I had a couple of days holiday to use up before the end of the year and the Winter bonus had started…
Factoring all this together with when the rest of the family didn’t need the car meant Monday, Wednesday and Saturday were the opportunities to get out on some hills with the radio.
The only fly in the ointment was the weather…
I’ve been doing some hills in East Lothian recently and eyeing up some of the 2 pointers for the Winter bonus, so Monday looked like Miekle Says Law (GM/SS-148) would be the choice. The weather was wet and lowering cloud as I headed East but at least it wasn’t icy like my previous drive out to Dirrington Great Law. When I parked up at the start of the track the visibility was only a few hundred yards in the cloud, it improved a bit as I set off since you descend at the start of the walk out to Meikle Says Law. One of the routes suggests a ford across the burn, but not this time, fortunately there is a footbridge on the alternative route.
The route out was initially good on landrover tracks then it was boggy heather in the cloud. I found my way across to the fence and followed it to the West, startling a few grouse as I went. I could hear the clanking and swooshing of wind turbines but couldn’t really see them, just tower bases and blade tips as they swung down out of the cloud. In the poor visibilty I was quite close to the trig point when I finally saw it across the fence. I set up some shelter and rigged the dipole for 40m and 15m with the flowerpot for 2m hanging off the antenna back guy. I got off the mark on 2m with some local QSO’s in to Edinburgh and then put a spot out on 40m and had a small pile up that went from Cornwall to John O’Groats with Belgium, Holland and NI in the mix as well. When 40m dried up I went on to 15m but it wasn’t to be, there was a lot of RF noise on that band. I’m guessing it was the windmills. It was starting to get very wet so I packed up and squelched my way back to the road. I startled more grouse on the way down and also a hare that was three-quarters white ! On the way home I stopped in Gifford at the Cafe Rouge where they did a very nice hot chocolate and coffee sponge.
Wednesday dawned a bit drier for my trip down to Stobo for the ascent of Penvalla (GM/SS-145). The walk in was quite flat initially along the John Buchan way and then got a bit steeper when the path branched off to the hill. There was no wind on the ascent but a light breeze at the top. I planned on being there for a couple of hours so put up some shelter again, this turned out to be useful since there was a sleet shower later.
I set up the antennas for 40m, 15m and 2m again. The radio was still set for 15m when I turned it on and there was Dalek SP8DR calling CQ, so straight in to the log. I then had a run of locals on 2m before a spot on 40m brought on a pile up. I got some s2s as well to Colwyn MM0CYJ on GM/CS-072 and Ian and Esther as EI4KT and EI3KT on EI/IN-031. After that I switched to 15m and a spot brought some further away QSO’s with OH3GZ, EA7GV, SV3IEG, SP6KEP. Furthest on the day was John W4ACW. There was a lull in the sleet just after this so it seemed prudent to pack up and head down the hill, there looked to be more weather on the way.
I managed to get back down the hill before the next wet stuff started.
Saturday again started dry but was forecast to be breezy for the trip down to Broughton Heights (GM/SS-128). The start of the walk is in a valley and was windless but the wind was quite strong as I came up out of it. The walk along the ridge to the summit was sometimes hard to stand up in. I got to th etrig point and setup just off the top on the lee side. It wasn’t going to be a long activation. I started on 2m and had a curtailed QSO as the pole came down. Once I got it rerigged I got a few more on 2m then hunted some s2s on 15m and 40m. Paul MM7FEE called in from Liverpool on 40m and then it was time to go.
Three summits in a week all different types of activation but each satisfying in it’s own way.