After a successful morning activation of Mullaghclogha GI/SM-002 on the West of the pass on Thursday 6th July 2017, and taking lunch in the car on the summit of the pass, it was time to head East for Sawel Mountain GI/SM-001 - our final Northern Ireland summit. This involved a sharp slog of nearly 200m height gain straight up Dart Mountian, a drop of about 80m into a broad saddle, then a final 130m ascent to the highest point in the Sperrin Mountains. And of course, all that in reverse afterwards!
This really was one that just seemed to go on and on and on! It was OK though, as we were in good spirits and looking forward to celebrating our achievement. Jimmy activated and qualified the summit on 2m FM before I had even finished setting up, so he was relaxed and content. I went on 5MHz again, but found it fairly slow going as I had done for much of the week. Enough to qualify though, and that was the most important thing.
Our thoughts now turned to our "set piece" celebration photo for SOTAwatch and Facebook! Jimmy had brought up two bottles of Guinness and a bottle opener, for the dual purpose of the celebration - and of course, the all-important Facebook photograph! We got our aerials and kit packed away first. Just as it got to the moment we had both been looking forward to, the heavens opened - and we had to party in some rather heavy rain!
The bottled Guinness was delicious though, and we both really enjoyed it, despite the inclement weather. The return walk was a reversal of the outward route, and so it did necessarily include a small reascent of Dart Mountain. Back at the car we stripped off wet boots and socks, jackets and hats, and whacked the heater on full blast. Time was cracking on so we gave the pub another ring - yes, Ulster Fry for tea once more - and more Guinness of course.
Mission accomplished. We could now look forward to a relaxing final day with no more new Northern Irish summits to conquer. We would revisit a couple of trivial "drive-to-the-top" summits en route back to Belfast port, and visit the well-known VHF contester David GI4SNA too. So first on Friday's agenda was Carrigatuke GI/CA-003.