Four weeks ago during my 7 day visit to the Lake District one of the fells that I was unable to do due to bad weather was Helvellyn LD-003. So when the XYL said she wanted to visit her sister again to do some Christmas shopping she also suggested I activated Helvellyan. Not being one to turn a gift horse down Friday night saw me established in base camp at the Gold Rill Hotel in Grasmere sampling a variety of real ales.
Saturday morning after a gentle start I set off from the Wythburn Church Car Park to do the ‘tourist route’ up Helvellyn. A steep initial pull led to a pleasant and gentle walk to the summit though for all of the way the walk was in cloud, driving rain and ever increasing winds. Nearing the summit managed a S2S with Clive M1YAM on Cold Fell, the only other person I heard on the hills all day - I wonder why!!! The route planning software I have been using told me that the ascent would take 2 hours 30 mins I added a further 30 mins to that estimate due to me being an unfit lardy so I was very surprised when the summit shelter appeared out of the mist after just 2 hours of walking. By the time I reached the summit the wind had reached viscious levels in the region of 50 mph with gusts way in excess of that. The shelter was full so I positioned myself near to the trip point and called on S20. For the next 30 mins I had a steady stream of callers and recieved some impressive signal reports. This trip was the first time I had used my brand new (arrived on Thursday) VX-170 and the new Rucksack Special 2m half wave vertical dipole from Sotabeams. After a final couple of calls with no reply decided to get the hell off the summit as the wind continued to increase in speed and before my fingers dropped off with the cold. Unfortunately just just 50 metres from the summit a severe gust of wind caught my rucksack spun my body around causing me to fall jamming my foot between two rocks. The outcome was a twisted and very sore knee joint but luckly no major injuries. The ever increasing pain from my knee meant that the descent was very slow and painful but, I am glad to say, successful.
As a result of the fall and a sleepless night due to the knee the activation for Sunday was cancelled and I headed home via Southport. Over all a very successful weekend with my first 10 pointer in the bag and an excellant test out of the new rig and aerial. There are a couple of minor points with the Rucksack Special which I will discuss with Richard first but I am well impressed with the aerial when compared to the RD. When time is short or the conditions do not permit the erection of the beam then this aerial is well worth the money. Was also very impressed with the VX-170, whilst only a single bander - 2m is all I use and for the price of £99 it is a rugged and water prrof rig ideal for the hills.
XYL is already talking about visiting her sister again in December - I wonder which one will be next?
73 Glyn …G(M)4CFS