Hello, remember me? No? Och weel, ne’er mind, I’ll carry on anyway.
So here we are after such a long time and so much missed.
I really must apologise to my few (were) regular readers for abandoning you all in your time of need – a need to read my terrible tales, my torturous travels, my …
The date and time, yes Sunday 15th February 2015 but not so early hours more early afternoon. The summit Benbeoch GM/SS-186. A lowly wee pimple near Dalmellington in Bonnie Scotland. Mind you the area around here is a bit drab in appearance but still a lovely place none the less.
A wee bit of history here for those that didn’t know but back in September 2014 I had a wee mishap – I had a prolapsed disc in my lower back. Sore? I would say so. It took me 4 or 5 weeks to walk with out having too much trouble and was off work for 9 weeks. Still have bother but mostly in the morning and in the evening but I get on with it. And because of that I haven’t managed a SOTA activation in 5 months. History over.
I had been itching to get back out on the hills for some time now but hadn’t worked up the oomph to get myself out and about, my “get up and go” had gone, divorced me, dumped me, left me out to dry. But I have forced myself out or another day would have passed and nothing done – again. And I am glad as well. May it continue.
I had put an alert on the SOTAWatch for 1315 local time which should have given me enough time to reach the parking spot and get to the summit. I chose to take the A77 to just north of Maybole then through Dalrymple then joining the A713 to Dalmellington rather than take the back roads – plenty potholes on the back roads. However I don’t know if it was the right choice as the traffic was very slow and I was stuck behind a car for several miles to Dalmellington. Once in the “Village in the Stars” I turned left on to the B741, which incidentally runs from Girvan to New Cumnock through Dalmellington. I continued along this winding road to Pennyvenie Farm where I squeezed the car in to the muddy entrance to a field. I had looked at this spot on Google Earth and thought “enough room”. As I had parked right next to a puddle I booted up in the car then out to get the rest of the gear from the boot.
I set off at 1232z through the gate and followed the track up the field crossing over the line of the old railway then headed off at 45° to the right to meet the next gate. Carefully crossing the gate and over a drainage ditch I reached one of the many mine roads.
I followed this road left and uphill to the junction of an even wider road, turned left again and continued uphill some more. I had a rough idea where I was wanting to turn off so looked out for a wall on the right. Found it but it was a bit from the road. I stopped to put on my gaiters as the vegetation was rather on the long side. I made my way following tracks of some sort, probably animal tracks. As I was nearing the wall I could see a younger guy walking beside the wall with his son and a greyhound on a leash. I passed them from a distance (you know what I mean) and crossed the wall at the next gate. A friendly wave was exchanged at this point as I had stopped to have a drink of my juice or a ‘slug o’ ma ginger’ as the Glasgow folk would say. I carried on uphill through another gate and then just followed the trodden path that was now getting quite evident. I reached the summit cairn at 1308z and boy had the wind picked up. It was only a gentle breeze at the parking spot.
I set about finding a sheltered location to set up the SOTA shack and no sooner had I set up the other walkers had appeared. After explaining what I was up to I asked him about getting up here. He said that he originally comes from Dalmellington but comes back regularly to visit and has been coming up this hill since he was a bairn. He also said that he has never had any bother when the mine was in operation, nobody minded him being there.
So on to the radio stuff, I set up the 2m beam best I could in the wind. I couldn’t get it to keep pointing the direction I wanted so had to hold the pole, talk on radio and try and write in the logbook. I managed somehow. First in the log was Bobby GAX who actually called me just as I switched the radio on, a brief exchange of pleasantries were passed and on to the next, MM3OJE in Dalry, a new one to me. MM1HMZ Brian and John GM7OIN were next in the book. I called a couple more times, no answer, and as I was having trouble keeping the beam up I decided to go to HF.
I duly set about rigging up the 40m inverted vee, just sat my backside down and the mast decided it was needing a sit down as well, so it collapsed in on itself breaking the threaded part at the bottom. I put it all back up again and down it came, up it went down it came. Grrr! I thought I had it this time sat down again, got the phone out – signal, yes! Damn, it vanished. I typed the self spot anyway and hoped the signal would come back. No. I wandered about, no. I restarted the phone, yes. Spot wouldn’t go, damn. Ah, Gerald, text Gerald G4OIG for “dial a spot” as he calls it. I usually get assistance from Bobby GAX but I figured he would be busy pedaling his bike hard against the wind. I had already pre-warned Gerald about me being out and about so guessed he would be waiting in the wings to chase the summit. Now that he was armed with my info it wasn’t long before he called on the frequency I managed to squeeze in to. The usual passing of reports etc and a spot put on by Gerald – thud, down came the mast. Up it went again, a quick chat and an explanation about mast – thud, down in came again. I eventually gave up and rummaged about in the rucksack for a roll of insulating tape, it was there. I was sure I had taken it out a while ago and never put it back but I did, so the offending section was taped and the jobs a guid yin!
Then the wee pile up arrived, a short run of 10 QSO’s was made in 9 minutes but it was hard going for my measly 5 watts trying to cut through the mass of QRM around me so multiple repeats of reports were passed between the chasers and myself. I thought after a few more calls and nothing else heard I would try 20m. I took down the mast rapped up the 40m antenna and started to lay out the 20m one. I thought I would run this one at a different orientation, pegged out the first leg leaving the second leg on the kite winder as it was going to go downhill and I had intended to use a walking pole to increase the height of it. I lifted the mast, looked up and saw the other leg of the dipole flapping about in the air. As the ground is very steep here I knew there was no chance of grabbing it from the ground. I was just starting to lower the mast when the kite winder unwound itself along the length of the wire from the antenna. It reached the end of the guy attached to the end of the wire and it took off – well off, way down the very steep rocky side of the hill. NO! (Insert your own choice words here) It had gone, never to be see again. I eventually got my stride back and got the antenna up and sat down ready for a go on 14MHz. I selected 14.285 and could just hear a voice in the back of the box, Hmm? Then I could hear a regular chaser going back to the quiet voice but the regular chaser was EA2DT, Manuel. Now Manuel usually has a very good signal when chasing but not today. I listened for a bit longer nothing improved until a SQ9 came blasting in. I couldn’t figure out if there was a problem my end, I checked the connections, couldn’t see anything. Was my antenna broken or was the sky broken.
At that moment I just said enough! I packed up the gear as I had done what I came to do and that was to see if I could make a summit. After everything was packed away I chanced my luck and headed off in the direction of the flying kite winder – FOUND IT!
I set off back down the hill in the general direction I came up then took a slight deviation to the right to check an easier route to follow.
I must thank the few chasers that tried and managed to get me on this summit, I know it wasn’t easy for some but that is part of the challenge – use your ears.
Until the next time ( hopefully not so long away ) 73
Open your mind, wider, that’s it. Now cast your thinking rod into the void, again, deeper. There we go! Found it – Sunday the 25th of August 2013. Now picture it, a wonderful summer morning, dry, very little wind and looking good for the rest of the day.
We got up early which Cat found easy that morning as I had promised her a treat if she could manage the early bit. Most of the stuff ready the night before it was a wee bit quicker getting the final preps done in the morning. Setting off we took the usual road to Loch Lomond reaching our destination at The Drovers Inn at Inverarnan on the northern tip of Loch Lomond. We parked in there as it is the recommended parking for Beinn Chabhair – probably the Drovers hope for a least some of the walkers visiting the area to darken their door and procure some of the fine food and wine in return for payment of the local currency.
Having got the kit on and given Cat her instructions where she was going (not with me 😉 ) we set off following the A82 north. We walked on the footpath for about 370m, it will be longer depending on where you park in the car park, if you park near the entrance it will be closer to the 370m but if you park away at the furtherest corner it will add another 80m or so to your journey. Then think about it you have to come back and that will be even more on your journey. So don’t quote me on those distances – The Man (Me) accepts no responsibility for errors.
We reached the gate giving access to Beinglas Farm camp site, crossing the narrow bridge that spans the River Falloch. Just beyond the bridge is a path to the right going round the field. The owners of the farm ask that walkers take this route round the back of the camp site. I suppose if you were stopping at the site shop to make a purchase then it would be OK to pass through the site. Right on with the tale, not a fairy tale but that would help as I will find out shortly. We reached the back of the site and this is where we part company, Cat heads off north along the West Highland Way and I start the climb up the side of this near vertical tree covered, bracken shrouded, craggy hillside.
I followed the footpath – taking the correct one, climbing very quickly as it zigs and zags over boulders and tree roots, narrowing in places that to such an extent that one wrong move in sodden or icy conditions would have you tumbling uncontrollably down the sheer drop of 15m possibly more (didn’t look to hard) to the thundering water of Ben Glas Burn below. Some nice waterfalls up here if you can get in the right place to view them. Scaling the couple of stiles that were in a word, weird. No fairies to help me up that section – but it would have been nice. After about 600m it starts to level out a bit as the path still follows the burn. I was soon passing the rover track
coming up from the North which is an easier route to climb but longer. From here it is pretty much flat, as flat as you can get on the side of a hill. It gets a bit squelchy in places along this section and I suppose in the rainy season it could get damn wet. Not many boggy bits however or I managed to avoid them. A wee bit of a rise and this brings you to Lochan Beinn Chabhair which has a nice table rock for having a breather before the final push.
After a bite to eat and an intake of more fluid I started the climb with two chaps I met at the resting rock. I had reservations about doing this hill as it was stated in a few reports that it had a scramble and I ain’t too keen on scrambles in my older years but it was a hill that had to be done sometime or another. We carried on up the southern flank of Meall nan Tarmachan as the path twists and turns following the best possible route. After about 1 hour I was now at the top of this summit and never found the so called scramble. Now that is another story about one man’s scramble is another man’s steep walk – to be decided upon sometime.
I had a final chat with my companions and bid them farewell as they descended and I looked for a suitable spot for the shack. I soon had the shack up and running but was not hanging around for too long on this activation so it was just 2m. I called and first in the log was Iain WJZ for a S2S from one of the Kintyre summits, GM/SS-206 Beinn na Lice. Jack COX was next for another S2S from GM/SS-026 Meall an t-Seallaidh, a few hills over to the east from me. Bobby GAX appeared in for his usual snatch of chaser points and finally Robin PKT on GM/WS-001 Ben Nevis got the last place in the log with another S2S. Things were a bit quiet on 2m so after no more takers I packed up and made my way back down the path I came up.
The going down was quick and easy with another stop at the resting stone for a yellow skinned fruit
– other colours of fruit are available. I was now wondering if Cat had got back to the car after her wee walk along the WHW. The treat I had promised her was a meal at Beinglas Farm so the plan was when she returned to the car Cat was to drive along the road to the camp site and I would meet her there and have dinner in the farm restaurant. I had already been there earlier in the year while walking the WHW and I have to say I was impressed with quality and quantity of the food, so thought it was a good idea to treat her that must be amused.
The last part of the plan worked a treat and Cat was in the car park at the farm waiting for me and we ventured in for our grub which was just as good as it was the first time and I think Cat will agree. If you are travelling a vast distance to activate the hills up around this area and you don’t mind camping then Beinglas Farm (other places are available) is a good place to base yourself.
It was now time to head home after a very enjoyable day out on the hills, playing radio and eating fine food. I must thank the chasers – few as there was, for helping to make the day a success.
Please click on any of the photos to view a larger image.
Until the next time 73
As I haven’t had time to create a new blog entry for a wee while I thought I would share one of my photographs with you.
It is a picture of a fly called Dexia Rustica on a fern in the early stages of opening.
Hope you like it.
Thanks for looking
73 Neil 2M0NCM
Back in June of this year I activated Mulwharchar GM/SS-073 with success and then later made an attempt at Craignaw GM/SS-096 later in the day. The second hill wasn’t qualified due to a few circumstances. You can read about them here https://2m0ncmcat.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/mullwharchar-gmss-073/ .
After a few exchanges of emails with Gerald G4OIG it was arranged that we would activate Craignaw as a joint activation. I had tried to warn Gerald about the body and soul destroying terrain in the Galloway’s but he was still up for the challenge. I hold no responsibility for the demise of any fellow activator while in my care. I was warned by my XYL, Cat, not to break him like I broke another guy a few weeks previously on the West Highland Way. My real concern was (or dilemma) if he keels over on the route do I bury his radio gear along with him or make good use of it. 😉
After a few to-ing and fro-ing with emails the date was set for September 1st. Gerald sent one of his detailed itineraries for me to study and it looked fine to me if a wee bit slower than my normal pace but both of us knew this and it was just dandy for a wee jaunt. The starting time was the only worrying thing – was the 0600z starting time. I’ve usually just crawled out my pit about that time never mind being at the parking spot for a hill, but it was only a 40 minute drive from home so wasn’t too bad I suppose.
The 1st arrived and I managed to wake up in plenty of time and set off for Bruce’s Stone (one of his many!) at the northern edge of Loch Trool in the Galloway Forest Park. 25 miles later I arrived and parked beside the only red Audi that was in the car park and presumed it was Gerald’s car – I was right. A brief welcome and the other pleasantries it was time to get booted up. This didn’t take me long as there was a few guid Gallowa’ midges around and these things drive me stir crazy. A few minutes wait and Gerald was also ready.
We set off on the trek, following the track, firstly dropping down about 40m as the track descends steeply. I told Gerald that this wee hill will be a killer on the way back but it has to be tackled. Following the track for about 500m we reached the gate leading to the path up the hill. We climbed up the southern flank of Buchan Hill, tramping through the moisture laden bracken, negotiating the rocky path with caution and avoiding the wee boggy parts. Soon we were on a more level section of the path as it followed the contours round Buchan Hill heading north up the valley traced the route of Gairland Burn. I kept to the higher of the tracks to avoid the worst of the boggy bits below but we were quite lucky as it had been reasonably dry for several weeks prior so the knee deep boggy bits were only about ankle deep and the ankle deep ones were either dryish or spongy.
We crossed Mid Burn which spills out of Loch Neldricken and began the pathless climb up the side of Craignaw. The wind had picked up by this time as it howled up the valley. I changed the route slightly to try keep out of the full blast of the wind so we were now heading a few degrees north heading for a deep gully below Black Gairy. Passing many of the erratic boulders and carefully
placing each step on solid ground and not down a leg snapping hole between the boulder strewn terrain. After many photo opportunity stops and no broken limbs Gerald was still behind me.
We reached the memorial for the USAF crew who lost their lives here after their F111 slammed in to the side of Craignaw.
A short climb took us to the summit of GM/SS-096 and after the complimentary photos we found our own summit location for setting up the respective SOTA shacks. Leaving Gerald to operate below the summit cairn I scurried down a wee bit to another sheltered area behind a larger rock to activate.
I started on 40m as the wind was still blowing a gentle Scottish breeze (strong wind to the rest of you) so I didn’t bother with my usual 2m. A quick run of 9 QSO’s including a S2S with Hans PA3VYG/p on PA/PA-005 in as many minutes. Then a quick change to 14MHz brought in another 16 contacts again in as many minutes. I decided that was enough to be going on with so packed up the gear and headed back up to the summit to see how Gerald was faring up. He was still operating so I just wandered around for a bit until he finished. We had agreed that I would sprint down the hill below the AZ so that I could get the chaser point and the SOTA complete for Craignaw, which after a bit of bother we managed the contact.
The first summit was now in the bag and it was off to the second Craiglee GM/SS-150. We set off back down the hill slightly and headed off in a southerly direction following the natural rock. We dropped down to the valley floor between Loch Narroch and Cornarroch Strand. We looked at the climb from higher up Brocklochs and I asked Gerald if he wanted to go the steep route, the steeper
route or the straight up steep route. There wasn’t much choice really! We climbed over the stile and began the steep ascent in SE direction heading for Dow Loch. Once round the loch it was an easier tramp across the rock strewn plateau to the trig point on Craiglee.
Another few photos and it was down to business for Gerald. I activated this hill a few years ago so
wasn’t bothering about playing radio again from it so I just hunkered down and had my lunch leaving Gerald to satisfy the chasers. It wasn’t long before Gerald packed up and we began the long trek back to the cars over the cow trashed terrain eventually reaching the track below.
A quick visit to the pub for some food and it is highly recommended as well at the Hoose O’ the Hill Hotel. A brief chat and we bid farewell to each other. As Gerald had mentioned to me he would be slow I wasn’t bothered, it gave me a nice gentle stroll for a change and I nearly broke in to a sweat at one point. LOL.
But seriously, well done to that man (Quote “Mountain Tortoise”) for completing the route, 17.9km in total with an elevation gain of only 852m and a maximum slope of 36.4% over some of the toughest terrains. And thanks for the company.
Away back in time, many years ago I ventured up this hill and local glens and it was summer then. I remember it with great fondness as it was one of the boggiest walks I had undertaken, the knee deep black peaty bogs made for an exciting day. Slipping, squelching and trudging along the paths up the side of Gairland Burn arriving at Loch Valley. From there it was onto Murder Hole at Loch Neldricken then ploughing my way to pay a visit to an old friend, the Grey Man of the Merrick near Loch Enoch before the climb to Mullwharchar. That trip was mainly for the purpose of taking photographs and having a peaceful day out on my own.
This time the trip to Mullwharchar was for a slightly different reason – to play radio. Now bearing in mind the conditions of the previous trips up these valleys (not glens in this area for some reason) and knowing the whole area quite well I decided to take a drier route which involved a harder walk but also gave a far better view of the whole area. The Galloway region is full of bogs, tussocks (sometimes chest deep), boulders, holes and just about every type of terrain you can imagine – but it is a really magnificent and magical place full of surprises and reclusiveness.
The weather was promising to be a good day with a 5-10% chance of rain and temperatures in the high teens centigrade. The day was going to be a hard one with the heat being the main factor so I took along extra liquid for the outing knowing I could get plenty more water in the area if needed.
I set off from home at about 0715 and took the A714 towards Newton Stewart. Turning off for the Glen Trool area I soon arrived at the carpark about 0800 finding the place quite busy with mostly campers that had stayed the night. I got booted up and got the small rucksack slung on the back, I decided I wouldn’t need or want the larger pack for today so managed to squeeze the essential stuff in the 25 litre pack. I still had enough survival gear to last a night on the hills if needed as well as the radio gear. As I mentioned this area is so isolated that the chances of meeting anyone is very remote so getting help would be an impossible task with no phone signal at all. Hence the reason I left precise details of my route and the approximate times with Cat who would be staying at home.
The first part of the walk is downhill – hate going down before heading uphill but it has to be done. Following the track down from Bruce’s Stone to the gate to Buchan House where the tree of two halves resides, here I went through the gate which gives access to the Buchan Hill and Burn. I mentioned earlier about this magical place, the names in this land are like something from a fantasy world. I began the climb up the side Black Gairy arriving at the summit of Buchan Hill 90 minutes after setting off. A wee break for a munchie and to admire the view was called for.
I had chosen this harder route more to keep out of the bogs below which I expect would be a lot drier due to the recent dry spell but also for the view factor. Looking at the picture below right is
from the summit of Buchan Hill looking north along the ridge towards The Merrick with Mullwharchar peaking its conical summit in the background (above and left of the erratic boulder) – a long way to go!
I carried on along the ridge passing above Hawk’s Nest admiring the view all the way. Keeping well up high on the ridge I passed between Eldrick on my left and Murder Hole down on my right. I was now on Craignine and looking towards the Rig of Loch Enoch, a wee change of route here maybe, a small drop to the left and pay my respects to Helen’s Stone and a customary visit to the Old Man or continue on the ridge. The ridge it was. Leaving the sights of the Rig of the Gloon above Helen’s Stone I arrived at the white shores of Loch Enoch.
Another wee scooby snack before the final assault of the now looming mound in front of me. The climb from here isn’t as bad as one would think because Loch Enoch lies about 500m above sea level. A final glance over my shoulder at the Little Spear standing behind the Howe of the Caldron as I make my way over the boulders in the Sluice of Loch Enoch. I began the relatively easy ascent of Mullwharchar. I had the wee handheld on as I knew Iain WJZ was on Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran and I fancied the S2S with him. I could hear bits and pieces as I gained height but not enough to have a QSO but hoped Iain would hang around for another 30 minutes.
I reached the summit before 1200 having taken 3 hours and 35 minutes from leaving the car. The weather was still as was, sunny, no wind and no rain – yippee! 😀 I soon found a spot to set up the SOTA shack and quickly kindled up the handheld again and hunted down WJZ and snatched the S2S. The temperature on the summit was sweltering 19.4°C and was just perfect for sitting around playing radio. But wait – those clouds on the East are getting rather heavy and closer. Suddenly the temperature dropped by about 8°C and there was a series of very strong gusts but no rain had appeared.
A wee run of 16 contacts on 2m which included four S2S, WJZ on GM/SI-006, Colwyn CYJ on GM/CS-017, Robin PKT on GM/WS-079 and fellow blogger Graeme GIL on GM/SS-155. The rest of the VHF contacts were made up of usual chasers like Bobby GAX (told you, you would make the trip) and Liz EPW who was to become my helper later in the day – more on that. A swap of bands to 40m and a self spot which only worked after I asked GAX to put a spot up for me. I discovered that only moving 15ft to the south my phone went from zero reception to full strength so at least I now knew where to stand. Another 15 QSO’s in the log for 7MHz while 20m only brought in 5 contacts. Time was now gone 1400 local and I still had a long afternoon in front of me, you see I was heading for a second SOTA summit – Craignaw GM/SS-096.
Well there you go, one summit in the day when there is a couple of other ones so close by and as they have to be passed on the way to Mullwharchar it seemed pointless not attempting one of them, so Craignaw was chosen mainly because it is the only summit left in the Galloway area to be activated by myself. The weather was still a bit dreich and now a few spots of rain were falling. I could see the northern and southern edges to this strange weather. I could also see the western edge which was only a couple of miles away. The cloud seemed to thunder in from the east several miles away and roll over the local hills and vanishing just before it reached Loch Trool. I know this because I asked someone back at the carpark and was informed it never rained all day, in fact it had been a lovely sunny day. 😕
Onwards, gear packed I set off down the southern slope heading for the only sure dryish crossing of Pulskaig Burn. It was now spitting rain a wee bit heavier but it was too warm to put the waterproofs on so I just grinned and beared it. Downhill passing several thousand more erratic boulders of all shapes and sizes. Some of the boulders weigh several tons and are just left balancing on a wee bit of rock.
I reached the bottom of the valley and prepared for the climb to the Dungeon – Dungeon Hill that is. The climb up here was quite easy as there is only 100m of an ascent. I was soon at the top of the Dungeon and hoping for a quick escape as the rain was now getting heavier. A quick scout about and a look over the edge to catch a glimpse of the Dungeon Stone below next to the Dry Loch. The Dungeon Stone is that huge it even gets a mention on the OS maps. I next took a heading west round the Nick of the Dungeon heading for Craignairny before sneaking past the Wolf Slock. I had no intention of paying a visit to the Wolf’s Den, it is a gap in the rocks that looks like an entrance to a cave. Having safely passed the Wolf without getting chased I passed the wee cairn grabbing a quick photo of the twin loch below, Round Loch of the Dungeon and Long Loch of the Dungeon. Down there is also the Silver Flowe – a man eating bog that will happily consume anyone that is brave or daft enough to venture across it. It can be crossed but some of the bog is very deep and will just suck you in and never spit spit you back out. 👿 And the tussocks – you will probably never see tussocks as tall as they are down there.
The final route up Craignaw was a case of blind walking, no path to follow just head for the summit and pick your own way through the boulders and over the huge areas of bare rock. A wee visit to the Devil’s Bowling Alley was a must, if only to see if anyone was playing. The ‘Alley’ is a huge flat area of bedrock, not sure of the exact size but in the picture, left to right is about 30m wide and the length is 3 or 4 times that.
No, no evil things lurking here – or rather I couldn’t see them. 😐 I soon reached the summit and it was now chuckin’ it doon, No phone signal to speak of so this was going to be hard to get a spot on.
I set up the shack best I could in the rain, no where really to put in pegs so just held on to the pole and called CQ a few times. Nothing, zilch, zero, went hunting, found Liz EPW on one of the Wainwright hills and called in getting at least one contact. Explained to Liz that the weather was piss poor to say the least and she tried her hardest to get me more contacts. I managed to get one more QSO with an NI station but that was it. After nearly an hour of getting soaked and the rain getting into the radio even though it was inside a drysack inside the rucksack I decided enough was enough and packed up.
I could have managed if I worked HF but I wasn’t prepared to subject the radio to any more rain so just made my way back down the hill. On the way down I paid a visit and paid my respects to the crewmen of the F1-11E that lost their lives when their aircraft crashed into the side of this hill.
On the way down it was a southern route round another Black Gairy before reaching Mid Burn which flows out of Loch Neldricken. I could now follow the boggy path that runs alone side of the Gairland Burn below the Rig of the Jarkness before skirting round the lower flanks of the Buchan Hill. Down the last wee slippy rocky section and back to the track below and the last final killer climb back up to the carpark.
Once again I thank the chasers for their efforts on the first hill – but where were you all when I needed you on the second? 🙄 Never mind it just means I will have to return another day.
73 Neil 2M0NCM
I was asked casually back in September 2012 by someone I know if I wanted to do the West Highland Way (WHW). Having never really had it on my list of Round Tuit’s I never really gave it a thought. As that day went on I was asked about the route etc. from G (I will just use his initial here). I eventually said I would think about it but the only way I would do the WHW was if it was wild camping along the route, none of this wimpish carry service that is provided by several companies. Don’t get me wrong I think they are a great service for the less fit who would really like to attempt the WHW but I wanted to do it the old-fashioned way.
A wee info lesson. The West Highland Way was officially opened on the 6th October 1980 after several years of development, securing landowner’s permission for access, etc. The WHW is now 154.5 km (96 miles) in a linear route starting at Milngavie and finishing at Fort William. Most walkers attempt the route in 6 or 7 days, some take longer and some do it quicker but it all depends on how the route is tackled and the fitness of the individual. The route is of mixed terrain, about 15km is on tarmac over different sections, most of the route is on gravel paths or tracks, a rocky tree rooted small scramble section is on the banks of Loch Lomond. A couple of hill climbs are involved but these aren’t difficult or high, in fact most of the hills climbed are started after a long gentle ascent.
Back to the story. It was now mid December 2012 and G had asked me again if I was serious about walking the WHW which I replied “Yes”. G hadn’t tackled anything like this before and was looking to me for guidance. I firstly told him it would be very hard work, long days and sore on the body. This I emphasized many times over the coming months to the rookie hiker. I gave him as much information as I could at the time off the top of my head. Any questions he had later would be answered to the best of my knowledge.
It was basically left up to me organise the trip which is really easy as you can find the route on numerous websites. Planning how many kilometres can be walked in a day is more of a challenge especially when carrying several kilogrammes on your back. I initially planned to take 5 days for the trip but allowed an extra day for ‘just in case‘ situations. Some of these would be very bad weather, injury, fatigue, to name a few.
Now we had to work out how far we could walk in a day – or rather G could walk. As regular readers would know I am reasonably fit for someone who is aged between 21 and dead. I am used to carrying heavy back packs on most of the SOTA exploits over long distances climbing to great heights and traversing difficult terrain and battling horrendous weather conditions. (All that sounded really good and heroic :wink:). Is G up to the challenge? We will see! The two of us arranged that we would go out for several walks over the next few months so I could gauge G’s fitness level.
The first walk was near Barr and was a forest trail round the Changue forest area which is about 13km and is by no means difficult. I told G to bring a small pack with a packed lunch and waterproofs. Why? Now G has stayed in Girvan all his life but has never been to these walks which are only a few miles east of the town. We set off on the trail and got to about the half way point when I said we will stop just along here where there is a quarry for a break and lunch. Why? All the time G was looking at his watch, maybe calculating his speed/distance or did he have somewhere else to be! We finished the route in about 3 hours including the stop. The average speed was about 4.6km/h which I had to translate in to mph for G. He thought this was ok but thought we could have done it quicker. Oh yes we could have no bother but I had to explain that he, me or just about everyone else in the world would never keep that pace for 5 full days. I said a nice steady 3 – 3.6km/h would be a good speed to cover the distance in the given time scale.
The next route we undertook was around Loch Bradan near Straiton S. Ayrshire. This walk was done in driving snow and is a circular walk round the reservoir covering about 24km, we walked round one way and then back round the other way. A few other training routes were undertaken over the next couple of months and only once did G bring a heavy-ish pack with him so gauging his performance was difficult.
The end of April came and G wasn’t coming out for any more walks until we were leaving for the WHW so there was no more that I could do to get him ready. I had explained that it would be a long hard walk the first day, the second day would be shorter due to the extended first day but was harder terrain. The next three days would be relatively straight forward over mostly gravel footpaths. I had given him as much information I could about what he needed to bring. The dietary requirements were also addressed and the amount of water that would need to be consumed as long as it wasn’t too hot weather wise. So I had done everything I could to make sure that he was prepared.
I also decided to get myself newer equipment for the trip. I was needing a new tent – Vango Banshee 200, treated myself to a new stove – Hi Gear Inferno, new pots to go with the stove – Hi Gear Backpack 2 Cookset. Went for one of those self inflating mattress things – Gelert X-Treme Lite (getting older and like a wee bit of comfort nowadays!) I figured that the 2 season sleeping bag would be warm enough at this time of year, the bag is good to -5°C and the mattress will stop the ground chill to about -15°C plus I was intending on taking a set of thin thermals just in case. A few new dry bags was also purchased to keep the gear stowed in away from the guid Scottish weather. Everything else I already had so the extra expense for the trip came to around £240.
Day 1: Sunday 5th May 2013, we had agreed that it would be good to start from Milngavie at 0800, so it was a 0530 start from Girvan. We arrived at the start about 0715 and set about getting geared up and taking the complimentary photos at the start. Setting off at 0737 and bidding a farewell to Cat who was our elected driver for today we began our trek of the WHW.
The first part of the route follows the Craigton Burn through the outskirts of the town. This is not the most pleasant of areas with rubbish and the likes dumped everywhere. Soon we were in the grounds of Mugdock Country Park where I have been many times before. This is a nice place to have a wander about though a bit far for me to travel to just for a wander. A few km and back out of Mugdock it was a walk up a gravel track beside Craigallian Loch coming out at Carbeth Loch then a
few hundred metres west along the road before turning right off to a path leading towards Dumgoyach. We decided to stop about every 90 minutes for a break and the first of these was just as we came on to this path.
At this stage we had only covered 6.7 km so a long way to go. Fifteen minutes later we were off again heading north along the path passing Dumgoyach, a steep side mound with what looked like an impenetrable covering of trees and bushes. No doubt there would have been a fort on the top of this in a way distant time. Soon we were past this on a nice gravel path heading North following a pipe line buried in a banking. We came across the Beech Tree Inn which welcomes walkers on the WHW but as we had not long restarted we carried on. Here a wee cross of the main road and back on to a gravel path and most of this is on top of the aforementioned pipe line.
We were heading for Gartness where we planned to stop for a bit of lunch. The weather had been fine all morning but it was plain to see that the clouds were starting to thicken and the views were disappearing before our eyes. Reaching the wee hamlet it was finding a suitable place to stop that wasn’t outside somebody’s front window, we walked over the bridge crossing the river and out the other side of the settlement and started to climb the rise on the road. Here this will do ‘I said’, but it is a field entrance said G, yes but hasn’t been used for years by the look of it. Dropping the packs I got out the stove and the pots along with the pack of Wayfayers (other brands are available) beans and bacon. G asked are you cooking? I said yeah long time since breakfast at back of 4 this morning – it was now about 10.30. The delicious lunch was devoured followed by a nice mug of coffee, dishes washed and packs reloaded and secured ready for the off.
Just as we were about to continue the rain came on, damn, couldn’t see how far the rain extended as it was quite heavy we put the waterproofs on and started walking. Within 5 or 6 minutes the rain stopped but it was too warm to carry on with the proofs on so they were stripped off again. 16.6km tramped on this leg of the journey and still a long way to go! This section is on tarmac for 3.5km but feels a lot longer – hate walking on tarmac. Rounding a bend and crossing a bridge I was ready for turning off the road down a set of steps but G had missed it and asked where I was going – I pointed to the marker post, oh, I see.
We crossed a small field avoiding the boggy hole in the middle to reach the road at the other side. On reaching A811 there was information notices saying the WHW was closed through the forest section and to follow the diversion. Guess what, you’re right we ignored the signs. It was Sunday and very rarely the forest crew work on Sunday’s and apart from that there was plenty of fresh footprints heading up the route. We ventured up the forest path and on to the forest road passing a few folk out walking their dogs – spaniels. We were to see dozens of these dogs on the rest of today’s march.
Some way in to the forest G said he had to stop, I looked at him and he was showing signs of fatigue. I gave him some advice and got him to drink more water but he was running out. He eat a chocolate bar for a wee bit of energy.
This is where I thought to myself he is going to struggle to complete this. He asked how far we had come, when I said about 22km he replied I thought we would have got further than this. We were just over half way into the first stint of the expedition. This is where G realised that this was not a walk in the park that he expected. We continued on after a five minute break heading through the Queen Elizabeth forest. I gave G the choice here, the high route over Conic Hill or the low route which involves more tarmac. ‘Which is the official route’ he asked, I said the ‘high route’, ‘we’ll take that’ he said.
Trekking on along the gravel path with Conic Hill appearing in the distance the pace was getting slower. We started to climb the gradual incline up Conic, the path was a good path and a few steps had been inserted to aid with erosion. G was finding this part hard going. I said ‘think your self lucky you aren’t coming up from the other side – it is really steep’. A few breather stops on the way up and G blurted out ‘How much more of this crap is there?’. Hmm I thought, ‘not far’ I said. We reached the top of the path and started the descent to Balmaha. G was finding the downhill really sore on his knee so the going was very slow. I said I would go on ahead and get to the shop in case it shut before we got there as the time was now about 16.30 agreeing to meet at the visitor centre below. I duly bounded downhill on the new and improved footpath, big difference to the boggy well spread out run of tracks that used to cover the western slope of Conic.
Having bought a few provisions I headed back to the visitor centre just as G was arriving. Now away back G always said that he liked his grub and wanted a proper meal every night while on the WHW. I told him that that would be difficult but not impossible. A few places he would have to stop and have his meal and then continue to the camp site or camp and then walk. He said that was fine. So now that we are at Balmaha I told him that this is the only place he would get food before the camp site. He asked how far to go to the site I told him about 7.5km – so another 2 hours walking. He said just to go on he won’t bother having anything to eat. I had been munching all the route on chocolate raisins so I had a constant intake of calories but G was by now dragging himself along.
We eventually reached Sallochy Camp Site about 1900 and went to find the warden to get our tickets for the tents. I was surprised that she was still there at that time of night but they work shifts
and that the place is covered for about 12 hours per day. I showed G where the toilet was and where to get fresh water for drinking and washing dishes. We then had to head back down the track a couple hundred metres to get the pitches. There was a few empty ones and I picked the one I wanted – pitch 5, G took the one next to me. I quickly pitched the tent and had the coffee made just as G finished pitching his tent. He said he was going to sleep as he was shattered – well actually not his words but you know what he went. I asked ‘are you not eating?’ I have a couple of sandwiches was the reply. I offered him some of my dinner that I was making –
home made (or rather camp site made) macaroni cheese, yes made from scratch none one these freeze dried packet junk you buy, but he declined. I had my dinner and another cup of coffee and as the weather was still playing silly buggers I stayed in the tent and listened to an audio book on my mp3 player. I also text a few of the followers to inform of the progress and included the phrase ‘I think I have killed G!’. I retired about 2300 with the light drizzle still falling and the drops of water dripping off the huge trees we were camped below.
Day 2: I had a great nights sleep apart from having to shuffle back up the tent a few times through the night due to the sleeping bag slowly sliding down the gentle slope while lying on the inflatable mattress. I woke in the morning about 0700 to find that G had been up for a wee while moaning about something. I asked what was wrong, he said that there was nowhere to wash or shower. This is a useless place. I reminded him that he was wild camping and that this is in the restricted zone of the national park and the site is provided to experience the wild camp without breaking any laws – and it is quieter. For £5.00 – you read right, five pounds you get a pitch, a composting toilet and plenty of fresh water and a safe place to camp, what else do you expect? Showers and somewhere to get changed he said, I just shook my head. Anyway G had already had his breakfast, porridge but only eat half of it, the birds got the rest. I made myself beans and sausages and 2 mugs of coffee and finished off the carton of milk I had bought at Balmaha the previous night.
Tents pulled down and packs all packed we set off again. I reminded G that today was a shorter walk than yesterday’s 40km but it was different terrain we would be walking on. We walked about 4km to reach Rowardennan and as we were passing the hotel G asked if I wanted something to eat – his treat. I said I had my breakfast and was fine but he was hungry so I agreed. We tried the door but it was locked and as we were just about to walk away the guy opened it and said they didn’t open until 1100 but as there was now a dozen or so of us standing there he would open early but could not sell alcohol. We placed our orders but had to wait ages and then the guy came back to say that as the chef wasn’t in yet they would try to find something. So our bacon rolls ended up being 2 rashers of cold bacon and 2 slices of cold dry toast. G paid for this and 2 mars bars (other chocolate bars are available) and it was just a sniff under a tenner! WTF!
The time was now 1130 and that wasted a good 45 minutes of our time for absolutely no nourishment value. We pressed on, G was striding out well again today, must be feeling better. We carried on for about another 7km along a forest road and then on to a gravel path before stopping for a break. I was a bit peckish by now so decide to have the tin of Ambrosia creamed rice (other brands are available) I bought along with an apple, a packet of crisps and a couple of mugs of coffee. G had a tin of soup. I told G the plan was to stop at Inversnaid for lunch at the hotel as a treat for G and that excited him. I also mentioned that we were now running behind time due to the useless stop this morning.
We set off again and by now the path had dropped down to the banks of the loch where the path got narrow, a bit muddy, rocks and tree roots covered the path and the odd wee scramble to contend with. G wasn’t liking this part moaning most of the way. He had been complaining about his knee being sore most of yesterday and now it was hurting again. We reached Inversnaid having
walked just under 16km from Sallochy. I said ‘are we going in?’, G asked ‘how far is it to go?’, when I replied about 11km which will take about 3 hours getting us to Beinn Glas farm camp site about 1830 he refused and said ‘we should just go on!’ I told him he will have to eat something but he replied he was fine. ‘OK’ I said. We continued along more of the same narrow path which G wasn’t very keen on. I really enjoyed this path, if the whole 96 miles was like this I would be in heaven.
About 6 km after Inversnaid we arrived at Doune where there is a bothy for the use of. G had never known about these places of shelter so took him inside and explained what they are and who they belong to along with the basic rules of use. By now G was struggling again and I didn’t know that he was low on water. I told him that he should be drinking more but his response was but you aren’t drinking much but I know how much and when to drink. I had already consumed 3 litres of water on today’s stint but G hadn’t noticed I had re-filled my supply in a stream earlier. G had always said he would never drink out of a burn or anything as he doesn’t want to get ill. I had tried many times to explain the chances of getting ill are quite slim and there is always purification tablets available. Eventually he agreed that he needed to get water so I found him a nice fast flowing burn that came straight down the side of the mountain and filled his bottles for him. I even gave him a tablet to keep him happy.
We were now way behind our time and still had about 1 and half hours walking left. G was now back to a snails pace as we descended down the gentle slope towards Beinn Glas farm. We arrived at the camp site and I went in to pay for the pitches and set about finding a spot to pitch. Once the tents were up I was just about to go for a well deserved shower when G asked if I wanted to go for something to eat – his treat again! I said I had food so wasn’t really wanting to go but the look on his face was one of despair so I said OK after my shower but he said he was starving so we went. In the farm bar/restaurant we got a table and G asked if I wanted something to drink so a coke was ordered and G had a pint of lager which he duly downed in a few minutes. I just watched as he gulped it down and waited. Then it came, I don’t feel well, I am faint and shivering. I did point out that drinking that crap when dehydrated wasn’t a good idea – but I was thirsty he replied, water would have been better I said but I needed something cold, water would have been better I said again. We ordered the food, G had the steak pie I had the gammon steak. My meal was great apart from the dressing stuff on the side and nearly finished it off but far too many chips, well worth the £7 for the meal. G only eat half his dinner and said he was going to bed – goodnight – again!
I went for a wee wander and then had a shower. Went back to the bar and ordered a coffee which I took to the shelter outside where I chatted away to a small group of French walkers. I went back to my tent about midnight where I lay for a wee while listening to my audio book before going to sleep myself. Now just before G went to his tent I told him that the next days walk was about 30km but we would see how he got on when we reached Tyndrum which was 20km. I also told him not to be a stubborn git and quit if he really needs to. I aired my concerns to a few of the fellow walker that I didn’t think he was going to make it and a few had said they had lost folk in the first day and the second day.
The next morning I woke about 0630 but just lay there for a hour listening to the bustle going on around the site. G chapped the tent about 0730 and asked if I was awake when I replied I was he announced he was chucking it and going home. I asked if he was sure and he said yes, hell, he had even been to see about the bus and trains time back home. I thought for a moment and said if you are sure then we will go. He asked if I wanted breakfast – his treat yet again. I was just having the cornflakes but he said have the Scottish breakfast but I said no you carry on I don’t eat that rubbish apart from that I am having the rest of your breakfast. Eh? he said, I replied the menu states Scottish breakfast is cereal, bacon, egg, etc. orange juice and tea or coffee so what you ain’t having I am. So two breakfasts for the price of one.
G said his knee was really sore and didn’t want to continue so it was decided we were going home. We packed the gear away and as we were walking towards the entrance a minibus was just pulling away and G ran after it asking for a lift to Ardlui to the station, the bus was from Ardlui Hotel and the guy said yes jump in. We waited at the station for the next train to Glasgow. I took this opportunity to phone Cat at home to meet us at Girvan station about 1400 as we were heading home. We arrived at Glasgow Queen’s Street station and as most of you know you have to walk through the city centre to get to Glasgow Central for the trains south. Walking through the streets there was no stopping G as he stomped along at a galloping pace I even had to say going to slow down a bit.
So that was the end of our WHW trip, 2 days, 64 km. I’m sorry G if you read this but you were not prepared for the trip as much as I tried to get you ready. You were under the impression it was a nice level route with nicely laid out paths, The distances you have to walk were not comprehending to you. If you knew that your knee was going to give you that much bother why did you take on the challenge. I think you actually gave up too easily due to the fact the route wasn’t as you expected. Not once did I complain that I was in agony with my back on the second part of both days. I never uttered a word about the couple of blisters I had and the two toe nails that had swollen with fluid under them which I knew I was going to lose when I saw them. Apart from that I enjoyed the trip. Now that I have started the WHW I will go back and do it again – myself, that way I can walk at my pace and get it done in my own time.
G says he will do it again sometime and I hope he makes it next time, maybe he will be better prepared for what lies ahead now that he has experienced it the hard way. I felt sorry for G when he had to quit it but I felt let down at the same time.
Thanks for reading and look out for part two of the epic journey
Doune Hill GM/SS-054 and Cruach an t-Sìdhein GM/SS-080 Got them at last! First tried to get these two summits a few years ago when I activated Beinn Eich GM/SS-068 but I gave up after looking at the precarious cornice of snow hanging down in to Glen Mollochan.
I haven’t written a report for that trip but I might someday.
Back to this report. I looked at these hills for many a month wondering which was the best route to go without taking the long route back over Beinn Eich from Glen Luss. The usual meticulous scouring of maps, satellite images, photographs and even while climbing adjacent hills was taken with military precision. I made the choice and I was sticking to it, I was starting from Doune Farm in Glen Douglas East by North-East of the hidden summits.
Due to having an unexpected visit from my older sister who now lives up in Strath Halladale in the furthest away corner of Scotland from me everything was held back for a wee while. The gear was organised late on the Saturday night with the final preps done on the morning of Sunday the 7th April 2013.
It was lovely morning, clear sky’s and little wind. We set off an hour later than previously planned but as the nights are now stretching this was not really a problem. I hadn’t posted an alert for the activations (sorry about that) as I wasn’t 100% certain if I was going to do these two hills or go for something different – it all depended on the wx and snow on the higher summits. I had already emailed my buddy “The Snowman” * for a snow report and he duly sent back a couple of pictures showing the conditions from his QTH over looking the Luss hills. It looked good enough but I would wait until the morning before getting an alert on.
We traveled the very now very regular route towards Loch Lomond with a stop at Luss for coffee and grub before heading for Inverbeg. The cloud cover had come in and the sun had gone – is this the right direction? Ayrshire was basking in sunshine! Here we turned up the narrow twisty and undulating road until the entrance to Doune Farm was reached. Having pointed out the parking place to Cat I turned the car round and parked in a large passing place where I got ready for the off. Now Cat doesn’t really like these very narrow roads and this one is narrow with huge drops on either side . I assured her that she would be fine, I have been up this road many times in the past and there is very little traffic travels on it – just the odd farm owner and the odd military police vehicle. Well this proved me to be so very wrong. Today was the busiest day I have ever seen with the Argyll Classic Car Club having an outing today and of all the routes they picked this one.
I set off for the hill leaving poor Cat to decide what to do. I crossed the Douglas Water as I didn’t want to go through the farm as I wasn’t really sure if the would be happy about it.
The river crossing was OK, water was only about 4 inches deep but it will be a lot deeper after a guid Scottish shower. I carried on upwards in a westerly direction heading for the 701m spot height. * All the while I was whistling the tune to the short film The Snowman I did however refrain from singing out loud. After an hour of climbing I had a last look back to see if Cat had moved and she hadn’t as the cars were still coming up the road.
The going was good and the ground was good to walk on. The cloud base was up and down but hovered around the 600m line and this is also where the snow was starting to show in places. The ground was getting harder with the permafrost developing so I was expecting the going to get a bit slippy as I climbed but it was fine, no icy patches. I reached the 701 spot
and sent a text to my handler Bobby GM7GAX asking for an alert to be posted for Doune Hill. He replied with a confirmation. I descended back down the SW side of 701 to start the climb back up to the summit of Doune Hill.
Reaching the plateau there was nowhere to shelter from the stiff breeze of 15mph and the temperature was a chilly -0.6°c. The only places I could find that would have been good for the wind direction were full of deep snow so I gave up and went back to the trig point and operated from there. As the ground was frozen solid I didn’t even bother getting the guy pegs out so just held the pole by hand. I called out on 2m FM and was soon was called by Steve GM7UAU/p who was out for a walk on some of his local hills. Steve has been a very active chaser for years but announced that he was thinking about activating in the future – the more the merrier.
Bobby GAX was next leading the way for another six GM chasers to get in my log. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the next hill as the conditions weren’t very good and the visibility was pants along with the freezing fog. I liaised with my minder Bobby (he has many uses) about my plans. The plan was to descend SW a short distance and have lunch then carry on to the top of Beinn Lochain to view the route across to Cruach an t-Sìdhein.
Having got a brief clear view of Cruach and the snow fields I had to cross between Lochain and Cruach I texted my alerter to post for 1½ hours time to give me plenty of lee-way. I set off down over the many snow patches reaching the bealach in good time without any mishaps. The ground here was still frozen hard but had the potential to be slightly boggy in places but it would be easy to navigate a dry route from higher up before reaching it. I continued up the side of Cruach back into the heavy cloud cover and reached a wee ridge with a cornice of snow over it. It wasn’t until I was on my way back I realised just how much of a drop there was down Creag Tharsuinn, I couldn’t see it on the way up what with the fog. However as you gather I didn’t fall over the craggy drop but had turned right and followed the gentle climb to the top of Cruach an t-Sìdhein.
I had made the trek in 40 minutes which was quite good going. As with Doune Hill there wasn’t anywhere to shelter on this hill either so I just got myself hunkered down. A quick change of the tee-shirt and on with the new investment the Hi-Gear body warmer. This made such a difference to the comfort on the hill in this now tropical climate of +0.3°c and the wind had dropped to a gentle whisper of 14mph. Normally I would have got the storm shelter out and hid in there but I didn’t feel the need for it at the moment.
I set up the 2m beam on the pole and held on to it for the part of the activation. I called out and instantly Roddy IOB/m stormed in for his chaser points followed by another 8 contacts. Another bite to eat and a coffee or two was called for before I made my mind up about staying. I made the decision to carry on with the activation on HF so a quick text to the remote spotter to spot for me. I set about erecting the mast for HF but due to the permafrost it was very difficult to get the plastic pegs in the ground. I used the sole of my boot to stamp them in the ground and in most cases only managed about 3 inches deep. I even managed to snap one of the pegs – always have spare ones – one half is still lodged firmly in the frozen ground and will probably remain there for all eternity. I did try to get it out but it snapped just below the ground and couldn’t get it. After the spot was placed a quick run of 14 QSO’s on 20m followed by another 22 on 40m. This included two S2S contacts, one with Juerg M/HB9BIN on G/DC-003 and Ricky MW6GWR on GW/MW-018 so chuffed with the extra bonus there.
Nearly two hours had passed on this summit and it was now time to head back. Down to the bealach and back up Beinn Lochain and round the eastern side of Doune Hill. I chose this route as it was getting late and the fog was getting thicker. The cloud base had dropped to around 500m by this time so the fastest escape to the glen was called for. This was a bit of a slanty traverse of the slopes quite easy going as long as one takes their time. The old track down in the glen was now visible so I continued heading for it at an angle. This track leads back to Doune Farm and it is a reasonable track keeping away from any possible boggy bits that may lurk in the lower glen. The final part of the route was just to re-trace the route taken on the way up joining at the wall between Sìth Mòr and Doune Farm heading back for Douglas Water.
Cat had long ago moved the car down to the parking place and as much as I tried to draw her attention with waving and shining a torch in her direction she never seen me. This added an extra 0.8km to the hill route of 12.2km.
As usual it is thanks to all the chasers who make the activation a success.
Until the next time 73