Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair Hike - GM/NS-006 SOTA (2020)

Summits on the Air Activation Report

Activation Date: Friday 14th August, 2020.
Activator(s): Richard M1HAX.
Summit: Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair, Northern Scotland, Scotland.
Summit ID: SOTA reference GM/NS-006 (8 points).
Summit Height: 1015m elevation, 591m prominence.
Summit Location: Lat./Long. 57.70902, -5.27134. Maidenhead Grid IO77ir.
Also Activated: GM/NS-010, GM/NS-016, GM/NS-022.
Distance: 15.7km travelled with 1587m of ascent.
Difficulty: SAC Grade T3 / Grade 1 Scramble.(?)
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: 19 (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).
  • As we walked off the summit of Sgurr Ban, we could see our third (and highest) summit of the day ahead of us, the imposing Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. We took a more or less direct line down Sgurr Ban and up ‘MCMF’, following a trail in the rocky terrain.
  • The journey to Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair was relatively short, less than 2km, with a steep final climb up loose rocky ground composed of dusty dirt and quartzite boulders.
  • Looking back towards Sgurr Ban offered exquisite views of the terrain we had covered thus far. The weather continued to treat us well, even if we were being treated less so by the midges and deer keds.
  • At the start of the summit climb we met an older gentleman hiking solo, specifically walking in just to tick off this one hill. After a little chat we proceeded to complete the rocky ascent and arrived at the summit.
  • At this stage we were about 10km and six hours in to our first full day of hiking the Fisherfield Forest round. I set up my Yaesu FT891 after finding a grassy area to peg out the mast. The conditions on 20 metres were much improved from earlier in the day and I was able to make a good number of contacts with stations across Europe.
  • Half an hour later and I packed away the radio station. The views from Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair were memorably spectacular and it would have been great to have stayed here operating for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, we still had a lot of ground to cover and had to press on to the last summit of the day, Beinn Tarsuinn.


Below are some photographs taken during my activation of Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair on Friday 14th August, 2020.

GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 1).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 2).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 3).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 4).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 5).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 6).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 7).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 8).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 9).
GM/NS-006 SOTA Activation, 14/08/2020 (Photo no. 10).

Walking Route for Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair

The interactive map below shows my GPS track taken to the SOTA activation zone for Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair. 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-006 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 19 amateur radio contacts operating as MM1HAX/P from GM/NS-006 Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair on Friday 14th August, 2020 (all times shown are UTC):

14:35DL5ZBS20mSSBAnsgar, 5/6
14:45DQ100SL20mSSBPeter, 5/9
14:49US4QB20mSSBVasili, 5/9
14:49EA2DT20mSSBManuel, 5/5
14:49F2YT20mSSBPaul, 5/9
14:50EA1DHB20mSSBRicardo, 5/9
14:50UR3LM20mSSBAnatoly, 5/9
14:52OE3CQM20mSSBChris, 5/7
14:53OH3GZ20mSSBJack, 5/9
14:54M6EAM20mSSBJohn, 5/9
14:56DJ0GM20mSSBAlfred, 5/9
14:57SP9CTW20mSSBAlfred, 5/9
14:58G70GG20mSSBLee, 5/9
14:59DJ4CH20mSSBChris, 5/7
15:00IV3KVC20mSSBBenjamin, 5/5
15:01ON8JJ20mSSBRobert, 5/9
15:02YO6CFB20mSSBLacy, 5/7
15:03F1PSX20mSSBJohn, 5/7
15:03F8DZU20mSSBJean, 5/9

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 Mullach Coire Mhic Fhearchair:

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