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G/SB-005 Sighty Crag - Sunday 28th June 2009


#1

A more detailed report will follow, but in case nobody else noticed, Mike G4BLH completed chasing all G summits today with his QSO with me today on SB-005. Tremendous effort and persistence required to succeed in chasing every single summit in G-land. Congratulations Mike, my pleasure in being there.
73
jim


#2

Congratulations Mike on chasing every SOTA summit in G.

Jimmy M3EYP


#3

In reply to G0CQK:

Well done to Jim for activating the Summit,

And a Well Done to Mike for Chasing all G Land Summits,I hope I gave you at least one of them??

73

Tony


#4

In reply to G0CQK:

Congratulations Mike :slight_smile:

Being not too far away from you, & also being surrounded by hills, I really appreciate just what an achievement this is!

Well done!

73,

Mark G0VOF


#5

I’d been planning to return to Sighty Crag since March 2008 as I was looking for an alternative route to the Summit but my heel problems last year caused me to suspend my plans. I had been examining the area via Google earth and it appeared that I ought to be able to develop a route across the moorland using what appeared to be quadbike tracks. Possibilities appeared to include an option to break out of the forest along a track beside the old quarry at NY 5873 8058 then traverse round to the south of Long Bar to pick up what looked like a track running from Stantling Flow up to Sighty Crag. Another possibility seemed to be to link up tracks all the way across the moor and avoid the forestry track all together. I created waypoints in Google earth and exported them to GPX format and loaded both these options into the GPS deciding to try the route via the quarry on the way up, and try the second option on the way down.

In a gray misty drizzle, drove off from home ahead of my planned schedule at 8:40, and headed along a very quite A69 to Greenhead, then onto the B6318 which in many sections is narrow and twisting, before turning on to some even narrower local roads leading to the Flatt, where I parked in the area beside the gate to the forestry track NY 5614 7851. The weather had improved slightly only in that it was more of a smurr than drizzle. Once booted and loaded up I started up the forestry track observing that there have been considerable areas of trees felled since I was last here and the forestry track must have suffered quite some damage as large areas have been filled and covered with large chunks of rock which may make a suitable road for heavy truck, but make a very uneven and tricky walking surface. I made good progress to the extent that my GPS was predicting an arrival time that made my alert time look ridiculously conservative, but I knew different, having made the trip across the moor from the forest before.

Arriving at the quarry, I took the track east between the trees out of the forest. It certainly was not as distinct as had been seen in Google earth, but it was definitely there. Coming out of the forest however, I could see absolutely no evidence of the other tracks that had been so clear on google earth. The latest satellite imagery is dated July 2006 yet the regeneration of heather, mosses and other vegetation has completely wiped out those tracks in just three years. Having committed myself to this route, I continued onward, trying as far as possible to follow the route I had loaded into the GPS. It was knee high heather, at times almost thigh high and several times my boot plunged deep into some squelchy holes. I had to negotiate a barbed wire topped fence at NY 5922 8035 and then climb across the shoulder of Long Bar to Stantling Flow in the hope of picking up quad bike tracks up to Sighty Crag but yet again there were no tracks to be found - there had been tracks here in 2005 when I was last here but now just nothing.

From the current edge of the forest to Sighty crag as the crow flies is about 0.8 mile but my walking track seeking non existent tracks came to 1.4 miles and took all of 1hr 12mins. Arriving at the summit NY 6014 8092 I bungied the pole to the fence but instead of deploying the antenna along the fence which runs approximately north/south, I set it up east/west. This may have been a mistake as perhaps positioning it over the fence, would have helped with NVIS. As I was setting up, I heard a CQ from Richard G1JTD/P on LD-035 and responded with just the rubber duck on the VX7 for an opening S2S contact. Richard was in fine weather on Great Mell Fell while I was still in gray clag just 37 miles from him but at least it was no longer raining.

A short time ago John GW4BVE informed me that Mike G4BLH was keen to chase this summit so I had e-mailed Mike to arrange a sked and I sent him a SMS to confirm I was on the summit. I opened on FE and called CQ for quite some time with absolutely no response, clearly the band was in bad shape. At one point I could hear Mike 54 calling me but when I responded clearly he couldn’t hear me. Time for plan B, reset the dipole links for 80MHz and QSY’d to 3.666 where shortly Mike came back to my call 58-59 receiving me 55 and for him completing his chase of all G-land summits. My following QRZs and CQs brought nothing else so I self spotted and continued to call on 3.666 and after 20 mins calling I had just 3 more QSO’s in the log. I again reset the links and now switched to 7MHz. 7.115 was being badly affected by some broadcast station that has failed to move and on 7.118 I could hear Klaus DF2GN about 55. He was handling a pile up and despite many attempts I couldn’t break through the high powered fixed stations. Also I recognised several of the calls he was working as regular UK chasers, but I couldn’t hear them, so clearly 7MHz was not going to work for me. Switched to 2FM with the RSS but several CQs brought nothing. By now I’d used up all my time having been on summit for 2½ hours so I packed up to head back down. Given that all the tracks seen on google earth as well as tracks that I had followed in 2005 were not to be found, I abandoned plans to return across the open moorland and I decided to head almost due west straight across Long Bar back to the forest. From the top of Long Bar I could see that I was closer to my earlier route past the quarry than I was to the forestry exit at Two Lads Crag only that would mean negotiating the barbed wire topped fence again as the gate was a fair way to the north west. Fortunately I found a low point in the barbed wire at NY 5916 8075 which facilitated a crossing.

Back at the quarry, as the sun had finally broken through, I stopped briefly to take off jacket and gaiters, and have a banana. The walk back down to the car was about 1hr 5 min most of the time straight into the sun. An hour and a half later I was back into the gray clag that had afflicted Newcastle for the previous three days.

I note that our SOTA database lists this summit at 518 meters yet the OS 25K map and RHB listing has it 520 meters. 518 meters is the height of the ground at the trig point but the rocks to the south of the trig are higher so the summit height should be listed at 520.
73
jim


#6

In reply to G0CQK:

Thanks for the most interesting report Jim. It seems that good old Sighty retains its reputation as being a pain to get to and no doubt that will continue to be the case. I know I won’t be in a rush to go back there when I’ve finished doing Uniques, as pleasant as the summit itself is.

Of course the question remains - will you attempt the non-forest route next year?

73, Gerald


#7

In reply to G0CQK:

Well Jim, you did me a real service activating SB-005 this time. I completed chasing all the G summits (bar Sighty Crag) nearly two years ago but SB-005 had eluded me. G1ZJQ activated it in Nov 07 and Oct 06 using 144MHz, but that’s a non starter from this QTH. Gerald also activated it on April 5th 2007, but I missed it because I was also out activating a summit that day and we missed each other.

So again, many thanks to you (and to the many stations offering me their congrats). There was no trace of you on 5MHz (even though there was no noise at my portable location in the field near my house). There was lots of noise on 80m, but I could hear you through it, phew. I owe you a pint (or two) !!

Mike G4BLH