We (M0JLA and M6BWA and ankle) start heading North tomorrow hoping for a stroll up the odd hill on the way to Oban then on the ferry to Mull on 11 June for a week. Another much delayed trip but we hope to get there this time - but with a problem still with my ankle. Hence M0JLA will be going up hills alone (and hoping that I will chase him from wherever I’m otter/bird watching!) and using HF but I hope to get up a few smaller ones IF the weather and terrain allows. Currently it looks as if we will be towing much needed rain with us but we are hoping…
When on the Outer Hebrides a few years ago I found it a challenge to get even 1 contact on 2m fm (let alone 70cm!!) so begged an HF contact to be on the safe side to make sure I’d activated - and then returned to 2m and continued calling. From there I got a few contacts from Skye and found a couple of local amateurs. I feel Mull will be more of a challenge and think N Ireland is my best hope but, of course, I will be on the smaller hills … but we don’t want to make life too easy do we?? I would be grateful if people in ‘likely’ areas could listen out for us both and we will try to put up Alerts when possible. When activating in the Scottish Borders I think I did manage a contact by bouncing off aircraft but I don’t think this is so likely on the west coast.
On the 18th we travel to the Pitlochry area for a week and I will be having to aim for the easier hills again but I hope that more people will be in the area - and hopefully some will have both call signs, ears and voices!
Thanks for your help and I look forward to some contacts.
73 Viki M6BWA
Hi Vikki, I will be in the Aberdeen area around your dates, so if you put up alerts/spots, I will try & listen for you, if possible. At some stage I hope to do my very first activation in GM land, probably Brimmond Hill GM/ES-086, likewise I will alert & hopefully spot. Have a great time & give my love to Mull! 73 John GQ0MHF.
Thanks to you both for calling in to activate GM/SS-289 White Hill (New SOTA 01/12/2021) near Lochmaben / Dumfries in Tuesday and giving me a SOTA Complete Rod on 60m. Very much appreciated. All the best for your trip north.
Glad we could help G4OBK towards your very close enormous total of completes. That hill GM-SS/289 was done in very hot conditions (23C) now at 14C and not very dry!
More details to follow now we have an internet connection (Oban was impossible) now we are on Mull. High winds and odd heavy showers, cloud on the tops so explored gently and found sea eagles and also close otter sighting (by Craignure ferry terminal) so I only have to find corncrakes and golden eagles and we can go home! Hill bagging has been scarce so far on this trip with the score +3 (SS-289, SS-120 (2m/70cm very busy) and SS-279 (on Kerrera Island and a delight = especially with 4 2m fm and 1 70cm and the most beautiful views) and -2.(WS-346, Airds Hill (no one heard either of us, no signal for spots and our alert apparently failed so we had to retreat) and yesterday we attempted Beinn Ghlas (SS-189 above Oban but we had to turn back after 90 mins as the summit was too far for the approaching rain and strong wind),
Hoping for a break in the weather and a try at GM-SI-153 above Tobermory but will still be windy and some showers, Time currently uncertain hope to post alert later tonight, Monday I am booked on wildlife tour but M0JLA hopes to be up a hill. Uncertain forecast Tues/Wed but watch this space and alerts. More hopeful Thurs/Fri . Thanks for listening - and deciphering my typing on a strange keyboard!
(M6BWA) Weather conditions on Mull have stayed very challenging although the high winds have abated. We managed GM/SI-153 above Tobermory on Sunday which was an easy path and a delightful volcanic crater enclosing a loch (with a pair of red throated divers who burst into ‘song’ at intervals) which you can easily walk round. We could see why everyone liked this summit. This was supposed to be followed by M0JLA ascending GM/SI-167 but the rain set in again.
On Monday I was admiring otters mainly on a wildlife trip (as the eagles were a bit shy) but M0JLA was enjoying the somewhat better weather (ie the rain arrived when he reached the second summit) on GM/SI-055 and 061. We then planned to go up GM/S!-123 on the Ross of Mull on Tuesday so quite a slow drive from our base in Salen but after parking we looked at the low cloud and weather and decided it wasn’t wise to go ahead, if the forecast was anything like right (it wasn’t) and so went on to Iona where I at last heard (but not saw) some calling corncrakes and we both got sunburnt!
Today (Wednesday) with not many days left we chose GM/SI-101 near Ulva Ferry with the hope of either visiting the island of Ulva or another summit afterwards. The start on the track was delightful but we seemed to climb a few extra hills on the way so once again were rather late but we had fantastic views in all directions. Once again I got 2 2m fm contacts from Skye (also 70cm!) and Mallaig (grateful thanks Colin GM0HBK and Gordon GM4OAS) but couldn’t raise any further responses despite my (ambitious) hopes of reaching NI. Once the cloud landed on Ulva we realised that we needed to pack up and descend fairly swiftly and found a better route very close to the burn, so arrived at the car more swiftly but dripping. Our problems were small compared with the two French cyclists, including a recumbent, who had had 4 days of wet camping on the island.
Two more days left and we hope to try for another summit but it is difficult to plan when there are 3 different forecasts (and OS maps!) covering the island, they all predict rain and they are mostly wrong at some time of the day - but you don’t know when. We have found planning more difficult than during our SOTA trip 4 years ago on the Outer Hebrides but the dodgy ankle does mean that we have to be more cautious this time. On Saturday we move to near Pitlochry and I’m told that winds of 53mph are forecast during our stay - and I won’t be able to find any otters to watch there. Sorry there isn’t much SOTA in this account but you can see why!
Viki, i’m really sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations. Mull is a fabulous island and I am sorry that you are not seeing it at its best. I hope that you are able to get some more activations carried out tomorrow and Friday before you move on.
As regards 2m, the only real success I had was from Spienne Mor GM/SI-091, plus of course the contacts we had when I was on Beinn na Duatharach GM/SI-085 and you were on Arran.
I hope the weather improves for you so you can enjoy the rest of your holiday. All the best to you both.
With hindsight we were very lucky with the weather in Mull at Easter - although not stunning there was not a day where it was awful, but it was windy when we went to Iona - to the point we were worried if the ferry back would be cancelled…I also enjoyed GM/SI-153 and I think helped get G4WSB a complete on Ulva.
Best day was Ben More - stunning weather and I was somewhat surprised that I kept a better pace (with a bigger pack) than my two teenagers…
I was glad not to have planned an ascent of Ben More on Monday as it was hidden from me all day by cloud at around 450m and there was a mass school walk that was just setting off as I drove past their car park . Also because I was completely shattered by the total 800m ascent on the two rather wet ones I did.
They were very flowery ( especially SI-061) - I did not count how many different (M6BWA is much better at that) but the sheer profusion was astonishing. I was brought to a halt at one point as every next available foot position was occupied by a Butterwort flower! I see them in Snowdonia - but not like this.
Radio conditions were poor (I did get a 2m FM contact on each one thanks to M6BWA/M on the wildlife tour) but I was lucky with the weather and remained dry until I spread the contents of my rucksack over the summit of the second hill - and the heavens opened, fortunately only briefly tho they had another go later and I got pretty wet.
I saw no-one at all.
A great day on the hills!
Another pair of deleted alerts today - SORRY everyone. We did get to the trig (in the AZ). Vicki got a quick 2m FM contact which I shared and then put the HF kit back in the bag ready to go down. A very unpleasant walk - and it turns out that most of the way up each was waiting for the other to propose retreat!
Forecast bad for Friday so no hills planned.
Moving on Saturday so maybe a hill near Tyndrum after mid-day. More next week?? 50 mph gusts expected! We shall see.
I wonder which way you tackled Beinn Bhuidhe. When Paul and I activated it we walked up directly from the cottage that we stayed at in Glen Forsa. It was quite a reasonable walk from there and not too steep. It would have been rude not to activate it.
Sorry to hear that Mull has been quite torrid. Both Paul and I are keen to get back up there when circumstances allow… hopefully in better weather than you’ve had.
Yes, Fraser, we had s2s in mind too but were thinking more of next week for 2m FM as we will be based at Kirkmichael. Vicki’s ankle will limit our access to the higher hills even if the weather does not.
Hope to catch you sometime next week and wishing you good weather in October - I have a few to chase for completes.
We parked just off the main road (at the Hatchery) and walked just less than 2km along the estate road to the gate in the deer fence just beyond Killbeg Cottage (there are two cottages there now). Then more or less straight up - the trouble was that the ground was saturated and well pitted with hoof prints presumably from the highland cattle currently wandering freely on the outside of the fence. This made for slow and unsteady going. I always find it difficult to tell if the descent route really is better than the ascent route but it seemed so as we came down further North following (at a distance) the East bank of Sruthan na Sroine almost up to the fence. I doubt you would recognise the area now - most of the forest East of Killbeg has been felled generating an extensive new track network. Hope you get good weather when you do go back - we very much enjoyed our sunny afternoon on Iona.
We have had very mixed weather on many holidays at different seasons. This must be the most inconsistent and unsettled of them all.