Tuesday, 30 November 2021

SOTA GM/SS-144 Deuchar Law 30-11-2021

The route taken

I travelled up to Scotland intending to be the first to activate a new summit - this was White Hill GM/SS-289, however to be sure of this I needed to be in the area near Dumfries, early morning on the 1st December. I booked a guest house in Annan for the 30th November and activated Deuchar Law that day, before going to Annan in the evening.
It was St Andrews Day, a public holiday in Scotland and the first qualifying day for the SOTA Winter Bonus in Scotland where special dispensation had been granted to earn the bonus a day early and I believe that I was the only activator to take advantage of this unusual situation, so my activation was worth five points rather than the usual two...

The weather was changeable and wet in the last week of November and I was uncertain whether this activation would actually take place at all. After studying weather forecasts I decided to leave Yorkshire in mid morning and hoped that when I reached the area north east of Moffat that the weather would be dry enough to proceed to Deuchar Law (543m ASL). Indeed it was dry enough to set off when I arrived at the parking place at Glenlude 326m ASL, (NY 312297) for my walk from the B709 road, at 1400z. With darkness just over two hours away I knew that my headlight would be needed for the return walk...

Parking place in lay-by above Glenlude

It was a shade under two miles and around 850 feet of ascent to the featureless summit of Deuchar Law, a slightly easier walk than the climb to GM/SS-029 Broad Law nearby, which I activated in August with Pete M0HQO. It was mostly grass to the summit, with the final half mile or so after the fence rather rough ground, but not so bad. It took me just an hour to reach the highest point of Deuchar Law, and I was on the air on HF working my good friend Nick G4OOE in Scarborough at 1530z using the 60m band (CW).  I worked Nick again on SSB, as well as my near neighbour in Pickering, Pete M0HQO (CW), and finally Victor GI4ONL (SSB) before moving to 40m CW to work nine more European stations.  The weather was on the turn when I arrived, wind was around 20 mph and rain threatening. I found a hollow in the ground a few meters down from the few stones marking the summit and pitched up my golf umbrella there to keep the rain off me and my KX3. There was nothing to fix the aerial pole to on Deuchar Law, so I used my guying ring. A link dipole was deployed as an inverted vee on the 60m and 40m bands:

After twenty minutes of activity and eighteen contacts it started pouring with rain. The headlight came in at that point and I packed up the gear while sheltering under my brolly. The walk back was decidedly wet in torrential rain and unpleasant but it was worthwhile, as I secured another SOTA Complete on my way to the 1000 target I am aiming to reach in 2022 before I turn 70... 

The drive to my guest house in Annan in the pouring rain was uneventful. After a change of clothes there I headed back out into the rain to have a lonely Indian meal in the dimly lit Sitar Restaurant - I was their only customer!

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