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Photos by Bill Wright Page last updated: 2013-05-28

Bill writes:

“Blimey!” I said to ‘er indoors. “It looks as if I might have to pay an admission fee to do this one.”

“I didn’t know transmitter spotting was so popular, dear.”

I ignored the sarcasm and explained that the OS grid reference put the site in the middle of the Inverewe Gardens.

Later we sat in the National Trust for Scotland’s car park and looked for the mast. I pointed to a huge embankment, heavily forested, and said, “It should be there.” We squinted in the sun and scanned the tree line, but there was no transmitter mast visible. “I’ll go and ask,” I said. A very helpful lady came from behind the counter and walked me a hundred yards along the path to show me the transmitter. But the one she showed me was Cliff Hill on the other side of the glen, of interest only because it is the Poolewe and Loch Maree site for the new Two Lochs Radio.

“Err sorry, no, that’s not the one. The one I’m after is here in your gardens somewhere, I think.”

“Och, you mean the wee one by the timber yard. Does that still work?”

She directed me out of the gardens (fortunately I'd avoided paying) and along a track. At the end there was a huge compost heap with two men perched on it. I don't know what they were doing but it looked pretty rural. I asked for directions to the TV transmitter. They gave each other a significant look and sent me up the brae, which seems to mean climbing a 45° slope heavily planted with prickly things. I paused to pull a few spikes out of my head and when I looked back I think they were discussing me. The climb became easier and there was even a path of sorts for a while, but I soon lost it.

Gasping for breath I finally emerged from the undergrowth onto a muddy track, and after about a quarter of a mile came upon the transmitter site, behind a forest wood yard .

A wooden man appeared to be on guard.

There are two receive aerials looking towards Eitshal, one mounted much higher than the other. I wondered if they were phased together to reduce tidal fading effects, but because of the surrounding trees I couldn't tell from ground level if the sea was visible.

The aerials are the very old J Beam 18 element type, with the 'parabeam' slot dipole.

These must have far better gain than the log-periodics favoured more recently, and I couldn't help wondering if they would have been a better choice at the Ullapool site.

This transmitter can’t be seen from the nearer parts of the valley bottom because of the trees, so its coverage area seems to be the other side of the glen only. Even there the view of the mast is partially obstructed.

A few feet from the transmitter mast stood a ten foot length of scaffold tube with a nine element aerial on it, looking up at the transmit aerials. There was a Fringe masthead amplifier attached. This must be the closest to the transmitter a masthead amplifier has ever been installed. Unless, of course, you know differently...

The aerial fed a CT167 cable that disappeared underground. It must have been a long downlead because there were no houses anywhere near.

On the way down the two gardeners saw me coming. One looked towards me and said something to the other. Then as I came closer the second one came across and said “When are we getting Channel Five then?” I was a bit nonplussed so I merely muttered, “Soon I should think.” I don’t know why I said that. Maybe their shovels made me unwilling to disappoint them.

Back at the van I recounted this to Hil. She burst out laughing and said “Well I'm not surprised. Look at your tee-shirt!” It was one I scrounged from a Channel Five retuner years ago, just for a laugh. “Give me 5!” indeed! I bet it was all round Poolewe by nightfall!

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