Lord Arthur's final journey

A day of waiting for the wind to drop turned out to be a superfluous activity as it appears that when the Met Office say that the wind will diminish they mean quite the opposite. Anyway, up we went to Lord Arthur’s Hill (GM/ES-062) so named after an incident in 1571 when the body of Lord Arthur Forbes, called ‘Black Arthur’ because of his dark complexion, was being carried over the hill for burial in Auchindoir churchyard. During an unseasonable snowstorm, the coffin bearers rested near the summit where there is now a ruined stone shelter called “The Summer House”, believed to be built on a much older cairn.

Was the verge that I was parking on a little soft? No, it will be fine. I’ll come back to this. The walk-up is via a Land Rover track, so it’s pretty easygoing despite the incline. The weather was a mixture of sunshine, sleet, and lumpy rain that was turning into snow. On the summit is the huge shelter cairn, probably the ruins of the Summer House, located about 100 yards from the trig point.

I decided to take shelter in the cairn, with the mast nicely supported on the other side. As I was rigging the inverted V, the Strathdon Walking Society approached me and accused me of being a spy. I’m not sure there is much to spy on in the Corrine Hills, but it added to the entertainment. I tried 40m first, which resulted in 6 UK QSOs, the furthest being in Cornwall. At this stage, someone started tuning up all over me and then an S9 screech started that I have never heard the like of before. I moved to 20m and managed 14 European QSO’s, the first being a S to S with Austria which came as a bit of a shock due to the length of the callsign (OE/IN3ADF/P) - thanks for the summit Markus.

A couple of walkers appeared and wanted to eat their lunch in the shelter of the cairn so I quickly packed up and started on the easy descent back to the car. Some fine views on the descent.

A good day out despite the strange conditions being caused by the solar activity.

Remember I thought the car would be fine? It wasn’t, and despite using all the different curses I could think of, the little Polo wasn’t going to budge. Luckily, a couple of walkers were just about to realise the same fate, so we had a mutual car-pushing session, and all was good. I’ll take the Land Rover next time…


I like Lord Arthur’s Hill. The drive in takes you to a part of Aberdeenshire you’d probably never ever visit.The track is nice and really needs to be tried on a mountain bike one day. Good views south from the top and that nice big shelter. It is actually too high for a sunny day - it really keeps the sun out.

As for getting stuck, well as I said on WhatsApp, I only take the Land Rover for the last 5m of the journey. :grinning:


Now you tell me! As you say, without SOTA I would never have visited.


Another point in favour of joint activations. I’ll add a note to my summits schedule. I do have 4WD and off road capability, but I’d prefer not to test it out, especially as pushing is probably not that easy with a vehicle weighing 1.8 tonne. :grinning:

Conditions were indeed pretty dire today, so it was good to work you on 40m. Concentration definitely required!

73, Gerald


Thanks Chris for a great write-up with some lovely photos. If it makes you feel any better, I also managed to get my small car stuck on a verge on a SOTA trip to South Wales a couple of months ago. Unfortunately there wasn’t anyone around to help with pushing, so I had to resort to calling out some recovery. As the car was getting recovered, a passing boy racer stopped to have a good gawp, just to add to my indignity!

The car wasn’t supposed to be facing in that direction!

Anyway, glad you were able to get back on the road again, and well done on a successful activation!

73, Matthew M0JSB


I have a Defender 90 sat at home but I was too mean to use the diesel!


I nearly got a hire car stuck in some mud in France after an activation. I was a bit concerned because I knew a lot of right foot pedal work would get me out. But that would cover the side of the car in mud and it was only about 35mins away from Lyon Airport were the car was due to be handed back. ISTR rocking gently on the throttle got me going. Just as I was to turn off the hill road to head back to the Autoroute I found the proper car park :blush:


I saw your spot and was hoping for s2s from Goseland hill GM/SS-203 but unfortunately couldn’t hear you. It was a great day to be out on the hill though.
Glad you got “unstuck” in the end.

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Thanks Andy. The conditions were peculiar yesterday and 40m was quite difficult. It’s always a good day on the hill!