Isle of Man Walking Holiday & SOTA Expedition 22/26 October 2012 by GD4OOE/P
The purpose of the holiday in the Isle of Man was to do activate all five SOTA summits, some walking in the hills and activate any HuMPs as a bonus. I was accompanied by my walking friend Geoff who was hoping to have had his novice licence. Unfortunately Geoff’s course was cancelled so the radio side was down to me. Geoff had worked out the routes and we had them programmed into our gps devices. All the times are local (BST).
We set off from Scarborough in Geoff’s car at 0827 on Monday 22 October and arrived at Heysham at 1210. After a pub lunch at the Duke of Rothesay we joined the ferry queue at 1255. We set sail on the Ben-my-Chree at 1413. The crossing was calm and the boat crowded. We shared a table with two lovely elderly ladies from Boston, Lincolnshire, one aged 90 and the other 86. They were on a five days coach holiday. We docked at 1758 in Douglas and headed straight for the La Piazzo Italian restaurant, two cooked meals in a day meant we would have to walk hard tomorrow! After some great pasta we drove over the mountain road to our B & B in Sulby. The road was very narrow and the cattle grids were quite difficult to see in the mist. We arrived at our B & B base in Sulby at 2024.
Tuesday 23 October 2012
GD/GD-001 Snaefell, GD/GD-002 Sleau Freoaghane & GD/HGD-002 Beinn y Phott.
We drove off at 0901 and once again took the mountain road and we pulled in at The Bungalow at 0916. Here there is a mountain railway station with trains to the summit but we were walking at 0930 and we arrived at the Snaefell summit trig point at 1003. Geoff had generously carried my 7.4Ah sealed lead acid battery for me, somewhat lightening my load. At 1016 I was on the air on 145-fm. After working 15 stations including an S2S with Barry MW0IML/P on GW/NW-066, I switched to HF only to discover that I had taken the wrong external battery lead for the FT-817. After making my peace with Geoff, I did work another 11 stations using the internal battery on 7-cw. We had some great local views from the summit above the clouds. I have read that you can see all the countries in the UK from this summit on a very clear day but sadly there wasn’t a chance of seeing them on this occasion! We left the summit at 1142 and arrived back at the car at 1210. At very short drive south along the A18 and west along the B10 we arrived at a parking spot SC342866 (also ideal for HGD3 Colden). We headed north along the track by the wood until SC343877 where we turned north west across the spongy moor to the summit. We arrived at the Slieau Freoaghane summit trig point at 1323. After only 3 145-fm contacts I went on 7-cw. This time I had the FT-817 with an 2.4Ah external battery and only managed another 6 more contacts when my radio dramatically lost power and made some strange noises. I think that the damp had set in, so I had to close down earlier than I had hoped. This summit has a good post to tie antenna poles and we had terrific views of Snaefell above the cloud line. We left at 1425 going back by a slightly different route closer to the marked path seen on the map but not on the ground! We were back at the car at 1502. We left at 1510 driving east along the B10 almost to the junction with the A18. By now it was very misty and Geoff led off at 1529 just using the gps. It worked perfectly and we arrived at the GD/HGD2 Beinn y Phott summit (a HuMP) at 1554. Details of this activation hopefully will appear in Summitsbase news. We left the summit at 1708 and were back at the car at 1736. That evening we had our meal in the local pub in Sulby. There was some confusion between GD/GD-002 and GD/HGD-002 with some of the chasers. I apologise for not making it clearer whilst on HGD-002 and a big thank you to G4SSH for alerting the chasers on the SOTA website.
Wednesday 24 October
GD/GD-003 South Barrule, GD/GD-004 Bradda Hill & GD/GD-005 Mull Hill
The remaining three SOTAs are in the south of the island. We left our B & B at 0918 heading west and later south on the A3 through Kirk Michael and after Foxdale turning right on the A36 and we arrived at the parking spot, just south of the crossroads at Round Table, SC247756 at 1000. Leaving at 1008 we followed the well defined footpath to the summit that took us 28 minutes and that was carrying a 7Ah SLAB . After 5 contacts on 145-fm I managed 19 on 7-cw. We were back at the car for 1209 and we were mobile again at 1217. We drove down to Port Erin and with the help of a local postman we arrived at the car park in Fleshwick Bay SC201713 at 1250. We knew this was to be the toughest climb of the day so I carried the 2.4Ah SLAB. I did find this steep ascent quite hard going. We arrived at the summit at 1342. Only one contact on 145-fm and that was with Rhett MD3OED in Port Erin! It was a good job I had brought the hf gear, I managed 29 on 7-cw. The coastal views from here were quite spectacular and good compensation for the hard earned single SOTA point! We had an eventful journey down first Geoff slipped on the steep descent and after laughing at him, I too went down! We left Fleshwick Bay at 1500 and we drove down to the village of Cregneash arriving at the car park SC190674 at 1557. After chatting to a local lady we found out that Mull Hill is in fact pronounced as Mule Hill. It was a short walk through the quaint old village, a tourist attraction and then up a dirt track to the summit. The weather was again kind to us and we sat on one of several pill boxes. We had only taken 13 minutes and we did see a 4x4 vehicle in the summit area so it is possible to get very close to the top. I did manage 4 contacts on 145-fm and 30 on 7-cw. This summit is ideal for the end of the day. We had great views of the aircraft landing in Ronaldsway Airport and the island to the south west, the Calf of Man. We left the summit at 1727 and arrived back at the car at 1740. We then drove back to Sulby arriving at 1832. This gave us plenty of time to get changed and find a very good Italian restaurant in Ramsey.
Thursday we needed a good walk so we set off from our B&B in Sulby on a 10.5 miles trek going via the HuMP GD/HGD-001 North Barrule to Ramsey details of this day hopefully will be in the Summitsbase News.
The journey back involved an early start. We drove over the mountain road to Douglas and the ferry left on time at 0845. We once again met the two elderly ladies, they had enjoyed their holiday but had the sad news that their coach company had gone bust! Their driver said that he had enough fuel to get them to Lincoln! Presumably they would then would have to make their own way back to Boston.
This was a great SOTA/walking holiday and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone. Of course it is possible to do all five SOTAs in one day but we enjoyed the more leisurely pace of spreading it over two days with a HuMP as a bonus. I would like to thank G4SSH, G4OBK, G6CRV, GM0OAA, G6LKB and any others for the spots. I was particularly pleased to have worked G3XQE, G4OBK and G4SSH from all five IOM SOTA summits.
2m dipole and 40m dipoles used throughout.
145-fm - 15 - G, GI, G, GW - FT-270 5w
7-cw - 11 - G, GM, GW, ON - FT-817 2.5w internal battery
GD/GD-002 Slieau Freoaghane
145-fm - 3 - G - FT-270 5w
7-cw - 6 - DL, G FT-817 - 25w 2.4Ah SLAB
GD/GD-003 South Barrule
145-fm - 5 - G, GI - FT-270 5w
7-cw - 20 - DL, G, GI, GW, ON - 25w FT-857D 7Ah SLAB
GD/GD-004 Bradda Hill
145-fm - 1 - GD - FT-270 - 5w
7-cw - 29 - DL, EI, G, GI, GM, GW, HA, HB9, OM, ON, PA - 25w FT-857D 2.4Ah SLAB
GD/GD-005 Mull Hill
145-fm - 4 - G, GI, GW - FT-270 - 5w
7-cw - 30 - DL, EI, G, GM, GW, HB9, I, OK, OM, PA, S51 - FT-857D 25w 7Ah SLAB
7 summits activated, 5 SOTAs & 2 HuMPs, 24.7 miles walked, 2,047 ft ascent
All being well Geoff and I hope to be back next year with LiPos!