After Slieau Freoaghane GD/GD-002 on Monday 22nd July 2013, I reckoned that we had sufficient time to have a crack at Bradda Hill. This was the hill that we were least looking forward to, due to its relentlessly steep initial climb. Still it had to be done though, and we opted for the approach from the Fleshwick side rather than the coast path from the south, which we had heard included some nerve-jangling exposed cliff paths!
We found a spot to park at SC 200 209 close to the access for the farmhouse at Ballaglonney. A short walk down the road towards Fleshwick brought us to the public footpath, which was initially up a gently sloping field. However, through the next gate the real work began. The path zigzagged its way up a fearsome slope. The hard work was all the more harder for it was a baking hot afternoon, plus the head-high vegetation either side of the narrow path was providing a plentiful supply of pollen directly into our faces. I don't think I have ever sneezed so hard or so much!
It was with some relief when we reach the saddle at SC 194 711. At this point, I called for an official rest stop, and the four of us collapsed onto the ground just by a stone wall and gate. The Nutri-Grain energy bars were passed around, and there was some hard swigging on the bladder tubes as we frantically tried to refresh and rehydrate.
There was still a bit of ascent work to do, but it was all much more graded now. The views out to sea on out right hand side were lovely with the bright sunshine glistening on the gently rippling water far below. Jimmy and Ed set up for 2m FM using the MFD right at the summit cairn, while Liam and I moved 100 yards or so over to the west and the cliff path by a stone wall. Here I set up the 12m groundplane antenna.
None of us really filled in much of our logbooks on this activation. Jimmy made six QSOs on 2m FM, with Edward working four of those same stations for his own qualification. For me, it was mixed feelings. I was pleased that I had qualified the summit solely on 12m, but disappointed it was just the bare minimum four QSOs. A half-smile came to my face as I realised that I had qualified for the point with four QSOs that were all outside of Europe - two into the Canary Islands (Africa), one into North Carolina, USA, and best of all, a fourth and qualifying contact into Brazil. These were all on CW. SSB and PSK31 were both tried, but unsuccessfully.
This time, the four of us left the summit more or less together, and carefully picked our way down the steep descent. With still hot weather, aggravated hayfever, tired bodies after a strenuous day and getting rather hungry, this was hard work. Once we had passed through the gate, we awarded ourselves another rest stop, even though we were only minutes of easy walking from the car.
We visited Richard GD8EXI whose home QTH is very close to Bradda Hill. Jimmy and I have worked Richard many times in the Tuesday evening RSGB UK VHF activity contests. Thereafter, it was another wild goose chase to find food, and again we were snookered when everywhere shut up shop at the 8pm deadline. After reluctantly admitting failure, it was over to Douglas again for a curry. The plan for the following day was a visit to my old hometown of Ramsey, and an evening contest activation of Mull Hill GD/GD-005.