Scotland 2024

Hi,

I’ve booked a week away in Scotland to do some SOTA activations, staying near Killin at the start of September. The aim is to get some experience of the highlands and also get some more points towards MG.

I’ve got some good ideas of routes in mind (Ben Lawers ridge, Ben More/Stob Binnein and maybe some around Glencoe, Ben Nevis), but still quite early days and my plans are flexible.

Is there any routes/summits that you recommend, can be big points or can be small if it is a wonderful hill that you enjoyed, some of my favourite activations have been on one pointers :grinning: Ideally not too much driving from Killin.

Also, is VHF doable on the summits around this area, or should I look at using HF more?

Many thanks,

Jared 2E0JFJ

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How much experience do you have in hill walking? Fitness level, and how is your navigation in mountain terrain?

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Hi
Most of my experience in Scotland was many years ago, but in comparison with England and Wales it is bigger, the walks in are usually longer, the ascents are often higher and although there are some paths you are much more likely to have to navigate carefully, there are lots of places where you can fall off or sink into the mountain. If it goes wrong you are much less likely to see anyone to get help. Having said that the mountains are stunning and for most hills you are less likely to find a large crowd at the top. There are quite a few reports on the reflector about using 2m / 70cm so it is possible. Have a look at the summit on [Sotl.as] (SOTLAS) and if you click into it you can see which bands previous activators have used and some of the reports too giving an idea of how hard it was to get contacts. I find the Walkhighlands website very useful. You will need to spot! Finally it is a big country and some of the roads are not very fast so you will need to look carefully at the travelling time to get to some of the hills from Killin.
Good Luck! 73. Paul

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Both.

The big hills around Lawyers are fine for VHF. So are the Munros around Crainlarich and down the side of Loch Lomond. Schiehallion also good, as are Ben Vorlich and Stuic a’Croin near Lochearnhead. Lower summits that don’t have a line of sight to the heavily populated central belt are best activitied using HF.

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I may go out on a limb, but I think Jared is one of the fittest SOTA activators in the UK.

He is a long distance trail runner having recently completed the 103K Dolomites 2024 Extreme Trail (with 7+km of elevation gain) and runs the UTS (Ultra Trail Snowdonia) 100K as well as other competitions.

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I was just going to say the same!

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Oh great shout about that walkhighlands website, looks like that will provide really useful info for the trip. That alongside sotlas/OS Maps will be great to plot routes out and get a sense for what the terrain is like! Cheers

Thanks Fraser, I like the look of Schiehallion so will put that on the list :grinning:

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Hi Jared @2E0JFJ ,

My experience of the summits in the Killin area has been superb fun on 2m with access to all the hams in the central belt.

My favourite walk in the Killin area is the circuit of 4 from Glen Lyon. Superb day out….apart from access/parking. Càrn Gorm, Meall Garbh, Càrn Mairg & Creag Mhòr (Walkhighlands)

The landowner is basically hostile towards anyone accessing the hills from Glen Lyon. I had trouble accessing the land (story for the pub), not parking. Now the war is on parking, they took out the car park and then lobbied to have the road declared a clearway. So I have no idea what is best nowadays - but if you can it is a rewarding set of hills.

Also, @MM0EFI’s recommendation of Scheallean is a good one - a fine hill without any of the above hassle. Gets a second from me.

Meall nan Tarmachan Is also a good easy day with fine take off and views !

Tim

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I forgot the more important question of beer and tea rooms:

  • Capercaillie Restaurant in Killin is good for meals
  • Ben Lawers hotel for post walk beer !
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Thank you. :+1: Jared might have been better giving a little more background- the question as written implies little knowledge. :eyes::eyes:

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Best for Jared to avoid these on this visit, Stalking season will have started in September and the estate will likely have blocked off the car park again. Not worth the bother, he has lots of other hills to choose from in the area.

73 Gavin
GM0GAV

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I’m not too far away from there in Crieff. There’s a couple of easy 1 pointers in Crieff, the Knock of Crieff GM/SS-264 and Torlum GM/SS-227. You can drive quite a way up the hill towards the Knock. I’ve tried activating Meall Nam Maigheach GM/CS-082 two or three times with no QSO’s whatsoever. It’s only a 325m ascent from the road so a cheap 779m hill. Navigation is easy just follow the wall to the top and there’s a cairn about 50m ENE from the wall end.

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You might enjoy doing the Lawyers ridge,
CS- 001 Ben Lawyers
CS - 004 Meall Garbh
CS - 026 Meall Creigh

I did those in 2022 in one rather long day lasting from 0830 and leaving leaving the 3rd top, Meall Greigh at 5pm. I didn’t arrive back at the car park until 9 pm. A pretty long day on the hill for me.

The only issue, problem or difficulty (depending on your scrambling talents) is the descent from Meal Garbh which was steep, loose and required the use of hands. I didn’t find it a problem and I was 72 so you should find it easy.

Just for info I was using HF and CW only. Someone else will tell you what the the VHF reception is like.

If you are interested my Activation report is at GM/CS-001, GM/CS-004 & GM/CS-026

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Ah, thanks for the heads up… I will give this one a miss, but maybe one for the future :grinning:

I did see GM/CS-082… Surprised you got no QSOs… But was that attempted on VHF only for you? Maybe that can be a HF hill for me :slight_smile:

No it was HF. Not withstanding earlier comments, I’ve never tried VHF north of Perth. Not saying it won’t work but I’ver never tried it. I’m planning on trying it again, it’s become a bit of a nemesis.

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I looked GM/CS-082 up on the map and thought it would be almost impossible on VHF as not many chasers live in Glen Lyon! Then I noticed I’d actually been up it in in May 2013 and got 5 contacts (I gave up having a memory some years ago!). Further investigation showed 4 2m fm contacts - Glasgow (2), Dundee and Stirling but i think it was a struggle. It was GM/CS-114 Drummond Hill which was a real non starter for me - too many trees! Anyway best of luck and do give VHF a try. If you can get a few VHF contacts on one of the higher hills early on then people will realise you are around and look out for your alerts and spots and treat it as a challenge to chase you on something lower.
73 Viki

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