Not another weekend of good weather? What is happening?
These 2 hills are quite a short drive for me and I didn’t feel like a 2hr drive before walking this Sunday. Also the WX forecast was good nearby but I wasn’t so sure for further away. I did Innerdouny Hill this time last year on a crisp day with distant views to snow capped hills. The views this time were just as good. This summit is becoming another favourite to do on a day with decent weather. Lendrick Hill is one I haven’t been up for 7 years and it was very misty when I did it last time
I checked the internet about Innerdouny Hill for some reason and found that the logging which happened last year is ongoing. Forestry Commission advice was the main car park was closed and parking was available at Littlerig, good because that was where I wanted to park. The WX wasn’t bad when I set off and by the time I got to the car park the sky was clear of clouds. It was also 0C and there were some icy patches on the untreated Glen Dunning road. The entrance to the car park is very rutted and my silly car with negligible ground clearance just made it last year. This year was a nightmare, the logging trucks have badly rutted the entrance. I had to check and probe the puddles for depth in order to find a route that wouldn’t ground the car. Should have gone in the pickup. There was a hand painted sign saying the car park was closed. But this was where you were meant to park. It was Sunday, nobody logs on a Sunday so I ignored it. Nobody does log on a Sunday but I did hear a chainsaw during the walk.
The 1st time I did this I had a route that involves a boggy overgrown firebreak and crossing walls and who knows what. Now I know the easy route which is only 3/4km further. Follow the track out of the car park to the fork, take the right hand track, follow this up, down, round and up and when it levels out there is a 100m+ wide gap in the trees, follow the track to the far side of the gap, then turn on the clearing and follow the fence to its end, there’s a path in the rouch ground. Through the wall, follow 100m more fence and the trig is 100m at the top of the rise. Job done in 1hr.
Magnificent views as last year but no snow this time. Well maybe some on Ben Lawers which was just visible but got lost as the far distance murk set in. First band was 20m CW which was going nicely when I heard G0EVV/p calling CQ on 2m from the handy. A quick S2S with Dave on Shillhope Law SB-006 and back to 20m. It was busy with many stations calling at once and again plenty of G stations worked on quite short skip. After that 20m SSB was busy which is also good. I finished off just before 1200 with a session on 2m and worked GM0AXY, GM4YMM, GM4COX, MM0KCD,MA6BJJ along with S2S contacts with Iain MM3WJZ/p on SS-022 and Brian MM1HMZ on SS-239. Lovely. Return to the car took 45mins and I was away without changing my boots to the Lendrick Hill car park about 5mins drive down Glen Dunning.
The view North, yes another day of stunning weather.
The view South to Loch Leven, visible SOTA summits, West Lomond, East Lomond, Bishop Hill and Benarty Hill.
Stuc a’Chroin and Ben Vorlich, 42kms North West
The lack of snow for November is amazing, here is the same view from 10-November-2013. Also visible behind Stuc a’Chroin is Stob Binnein at 65km.
Innerdouny Trig point, built 16-October-1950, in excellent condition.
Lendrick Hill is a short walk. Park at the entrance to the woods and follow the track up. Keep going as far as the double bend and on the right is a firebreak. There’s an obvious path leading into the fire break and a wooden marker post. I met a man walking his dogs, we chatted and we discussed the fire break. “It’s slippy that firebreak.” I pointed to my walking poles and he smiled and said “Aye, right!” He wasn’t wrong to be sceptical.
15mins from the car park to the fire break. 15mins to climb the firebreak, 10mins to the trig across open moor. Easy. By gum the fire break was slippy. It’s very steep and the ground is unbelievably wet, covered in moss and pine needles from the plantation. Slippy is not the word and I wondered how I’d get down. Must be able to get down if you can get up I thought. Just make sure you don’t leave it till it’s dark even though I had the headtorch with me. Well it’s getting dark very early now.
I decided that 12m would be going great guns and I started on 12m. Er, where do I normally operate on 12m? It’s a while since we finished the 12m challenge (watch out for news of the next challenge) and I remember something 87ish. Where’s the 12m band edge? Er, 24.890 so I must have used 24.887 then. I hit send on the CW keyer, it finished, nothing. Call, nothing, call, nothing. Strange, 12m is buzzing away. No RBN spot. Check SOTAwatch, EA2IF on 24.915 for an easy contact, thanks Guru. Back to 887 and nada. Check SOTAwatch, comment from Walter NE4TN I was below USA band edge. Strange, I used to need a big stick to fend off US chasers on 12m. I was called 3 chasers who assumed if I was happy with the frequency, so were they!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh! I was 3kHz below the bottom of the band What a silly mistake. The first time in not quite 25 years of operating I’ve been outwith the regulations, oh the shame. QSY to 24.913 and zappow! Plenty of chasers. No stunning DX but N4EX, NE4TN, VE1W were easy. Onto SSB an EC8AUZ gave me Africa. Why does the 817 meter look lazy on TX…ah we’ve done all of today’s activating on just 1W. All the 20m stuff was using 1W as was 12m so far. Boy, Africa on 1W I worked a few more and decided to stop at 1445Z. It was b. cold and getting dark.
I packed up took photos and was at the top of the slippery fire break by 1500Z. Now the first few tens of metres were easy but soon I was crag bound. Well actually greasy moss bound. There was no way to move without sliding down about 100m of bumpy grass. The situation went from silly to dangerous in seconds. Stop and contemplate. I grabbed a branch with both hands and managed to descend about 1m. Then I grabbed another branch and dropped another 1m. Repeat, fall on bum, get up, get wet, fall, slide, slither. 5mins later, soaking, muddy and little shaken (but not stirred) I was at the track. 10mins later at the car. I deserved some recompense for that ungainly descent and I had a Toffee Crisp, a can of diet Red Bull and a handful of diabetic pills. A perfectly healthy combination should you ask! Boots off, dry shoes on. It was cold now so I turned the heated seat up to full to warm the nether regions. In fact at the top of the ride, the frost was starting to form so I think I left at just the right time.
Should you fancy this one then crampons would be in order in the Winter when the ground is frozen and crampons for the rest of the year when it’s even slippier!
Another view of West Lomond, East Lomond, Bishops Hill, Benarty Hill and Loch Leven. Sun is getting low now.
Innerdouny Hill from Lendrick Hill
Lendrick Hill Cairn, trig point with Dumglow and Knock Hill behind.
I can’t recommend Innerdouny Hill enough. A lovely walk and once you get away from the mature trees and into the wilder parts it’s great, so much lichen on the trees and a lovely old feeling to everything. The plantation is being harvested so it’s probably only about 40 years old. The views are excellent though.