It’s 13 years since I last did this summit. I remember the views were fabulous as myself and Brian G(M)4ZRP climbed out from under a temperature inversion. I’ve never been back because unless the WX was going to be good it would spoil things. The WX forecast was for wall to wall sun and I was going to do Sgorr Gaoith GM/ES-009 but I didn’t fancy 5hrs of A9 driving on an Easter holiday and I wasn’t sure how much snow there would be at 1118m. So I wimped out for The Stob.
It was -1C when I left and peaked at 3C on the drive finishing at 0C when I parked. There is very little parking on this very minor road from Balquhidder along Loch Voil. But there are 2 spaces at the start of the track that takes you 3/5th of the way. There was someone opening the locked gate when I arrived and he was happy were I was parked. Result! Boots on, and I was taking a smaller array of gear. Just my Decathlon 6m Carbon pole, a single EFHW and the 817 and battery. No QCX’s, I’m waiting for a box to come to house the SWR meter.
It’s a fair climb to the end of the track. 290m in 3km. But the views… oh the views. The colours were just right.
Two activations on the run with silly blue skies… are we really in GM ?
So up the track and at the end, past the sheep pens then climb up the side of the valley to get out of the gloop at the start of the river. All the hills drain into the Allt Gleann Grotha so the ground is wet. There’s about 750 till the top of the glen and then you turn left and start the proper climbing. I’d forgotten there was so much climbing, no wonder Brian moaned on when we did it back then. Up, up, up and more up and I thought “hey the GPS hasn’t pinged for a while.” Yes, I’d been following my nose in the fabulous views and weather and was not walking towards the summit. Booger! About face and finally at the top, 25mins behind schedule
It was worth it. View overload!
Stob Binnein GM/SS-002 (1165m) and Ben More GM/SS-001 (1185m)
Stob Binnein GM/SS-002
Ben More GM/SS-001
Stob a Choin GM/SS-024, a ridiculously rough and steep mountain that only a few properly fit people have activated. I’m not one of them and probably never will be.
At this point having had those views I was content to go home. Well my legs wanted a rest and I knew Alan MM0VPM was doing a number of hills nearby. On with the handy and there was Duncan MM0GOG/P on Mendick Hill GM/SS-195 which I thought was a complete but I’d completed it a while back. Still nice to get a contact because there was no mobile signal. Don’t be silly, EE is everywhere on Band 20 but no, nada. Booger, no spotting, let’s hope RBNhole is up. I never did get an S2S with Alan.
I was concerned I only had 1 HF antenna (40/30/20/15/12/10) with me but it worked well as a CQ on 30m brought in plenty of trade. Yes no phone signal is odd so I really appreciated just how good RBNhole is. With comments about lower SFI etc. I expected the bands to be rubbish. Well there was no DX from Alpha Centuri but I worked 18 on 30m CW, 8 on 40m CW, 19 on 20m CW (ODX N4EX ) and 7 on 40m SSB by tuning in to the WAB net on 7.160MHz. The WAB net is my goto place when I want to do 40m SSB and can’t spot or just don’t want to have to deal with an angry and uncouth pile up. I called on 15m and was picked up by a skimmer but no QSOs.
Of course, when standing on the summit proper taking photos, I got a text. So there was a perfectly viable 4g signal, I checked SOTAwatch, but I was starting to packup at this point. I was behind the summit cairn using an old iron fencepost to hold the mast in place. I’ll know for next time.
I was on the air for 2hrs and it was just a touch too cool for a T-shirt activation at the start. By packup time the wind had risen from nothing to quite a bit and it was getting cool. Packup, and back by a slightly more direct route than the ascent. It took me 50mins to get back to the sheep pens and 40mins to the car. Plenty of energy drinks to make me a happy camper for the drive home on busy roads with people who should not be allowed to push a wheelbarrow never mind drive a car in traffic.
The Stob GM/SS-048 summit proper. Look at that sky!
MM0FMF, smiling for Brian G8ADD
Panoramas. The views are really good from here, so many of the good hills in this bit of Scotland are so visible.
Ben Vorlich GM/SS-008 (spike to left of centre), Stuc a’Chroin GM/SS-010, Beinn Each GM/SS-034, Ben Ledi GM/SS-023 and Benvane GM/SS-031
Ben Ledi & Benvane round to Ben Lomond GM/SS-011 and Stob a Choin GM/SS-024
Ben Lomond & Stob A Choin, Arrochar Alps, Stob Binnein GM/SS-002 and Ben More GM/SS-001
Ben More, Ben Oss GM/SS-005 Ben Lui GM SS-003 (far), Beinn Chuirn GM/SS-021, Beinn Odhar GM/CS-050, Ben Challum GM/CS-021, Creag Mhor GM/CS-013, Beinn Heasgarnich GM/CS-007, Meal nan Subh GM/CS-076, Meall Ghaordaidh GM/CS-017
Meall nan Subh & Meall Ghaordaidh round to Beinn nan Oighreag GM/CS-047, Meall nam Tarmachan GM/CS-015, Meall Corranaich GM/CS-010, Meal Gharbh GM/CS-004 and Ben Lawers GM/CS-001
Ben Lawers round back to Ben Vorlich
Ben Vorlich GM/SS-008 and Stuc a’Chroin GM/SS-010
Ben Lawers GM/CS-001 I tweaked the contrast etc. on this as the auto-exposure was having problems.
Looking from the summit back down. There really is nothing man made visible when on this summit. The forest in the right centre distance is where I am aiming for. The car is 3km from the left hand end of the trees.
Looking back up to the summit up one of the many steep slopes. The summit is a spike just right of centre on the skyline. It’s another 270m of ascent in 2km from the sheep pens.
Looking down to some Peat Hags, we have to cross this flatter bit to get to the final slope.
Looking up from the head of the glen. The Peat Hags are just over the top of the left on the skyline. From here, 750m of gloopy ground, then the track back to the car.
So the sky worked well enough for me. Shame about the phone signal or I could have spotted some more SSB. But RBHhole was just excellent for me. No faffing about, hit the CQ button on the keyer, call CQ 3 times ( CQ SOTA CQ SOTA DE MM0FMF/P MM0FMF/P) and then pick out the calls from the chaser calling you. Got to love the payback I now get from learning CW.
Traffic home was horrible not made better by me having too much energy drink in me.
My legs hurt now.