’ll be worth going back on a good day if only for the views whether you qualified or not.

Final approach from the north. Keep Right.


Colwyn bagged a healthy 10 contacts, so he can expend his excellent efforts on some other summit. :grinning:


I read the initial post as 2x VHF and 1x 20m QSO.

Bah! I never saw that route. I did the scrambling up and over rocks on the west side. That looks trivial.


Colwyn has declared “partial activation” because @F4WBN isn’t in his log!


I climbed Ben Loyal and Ben Hope in 1974 with my parents and brother at the age of 9 (long before SOTA and my gaining a licence) and I still have fond memories of both mountains. The following is my mother’s brief record:

Friday 31st May
To garage and shop. Bread, milk (long life), map, etc. Man in shop advised climbing Ben Loyal from Lettermore.instead of Poucher’s (WA Poucher is the author of several guides to mountains throughout the UK) route. Started at 10.30am and followed burn. Not too steep a climb to the ridge. Nice ridge walk on to summit at 1.30pm. Short rock climb on to the granite summit where we had some food. Went on to some of the other spurs, an interesting top. Saw a ptarmigan and chicks, same colour as surroundings. Back at car at 4.30pm.

Saturday 1st June

Shopping. A bit of cloud on Ben Hope but we decided to go and have a look at it. Drove a long way down the Altnaharra Road, two tents in different places, not many spaces for camping and parking. Left car at the Pictish Broch (approx GR NC461476). Left at 11.15am, weather clear, hazy-bright. Stiff climb up to waterfall and saw a cuckoo at close range. Couldn’t find any tracks, rough hard walking. Followed burn and saw two herds of deer. Last part very steep and arduous. Reached summit in 3 ½ hours. Good views, but hazy. Rained as we neared car at 5.30pm.


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