GM trip day 7 - Wednesday 5th August 2009 - Beinn
Not that any of us actually attained the summit. It would have been atop a
cluster of huge rocks that towered about 5m above the rest of the summit
plateau. We opted out, and got on with the SOTA operating!
Working conditions for Barry and myself were exactly as per the earlier
Ben Macdui GM/ES-001, while Jimmy tried
his luck on his 2m handheld. I reckon he would have needed a huge slice of
good fortune to get his quota even with the beam, so he was soon at my side
and waiting for me to work down the pile up (14 stations) on 7.032MHz CW.
The QSO rate was much slower for Jimmy on 7.160MHz SSB, so it was a relief
for him to hear an absolutely huge signal from Steve G1INK to give him his
all-important 4th contact after several minutes of calling in vain.
Now we had one heck of a "non-trivial" walk to contemplate to complete the
circuit. After finding a long steep grassy descent off Beinn Mheadhoin, we
picked up the main path which had an even steeper and quite rocky descent
down to Loch Avon. This route passed the famous Shelter Stone, and we could
well understand why walkers reaching that point could well be unpacking
their sleeping bags and stoves right there.
But we hadn't planned to overnight. We had to get back to the car in the
daylight that remained, ideally. Headtorches were carried of course, but we
wanted all the significant stages out of the way before using them, at
Several people were camping on the shore of Loch Avon, and Tommy the black
lab approached each of them in turn for a fuss, which he duly got. After
successfully balancing myself over the two series of stepping stones, I did
feel a twinge of jealousy of those now before me, who were cooking their
evening meals and preparing to relax in their sleeping bags in this
Not for us. The last major ascent of the journey now beckoned, and Jimmy
chillingly pointed out that here we were, after 7pm in the evening, and
contemplating an ascent equivalent to Snowdon
GW/NW-001 just to get back to the car (and without a further SOTA summit
The climb up through the rocks and waterfalls of Allt Coire Raibeirt was
tough on our tiring bodies, but at the same time exhilarating with the water
plunging downwards by our side and the periodic encountering of
mini-scrambles. Again, the team became stretched, with Jimmy pulling ahead,
and Barry dropping behind.
The walk now became really enjoyable, as we pushed on gently uphill, aiming
for a near horizon. The point was marked by a large cairn, half a kilometre
to the west of Cairn Gorm. Here, I paused to enjoy the stunning view from
Aviemore around to the ski slopes, dimly lit in the last of the evening sun,
but atmospheric and inspiring as opposed to gloomy.
Thanks to the following stations worked on this activation: