NP-017 Fountains Fell 2192 feet - G4OBK/P 52nd unique.
The Littondale road up to Halton Gill and across to Stainforth was clear - the gritting and snowplough crews over the western side of North Yorkshire have been more active than in the eastern side of the county I reckon. A smooth passage then, and after my coffee and biscuits and another Iboprofen I was walking up Fountains Fell along the Pennine Way from SD853723 at an earlier than predicted time of 12:10z. I kept as close to the wall after leaving the Pennine Way as I could taking the straight route up to the top (Suggested by G4YSS - thanks John). Pockets of last weeks drifted snow meant I had to leave the wall by 50-100m and pick my way up where I could. Quite a strenuous climb which left me breathless a few times to pause and take in the fantastic views over to Pen-y-ghent NP-010 and Ingleborough NP-005. I was on the summit (only 0.9 mile) in less than 40 minutes, and what a lovely summit she is, with an activation zone that extends out for a very long way to the south east and Fountains Fell Tarn. After inspecting the pile of stones I set up camp adjacent to one of the three stone walls that make a junction here at SD864716, treading cautiously in the drifting snow as their are disused coal mine shafts right across the top of this summit. I found a few shafts later but they were very obvious and fenced off. I laid my foam mat down on the snow and despite this my backside never got cold during the one hour operating period. The thermals I had on, bought for the one and only ski-ing holiday we had in 1995, were doing their job!
With the fickle nature of the 60m band in the winter afternoons I opted to start there. FE (5398.5 KHz) was being used for non amateur data traffic so I started on 5371.5 and finished on 5403.5 for the EI guys if any were around. The band was in good shape and GW0DSP was first in the log at 1310z with G3RMD last out of 12 QSOs including EI7CC. 80m came next with much more success than on NP-031 - here I bagged 11 on CW and on 7 on SSB. 40m CW made 15 QSOs and 30m was the disappointment band - one QSO with HB9CKV. Hans was good and strong and I would have expected more but no others were forthcoming.
I packed up at 1410z with 45 QSOs in the log. Once again I had 13 DXCC’s worked:
GW, G, GM, EI, DL, ON, LA, F, S5, OE, HA, I, HB9.
I had plenty of daylight left, but felt much colder than on NP-031 in the morning. Temperature was -1c but the bitter wind made it seem colder. I thought I would make a walk of it though and set off across the hill top to take the longer walk and the safer way back, which is almost twice as far as the route straight up the hill. I had a good look down a couple of mine shafts and at the two conical cairns next to the Pennine Way before making my way back down to the car.
Distance walked 2.6 miles (0.9 miles up and 1.7 miles down). Total ascent 776 feet.
My Li-Po battery did a grand job with the LEDs still showing it had 20% left in it after two activations. As far as my aches and pains went - no problem. The Ibuprofen staved off any discomfort and I was pleased to make the 150 activator point barrier and finish the year on 155 points. My target for 2009 is to make 300 before the end of the year, which hopefully will include some summits on mainland EU when I go to Friedrichshafen. I enjoyed these two activations greatly and hope to get out again soon into the NP area whilst we still have the winter bonus available to us.
179 miles driven on the day and I was home for 18:00z.
Thank you for the support from Roy G4SSH,and the helpful spotting by Mike GW0DSP, Mike G4BLH, Frank G3RMD and Michael DJ5AV. Also to G4BLH for the test of my new VX-170 handheld - pity there were no more takers on 2m Mike than your goodself and G4CPS (AKA G4BLH!).
73 Phil G4OBK