Trip up North March 23rd to 27th

Sorry Phil, got distracted playing with SMP and using to look at the terrain, footpaths etc.

I’ll have a look at Ros in a minute or two. 17th anniversary of meeting my partner, Kate, today as well.

Thanks for all of the suggestions, and sorry if I don’t reply straight away.

I’ll scroll back and jot down all of the suggestions and will put together an itinerary.

Next question is what bands to take. I see that from previous activations at many/most sites 2M seems very popular, which is understandable, but I’d like to try some of the less used VHF/UHF bands if I get the chance. I now have a Moxon for 6M, bought from SOTABeams of course, and I may add a 4M version as well.

OK, here’s my initial itinerary, subject to change if necessary and I may have to abandon some if work takes longer than expected or the weather is poor, of course. Activations will almost certainly be in the early evening.

Tuesday 24th - Brown Carrick GM/SS-260
Wednesday 25th - Bishop Hill GM/SS-187 or Benbeoch GM-SS-186 (if I can figure out a good route to walk to Benbeoch)
Thursday 26th - Benarty GM/SS-242 (As long as I can find a route to walk as there are no paths marked on the OS Map at )

Summits I considered, but at the moment have decided I can’t do are;

Ross Hill - Looks like a good one to walk to but according to the route finder at the AA site it is a 1 hour 25 minutes drive north of where I will be staying on Monday night.

Dumyat - Looks like a difficult approach from the maps

Corse Hill - It’s about 1 hour drive from both Ayr and Stirling and Brown Carrick looks a better bet

Cairnapple - Looks a bit far from where I will be staying

Tosson Hill - Looks a bit to far to walk from nearest road

Long Crag - Looks a bit to far to walk from nearest road

As I say, things may change before I start out on Monday 25th. :smile:

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

I would suggest reading the reports on the Scottish Hills forum for the best means of access to the hills.

I have been told that Benarty is accessible up through the woods from the south and has a large AZ, so you need not necessarily go all the way to the top. Dumyat is accessed most easily from the west, though I make the walk around 3.5km - starts at around 150m > 418m summit.

Brown Carrick is definitely the one to go for from Ayr. As for Northumberland, the choice is limited, but I would go for Ros Hill as it is a simple ascent. Probably easiest to spend a little more time getting there than spend time on the ascent and descent. My second choice would be Long Crag over Tosson as the route is simpler.

If Benbeoch is in your plans, I think Neil 2M0NCM has details of the best route.

The route and parking info Benarty is already on here.

I’ve been using the reports on the SOTA ‘View’ links to see where other people have parked. I must have missed seeing that there is a Scottish Hills forum, I’ll have a search for it in a minute.

Don’t forget the search feature here… it works very well.

The information that I’ve been using, so far, are the pages like this one. I’m obviously missing some additional useful information, so I’ll do a search.

The problem on Monday is logistics. I will be traveling up from Derbyshire, some 143 miles at 2 hours 40 mins plus a stop along the way.

If I can get away at a reasonable time, I might consider Ros Hill, but it adds a 100 mile round trip and 2 more hours traveling time to the day.

This link should take you to the sub 2000ft Scottish Marilyns directly -

Benbeoch is just a ‘maybe’ and I only plan to do one summit each evening, so it’s between Benbeoch or Bishop Hill on Wednesday. If someone can advise on which one is most straight forward to get to, that may make the decision easier.

Sorry to appear to be a wimp but I really do need to consider my fitness, or rather lack of it, and keep my ambition within my capabilities. Bardon Hill last month was OK, but I had to watch my asthma and pace myself. I used to do a lot of hill walking in my youth, so the realization that I’m no longer as young as I used to be comes as no surprise really. :wink:

Once I improve my fitness levels and keep the breathing on a steady level, I’ll think about more ambitious climbs maybe.

I’ll probably take the 6M beam with me on the trip, but contacts wont count for the 6M/10M challenge of course. It will, at least, give me some practice at putting the antenna and pole together under real conditions.

I’ll also have the MKI 2M 3 element as well as the MKII 2M/70cm beam so I can hopefully use the MKI on 2M horizontally polarized and the other with 70cm horizontal and the 2M on that antenna vertical for FM use.

Not sure if I will take HF antennas, I’ll have HF from the Elecraft. I used to do a bit of 60M and I guess a dipole for 40M and/or 20M wouldn’t be difficult to make up over the next few weeks…

Are people making plans for the 6M/10M challenge yet?

Yes, apart from getting the database ready, I’ve spent sometime looking into which antennas to use. The equipment is affected by how far you want to carry it of course. So the main plan is to continue with simple wire antennas where possible, certainly on 10m. It’s a few years since I was keen chasing SpE and Au signals on 6m and that was with a 5ele Tonna and I’m left wondering how viable something like a dipole would be in comparison. I could always add some oomph as I have an old MM 100W amp which the 817 will drive to about 65W out.

The WX is really horrible today, it was blowing very hard last night and wet. Now it’s breezy and wet with snow predicted for later. I’m going to make up some of the bits needed for the 10m design instead of going out.

Been thinking about a 6m beam but after the weather conditions on the last few activations the doublet will be my main choice on the challenge. The T1 ATU along with a 4-1 current balun seems to get a match on 6m weither its effective or a dummy load I soon find out when the challenge starts, most importantly I can use the other bands with this setup.
Rig wise will be the trusty ft817,I having been thinking about purchasing a small amplifier for 10m but will wait till the challenge starts.


Currently I’m planning on using a SOTABeam 2 element Moxon for 6M and possibly a wire dipole for 10M. I also have a whip antenna for 10M which I guess I could make up some radials attached to an SO239.

Radios will be FT817 and KX3 as both will do both bands. Not thinking of any amplifiers as yet, may have to re-think that if I find making contacts difficult…

I would bring something for 40/20 too.

I still hope to activate some of the summits discussed. VHF/UHF FM activity using the 2M/70cm and 4M handhelds can be guaranteed, as long as I get to the top of the hills. I will also have my KX3 for 6M and, if I can put it up in the air on my own, the SOTABeams Moxon antenna.

As for HF, I will have to rely upon various wires and ground planes that I’ve used in hotel rooms, with varying degrees of success.

I had hoped to have been better prepared by now, but personal issues and work have conspired against putting more efforts into improving my portable station.

Tomorrow I’ll be packing for the week, so I’ll try to remember to take all the bits I need, one of the things I intended to do was make up a SOTA equipment list to make sure that I didn’t forget anything…

SLAB use will probably be not an option, as I’ve not had time to put together a set of connectors, so internal batteries will be the only source of power, but I will take a charger to recharge cells over night at the hotel.

Not ideal, so already setting myself up to fail somewhere along the week, but I’ll post self-spots with band and mode as soon as I get to a SOTA site.

Nearer to Newcastle is Tossen Hill this is south of Rothbury. Road up the valley is closed so diversion necessary up the A697. For further info drop me an E mail to: QRH Morpeth.


David G0EVV

Thanks David,

I looked at that but I’ll be starting off somewhere around mid-day and will check into the hotel 1st, so will need an easy approach to the summit as it may be getting on towards dusk and Ros looks like an easy approach and 1st hill to put the stuff together at.

I’ve uploaded some alerts. I’ll be concentrating on 6M, ready for the 6M/10M challenge, I will have 4M CW if I make up a suitable antenna in time, and the 4M FM handheld plus 2M/70cm FM handheld.

I can’t promise HF as I’ve not had chance to make up a good antenna system. I might take the Sandpiper multi-band vertical and some lengths of wire, but if it’s busy on VHF I may not get chance to set up HF.