We headed away from my niece’s home to head for the Ponderosa with the intention of maybe trying for both summits accessible from the Horseshoe Pass but as the craic had been mighty with Aenone and Dave we were later away than expected and only managed Cyrn-y-Brain. The Ponderosa was packed out with bikers when we arrived after 11am but we managed to get pulled up on the other side of the road, got our gear on and headed to the shortcut to the track behind the car park.
This one has a good track all the way to the summit and we ignored the shortcut through the heather as we get enough of that at home in the Sperrins! We were thoroughly entertained by sheep, birds of prey and grouse on the ascent. At the summit the end fed long wire was quickly set up and I started on 40m and quickly got 4 contacts to claim the points. I moved to 80m and onto the WAB frequency for the usual suspects – Karl, Graham, Geoff and Ken. Ian could not get any contacts on 2m so he took over on HF to get qualified. It transpired later that everyone could hear him but there was a lot of bleed over from the masts. After our coffee (thanks Dave) we took down the hf gear and moved away from the masts staying in the AZ until we could hear replies to our calls. Thankfully both of us qualified with 2m as well. At 3.30pm we started on the road back so as we had our ferry to get we packed up when we got back to the Jeep and headed for Birkenhead. This was to be our last summit in our mini trip to North Wales which saw us reach 100 miles climbing for Leukaemia Research.
After climbing Mullaghclogha GI/SM-002 yesterday I was determined that we would activate Carnanelly today. Ian had already activated this one last year but I was at work that day and now needed this one to complete the Sperrins. We didn’t get away until the afternoon as there was a bogged tractor to pull out of the bottom of the Pump field – I would know how that felt later this afternoon! Mountain dog aka Poppy accompanied us with her sidekick staying at home much to her disgust. We arrived at the start point H68214 94093 Goles Forrest at about 1:30pm. The start was fine along forest tracks but at 1.2 miles we had to set off into the forest along a fire break. First there was a large shough to get over and then the fun started! There was a faint path as this track was used by geocachers to get to the summit but there were fallen trees every 20 yds! This meant that I had to constantly make detours as I couldn’t step over anything more than a foot in height. The moss was amazing in here – our sticks would disappear into apparent solid ground up to their handles which made it very dangerous walking indeed! Unlike our recent summits in England there wasn’t a soul to be seen or voice to be heard – just constant birdsong. After 0.6 mile which seemed to take for ever we emerged onto the hillside and clambered up to the summit – at this point I swore I would never ever be back on this hill and renamed it Carnage. We also didn’t realise that we couldn’t spot ourselves nor could anyone else – thanks to the WAB guys for trying – but it was Victor GI4ONL who got it sorted eventually and we finally got it activated. Many thanks to everyone who contacted us on 2m, 40m and 60m. Just after we arrived it started raining but we stayed after the activation to get revived with coffee, brioche and traybake as a celebration!! We then started the long descent with a few disappearing tricks into bogs and shoughs and arrived back at the Landy at 7:30pm.
On Easter Saturday I set off at 10am to activate our local SOTA Benbradagh which is 3 miles from our home. There had been showers earlier but the sun had come out just as I left the farm. Mountain dog and her sidekick accompanied me today but I left Ian at home to deal with the boiler engineer! My destination is the top of the Curragh Rd where it meets the old access road to the abandoned US Naval Listening Station C72807 10287. From here its a lovely walk along the old road past many of the concrete blocks to which stays were attached from the masts for the listening station crossing over several gates. At C72448 10947 beside a phone mast continue straight on onto a grass track that will take you to a stile on the left that leads to the final track to the summit. I had decided as this was to be a quick activation before doing Donald’s Hill in the afternoon that it would be VHF only on 2m FM, 70cms FM and DMR.
The following contacts were made:
No cup of tea on this activation – just straight back to the jeep with the 2 amigos to get ready for Donald’s Hill this afternoon.
On Saturday 3rd December we set off on our first Winter bonus activations, this time accompanied by Steve 2I0VTZ and Mountain Dog of course. Mullaghcarn is very close to our home QTH so little travelling today! We parked on the Birren Road next to the access road to the BT site. After gathering up the gear we set off up the access road after clambering over the gate – I had told Ian to bring the stepladder in the Landy as I knew I couldn’t climb the gate!! It was a steady walk up the road – initially heading away from the summit – but then round a horseshoe bend and we were heading for the summit again. Little in the way of wildlife today apart from 2 crows on the ascent and an unidentified bird in the heather on the way down!
Once arriving at the transmitters we had to negotiate the mud around the site to get to the summit. we set up the 2 HF aerials on the one pole – Steve had a linked dipole and I had the end fed long wire. Steve put up his tent as the wind was bitter and we tried out our new tarp as a wind break for which it was excellent. Ian and Steve started on 2m whilst I went on the WAB net on 7.160 and immediately worked Dave G4SQA followed by the following:
OE9EGI/P provided a S2S for us all. After a lovely cup of tea and a few yoghurt biscuits we packed all up and headed down again. Mountain dog had her coat on at this stage as she was getting cold. We quickly descended and when approaching the Birren Rd debated going for the nearby Geocache but the thoughts of a warm coffee back at the farm won and we were soon heading back into Dungiven.
Many thanks to all our chasers today and to Steve for joining us!
This is one of the smallest summits in the sperrins at just 725ft but one of the most awkward in several respects! It has been notoriously difficult to get access and is very steep. The easiest route is via the access road to the transmitter site but despite all the locals saying that it was a right of way to the top the farmer does not allow any walkers access. There is another route at the north side but Tom (M1EYP)and Jimmy (M0HJY) found that it was barred by impenetrable gorse and a very high barb wire fence. We therefore went directly to Walsh’s Farm and asked permission from the farmer to park on the farmyard and where was best to climb the mountain. In true Northern Ireland form he talked to me out of the bathroom window and we soon found common friends!! He told us to go up the road slightly to start from there as there was a ram in the field who would hit us!
The unfortunate problem with this side is that it is extremely steep and the ground is made up of very sticky clay. However we were on the summit within 40mins and were soon setting up. I worked a few on the WAB net on 40m initially whilst Ian got it activated with 2m. I moved then to another frequency on 40m and got the activation there followed by several on 20m.
No summit to summits today – tried hard with Andy GM8OEG on 40m and 2m but nothing heard. We packed up at 2pm to go and try an EI summit but as it took me so long to get back to the landy we gave up on that for today – the hill is so steep it was too sore on my knees! Thanks to everyone who was in contact today!
Esther & Ian GI0AZA &GI0AZB
This was my final summit in the South West of GI and the penultimate for Ian as he still had Bessie Bell to do later today. Just under 800ft but like many mountains in Northern Ireland there was no clear path or track to the summit but we were able to drive up a track to within 500m of it. In lovely sunshine we started up the hillside, through gorse, bog and tree stumps – not pleasant for Mountain Dog and her sidekick Sofa Dog!! it took us 30 mins to get to the top but that was due to difficulties with my knee rather than the distance. On the way up we saw buzzards and the usual mushrooms – the trees are starting to take over again. No sign of the red squirrels and deer reported by others.
At the summit we set up the HF antenna and before Ian headed up the “watch tower” to get his other VHF contacts he spoke to Victor GI40NL on 145.525. Contacts followed with William MI6XKE, Ray GI4AHD, Dave MI0VKO, Eddie GI7FHZ, Martin MI0RTY, and Syd MI5UTC.
I went onto the WAB net initially and quickly worked through a good net there, then moved down the band to work a total of 14 on 40m, 4 on 20m and 2 on 2m.
12:05z G0FEX 7MHz SSB 12:28z EB1IFK 7MHz SSB
12:06z G0GWY 7MHz SSB 12:29z G4TQE 7MHz SSB
12:06z G4SQA 7MHz SSB 12:29z G6TUH 7MHz SSB
12:07z G7BGA 7MHz SSB 12:30z EA2CKX 7MHz SSB
12:07z MW0XOT 7MHz SSB 12:34z G0RQL 7MHz SSB
12:10z G4ZRP 7MHz SSB 12:49z MW6HNN 7MHz SSB
12:11z G6LKB 7MHz SSB 12:56z SM7DIE 14MHz SSB
12:12z GM8OEG/P 7MHz SSB 12:57z DB9MKV 14MHz SSB
12:16z G4DUE 7MHz SSB 12:59z CT2IWW 14MHz SSB
12:17z MK3FEH 7MHz SSB 12:59z OK1DVM 14MHz SSB
12:20z G3XKT 7MHz SSB 13:12z GI4ONL 144MHz FM
12:21z 2E0GBK 7MHz SSB 13:14z GI4AHD 144MHz FM
12:23z G0FVH 7MHz SSB
12:27z M0MDA 7MHz SSB
As we were packing up black clouds were piling in and soon there was torrential rain. After a quick scramble we were back at the Landy within 15 mins, loaded up and making our way over to Bessie Bell GI/SW-001.