Thursday, 19 March 2015

SOTA - Slieve Gullion - GI/CA-001

Slieve Gullion - 576m, 4 points

Association: Northern Ireland Region: County Armagh
Latitude: 54 7 17 N, Longitude: 6 26 4 W
Grid Reference: J 024203, QTH Locator: IO64SC

Well it being my Birthday, I had a choice of how I wanted to spend the day! Initially I had thoughts of a long day in the Mournes, but inspired by the recent BBC documentary,
Ar Scáth na Sléibhte, I decided to go to an area, virtually unknown to me, and activate Slieve Gullion.
Once again the NI weather was kind, warm, sunny and bright, so yet another day in shorts.
The Southern access road to Gullion was closed so we (my sister joined me) decided on a route from the North starting on a minor road. Google seemed to suggest there was room for a few cars, and when we arrived we found that to be the case. 

Parking spot.
The track was easy to follow on the ground and there were regular iron waymarkers. I followed a GPS route following the path marked on Open Street Maps (which I find quite superb).


A steady climb
The climb was fairly straightforward with only a few short sharp bits to contend with. Generally it was pretty dry underfoot with only the occasional boggy patch. The ascent was just a fraction over 2 miles with approx 1000' of altitude gain.

The route
Near the summit there is a mountain top lake, The Lake of Sorrows, steeped in Irish folklore.
Aparently this is where Cailleach Beara, the unspeakably wicked witch, turned the mighty hero, Fionn MacCumhaill, into a feeble old man when he dived into the Lake of Sorrows to retrieve her golden ring.

No bites...
I'm often asked when out walking why I'm carrying a fishing pole. Well today I had a real answer...

Lake of Sorrow

Slieve Gullion summit cairn in the distance
At the summit there is a cairn which is an ancient passage grave.

The summit cairn

Entrance to Passage Grave

Inside the grave
After a picnic lunch in the sunshine, it was time for the activation to begin. I picked a spot out of the wind in the lee of the cairn.

The shack

Operating in the lee of the cairn
Conditions were again pretty good with a total of 54 QSOs spread from East Coast USA to Asiatic Russia in the east. Only a single S2S today with HB9CBR/p on HB/NW-017.

Birthday activation.
It was soon time to pack and head homewards. I did have a Birthday party to attend :-)

We saw only four other people very briefly at the summit. The sun shone and the weather and propagation gods were kind as usual.

Now for a beer or two...


  1. Hi Pete. Thanks for all the interesting and informative reports. I think these must now be on my to do list as it's only a short hop on the ferry from Fishguard for me. The tractor driver had probably set his GPS to drive while he had his dinner :) 73 Allan GW4VPX

  2. I bet the bands glasses didn't stay full for long!
    73 Phil