Monday, 7 January 2013

Great Sugar Loaf EI/IE-022 Wicklow Mountains

G4OBK/P becomes a SOTA "Mountain Goat"
January 7th 2013 in Ireland
Great Sugar loaf IE-022 which I photographed from Djouce Mountain IE-008 the next day
In late 2012 my XYL Judy and I decided to book a short break in Ireland in early January. Flights were booked from Manchester via Jet2, and a car was hired which we collected at Dublin Airport. The Transpennine train was used to get from Yorkshire to Manchester Airport. This is an excellent service from east to west. 

Our holiday was as usual booked via the internet. As a subscriber to Travelzoo I get sent some excellent mid-week deals and this holiday was a combination of a Travelzoo deal staying at Clontarf Castle Hotel on the outskirts of Dublin for two nights, and three nights which I booked on a separate internet deal at Druids Glen Golf Resort, which was reportedly five star, and yes, it deserved it. These were the sort of places we would probably not be prepared to pay for at full tariff in summer, but in winter the tariff is most reasonable! 

Druids Glen Resort Hotel near Newtown Mount Kennedy Wicklow
Clontarf Castle Hotel Dublin
On arrival at Dublin we headed for Eurocar to collect what turned out to be a Hyundai Diesel model i40. Big mistake! When we reached the hotel, about 35 miles south of Dublin Airport, the electric handbrake locked on the car whilst stationary and the car was stuck on the posh hotel concourse..... I somehow managed to free it off, but in the process the handbrake switch broke off and fell inside the centre console housing, so first job next day was to drive back up the coast via Bray and exchange the vehicle for something better. There was no problem doing this and I was given a very solid VW Passat Diesel Saloon instead. 

The climate in Wicklow in January was surprisingly mild and we were amazed to see flowers growing in municipal parks and on traffic islands around Dublin, indicating a lack of heavy winter frosts. 

I had taken my HF amateur radio gear (Yaesu FT-857) and I had planned to activate the Marilyn SOTA Summit of Great Sugar Loaf for 9 points (6+3 for the winter bonus) for Summits On The Air. This would give me the 1000 points I needed to qualify for the Mountain Goat Award, something I had been striving towards since 2005 when I started climbing summits whilst carrying radio gear (some call it "Adventure Radio").

Along the way I had become slightly distracted thanks to a certain Mr A Wainwright and the Wainwrights On The Air (WOTA) scheme, although taking part in that got me on top of all the Lakeland summits earning me valuable SOTA and WOTA points, effectively killing two birds with one stone. 

Judy looks towards Little Sugar Loaf IE-052 as we climb Great Sugar Loaf
So on to Great Sugar Loaf and my Mountain Goat activation. This took place on 8th January 2013. It was a cloudy, windy miserable grey day - not the best for sitting around for over an hour on a 501m high six point summit trying to send Morse Code, but this is what I did, with my ever patient XYL (Wife Judy) sat by me..... 
The Mountain Goat I now am - on Great Sugar Loaf EI/IE-022!
Using the OS Ireland 1:50000 map No.56 I found a parking spot on a tarmac back road south of Kilmacanogue, grid ref 247128. From here we found a path through the gorse to the main path which goes up to the summit at 237127. The hill consists of attractive quartzite rock with the final ascent an easy scramble. There was no cover on top.

Judy descends from Great Sugar Loaf down a quartzite rock gully 
I was on the air for 55 minutes and completed 71 contacts on 10MHz CW (45), 14 MHz CW (18) and SSB (5) with a link dipole and on 145 MHz FM (3) using a quarter wave whip. This included a 2m FM contact across the water with John GW4ZPL who lives near Caernarfon.   The qualifying 4th contact was on 30m CW with my good friend Ken GM0AXY from near Edinburgh, who I climbed Ailsa Craig (GM/SS-246) with in 2009. 

On our way to the pub - Great Sugar Loaf behind
The activation complete we packed up and headed down for a pleasant lunch and celebratory drink at the very welcoming Glencormac Inn in Kilmacanogue, only a mile from the summit. It should be noted that this pub does not serve meals in the evening, if it had then we would have returned there as it was excellent. 


Distance walked: 2 miles approx
Total ascent: 1100 feet
Time taken out and back: 3 hours
Time on air: 55 minutes
Transceivers: Yaesu FT-857D (50 watts) LiPO 5AH battery
                       Yaesu VX-170 Handheld (5 watts)
Antennae: HF Link dipole and 2m 1/4 wave whip
Amateur Bands used: 30m CW, 20m CW, 20m SSB, 2m FM.
Contacts Made: 71

(Djouce Mountain EI/IE-008 next day to follow)


  1. You sneeked the mountain goat in there Phil, or mayb it was just me that missed it, either way good job but don't get me started on electric handbrakes.
    Iain, mm3wjz

  2. Hi Iain
    Yes - sneeked it in - your right! Doing a bit of catching up at present with my blog....a few more things to report to get up to date.

    All the best