Yes, you are right Neil - Tulloch Hill was a lot more interesting than most of the hills I’ve climbed in the UK before. Apart from a few pimples I activated in Fife around 2005 this was the furthest north I’ve climbed in Scotland. I still have plenty of uniques to go at in the Borders and in Galloway though, but I’m going back up to Argyll as soon as I can to climb The Cobbler and Ben Narnain for sure - when there is less ice around.
Day Three - SS-090 Beinn Dubh
Our driver “Don’t call me driver, my name is Michael” was taking our tour bus to a musuem and Glasgow City centre on day three, so I approached Michael to see if he could oblige us by dropping us off in Luss. He said he could, and not only tha,t he could collect us on the way back if we were waiting at around 4.30pm.
These coach tours are so regimented, almost like a military exercise in all respects, including meals times at the hotel, and the posting of notices on a board to clearly explain the day to day arrangements. It all runs like a well oiled machine…
Once on the coach there was much laughter from the other guests, when someone shouted “Have you got your crampons?” Here we are then in the coach…ready for the off.
From the car park in Luss village we crossed the main A82, (the road beside Loch Lomond) via the footbridge, to join the well used path (as it turned out) up to SS-090 Beinn Dubh (657m for 2+3 WB points and a Complete for me). My friend Iain MM3WJZ had given me some guidance on this summit - not to be caught out (thanks Iain). The summit marked on the map as Beinn Dubh is 642m high. The actual summit however is across a long plateau 2 Km to the north west. It is unmarked and is 657m high. In between there is a depression in the path which falls to 595m. In a straight line path from the marked summit to the actual top though the land falls to less than 500m. The hIllbagging.co.uk website make it a little more understandable - they call the summit Mid Hill (Beinn Dubh). Mid Hill is the closest named high point to the actual top on the OS 25K map.
We had the most beautiful day for our walk, full sun most of the time and no wind. Here is Dave G3TQQ coming up, with Loch Lomond and all its Islands as a backdrop:
Dave started activating SOTA this winter and lives close to me in Pickering. He’s got the SOTA Fever now, and there is at least one other ham in the area where I live also who is becoming addicted…
There were plenty of folk about,even though it was mid week and not school holidays - it was very safe with just a few patches of snow to cross on our way to the top. The walkers we encountered were all local Scots, and friendly too, stopping for a chat as you can see in this picture:
I set up the station at the second of the two small cairns. Dave and Geoff went off with a handheld and quarter whip to qualify the summit, leaving me to do the business on HF in its entirety on 40m 30m and 20m with 72 QSOs worked in an hour “contest style” in very comfortable conditions, for a change. I was too busy operating to take any pictures, but if Dave or Geoff send me one I will come back and add it later…
After working another Activator / Chaser, who was USA station Bob AC1Z on 20m CW at 1330z I went QRT and ate my lunch before packing up.
We could have made this a circular walk by crossing Mid Hill and then meeting the road in Glen Luss to walk back to the village in the shade, but that would have been cold and without a view, so we decided to return the same way down in full sun, and it was most enjoyable.
Loch Lomond on the descent:
Back in Luss we called in for refreshments at the Village Rest Cafe and Bistro which stays open until 4.00pm in winter. One of us downed two pints of draught Guinness… the other two had a pot of tea and Caramel and Apple Pie with Cream each…delicious!
Luss - Village Rest & Bistro:
Lochs and Glens picked us up from the main car park at 4.40pm to round off what had been a most enjoyable three days walking in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
We were returned by coach in fine style to York on Friday afternoon, leaving Arrochar at 0745am with stops at Moffat, Leeming Bar, Ripon and Harrogate en-route. The whole tour, including transport, breakfast and dinner over 4 nights cost us just £140 each… amazing value for money, I don’t know how they do it at the price…
A final comment about the dodgy audio and instability coming out of my FT-857 - after running some tests today with Terry G0VWP the problem is down to battery voltage. The radio is around five years old now and only recently it has proved unstable when the battery voltage drops to less than 11v. So long as I can maintain 11.5v and up the radio is stable and the audio is good. A proper 12v - 14.4v 7.5 AH LiFEPo4 battery is therefore on order - a preferred cure I feel to sending the radio back to Yaesu UK for realignment, which may not cure my problem anyway.