Beinn Tarsuinn Hike - GM/NS-016 SOTA (2020)

Summits on the Air Activation Report

Activation Date: Friday 14th August, 2020.
Activator(s): Richard M1HAX.
Summit: Beinn Tarsuinn, Northern Scotland, Scotland.
Summit ID: SOTA reference GM/NS-016 (6 points).
Summit Height: 934m elevation, 207m prominence.
Summit Location: Lat./Long. 57.70205, -5.29163. Maidenhead Grid IO77iq.
Also Activated: GM/NS-006, GM/NS-010, GM/NS-022.
Distance: 15.7km travelled with 1587m of ascent.
Difficulty: SAC Grade T3.(?)
Elapsed Time: 12hr 35m (incl. operating and other summit(s) on the same hike).
Weather: Feels like 12.8°C, 4 kph ENE wind, 99% humidity.
Radio Equipment: Yaesu FT891, Linked Dipole, Zippy 8400mAh 4S LiFePo4.
Callsign Used: MM1HAX/P.
Contacts: 11 (20m SSB).

Trip Notes

  • Nestled within the Fisherfield Forest, also known as the Great Wilderness, lie Scotland’s most secluded Munros. The region unveils a breathtaking display of dramatic peaks and ridges, offering some of the most spectacular views in all of Scotland. The Fisherfield Five route encompasses five Munros and one Corbett, with the journey commencing and concluding at Shenavall bothy or a nearby wild camp. The terrain poses challenges, featuring steep hillsides, scree, boulder fields, and broad grass slopes. Walkers should be prepared for sections of easy scrambling and serious river crossings along the way.
  • On this trip I would activate six Summits on the Air mountains as part of a three-night wild camping trip, bagging a total of 38 SOTA activator points. In addition to my camping equipment and food, I carried a Yaesu FT891 100-watt radio, SOTAbeams Band Hopper III linked dipole antenna and 8400mAh 4S LiFePo4 battery. I also took a Yaesu VX6 2m/70cm handheld radio (primarily to convince myself it was entirely necessary to carry the heavy Yaesu FT891 setup!).
  • The sequence of summits for this circular walk was GM/NS-022 (914m), GM/NS-010 (989m), GM/NS-006 (1015m), GM/NS-016 (934m), GM/NS-013 (967m), and GM/NS-021 (919m).
  • After taking some time to enjoy the views and refuel we began our descent off Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, continuing south towards the next target of Beinn Tarsuinn. This six-point SOTA summit would be my fourth and final activation of the day.
  • As we progressed along the faint foot path the terrain became grassier. The route here swings westward turning towards Beinn Tarsuinn. A small pond offered another opportunity to replenish water supplies.
  • At this point we were about 18km from where we had left the car the day before, and the mountain environment was feeling very remote. My heavy backpack had definitely made for slower progress than I am usually accustomed to.
  • Picking our way across an increasingly rocky slope up to the summit, we eventually arrived at the top, treated again to stunning views of the surrounding mountains in every direction. Large smooth rocks at the summit made for ideal seats.
  • I set up my Yaesu FT891 HF radio and antenna and worked a number of European stations on the 20 metres band. So far today I had been using a power output of around 40 watts to manage my 8400mAh battery supply. I tried unsuccessfully to make VHF contacts with my VX6 handheld radio.
  • From the summit we could clearly see walkers ahead of us setting up camp on the famous ‘tennis court’ feature of Beinn Tarsuinn. As we descended west, we were now faced with a decision - stop earlier than planned and camp on the tennis court without access to a water supply, or continue as planned and stop on the col between Beinn Tarsuinn and A’Mhaighdean. As we reached the campers we opted to continue on and camp near the source of the Abhainn Gleann na Muice.
  • As we reached the plateau the ground underfoot was very wet and boggy. The sun was setting and the fog had returned. We made our way across the boggy ground eventually finding a suitably large and dry site to pitch our tents in the fading light. In the morning we would continue on to the next summit, A’Mhaighdean GM/NS-013.


Below are some photographs taken during my activation of Beinn Tarsuinn on Friday 14th August, 2020.

GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 1).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 2).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 3).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 4).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 5).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 6).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 7).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 8).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 9).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 10).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 11).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 12).
GM/NS-016 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 13).

Walking Route for Beinn Tarsuinn

The interactive map below shows my GPS track taken to the SOTA activation zone for Beinn Tarsuinn. Note that this summit was activated as part of a multi-summit hike and the map below shows the full route taken on the day. The GM/NS-016 summit area is marked on the map with a blue pin icon.

You can download the route shown above as a GPX file suitable for use with most GPS devices. This file is provided for information only, to support your own walk planning and research (it may contain navigation errors, detours and/or safety hazards). The route downloads provided here are governed by the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.

Station Log

I logged the following 11 amateur radio contacts operating as MM1HAX/P from GM/NS-016 Beinn Tarsuinn on Friday 14th August, 2020 (all times shown are UTC):

17:20IU6IZQ20mSSBAlex, 5/5
17:25OK8CX/P20mSSBOlaf, 5/8, S2S OL/KA-270
17:27IW4EHH20mSSBRoberto, 5/7
17:28OH3GZ20mSSBJack, 5/9
17:28SM7UZB20mSSBGunnar, 5/9
17:30I4RHP20mSSBRod, 5/5
17:33SV3IEG20mSSBDinos, 5/5
17:35R2AWT20mSSBAnatoly, 5/8
17:35DF2RY20mSSBToni, 5/6
17:38DL1NKS20mSSBSteve, 5/5
17:39CT1DMC20mSSBRui, 4/4

In the notes field I will usually log the other operator’s name and the signal report they provided. In accordance with the Summits on the Air rules, I do not make a log entry where a complete exchange of callsigns and signal reports was unsuccessful.

Additional Information

The following resources may be helpful to walkers, mountaineers and SOTA activators interested in Beinn Tarsuinn:

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