UK/Europe Trip / Road to Mountain Goat

Having been with my current employer for 10 years, I’ve got this funny thing called Long Service Leave. Since the original purpose was for those in the colonies to sail back to England for a holiday, I’m doing pretty much that, minus the boat bit.

My original intention was to finish mountain goat with the summits of the first day of SOTA but due to recent surgery and developing weather systems off the east coast here, I’m only going to get within 110 points before departing VK. That’s almost certainly too much, but lets see. At the very least I’m going to have a ball farming unique callsigns for the 10m challenge.

Arriving Friday June 7th, I’ll spend a few days in London with friends, then from Manchester, drive up to Fort William an stay there for 5 nights with the obvious goal of activating GM/WS-001 Ben Nevis. Normally tackling it via the CMD Arete would 100% be my kind of thing to do, but that’s probably not realistic for several reasons, so probably the tourist trail. I have the pair of Ben More GM/SS-001 and Stob Binnein GM/SS-002 in mind and also some distilleries…

Sat 15th - Mon 17th I’ll be based in Ambleside Lake District. Of course Scafell Pike G/LD-001 is the priority, and to be honest I may be more focused on sightseeing/photography but Helvellyn G/LD-003 is another option.

Tues - Sunday 23rd I’ll be in Wales somewhere. Again Snowdon GM/NW-001 is the main goal…probably via the Pyg/Miners track. My intention in Wales is actually to stay around the Mach Loop with the hope of the right weather conditions and timing for low flying aircraft.

Sunday evening I fly to Munich and will spend a week based in Friedrichshafen. I’m catching up with another VK operator and will plan to do some summits in southern Germany, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, along with soaking up the Euro 2024 atmosphere.

Since I’m travelling solo in the UK, I don’t have any pressures so planning will be largely weather, mood and more important, physical tiredness dependent.

If any one has any suggestions of summits that are “must dos” in those regions I’d be interested.


I’ve packed wet pants, gaiters, and my regular (good) hiking boots, but do I need to consider more serious wet weather shoes such as gum boots? Multiple boots for one pair to be drying?

I’m going with the tactical mini pole from Sota Beams with a guying kit, along with some other light poles as backup. Are there any concerns I should be aware of regarding types of pegs to be used? Is aluminium okay on UK summits? I’ve been practicing setting up in windy conditions but not sure I’m completely prepared.

I’m expecting serious crowds on at least 3 of those summits. On Snowdon at least, I plan on being handheld on 10m and probably 2m with a mini whip. Otherwise probably the half wave vertical for 10M and a trapped EFHW for 40,30,20. Any etiquette concerns I should be aware of?

Andrew VK3JBL


If you want to bag points, then DM/BW has many 10pt summits, some with very little hiking involved. Farther away from Friedrichshafen, there is FL/VO, with equally valuable and interesting summits.

On many of these summits, I hang my (endfed) between trees, so no pole needed (but always good to have as backup). When use the mast, I usually tie it to a fence post, bench, hiking trail post etc, so no pegs needed.

Etiquette: the usual: try to stay a bit away from the tourist crowd, but still in the activation zone. Most summits around Friedrichshafen (except possibly for the alpine summits) should have enough space for everybody. Be aware though, that during Ham Radio, the summits around Friedrichshafen tend to be activated heavily.

I wouldn’t take gum boots, as they’re not made for hiking. But then I don’t activate when the weather is bad. A 2nd pair of lighter hiking boots might be a good idea.

Summits around Friedrichshafen: Höchsten DM/BW-854 is an “almost drive-up”, heavily activated, with big activation zone and good view over the landscape.
In Switzerland, Kaienspitz HB/AR-004, offers an open view to Lake of Constance and Germany. Säntis HB/AI-001, Hoher Kasten HB/AI-005 and Kronberg HB/AI-007 offer equally good views, but are farther away. The last three are accessible by cable car ($$$), I propose them based on their view and the fact that you might not have much time for hiking.

Hope this helps and enjoy your Long Service Leave!
73 de Martin / HB9GVW


My experience of Snowdon was that it was stupidly busy. Unless you are very early you may struggle to find space for anything guyed. I held the mast and easily qualified on 2m FM. Scafell Pile has a bit more space. I doubt you will get pegs in, jamming rocks around the base is more likely. Andy suggested covering the bottom of the mast in Heatshrink to protect it from rocks - this works well. Good Luck!


Andrew , my personal view is to avoid summits like Ben Nevis and Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa as it is meant to be called now) like the plague. They’ll have hundreds of people milling around the top. Here’s a picture of Snowdon on a nice day in the summer.

Image (c)

I know when you have travelled so far you want to bag the “names” but I would consider some of the other big summits. Ben More and Stob Binnein will be busy but they wont be like that picture of Yr Wyddfa.

Säntis HB/AI-001 is great and the views are amazing but the cable car is about $95AUD return. I think I can fly one way Edinburgh to Geneva for the same price!

It would be worth looking at the SOTA map sites and seeing which other high scoring summits are nearby to Ben Nevis and Yr Wyddfa and consider those.


Argh! The Scots have stolen a Welsh mountain (probably not the first time) :wink:



I haven’t even landed and already started a cross border dispute!


Noted, the reasons for the big three is not just SOTA. Ben Nevis i was considering starting very early, by torch light, but I understand I won’t be the only one even doing that.

That crowd info actually helps me quite a bit because then I can lighten my pack significantly if I go 10m H/H and 2m FM on the big ones.

Heat shrink or duck tape on the pole is a good idea, I already scratched my new pole the other day.


Don’t, if you really want to tick it off. Unlike Snowdon, it has a huge summit and AZ. You’ll have room and should qualify on 2m. Go mid-week and arrive late afternoon for a quieter time.

Next week, there’s three full days of snow forecast for Ben Nevis, so go prepared!


Merci vielmal.

Despite living in Switzerland for 10 years I never made it to Säntis, somehow we never visited Appenzell that often so I’m really not familiar with that corner of the country. Useful advice.

We were considering HB0/LI-004 as a day trip, or at least something in Lichtenstein. New association.


My thoughts about the Lakes - Scarfell Pike is busy - but so is almost every other summit in the Lakes - but it is not in the same league as Yr Wyddfa (which feels a bit more like a tube station than a summit), and the AZ on Scafell Pike is big enough to move away from the crowds . Lots of routes up SeaFell Pike too - and the relatively quiet (and longer…) route from Eskdale wasn’t that busy last time I went that way! If anything Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Coniston Old Man seem to be busier and feel more like a procession getting to the top. As for the wx I would assume nothing, you are equally likely to get sunstroke as hypothermia… Most walkers wear leather boots with a good coat of treatment (fabric tend to get mashed by the rocks). In my option you would probably get away with one good pair of boots for the walk. Paul

PS There are more (expensive admittedly) mountain gear shops in the lake district than mountains so if you need more gear it won’t be a problem.


I can highly recommend hb0/li-004 !! I activateted it some month ago. Now I am waiting for the last snow to melt.


It’s obviously essential to activate The Cloud, G/SP015. The most activated summit in the SOTA program. Everyone should do it at least once.


Augstenberg HB0/LI-004 looks nice. You should have a nice hike and a good view from there. Thanks for the tip!

73 de Martin / HB9GVW

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They fly weekdays only, so something to add to your plans. If you luck out, it’s spectacular. Good luck and enjoy your trip.


Hi Andrew,
you probably have enough suggestions already, but when I wanted to add OE and HB0 to my log, I did two summits in one day, starting from Friedrichshafen.
Check the reports on my blog for OE/VB-525 and HB0/LI-012 (links to my reports are on the summit pages).
On the right side of my blog you will find a whole list of DM/BW and FL/VO summits that I visited, with indication of parking spot and walking times.
73 es cu in FN!


If you are short for time this summit is a quick and easy walk. Sure it’s not high scoring but as you may be doing it during the FN rally there is a strong chance that not only can you activate it for a new association and region but you may also find others activating it and can get the complete around the same time. That’s how myself and Paul W6PNG managed to complete it a couple of days apart.


I got a good display yesterday whilst on Ardsheal hill GM/WS-341 as a Eurofighter came down Loch Linhe and pulled a hard left turn to go up Glencoe at low level. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera ready and it was only a single aircraft.


After a few panicked days packing I’ve arrived in London. I was at the shops 6 hours before departure “upgrading” my tripod to save weight and space. Antennas were discarded etc.

Thanks all for suggestions. Given the forecast I’ll aim to activate Ben Nevis early on Tuesday taking advantage of jet lag. I have another much lower summit planned for Thursday after a distillery tour. Alerts to follow.


Be prepared for snow. The cold spell is due to continue through next week. If you give chasers some notice and have a reasonable antenna, it is possible to pull off a quick 2m FM activation from there. @GM7PKT Robin and @GM4OAS Gordon are nearby. @MM0XPZ Steve down in Greenock is also a regular 2m chaser.


I was listening to BBC radio Scotland on the drive up and they described the weather in northern Scotland to be more akin to winter than summer…

The drive into Glencoe was interesting to say the least.

Looking at the weather, Wednesday is looking somewhat clearer though temperatures unchanged. I’ll mull over this while eating dinner. I was late arriving due to insane traffic just out of Glasgow and scenery.