This year it is very likely that we will go back to the Lake District in August and maybe for a little longer (8 days instead of 5).
Being not far from Scotland I would like to activate a summit or 2 in the area north of Carlisle - Gretna.
Anybody got an idea which summit(s) are just north of the english/scottish border that are worth activating?
Thanks in advance,
If you go across the border at Gretna and then a little bit west, you can easily do Criffel GM/SS-130 (569m)
which is just south of Dumfries, about 50km from Gretna. It’s a steep but short walk up from the car park - described on the summits pages. Criffel has a great VHF take-off to cover all of England and Wales.
There are several other lower ones a bit further west (such as Pibble Hill and Bengray), with Cairnsmore of Fleet GM/SS-065 (711m)
a nice easy plod further west - about another 80km from Dumfries. Again there are details on the summits pages. Also a good VHF site.
There are also a few close to the A7 about 40km north of Gretna, but I’ve not done those yet so don’t know what they’re like.
Try this Hill-Bagging site
and click on areas 27 and 28 to see what’s available; this site shows the Marylins (though not the SOTA references). I’m sure someone will have put them on Google Earth somewhere but I don’t know where it is!
In reply to ON3WAB:
Well the obvious “just North of the border” hill is Peel Fell SB-004. The summit is England but the AZ extends into Scotland. You can activate this with a G or GM call depending where you sit. Not a trivial walk and up some naff roads.
In fact a problem is that a lot of the roads are a bit naff and it can take a while to get anywhere. However, that in mind there are many hills that are not too far from Carlisle. As John says, Criffel is a nice easy hill and you’d get (hopefully) a good view back to the Lake District from there.
40-50km NE of Carlisle you’ll find a bunch of 2pt hills including:
Wisp Hill SS-118 and Pikethaw Hill SS-136 (an easy double bag) and if you are fit and there’s enough daylight Ellson Fell SS-146 can be added to them.
Cauldcleuch Head SS-106 and Greatmoor Hill SS-114 form another double but on poorer roads that the previous and a bigger day’s walk.
Roan Fell SS-132 doesn’t look too hard and is accessed from the same road as the previous two.
Larriston Fell SS-161 is a walk up a transmitter access track followed by a yomp across the top. Quite easy.
The hills are in an area where there an no active SOTA activators. So they either get done by GM activators driving down from the Central Belt (Glasgow-Edinburgh area) or by G activators venturing North for a change. As such they are not activated very often which makes them desirable for chasers. Claudcleuch Fell and Greatmoor Hill haven’t been on the air for nearly 5 years.
Andy, GM Association Manager
In reply to MM0FMF:
Well the obvious “just North of the border” hill is Peel
Fell SB-004. The summit is England but the AZ extends into Scotland.
You can activate this with a G or GM call depending where you sit.
Oi, hands off a prime G summit Andy! The highest point is clearly in England. Not as though you have a shortage of decent summits north of the border. If it was up to me it would only be possible to activate this summit with a G prefix. You certainly wouldn’t catch me signing GM from there… indeed I didn’t!
Hi John, Andy and Gerald,
Thanks for the info. I will have a close look at those summits. Those NE of Langholm look interesting to do. I will keep you posted closer to date.
And I won’t go into the GM/G discussion, hihi. You will have to fight your own battle. We have a similar albeit political situation over here and have more than our hands full. I won’t bother you with the details.
In reply to GM8OTI:
Agreed that Criffel GM/SS-130 and Cairnsmore of Fleet GM/SS-065 are good ones: both
have paths to the top. Many of the other Southern Scotland hills will involve getting
over rougher terrain, though the highest of the Galloway hills Merrick GM/SS-028 also
has a path. However Merrick is a long drive from Gretna - it would probably be easier
to get to the iconic Tinto GM/SS-064 straight up the motorway.
Other ones I’ve done in that area that I’d recommend include Bennan GM/SS-224, which is
near to an outdoor sculpture park. There is a monument at the summit, though no path
(but the terrain was ok). We also did Mochrum Fell GM/SS-250 last year, which seemed
to have a good VHF takeoff for a little hill - unless it has been cleared by now the
debris from forestry felling would make HF tricky. Hightown Hill GM/SS-273 is an
easy walk in and not far from Gretna.
One to avoid is GM/SS-245 White Top of Culreoch: it’s not far from the road but the
terrain is horrible, and the top was rough felled forest.
I’ve got all these still to do, and looking forward to them.
You certainly wouldn’t catch me signing GM from there
You are missing all the fun Gerald! I enjoyed activating Black Mountain G/WB-001 (when it was in the English association) as MW1EYP/P according to my station position. I did intend to activate Black Mountain GW/SW-041 as M1EYP/P as well, but decided to choose a more comfortable and sheltered activating position that was just inside GW. I think Jimmy might have used his M call on that activation though (he continued to a position nearer the true summit for his activation - it is a large, long AZ on there).
Forestry can be a real pain. Jimmy and I encountered a good deal of clambering in summiting Hill of the Wangie GM/CS-121 last summer, and what appeared to be the simplest route to Bin of Cullen GM/ES-084, was seriously impeded by dense forest in the small area between road and valley, even though the path up the hill was then clear and distinct.
In reply to M3ZCB:
One to avoid is GM/SS-245 White Top of Culreoch: it’s not far from the
road but the terrain is horrible, and the top was rough felled forest.
Sorry Caroline, I must stand up in defence of this hill. I for one enjoyed it. If you want poor terrain, try Cairnsmore (Black Craig of Dee) GM/SS-170 - that’s real Galloway ground. Andy will pick you out a few “delights” as well, Hi!
In reply to M1EYP:
I agree, forestry is a real pain from ploughing to felling, I remember many years ago setting out to climb Ben Lui and finding a giant plough busily cutting furrows right across the footpath, the going was so time-consumingly bad that in the end we turned back and explored the lead mines instead!
One summit worth considering is Green Lowther, SS-056, its not close to the border but it is not far from the motorway and has a tarmac track to the radar station on the one summit. It’s forty years since I last climbed it but I remember it as a nice hill!
In reply to M1EYP:
You are missing all the fun Gerald!
Am I? I just prefer the tidy approach Tom… and yes, I did activate G/WB-001 as G4OIG/P ascended and operated from the English side and GW/SW-041 as GW4OIG/P ascended and operated from the Welsh side. Needless to say, I won’t use the same route to ascend G/NP-031 Birks Fell as I did for G/NP-021 Horse Head Moor, after all it wouldn’t be a new experience, would it?
In reply to G8ADD & others:
Green Lowther, SS-056
Hmmm… it’s a bit of a simple up, down, 4(7)pts please. There’s an awful lot of towers and metal up there. A 2m wide area repeater. And the orb, which, to be honest runs a little more 23cms RF than I’m comfortable with. The ERP if you’re down wind of the dish is either 40GW or 80GW. So the temptation to linger just isn’t there.
Tinto SS-064? “What’s the difference between Paris Hilton and Tinto Hill?” and we need say no more on that subject!
Dumfries hills can be lovely but hard work. Merrick isn’t hard by any means but it’s a fair walk and one hell of a drive from Carlisle. It also means driving on the A75 which is a very dangerous road, especially for drivers not used to RHD cars.
I’d still suggest the hills near Langholm as a 1st choice. In fact I fancy some of them for ISW this year.
I mentioned Carlisle as it is the last city in England before crossing the border. We would be staying in Keswick so the most direct route to Scotland would be through Carlisle I suppose.
In reply to G4OIG:
Sorry Caroline, I must stand up in defence of this hill. I for one
enjoyed it. If you want poor terrain, try Cairnsmore (Black Craig of
Dee) GM/SS-170 - that’s real Galloway ground. Andy will pick you out a
few “delights” as well, Hi!
I went up Cairnsmore of Dee pre-SOTA, and count it as the worst relatively
small hill I’ve been up: we attempted it as an afternoon walk and very nearly
gave up, but did make the top and get down again before dark! Despite being the
closest hill to our base on our last GM/SS visit we didn’t venture up it (though
we might have done if you hadn’t already claimed first activation!).
For more bad Galloway ground try the approaches to GM/SS-092 Millfore, though
the summit itself is pleasant grass/rock.
I did activate G/WB-001 as G4OIG/P ascended and operated from the English side and GW/SW-041 as GW4OIG/P ascended and operated from the Welsh side.
Very tidy indeed. Almost OCD-like. I’ve been up from under Hay Bluff three times, and from Gospel Pass (a much better starting point) once. Nonetheless, shortly after Hay Bluff, you are flirting with the national boundary most of the way to the summit, and maybe even crossing it several times!
Needless to say, I won’t use the same route to ascend G/NP-031 Birks Fell as I did for G/NP-021 Horse Head Moor, after all it wouldn’t be a new experience, would it?
Neither would it be the most obvious/logical ascent either! Although it could make a very satisfying circuit.
In reply to M3ZCB:
For more bad Galloway ground try the approaches to GM/SS-092 Millfore,
though the summit itself is pleasant grass/rock.
That sums it up Caroline. From my experience on Cairnsmore and from what others have said it does seem that the Galloway summits are pleasant once at the summit, but hard to access. I used the deer run by the fence up to White Top of Culreoch GM/SS-245 and found it relatively easy going. Afternoon sunshine helped of course - I do think the weather can provide a heavy bias as to how you view a summit.
In reply to M1EYP:
< Very tidy indeed. Almost OCD-like.
Don’t you start! I’ve enough to put up with my wife complaining that she has to keep moving otherwise she’ll get filed away some place.
Seriously though, it’s having a new experience each time I go out that floats my boat… hence the reason for making what is technically the same summit as different as possible second time around. Someone did suggest Cracoe accessed via Thorpe Fell Top, but I became rather deaf at that point!
Where did you approach Millfore from and what was the route. The map suggests a few lines of attack but hints on places to avoid are always welcome.
In reply to MM0FMF:
Where did you approach Millfore from and what was the route. The map
suggests a few lines of attack but hints on places to avoid are always
Despite the difficulty, we enjoyed the route. The easiest route is probably our
return route, though ascending from the forest track to the summit will be hard work.
I’d also note that Martyn and I are both quite short, and those with longer legs may
find deep heather, bracken and boggy tussocky grass less of a problem than we do.