Well the trip to Scotland was great!!! I’ve taken around about 1000 pics and videos, I’ll go through them and get a selection of them put up in the gallery.
This is the write up of my trip. It’s very long and contains lots of links.. The pics of the trip will follow .. Click to see the full story.
Friday April 25th – Saturday May 3rd.
Friday, April 25th
The trip to the Isle of Mull for the CAMB-HAMS started Friday morning at around 1030 am from Gavin’s (M1BXF) house once everything was loaded in, on and around Neil’s (G4HUN). We met with Bob (G1SAA), Daryl (G0ANV) and Geoff (G0DDX) at a petrol station just off the a1198 at Godmanchester. After getting some snacks for the trip it was off and away, northward bound. We made a stop at a services on the other side of < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
Saturday (April 26th) morning starts alight and by 1000 hrs we are on our way to Oban to get the
The ferry ride was completely uneventful and only lasted about 45 mins. Now on
The countryside on the island is littered with a menagerie of animals… And needless to say, the by-products of what they consume. The walk to the beach is only about 200m but it’s a mine field of goose, horse, goat, highland cow and wild deer deposits with the added obstacles of having to climb over fences, rocks and a couple of small streams from some of the islands many natural springs. The beach is a mix of sand rock and rubbish that’s drifted in from the sea.
We are now clear to take over the cottages. Time to get to work setting up all the gear. The first task is to unload the trailer mast and get the crank up mast assembled and put in place. With that out of the way its time for the verticals and the dipoles after that all the cars are unpacked and the equipment is shifted into the cottages ready or setting up and connecting to the antennas.
Saturday (April 26th) didn’t see to much radio work as everyone was pretty we’ll knackered from the travelling and set up. Sunday was a bit of a relax and explore day, some guys went of to do SOTA or walking about or tinkering with the radios and stuff. I personally went for a bit of a walk along the “Coastal Path”, this runs along the coast of the island, as the name might suggest. I ended you walking about 2.5 or 3 km along the coast from the base camp. While this may not seem far, it was pretty hard going over very rocky and soft boggy terrain. Along the way I encountered about 5 or 6 wild goats, these were all very large with big horns you’ll see them in the pics. I’m sure they were harmless but not something I wanted to find out for myself.
Sunday (April 27th) night I worked the 80m station and took about 100 or so calls in about 90 mins, the pile ups were amazing but very good fun.
Monday (April 28th), again some folks were off doing SOTA and whatever. I was puttering around the shacks for a while then decided to take another walk. I set off for another walk, this time I went walking back down the road from the cottages. It’s 4.5 miles from the main road at Pennyghael to the cottages, the road is up and down all the way along. The height difference between the cottages and the highest point is about 150 or so meters. The road is narrow and very step. I ended up walking about 4 of the 4.5 miles before turning around to walk the return trip again. The walk back down to the cottage was much harder then the walk up and out in the first place, not easy walking down 30-45 degree slopes for a long time.
Monday night saw a ton of activity at the 80m station again. Neil had been working the station for several hours and after dinner I finally managed to pry him loose after about 250 or so contacts, he needed to go and eat. I then worked the station and the massive pile ups, racking up another 250 or so in a couple hours.
Tuesday (April 29th), today Neil, Dave and myself headed out to activate another rare WAB square (NM22) located at Fionnphort, the most western point on Mull. The first antenna we set up, a G5RV, just didn’t work for us. We then set up a 20m vertical, this proved to be much better and Dave proceeded to make a pile of contacts. After over an hour of that we packed up and went to the local pub (The Keel Row) for lunch. I had a jacket potato with spicy haggis filling, it wasn’t that spicy, but very tasty to say the least. After that the three of us headed the beach in front of the pub for a little look about and se what we could find.
Back at the cottages it was as other nights have been like, a great meal prepared by Daryl and radio. I’m finishing this up in bed as I am tired and have a big day tomorrow with a trip to Treshnish Isles with 3 others. We plan to activate the island on 20m. More on that tomorrow.
Wednesday (April 30th), the day 4 of us head to the Treshnish Isles. This is a small group of islands several miles out to sea to the
We boarded the boat for the 30 or so min trip to Lunga, the largest of the Treshnish islands. The seas were getting pretty rough and the weather was closing in on rapidly. We disembarked on Lunga to blowing winds and driving rain. We set off in 2 groups of 2s to find suitable places to set up and operate from. We needed physical separation of the stations as well as some form of shelter from the elements. We got our station set up and while in the process of getting the antenna connected to the tuner we were getting sparks as much as 1 inch long because of the static in the rain. This caused some concern and made use be that much more aware of lightening which we are sure it wasn’t very far from us. We didn’t get many contacts on our 40/80m station. The other team operating 20m did much better with nearly 150 contacts in about 90 mins.
The ride back to
On Thursday (May 1st) the crew that went off to Treshnish decided to take the day off and go to Tobermory, the town was used to base a BBC kids show on called Balamory. The town is quite small but nice. We had lunch in the bit pub in town. I had the soup of the day and a plate of spicy haggis dumplings. They were very nice. After that it was a walk around the waterfront of Tobermory and check out the shops. I bought a much needed hatchet to cut some wood for the fireplaces in the cottages and a couple T-shirts for the kids with “Balamory” on them.
Thursday night we all went to a place called “The Reef” in Bunessan, about 10 miles or so from the cottages. The food was great but just too small for the price. We left there after eating and drinking them out of house and home. A good time was had by all.
Friday (May 2nd), Neil and Voi went back to Lunga again with the hopes of better weather, they got it to. The weather today was spectacular to say the least. They came back with well over a hundred contacts. They even managed to do some operating from Staffa as well as an added bonus, however as it was the same EU-008 as Mull it didn’t really count for too much, but it was a nice bonus for those that wanted the island for the logs.
Those that stayed behind at the cottages started to get things packed up and taken down to ready for packing and loading up. We have to be away from the cottages by 1000 hrs sharp, but more to the point we hope to catch the early ferry back to Oban and then home. The only scheduled stop for us is at a place called Loch Fyne which has a great seafood restaurant by the same name which is top class food. So we will stop there for a bite then only stop when needed on the rest of the trip back.
Saturday (May 3rd). We were all packed up Friday night and ready to go in the morning. We pulled out of the cottages around about 0900hrs and got to the Ferry port for about 0930hrs, we had been booked on the 1245 Ferry but joined the standby queue for the 1030 sailing and managed to get on it. The crossing was uneventful, just as the Ferry over had been. We took the slightly longer route from Oban towards