I was just browsing the database to find out which summits in England and Wales have not been activated this year and there were very few indeed. One thing led to another and my mind wandered and I decided to look at the Northern Ireland summit database and was surprised that some summits although activated at some time in the past are very rare indeed - for example, Mid Hill GI/AI-006 in the Antrim Hills last activated by GI0RQK/P on 20 Jul 2002. I tried to pull up the OS map using the normal link - zilch! I was appalled to see that the best that I could find online is nothing more than a simple road atlas. Therefore to actually research a potential activation the relevant sheet of the OSNI Discoverer 1:50,000 series has to be obtained.
In G, GM and GW we certainly have it easy. There is no need to make the effort to purchase the appropriate map before an activation since the 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 are available for download on OS Get-a-map. Richard’s POI file for the TomTom has also taken out all of the hard work in route planning.
I wonder whether this need for additional preparation is putting potential activators off.
I share the slight irritation of not being able to research Irish summits online as I can across the GB. IOM you can get to 1:50000 online.
My XYL Marianne is from Larne in Co. Antrim, hence we have visited there several times. The best I have been able to get for the Antrim Hills (GI/AH) are the OSNI Discoverer 1:50000 maps that Gerald mentions. These are OK, accurate enough, but force you to take extra care when you are used to using 1:25000 maps out on the hills.
I understand that a series of 1:25000 maps are available for the area of the Mournes (GI/MM), but these are not sourced on Get-a-map, which only goes as far as 1:250000 in GI. We must get back over there sometime - hills to be activated! Mid Hill GI/AH-006 is one of the remaining three AHs for me - although I must activate them all again of course, as Jimmy still needs the lot - even though he has summitted all those that I have activated!
In reply to G4OIG:
I don’t see why the lack of on-line facilities should put potential activators off, it isn’t all that long ago when such facilities were undreamed of, but we still went and climbed our mountains! We used to avidly read our copies of the Poucher guides and the like and purchase our maps or borrow them from mates when our plans were made - this was part of the fun! My impression is that there are more area guides on the shelves in good outdoor shops than there used to be so the information is there for those prepared to search for it.
Incidentally I have a map of the Killarney District, 1:63,360 including the Macgilleycuddy’s Reeks, and a map of North Mayo, 1:126,720, probably both well out of date for major roads but the back roads and hills don’t change much, so if anybody wants them its first come, first served!
In reply to G8ADD:
Brian, the problem is simply that many of us have been brought up on point-and-click instant gratification and we can’t cope with having to go to shops or libraries to get info. It’s just too much effort to find out about places where online data isn’t available. If it’s not online then it doesn’t exist for many of us.
I’m a strong adherent to Imperial units for many things but looking at those numbers tells me there’s something so wrong about those scales!
You’re right about hills not changing much and it only being roads. I had that problem describing a route to Brian G4ZRP. He’d failed to tell me he was using some map from when Hadrian was planning his wall. The dialogue went:
“Well it’s after J14 on the M74”.
“But where is J14?”.
“That big 14 in a circle on the blue line.”
“By which town?”
“Just run your finger up the motorway.”
“I haven’t got a motorway on this one.”
“What’s the copyright date, 79B.C.”
In reply to MM0FMF:
Those two scales are very familiar to OFs! They are 1 inch to the mile and half-inch to the mile! They were issued in 1978 and 1979, and are lovely colour layered maps similar to the old Bartholomew maps, issued by the Irish Ordnance survey (Suirbheireacht Ordonais) they will be OK for walking in conjunction with a road map and I hope they will be accepted by someone intending to activate in those two areas so that I (we) can get a few more uniques!
In reply to G4OIG:
It’s certainly very convenient to be able to access such good maps for GB summits online, but I don’t think the lack of this facility for GI summits is the main reason for the lower number of summit activations. Modern OS 1:50,000 maps are readily available for all of Northern Ireland.
One of the (many) charms of GI-land is low population density, resulting in correspondingly fewer radio amateurs (either activating or chasing).
It’s not by accident that I do most of my GI activations from the Mourne Mountains (GI/MM), because:
(1) The takeoff to mainland GB is good on 2m, and I have had a lot of fun working chasers ‘across the water’.
(2) This is a popular walking area, and paths are (sometimes) not glorified bogs. An up-to-date 1:25,000 OS map is available which is a useful, but not essential, resource.
Some of the Antrim Hills (GI/AH) summits are also OK for 2m SOTA, but I have less experience of these. I think Tom M1EYP has activated more of them than I have!
I certainly notice many differences when activating in the Lake District! There are far more chasers around, even mid-week. The paths are also much easier to find (and generally drier!) - there are almost no ‘prepared paths’ in GI, and signposted public footpaths are very rare here.
There are certainly some challenges to doing SOTA here in GI, but that’s part of the fun! Each region has it’s distinctive challenges. I’m sure that activating GI summits is a lot less difficult than activating many of the GM summits.