GI SOTA Trip - Activation #2 - Slieve Beagh GI/SW-004 - Monday 30th May 2016
Well this one certainly got me "acclimatised" to the demands of many of the summits we were to tackle during this week. From Slievemore GI/SM-021 it was a fairly short drive south. There was a spacious parking area beside the minor road at Eshnaglogh, just before a locked barrier across the road.
We walked past the barrier and continued as the cul-de-sac road deteriorated to rough track and reach a T-junction. From here it was necessary to bear left up to the end of the track before turning slightly right onto the moorland and contemplate a further 3km of energy-sapping tussocky featureless walking. Fortunately, the very dry and hot weather conditions meant that the ground underfoot was mostly solid, although there were still some very "liquidy" boggy sections that required vigilance.
The progress was slow, not helped by the oppressive heat of the day. Jimmy was my guide as he plotted our line of attack over undulating spongy ground. We passed over Eshbrack 365m, which Jimmy advised me was the highest point in County Monaghan. In fact most of the approach to this summit was in EI.
As I grew increasingly tired, but realising the very slight gradient (only around 25m height gain to the summit in the final 2km of walking) I asked Jimmy about the activation zone, and the possibility of me quitting there to operate, while he continued (as the purist he is) to the summit true. However, he rightly pointed out the possible difficulty of me being set up in EI and him commencing his activation in GI. That would make it difficult for him to come over to my set up to continue should he require HF back up. So I plodded on to the summit!
However, this was not necessary as Jimmy qualified with five QSOs on 2m FM. My qualification was also easy with 3 QSOs on 30m CW followed by 6 on 40m CW, including S2S with M0OAT/P on Shining Tor G/SP-004.
We got cracking with the long return walk, and just as I began to relax with the track/road coming back in sight, the phone rang. It was the Castle Inn in Newtownstewart where we were booked to stay. They had a problem with damp and could not accommodate us! However, they had made arrangements for us to stay in a B&B for the same nights and same price - phew!
The day was going pretty well to plan, and we continued with our schedule, moving onto Brougher Mountain GI/SW-007. First though, we had our lunch in the car - a flask of ham, chicken & sweetcorn chowder. Only thing was, it was cold. Was there a problem with my flask or had I not properly checked the soup was warmed through?