SS-269 Woodhead Hill on 27/09/07

We were due a holiday and wanted to finish off the St. Cuthbert’s Way long distance path in the Scottish Borders that we started walking at Easter. It was also time to visit some relatives in Dumfries and Galloway. We went to Kirk Yetholm at first, completed our walk and visited Beamish and Cragside whilst up there. I agree with Tom M1EYP’s earlier comment on the Newsgroup - yes the food, ale and service in the Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm were superb Tom. We stayed 100m away from the pub on the village green at Cross Keys House.
A super B&B with big breakfast, fresh orange juice, porridge and home made marmalade. I’ll use this one again when I return to the Cheviots and do some activating there - it deserves more business!
On Thursday (27th Sept) we travelled over to Dumfries and it was SOTA time. We tackled SS-269 Woodhead Hill in Mabie Forest. It sits in the shadow of Criffel (SS-130) above the Solway Firth and was a “unique” having not been activated in the past. Mabie Forest is very much a mountain bikers paradise and the start of the 7 Stanes mountain bike ride. It was a two mile walk in from Forestry Enterprise Car Park (parking £2) at NX 94927094. A cafe and bike shop is available here - the bacon butties were cheap and very substantial. We walked on the tracks in the forest via NX 93447051 turning right at NX 93027051 and turned off left into the woodland at NX 90377129 to climb the hill. The earlier track at NX 93077118 is a non-goer due to fallen trees. The activation point was at NX 92757129 in the middle of the thick wood, where a narrow firebreak just allowed erection of the SOTAPOLE and dipole antenna’s. I alerted G4SSH via mobile phone (thank’s Roy) that I was on cue to start the activation and the first QSO was with F5AKL at 1405z on 40m CW. Roy G4SSH was next in the log. 22 QSOs were made on 40m CW, 40m SSB was then tried without success. I appeared to find a clear spot on the band but there were no takers. A move to 60m SSB proved worthwhile and another 16 QSOs were completed there. Last QSO was with Christine GM4YMM at 1507z. Judy (XYL) was feeling cold by now and vowing that this was probably going to be her last SOTA activation…time will tell. Photo’s are on the Flickr SOTA Pool and I will get round to entering the log data into the database later this week. Thank’s to all who made contact with me, G4SSH and any other spotters.

Phil G4OBK

Excellent report Phil. Glad to hear the Border is still as good. I want to go back there just so I can have that starter again - Field Mushrooms stuffed with Haggis, served in Whiskey Sauce. And a few pints of Border Ale.

In reply to M1EYP:

Having eaten (and drunk) there a couple of times recently I would agree with Tom and Phil. It is worth making a booking at w/ends as the can often be full- last week while activating Cheviot i bumped in to a Pennine wayer who had been living on noodles for the previous few days and was looking forward to a meal at the BH. We next saw him in the bar being told there were no spaces for meals!! (unfortunatley we were just drinking otherwise we could have helped).



Good advice. It was necessary to book a table by before 7pm both nights we were there - which we did.

In reply to M1EYP:
Yes Tom - booking is essential at The Border Hotel - we were turned away (very apologeticaly) on our first night but ensured we were booked in for 7.30pm on our 2nd/3rd nights. As we had the car we drove a mile to The Plough in Town Yetholm. It didn’t have the atmosphere of The Border but the food was still good - especially the local lamb chops, a nice portion of three. It wouldn’t have been fun if you had just completed the Pennine Way and then have to consider walking another couple of miles to get your evening meal!