Do The Barclays allow Northern riff-raff like you and me onto their island to play radio?
Well they’ve happily accepted my funds for boat crossings, guest house and port parking permits, so I’m taking that as a de facto “Yes”.
The story so far.
Thursday 21st June 2018
Picked Jimmy up from work and ran him to a dental check up. Then hit the roads south - A50 - M1 - M25 etc. We overnighted at the pleasant Hollands B&B in Steyning.
Friday 22nd June 2018
This day we managed to activate all of the “A27 Five”:
Chanctonbury Ring G/SE-009
Ditchling Beacon G/ SE-006
Cliffe Hill G/SE-014
Firle Beacon G/SE-010
Wilmington Hill G/SE-011
This led nicely to Eastbourne, where I was gigging at the fantastic Bandstand venue with the Ragdolls - a Frankie Valli & Four Seasons show.
Following the gig, we had a long late night drive to Portsmouth Travelodge.
Saturday 23rd June 2018
We dashed down to the port for the all day sailing to Jersey. With it being such a long crossing, we’d booked a cabin which was good for munching our way through the fruit bowl and watching World Cup football matches.
That night we dined at a fantastic Portuguese restaurant in St Helier and stayed at the Mornington Hotel.
Sunday 24th June 2018
A great start to the day with the ham and cheese platter breakfast at the Mornington! Then up to Les Platons G/JE-001, our first summit that is both HEMA and SOTA!
This is a drive-on near enough, but we parked further away and walked in on the north Jersey coast path. A very enjoyable activation from the clifftops with amazing sea views.
I then took Jimmy to see the site of the old Pontins Plemont Bay, where I first met his mum Marianne 28 years ago. The site has been returned to nature under National Trust stewardship, and looked in much better shape then when Maz and I visited a few years ago. Jimmy found the experience rather “existential”!
Next it was back to St Helier for the boat to Guernsey where we found ourselves sat with Bill G4WSB and Steven 2E0SCS. They were staying on the ferry to Poole.
Jimmy and I disembarked and made straight for Guernsey Airport GU/GU-002 - a quite ridiculous “summit”! Still, we activated it…
We ended up having a bit of a pub crawl round St Peter Port that night, including a Thai meal en route and annoying the regulars in the Prince of Wales by putting three John Shuttleworth songs on the jukebox. We stayed at Marton Hotel.
Monday 25th June 2018
It was a bit of a dash down to the port for the boat to Sark. The parking was steep at £22 for the overnight, and the boat was jam packed. It was all worth it though.
Sark was absolutely amazing. We ignored the usual thing of tractor taxis, horse and carts, and bicycle hire. Instead, we donned our packs and poles and walked everywhere, as usual. So our first port of call - obviously the summit of Le Moulin GU/GU-001, the highest point of the island - was reached, on foot, from the coast.
We enjoyed a long activation by the old windmill, before embarking on a long walk to Little Sark and Venus Pool. A fat old golden retriever called Rover decided to join us when he saw us, and walked with us all the way to the sea - and then back again, leaving us as we passed his home!
We spent the evening drinking beer, eating pizza, watching World Cup and playing pool with the locals (MU1EYP undefeated in ten frames) before overnighting at the superb Clos Vaul Dr Creux.
Final act of the day was listening in to Late Night Liam on Canalside Radio. Obviously the 102.8FM signal wasn’t making it from Cheshire to the Channel Islands, but thanks to my Pure One Flow Internet radio, and the guesthouse broadband router, I could listen to my younger son’s weekly radio show - and excellent it was too.
Tuesday 26th June 2018
A terrific breakfast was served outside, in the beautiful gardens of Clos Vaul de Creux, under hot morning sunshine. Before this, I had set up the 20m GP at the viewpoint in Stocks village, about 50 yards from the guesthouse but comfortably in the AZ of GU/GU-002. I made a number of SSB contacts.
After breakfast I set off down Harbour Hill to the UK’s smallest commercial port. Jimmy remained at the viewpoint trying himself for a second (pointless) activation of Le Moulin. He got one QSO - me as I neared the bottom of the hill!
The sailing back to Guernsey was much less busy affording us the opportunity to stretch out, bag the best seats outdoors at the front of the vessel, move around and take photos at our leisure. It was a stunning little voyage.
Back on Guernsey, we had a bit of time to kill, so reactivated the airport, then I took a swim in an open air sea water bathing pool near St Peter Port.
We have just crossed from Guernsey to Poole and on our way to Devon. The story goes on - watch this space!
Well played move…
Murphy was at work today when I was QRV today during my lunch break, as I just found you spotted twice on the very band you wouldn’t probably use.
I guess I wouldn’t copy you on 60m but Murphy put his coin to make sure I don’t chase you, as my IC-706 doesn’t have the 60m band…
Currently driving on the A30 near Oakhampton heading west towards Hendbarrow Downs G/DC-008. We are currently monitoring 145.500 fm.
You’re probably too far West for all the good tropo as it looks to be more UK East Coast to Scandanavia. But do have a listen and play on 70cms if you can Jim, you may work something “exotic”.
Thanks Andy, I will consider this.
Working our way across Exmoor, the Quantocks and Mendips today. Mostly 2m FM.
Don’t know if you guys been to Kitt hill before, don’t think you made it there last night was listening for ya. By way no long walk up there drive straight on move away from car that easy after no doubt the long walk up DC-002.
Cheers for the 2m FM contacts also.
don’t forget to turn the hand held side ways LOL
Yes, we did Kit Hill around 8PM last night.
We were in a bit of rush as we had to get to Barnstaple for check-in and dinner, so just went on the Holsworthy net on 450.
Sorry we missed you.
After the crossing from Guernsey to Poole, we stayed in a place called Uffculme in Devon.
Wednesday 27th June 2018
Christ Cross G/DC-005 was fairly nearby, and trivially easy, so we bagged that activation to start the day.
We then drove down into Cornwall to complete England for a third time! First, we revisited an old favourite of ours - the butcher/bakery in Roche for a freshly baked Cornish Pasty. Then it was the new summit - Hensbarrow Downs G/DC-008.
There were no issues continuing along the path after the trig point (old summit - Hensbarrow Beacon G/DC-004) and up onto the landfill, which is now comprehensively vegetated. The paths were clearly defined, and the summit area marked with a memorial stone commemorating a person who had done much work in making the downs a place to be enjoyed by future generations.
We then moved back to Bodmin Moor for a new longer walk-in to Brown Willy G/DC-002. It was a great walk, but knocked the stuffing out of both of us. Even Jimmy did not recover from it, and really suffered with his energy levels the following day! Mind you, the heatwave probably didn’t help!
We then had a long drive to Barnstaple to contemplate, but I didn’t want to ignore Kit Hill G/DC-003 for an easy activation. We needed to make it quick though, so it was handy that the Holsworthy Net was taking place on 145.450MHz FM. This gave each of us a quick qualification, and we could get on our way.
We advised the Rolle Quay Inn in Barnstaple of our ETA and asked about food options in the area. They recommended a local curry house and kindly booked us a table for 10.30pm. We grabbed a lightning-quick shower in the en suite, and just about made it to the restaurant, where the food and Cobra beer did not touch the sides.
Thursday 28th June 2018
Our alerts turned out to be far too ambitious. We had alerted for 7 activations, and were secretly hoping for 8 or 9! If it were not for the blistering 30 degree heatwave gripping the UK, and the pair of us being beyond tired, we could have probably have achieved it. Given the situation, five SOTA activations in the day was probably not such a bad effort.
We did the Exmoor three:
Dunkery Beacon G/SC-001
Periton Hill G/SC-006
Selworthy Beacon G/SC-005
…via the Oggy Pasty shop in Minehead. Obviously.
We then did Will’s Neck G/SC-002 for only the second time, before finding a pub that was showing the football. Our pint in there coincided with Belgium scoring the only goal in the World Cup game with England. We then headed Bristol way for the final activation of the tour - Dundry Down G/SC-010.
The drive home via the M5 and M6 was a lengthy affair. I was ridiculously tired and kept having to pull in for a snooze. These could be anything from 15 minutes to an hour and a half in length, and we eventually arrived home in Macclesfield around 6.30am! Jimmy M0HGY was so laid back and supportive though, and was a brilliant companion for the journey, as he had been throughout the week on the hills, ferries, restaurants etc.
8.5 days away from home. 19 SOTA activations, including 4 new activator uniques each. 3 SOTA associations completed / recompleted.
Our next trip is Snowdonia in around three weeks. Should be rather relaxing by comparison!
Jimmy M0HGY has noticed several chaser logs in with incorrect activator callsigns for these activations. Please check carefully.
When I get round to entering my own logs, I will check for NILs. I heard several chasers own clearly believed they had worked me and QSYd - when in actual fact, I was working someone else at the time.