There are a couple of SOTA summits that are very likely candidates for a dual activation and that’s what we did today. GM/SS-104 and GM/SS-105 are two hills either side of a saddle point after a couple of mile walk in. I did them myself in one day last year but chatting with Chris, MM0UHR put me in mind of a plan to activate them together. And today that was what we did. The weather wasn’t the best with quite a strong wind. but it was behind us on the walk in.
We did discuss signalling between the summits, we used 70cm handhelds but to be honest if it wasn’t for the wind we could have used flags ! Chris used 2m and 70cm while I also tried some HF which worked despite the jaunty angle of the antenna in the strong wind, but as Ken, GM0AXY pointed out the pole doesn’t have to be vertical as long as the wire is in the air !
Attached is a picture of Chris MM0UHR at the top of GM/SS-104 taken from the summit of GM/SS-105.
So a good day out and we both got completes at the same time.
Nice one Andy and Chris. I like the idea of “Instant Completes”. Something to consider when Paul G4MD and I gst around to activating the pair.
I think I have the greatest temperature range for a repeated activation. It was -11C when I first did that pair in 2007 and 27C when I repeated them in 2021. What’s that, a 38C difference
I’ve added some pictures to the SOTL.as entries for these two hills which show the view of GM/SS-104 from GM/SS-105 and vice versa and also the gate in the middle where the track meets the fence that joins both hill tops. The fence makes a good handrail during the ascents but watch out for old wire lying in the grass/heather.
Chris had Strava and aprs running so he may be able to add the .gpx file later as well.
Hi Andy I enjoyed reading your report very much as we visited those 2 hills in September 2020 but, on that occasion, we travelled together rather than swapping summits - which I now regret as I don’t expect to ever get completes of either of them as we live far away and 2m contacts are unlikely from our local hills!! What I would like to know is which route you went.as we reckoned we made a mistake by leaving the track soon after passing the gate and crossing a small bridge to the right and aiming for SS-105 but found the terrain got more challenging as we got nearer to Meall Reamhar and this was before we started the steepish ascent. After activating we followed the fence down (rather carefully as it is steep) and then the stiff pull up to the SS-104. From there we didn’t go back down again by the fence but basically aimed to lose height gradually and rejoin the track at a suitable point (track walking is NOT my favourite activity) and this worked quite well. With hindsight we decided we should have used the track for a lot longer on the way in but probably not to the fence as the ascent is so steep from there (on either side).but, if swapping summits, then you wouldn’t be walking together for so long. Which did you choose - company for most of the way there and back but steep ascents and descents or more gradual routes up and down but less time together? What ever method, we enjoyed the hills and the area very much and would think of re-visiting if only we lived a bit closer.
73 Viki M6BWA
We walked in together as far as where the fence meets the track. Then we did the steep climb using the fence as a hand rail. Me for ss104 first and Chris for ss105 first. The we both followed the fences to cross over at lunch time.
Last year when I did these myself, I left the track early to go up ss104 first but found it hard going so this year just followed the fence route. Coming down I used a bit of the quad bike track on both hills which is to the south side of the fence. SS105 descent was wetter and more slippery. I met a couple of Shepherds on quad bikes at the top of ss104 last year. The tracks are just visible on the new pictures I posted to sotl.as today.
My route in 2021. I parked in the wide entrance to Girron Farm. Up to the farm and around and along the track. I did Meal Caorach first. The gap between the summit and descent is where I forgot to power up the GPS on the next section. Down to the track. Straight-ish up to Meal Reamhar. Straight back down and along the track. It was 25-27C so I decided the track was the easiest walking.
I think that will definitely be helpful, though nowadays I seem to cope better with the flatter gradients and the steep bits. The slopes inbetween which cover 80% of the climbs are the hard part.
Thanks for the map Andy. I had forgotten about the farm and that we turned off to the right almost straight after it (mistake, keep to the track). I don’t think I would actually want to go up either side directly beside the fence because of the steepness. I know I veered off the direct line up Meall nan Caorach but I often prefer to zigzag if the terrain permits.
Coming down I used a bit of the quad bike track on both hills which is to the south side of the fence.
I had no idea, Andy, there were any quad tracks around on the south side. They sound useful - with care!
Tx 73 Viki
Hi Andy,good to see you were both out and enjoying the 2 Grahams in the Sma Glen.I did each one on separate trips.You are quite right, the ascent can be challenging with the remnants of an old fence on the way to the summit of Meall Reamhar.If I remember correctly it was a lovely day and I decided to follow the fence line towards the Sma Glen road after my activation.Having reached the road,I decided to return to the car by General Wade"s road as the car was parked in Amulree.
A great day of radio,hillwalking and history.
Thankyou for your words of congratualations on my MG status
I have uploaded the OSM track I made that day, only to GM/SS-105. We’ll have to go back next year so I can get a track to GM/SS-104. What a wind! But it held the picnic blanket against the fence as an instant shelter so I did ok.
Got a wild contact on 70cms as well as the planned ones with MM7MOX.
@M6BWA this shows you the way we went, and we just swapped hills and then walked back to the car.
Meall nan Caorach