2020 Summits On The Air Trip

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Craig (2M0LXX) and myself (MM7MMW) took to the Arrochar Alps yesterday morning with intentions to tackle three summits, Beinn Narnairn, Beinn Ime and the Cobbler (Ben Arthur). Having checked the forecast it was clear to see it was going to be quite a busy day for it. This is good and bad news, good because it'll be clear at the top, bad in ways as you can usually preempt that there will be a large amount of footfall.

We departed Ayr at approximately 6:30am with a travel time of 1 hour 25 minutes. Arriving at the carpark around the bay from Arrochar it was clearly going to be quite a busy walk as there were only a few parking spaces left.

This map shows the two munros completed on this walk (with the addition of Ben Arthur on the left as the third summit). Having left the car park we headed north-west immediately up what looked like an old water pipeline heading towards the summit of Ben Narnairn.
The trail heading up was tricky as overtime it had formed a stream that was heading down towards us on this ascent.

Pushing out of the woodlands into the clearing, continuing up the trail to around 100m to the summit, I tuned my 2M handheld radio on around 10:25 to listen into the AARG 10:30 2M net.
After a few minutes I could hear Dennis (GM3YDN) and briefly Garry (GM3MQO). Once we had reached the summit of Beinn Narnairn, Craig set up his new Yaesu FT-818ND and inflated his 2M Air Antenna and we tuned into 145,450 confirming the contacts in the net to count towards a SOTA Activation (along with a few others after calling out on the calling frequency).

We then started the tricky descent down Ben Narnairn heading toward Beinn Ime. This was a fantastic sight to see as it looked like a long straight path up the second Munro. Beinn Ime is the tallest peak of the three.

Looking over to the west we could see the majority of people on the trail were up the Cobbler (which is a Corbett, not a Munro). It is a very popular hike because you're able to 'thread the needle' at the top. (not for the faint hearted)

We pushed on up the long sloping staircase up to the summit of Beinn Ime keen to get the radio back out and make our second SOTA activation of the day. This munro was a bit less demanding than the first as it wasn't as wet or 'scrambley'.

Having arrived at the summit we stopped to have lunch and got the radio out to have a listen for any activity on 2M. We could hear a few stations talking from around Glasgow and the central belt. Craig started calling CQ SOTA on 145,500 and we had a couple of stations come back almost immediately, slowly building into a small pileup. Then onto 2 'summit to summit' calls from two stations on summits in Northern Ireland. 59+ reports from 2w out from this location, what a buzz! Craig announced a change of operator as I took the mic to call for any stations to make the activation for myself and WOW. First time for me properly managing a pileup on 2M from stations around Glasgow, over to West Lothian and again to mobile stations in Northern Ireland.
By far the most enjoyable experience I've had on 2M yet. I made a total of 15 contacts on this summit.

I have edited the above photo to try and make it more visible, but if you can see it, Ailsa Craig away in the distance with the tail of Arran to the right.

2 out 3 summits complete. With the sun beating down on us, we quickly descended down the path we came up and took a right up the staircase heading up The Cobbler.

After completing two Munros this was starting to take a toll on our legs. It made the staircase look pretty daunting. We pushed on while making plenty of space for those people heading down towards us. Once we got to the top and found a space, we set up the station for the final time to make the activation.

We set up the station around the top right hand of this summit to make the activation, keeping away from a very busy peak. This was great activation as we managed to get a few 2m SSB contacts too, just before the batteries on the radio had had enough for the day.

All-in-all an absolutely great day spent in the highlands with some great weather, and fantastic results for the SOTA activation with 40+ contacts between us from around Scotland and Northern Ireland (also being my 25th Birthday! ☺)

Beinn Narnairn - SOTA REF - GM/SS-016. GRID LOCATOR - IO76OF. WAB SQUARE - NN20.
Ben Arthur (The Cobbler) - SOTA REF - GM/SS-020. GRID LOCATOR - IO76OF. WAB SQUARE - NN20.

Already looking forward to the next one. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the write-up of our day yesterday as much as we enjoyed the day.
Depending on what way it goes with the current situation, hopefully we can all get back to the club when safe to do so.

All the best,

Michael Wylde