Our busy holiday was coming to a close with only a couple of days left and three hills to visit. All three could have been done on the same day, but they would have to be rushed and, along with the temperatures being so oppressive and propagation been poor after midday, it would not have been fun.
Our routine was now to do tourist things in the afternoon, siesta late on, have an early evening meal (easier to get in the better restaurants without pre-booking) then an early-ish night. This allowed us to get up and be at the bottom of any climbs before sunrise. Today we were to do Negros (CT/AL-006) and Rocha dos Soídos (CT/AL-005).
We had previously passed the parking and start of the climb to the top of Negros noting the steepness of the beginning and had dismissed the walk till later in the week. It was now later in the week. The only way to describe the climb is to give a near equivalent of a GW/MW summit that many in the UK will be familiar with, Corndon Hill (GW/MW-013). Think a fraction less gradient without the steps from the stile at the bottom of the climb.
The route up to the summit of Negros (CT/AL-006)
The walk on a wide quad-bike track takes you up through cork-bark trees where the lower sections have been harvested. In the area you will see many piles of bark ready to be collected for processing into various items. Once at the top, the now familiar Portuguese trig-point dominates.
Approaching the summit of Negros (CT/AL-006)
Looking back down the track (there is a geocache to the left)
Setting up in the shade of the trig-point, the summit was effortlessly qualified with a run of 19 chasers on 17 metres including a summit to summit with HB9HCS/P before changing over to 20 for another 12 contacts. By now the heat of the day was showing its power (even though it was only 8:30am!) so we didn’t stay too long as we wanted to be up the next hill before it got too hot to be comfortable.
Looking west from the summit of Negros (CT/AL-006) with a view of Serra da Rocha da Pena (CT/AL-007) and, in the far distance, Serra de Foia (CT/AL-001)
Helen, it wont fall over
View of the summit from the northwest as we travelled to Rocha dos Soídos (CT/AL-005)
Rocha dos Soídos (CT/AL-005) in contrast is an easy walk once you find the right approach. At the start of the path is a collection of houses with potential parking but because they seem to be part of the dwellings and our Portuguese is not sufficient to ask permission, we parked a little lower down the hill where previous geocachers had suggested. The logic, as usual, if there is a geocache at the summit there is at least some permission for access.
The route up to the summit of Rocha dos Soídos (CT/AL-005)
Our view of of the summit from the parking with its steep drop on the north side
Once you find the beginning of the path opposite the last house and passing by a dilapidated summer house, the climb takes you over fallen drystone walls and across old agricultural fields till finally the top of the escarpment, topped by the trig-point, is found amongst the shrubs and bushes. This is where the very small footprint of my vertical is an advantage as it is easy to squeeze into any location.
Take the faint track to the left of the summerhouse
I started on 17 metres which was slow but with reasonably strong stations allowing me to pass to Helen each time to complete the activation. These dried up after 8 contacts (two from Spain and six from the UK) so I moved onto 20 metres for some fun. Straight away there was a summit to summit with HB9CYX/P who had spotted, then another 25 contacts as I call CQ. This included another 4 summit to summits including HB9EVF/P and HB9HXJ/P on the same summit. No DX but plenty of interesting European stations.
Our activation location just below the trig-point
Looking north over the village of Sarnadas
Today seemed to be particularly warm as even in the shade we again had the concern the ‘817 and amplifier were getting far too hot while being used. We had spent another enjoyable hour on the summit before leaving, again, retreating back to the car.
These two hills were our favourite pair so far probably, more to do with being accustomed to the area and the climate but now we had just one day left to enjoy.
Equipment used: FT-817 running 2.5 W into a HF Packer Amplifier providing about 20 W into a linked quarter wave vertical for 20 m and 17 m
8 full days from 28th July to 4th July 2023 with 12 summits activated, including an unactivated summit in EA7/CA, with 310 contacts (22 s2s) for G6WRW and 112 contacts (15 s2s) for M0YHB (422 contacts in total) over 9.5 hours of operating
Also 1800 km driven, 35 geocaches found and a day in Gibraltar
Day 5 - Gibraltar