Strathfinella Hill GM/ES-075 - not a great day out

I selected Strathfinella Hill on Sunday March 24th to be out of any wind - it is a totally tree covered summit. That turned out to be the only plus in a very frustrating day.
This was my second visit, the first being back in Jan 2022 and I’m only posting this report in order to give an update on the route up. I tried to follow my original track - see previous report - but at the point where, 2 years ago, a path had been cleared through a mass of fallen trees, I found the route to be now completely impassable due to many more trees having been blown down in the interim. I spent 30 minutes or so trying to find a way through but eventually gave up, as all I could see in front was yet more fallen trees. I was also conscious of the fact that some of the trunks I was ducking under could be unstable.
I went back down the hill and eventually got to the top 1 hour and 15m later than originally advertised,via an alternative longer route, skirting a smaller hill to the SE. The other tracks up Black Hill shown on the map either don’t exist or were steep mountain bike tracks.

X marks the fallen tree barrier zone

©Crown copyright 2024 Ordnance Survey

Activation: KX3, 10m moxon, 40/20 Sotabeams linked dipole

Due to the solar flares, the bands were in very poor shape. I managed 13 QSOs on 40m with a S2S with MM7MOX/P, a spot brought 0 chasers on 20m, which was a first for me, and just 3 on 10m, OK2PDT being the only chaser, the other 10m QSOs being me responding to CQs from David,MM0ALM, who was 17Km NE of me in Stonehaven and Trev EA8DFC on Fuerteventura, who was DX of the day. After hearing nothing much at all on 12/15 and 17, I tried another 20m spot and was rewarded with 3 chasers - SP6KEP, EA2DT and F5JKK. I then called it a day at 1430, packed up and trudged back to the car, accompanied part of the way by a retired lorry driver from Perth, who appeared from the “clearing” containing the trig point just as I started down. I’m inclined to put this hill in my Do Not Return file, along with Creag Ghiubhais ES-067.


Indeed, it showed in your voice Simon. At least you had no problem qualifying the summit. It would have been the ultimate insult had you not. :hushed:

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I’m glad you persevered, thank you for the s2s. I wasn’t sure what qso’s I would get on HF yesterday. Like you , I got nothing on 15m or 17m but fortunately I had some of the same chasers on 20m and some local regulars on 2m. A far cry from a few weeks ago when we had our 10m qso from the Borders to the Canaries.

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That’s a pity Simon. I actually enjoyed that one when I did it. Quite bizarre sitting in dense plantation with the hidden trig nearby. I found the mountain bike track ok, after a steep start.

Crock GM/ES-056 is the only one on my “never again” list so far.

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I thought it was a lovely walk. But I did it before Storm Arwen (or whatever) brought lots of trees down. The biggest problem I had was nearly losing the exhaust pipe from my A5 on the track to the car park.

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Many thanks for this update - Strathfinella had just been put back on our list for May as I read somewhere that the summit trees had been felled. No mention of the debris before reaching it :frowning_face:
better luck with the next one.

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Oh dear, I hope I didn’t sound too depressed. On the other hand, the KX3 audio must be pretty good :wink:

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I think you went up from the North side?

Indeed. The swings and roundabouts of the solar cycle.

Its just as bad - huge water-filled potholes. I went back the long way round to avoid them.

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No, they are all still there. If you do go up I advise taking waterproof trousers as there is nowhere dry to sit down and I think it unlikely we’ll have a drought between now and May.

I can’t have. I walked there from Hill of Garvock. I must have walked the same route as you because I remember the big dog leg in the main forest road. When I came to a T junction with another forest road I saw a mtb. track going straight ahead up into the trees and took that.

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