24th December 2005
A great day out on this pair above Glen Banchor near Newtonmore. It was a touch windy but sun and blue sky made a change from Scottish clag.
GM/CS-088 - Creag Liath - 745m - NH 663008 - 4 points
6 QSOs: 80m CW - 2, 40m CW - 4
Left the car at the end of the public road at NN 692997 and set off with head torch across the river to the cottage and barn at Glenballoch. A right turn through the woods then spat me out onto the southern slopes of the hill. I took a fairly direct route to the summit turning the very steep ground on the left.
There were quite strange band conditions and I had trouble making my presence felt with a number of stations starting to call CQ on top of me. I rather think I had my antenna setup in the wrong direction which didn't help. However, Jack, GM4COX/M (in his car at the start of his route) and Mike, EI2CL were worked on 80m and then HB9AFI, G3TJE, G0VYR & MW0IDX on 40m. Photo below looks across to Carn Dearg from the summit cairn.
GM/CS-037 - Carn Dearg - 945m - NH 635024 - 6 points
15 QSOs: 20m CW - 4, 40m CW - 11
When planning I was in two minds whether to head around the high ground or cut across the corrie. However, the stiff wind made up my mind and I headed north to the col, down to the river which I followed to beneath the summit and then took the punishingly steep grassy gully directly between the two summit buttresses. Care was needed as high up the turf was hard frozen and quite icy in places.
Below are the two summit buttresses of Carn Dearg and the view back to Creag Liath.
Three friendly Ptarmigan high in the gully.
It was extremely windy when I reached the summit and there was no shelter to be had bar perching precariously on the east face (not recommend without belay!). I rapidly set up the antenna and sought refuge instead in my bivi bag and stayed tolerably warm which was good since I had something of a pile waiting for me. HB9AFI, HB9AGH, HB9DOT & G4OBK on 20m and then the following on 40m: G4OBK, PA0XAW, DL4ALI, EI7CC, G4ERP, G3PWS, EI2CL, LX1NO, G4ZIB, GM4UBJ & GM0AXY the latter two benefitting from a quick shortening of the skip towards the end.
It is a long walk back out from this summit. But with time on my hands I dawdled and enjoyed the views, the sense of space and eventually a glorious evening sun disapearing behind the hills west of the glen. Top tip: follow the Allt Balloch all the way to the main river (pleasant and picturesque) rather than try and cut across (boggy and laborious).