Ruadh Stac Mor Hike - GM/NS-021 SOTA (2020)

Summits on the Air Activation Report

Activation Date: Saturday 15th August, 2020.
Activator(s): Richard M1HAX.
Summit: Ruadh Stac Mor, Northern Scotland, Scotland.
Summit ID: SOTA reference GM/NS-021 (6 points).
Summit Height: 919m elevation, 167m prominence.
Summit Location: Lat./Long. 57.72678, -5.32929. Maidenhead Grid IO77ir.
Also Activated: GM/NS-013.
Distance: 14.4km travelled with 669m of ascent.
Difficulty: SAC Grade T3 / Grade 1 Scramble.(?)
Elapsed Time: 8hr 10m (incl. operating and other summit(s) on the same hike).
Weather: Feels like 11.7°C, 6 kph E wind, 99% humidity.
Radio Equipment: Yaesu FT891, Linked Dipole, Zippy 8400mAh 4S LiFePo4.
Callsign Used: MM1HAX/P.
Contacts: 18 (40m 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).
  • For this activation of Ruadh Stac Mor we would begin by descending northeast from the summit of A' Mhaighdean, continuing our Fisherfield circuit. Like the previous summit this is another very remote Munro in northern Scotland.
  • As we descended, the target came in to view and we were presented with a very steep looking craggy face to reach Ruadh Stac Mor. The journey was relatively short, some 2000 metres horizontally, with a final climb of only around 160 metres. However, the terrain was the most technically challenging of the whole weekend, requiring some hands on rock as we scrambled up the loose eastern face of the mountain.
  • After the easy scrambling was complete, we progressed upward over a loose boulder field. At this point I was quite tired and my heavy overnight backpack was making for slow progress in the bright sun. I reminded myself this would be the last significant ascent of the trip and that the final summit was almost in reach.
  • Arriving at the summit we found a stone shelter and trig point. To my surprise a group of trail runners passed us by as I began to set up my radio station. The trig point made for a convenient support for my mast, saving a few minutes not needing to set up the guy ropes.
  • The 40-metre band continued to deliver and I worked a number of stations across Europe including Andy G6PJZ/P on the summit of Round Hill G/TW-001. I worked the pileup until my battery began to fade. A few minutes on the handheld radio failed to produce any local VHF contacts.
  • We would now begin our long descent covering about 10km north towards Shenavall bothy where we would stop for the night. After passing between two lakes, we picked up a trail heading all the way to the bothy. We made our final river crossing before reaching the bothy. Unsurprisingly it was full and we resorted to camping outside by the river. From here we would complete the circuit back to the car the following morning. The Fisherfield Forest was a truly magnificent location and I very much recommend these mountains to the self sufficient hill walker.


Below are some photographs taken during my activation of Ruadh Stac Mor on Saturday 15th August, 2020.

GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 1).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 2).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 3).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 4).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 5).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 6).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 7).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 8).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 9).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 10).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 11).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 12).
GM/NS-021 SOTA Activation, 15/08/2020 (Photo no. 13).

Walking Route for Ruadh Stac Mor

The interactive map below shows my GPS track taken to the SOTA activation zone for Ruadh Stac Mor. 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-021 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 18 amateur radio contacts operating as MM1HAX/P from GM/NS-021 Ruadh Stac Mor on Saturday 15th August, 2020 (all times shown are UTC):

12:30G1PCE40mSSBMark, 5/9
12:32M7MZB40mSSBMatthew, 5/7
12:34ON4CB40mSSBKurt, 5/7
12:35GD3ZZN40mSSBMartin, 5/8
12:36G4IPB40mSSBPaul, 5/9
12:38EA2DT40mSSBManuel, 5/5
12:392E0FEH40mSSBKarl, 5/7
12:39G4IAR40mSSBDave, 5/8
12:40G0FEX40mSSBKen, 5/8
12:42G0VWP40mSSBTerry, 5/1
12:42G0RQL40mSSBDon, 5/9
12:43GM7PBB40mSSBJohn, 5/9
12:44EA2CKX40mSSBPedro, 5/2
12:44G3VXJ40mSSBBob, 5/3
12:45M0DXT/M40mSSBBill, 5/7
12:46G6PJZ/P40mSSBAndy, 5/9, S2S G/TW-001
12:48G4WSB40mSSBBill, 5/9
12:48EI6KS40mSSBJohn, 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 Ruadh Stac Mor:

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