It's not always this easy

I wanted to try something closer to home today, and the Hill of Tillymorgan (GM/ES-079) fitted the bill nicely. It’s an easy walk along a 4x4 track and then a comfortable stroll through fairly well-trimmed heather to reach the trig point. The summit area is covered with the remnants of slate quarrying that finished over 100 years ago. At the peak of production, this and nearby Hill of Foudland (GM/ES-071) quarries produced almost one million hand-split slates per year until competition from the new railway made these two remote workings unviable.

The summit is marked with a trig point and is flat, boggy and open-topped. I had a new Sotabeams Tactical Mini mast to try along with their 20/40m dipole. I used the third guy supplied by Sotabeams to form a flattened triangle and, on the second attempt, got the mast to stay upright.

Bennachie with Mither Tap and Oxen Craig standing out in the Aberdeenshire panorama.

The trig point made a great backrest, complete with a stone seat.

I was concerned that there may have been a competition taking place and band space may be limited, but plenty of bandwidth was available, so I started off on 40m. This brought about 11 QSOs from all over the UK, the furthest being Cornwall and a few from Scotland, including the Island of Uist.

SOTA dog was not impressed with 40m, so I moved to 20m after disconnecting the pesky crocodile clips. This raised Europe with 13 QSOs from Portugal to Poland. As it was so warm (9 degrees C), I decided to try 40m again. I thought that the antenna had become disconnected; it had gone so quiet, but I managed to raise Jack GM4COX, who had missed my original spot. We had a good ragchew about SOTA as he was one of the original SOTA protagonists apparently.

It was time to walk down, as the dog was getting bored. There are now three huge wind turbines on the ridge, which, for some reason, I find quite spooky to walk under. The views were amazing though, with Lochnagar, Bennachie, and Ben Rinnes all easy to pick out. It was a nice day and no sore legs!


Well, relatively speaking! It’s amazing the difference three days makes though. On Wednesday Morven was in full winter conditions. Driving home tonight and most of it had gone, with just a cap of old snow remaining.

@GM4COX Jack loves a ragchew, especially when you are mid pile-up :rofl:.


I could never take our labs on an activation - they would be going nuts with boredom after 3 minutes ( or 5, depending how long their pieces of carrot last).


He’s the calmest most biddable Lab I’ve ever had.

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When it hits double figures it will be taps aff.

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I did speculatively put a pallet of charcoal out at work today, however the garden dining sets remain at the back of the warehouse.


Always one for putting one off one’s stride - hi!

All quiet on the ‘Western Front’ when I had the chat with Chris.

And Chris it was our second SOTA QSO - wkd you on GM/ES-036.

Interestingly I gave a talk at the STIRLING CLUB last Thursday (28th) night about the early days of SOTA in Scotland, early kit and it’s predecessor SWAMP (Scottish Work All Munros Project - 1990’s) sponsored by my own Club WoSARS.

Till the next time.




Always love to chat to you @GM4COX , especially on 2m from those high Cairngorms summits. :grinning:

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I’m always amazed how much dogs like carrot. Our time-share hound prefers you give her small pieces rather than a big chunk. She also likes sprouts but again not whole ones, just leaf after leaf fed to her.

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Yes, we gave up giving ours biscuit treats and just use chopped carrots. They like the crunch and they don’t get fat.

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I never thought this thread would take this direction, but I can only think of one thing when I know my dogs have had carrots, and you probably know what it is. It makes them easier to find though.

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Excellent report Chris. I don’t have a dog myself so can’t comment on the carrot diet, but thinking about it maybe I should carry one as a aide to not getting bitten like I did last year after an activation (GM/SS-076). :wink:

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Good photos and it looks as if your weather is better than ours! Where did you park for GM/ES-079 (and for ES-071) as they are both high up on our list for our next Scottish jaunt in a month’s time? If they are fairly straightforward I did wonder if going up different hills and then swapping summits was feasible (with a bit of a hitch hike in the car as they are a small distance apart) as I find it so difficult to get completes on 2m (tho’ I have actually chased 079 but not 071) but I haven’t mentioned this to the mangement yet…! Is there suitable parking at the bottom of the tracks? Thanks for yuur advice and keep on going up these hills and posting the routes, please, but leave some until the 4 - 11 May when we ill be staying near Aboyne (and the week after based at Aberlour) if all goes well.
73 Viki


Hi Viki. I have details of the 079 parking on my activation report of April 2022 which should help. As for 071, I go up a slightly different and longer way from the west side as opposed to the more often-used east side route as it’s closer to my QTH (and the one Chris used this weekend) but it is shown in my activation report of November 2022. Sadly, I’ve never done them both together so perhaps someone who has done so can advise. I recall working you on 2m (and 70cm?) from 079 on your previous trip north so hopefully the North-East SOTA troops will be out in force to ensure plenty of VHF contacts for you. 73 Mike


I did them both but used the car to move between them. @M6BWA You need to presuade a friendly NE SOTA person who needs to do one of these to act as your driver!

Looking forward to another week of 2m and 70cm carnage. This time we will all meet to meet for lunch. If you can both be persuaded down from the hills, that is.


For Hill of Tillymorgan, I parked on the verge outside the old Kirk. The derelict buildings are now in use.

There is a nice parking spot for the ascent via Red Hill for Hill of Foudland. You will need to leave the main path right at the start, as there is a lot of storm damage that I doubt will be cleared in a rush. The alternative route is reasonably well-trodden, although the lower parts are a bit more sketchy.

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