RSGB Board Director attempts SOTA challenge

| September 23, 2023

RSGB Board Director, Ben Lloyd, GW4BML, and recognised Mountain Goat will be attempting to activate ten summits on remote Scottish islands over a 12-day period commencing 23 September.

He completed his first challenge on Saturday 23 September, travelling to the remote Island of Seaforth, in the Outer Hebrides, by kayak. The island is only accessible for most of the year by non-motorised vehicles.

One of Ben’s first contacts from the summit was RSGB President John McCullagh, GI4BWM, who was over 200 miles away in Ballycastle in County Antrim. John was using his special President’s call sign, GB4RS.

John McCullagh, GI4BWM said: “I was incredibly excited to communicate with Ben whilst he is in one of the most remote places in Great Britain. The great thing about amateur radio is that there is no reliance on networks, phone, Wi-Fi etc., and with the right training and licence we can communicate with people worldwide. What Ben is doing is a brilliant way to combine this with adventure, family and the great outdoors.”

Over the 12 days, Ben aims to reach some summits with his partner and fellow radio amateur Martha, and their two-year-old daughter Lyra. Martha and Lyra will be making the journey to the Isle of Lewis with Ben, which is the staging area for the trip, and joining him on some of the more accessible Marilyns.

Ben is not new to the world of climbing summits with his amateur radio equipment. He has climbed 428 summits in two years and he is close to receiving his second Mountain Goat Award with SOTA. On average it takes someone five years to gain the 1,000 points to reach Mountain Goat status, but Ben achieved his first award in only 365 days.

Ben, GW4BML said: “I love the challenge Summits on the Air brings. It allows me to combine my two favourite hobbies of amateur radio and hiking. Now Martha has passed her Foundation Licence, we can really make this a family adventure with our daughter Lyra too.”

We’re delighted that Ben’s adventures have already been shared in the mainstream media from the press releases we sent out as he was beginning his challenge. Aberdeen & Abderdeenshire, the Scottish News Website of the Year, covered the story on Saturday evening and the images are from the two videos we shared during Ben’s Seaforth Island summit activation – take a look!

You can keep up with Ben’s adventures on the RSGB Facebook page, Twitter/X profile and in the special YouTube playlist we have created.


Update on 13 December: Previously, Ben missed out on activating his tenth summit due to adverse weather. This week he has now activated the summit of ‘Beinn a’Charnain’ GM/SI-203 with his family, completing his challenge.

He has also hit 2,000 points, meaning he has gained his second Mountain Goat. Congratulations Ben!

Category: Front Page News, RSGB Notices