Thursday, 2 November 2017

Another one day trip to the Scottish Borders for SOTA

I hadn't realised it but it was April when I last drove up to Scotland to activate Tinto and Dungavel Hill for SOTA. Last Sunday the long range weather forecast looked good for Thursday and with no work this week that was my chosen day. I left Pickering at 5.45am, taking the western route up to Scotland via Sutton Bank, Scotch Corner, A66 Penrith, M6 then M74 to junction 13 at Abington Services.  After almost a 200 mile drive and 4 hours after leaving home, I was setting out on the walk up to Broughton Heights GM/SS-128. At NT119374 there is a designated walkers car park. This is before the wall to Shepherd's Cottage which on the day of my visit was undergoing refurbishment. Car parking:

It was a fine fresh day and the 2.63 mile walk to the summit took me 63 minutes. 
Memorial Seat at the path junction on the John Buchan Way at NT124392

Here is the summit of Broughton Heights. I stayed just over the hour, made lots of contacts on HF, had my lunch and then set off for Trahenna Hill GM/SS-143. I returned to the memorial seat pictured above on the John Buchan Way which I soon left to make my way over Hammer Head (513m), Green Lairs (490m) and Grey Yade (537m) before turning left to reach my objective of Trahenna Hill (549m). Here is the large cairn on Hammer Head:

The col before the summit has more than a 25m drop from the main path so it is essential that to qualify you must turn left and visit the highest point. A nearby fence provides a convenient antenna mounting point:

I stayed less than an hour on Trahenna Hill as I needed to get back to the car and drive to the start of the walk for my 3rd activation of the day whilst I still had some daylight left. Some activators have proceeded to the nearby summit of Penvalla but I decided to leave that for another day when I had my bicycle with me...
It was in April that I walked up GM/SS-172 Lamington Hill and found that I had left my HF antenna back in the car, so today was a chance to revisit there and qualify it for SOTA.  I left the car park in Lamington at NS978309 and was on the summit 40 minutes later (1.8 miles) after walking through the waymarked grounds of a private estate. The walk route is good with tracks and then over grass to the summit once through the woodland. Here is how it looked on the summit with Tinto GM/SS-064 in the background: 

A page full of stations were contacted in Morse and Voice with the log photographed in the failing light before packing up:

I reached home at 9.20pm after a long but worthwhile day with three more SOTA Completes in my log. 


Miles driven: 396
Miles walked: 10 miles
Ascent: 3000 feet
Number of contacts: 103
Time spent on air: 82 minutes
Equipment: Elecraft KX2 10 watts output to inverted vee link dipole on 5m pole 20/30/40m bands
Lunch: Sandwich, energy bar and apple with flask of tea. Dinner: Meal stop at Welcome Break on M74 for KFC (go large) with 3 piece Colonel Sanders traditional meal:

Maps of walk routes taken (Click for larger photo):