GM crop is ruined by August rain (South Scottish summits August 2008)
This report first appeared as a news item on the Summitsbase website in September 2008
All week it rained and everyday I got a little more down. We visited the Castle Jail and Mary Queen of Scots House with a warning light illuminated on the dashboard. It showed an outline of the Discovery with an arrow up and one down, the air suspension had definitely failed. It rained again all day Friday so by Saturday morning my mood was probably best described as morose but I loaded the car in brilliant sunshine and by the time we were on the road I was singing along to CDs, much to the children's' disgust.
The A708 is the road from Selkirk to Moffat which is also known as Moffatdale Pass and takes you past St Mary’s Loch and later The Grey Mare’s Tail waterfall. The scenery is magnificent and well worth a look if you are in the area, but the road is narrow, twisting and undulating. Every now and again our tow bar would ground as the road dipped, Helen was driving and getting slower and slower. As soon as we could we waved everyone past and took our time. We took a quick break at the waterfall to take some pictures. Arriving at the second cottage our initial impression was a good one, but the owners seemed to have spent a mint on the restoration and a couple of quid at a car boot for the furniture. It would normally only be somewhere to eat, sleep and recharge batteries but once again the weather would keep us somewhat confined to barracks and the was not a comfortable chair in the place and next to no TV reception, good job we brought DVDs and the games console.
24th August 2008 GM/SS-273 Hightown Hill
Sunday 24th August was one of the better days. We woke to see grey skies and wetness on the ground, we ate breakfast and went back to bed for a couple hours. We finally emerged at about 12:00 UTC, saw that it had brightened up and grabbed the gear and headed out for Hightown Hill GM/SS-273. We followed the instructions in the summit information on the SOTA website by Phil G4OBK and parked outside the farm on the opposite side of the road to the summit. Helen spoke to the farmer who said we could park over the entrance to the sheep pens, as he would not need access that day. She thanked him and he wished us an enjoyable walk. Just like Phil we followed the farm track and then the fence line straight up to the summit. The children were wary of the cattle, but the cattle seemed even more wary of us and moved away quickly as we approached. At least they were not the curious kind we have encountered before who try to cut off your path or the adventurous ones who try to eat antennas and rucksacks. This is a hill that I think is best described as pretty, it is a short steep climb but the views are well worth it. The level of visibility was not at its best but we could see across the Solway to the Lakeland Fells and Criffel GM/SS-130 south of Dumfries, so on a clear day it must be great. I started on 60 metres at 14:20 UTC and was surprised that despite my self-spot I only got two takers Peter M0COP and Roger G0TRB. I wound the power up on the IC 706 to the full 100 watts but no one else came back. Conditions looked poor but a QSY to 80 metres brought a cascade of calls starting with Geoff G4CPA and by the time I worked Ron GW4EVX back home in Deeside I had fourteen in the log. 40 metres brought me four EU stations in the Form of ON4CEY, DL9SXX, DL3JPN and OK1SDE. Finally 20 metres was tried on the full 100 watts with a fresh battery but no replies were heard. Helen worked four HF stations to make sure of qualifying the summit and then got nothing on VHF in a pattern that repeated itself on the next two hills. We did however make sure we got the chaser points by working each other from outside the activation zones. We descended windswept but happy to the car. The happiness did not last however and another rain soaked week followed.
Date:24/Aug/2008 Summit:GM/SS-273 (Hightown Hill) Call Used:GM7AAV/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0
Date:24/Aug/2008 Summit:GM/SS-273 (Hightown Hill) Call Used:GM7AAU/P Points: 1 Bonus: 0