Now we’re over 90 summits into Jimmy M3EYP’s Uniques mission, the spiral is getting wider. We needed somewhere driveable in a day trip, and walkable in a day trip - by Liam, and something worthwhile enough for a one-summit-day.
Ingleborough G/NP-005 matched all the criteria, and we set off from Macc just before 7am on Sunday 15th April 2007, after I had made the Chicken Noodle soup and Jimmy had loaded the rucksacks into the boot of the car. First stop, as usual, was Lymm Truck Stop for a hearty breakfast and mug of tea. I can really recommend this place (as I know can other activators) at the junction of the M6, M56 and A50.
The motorway was clear, so we made rapid progress up to Junction 36, while listening to “Trance Fusion”, Frank Zappa’s latest CD. I then followed Jimmy’s better-than-GPS navigation through Kirkby Lonsdale and Ingleton, to The Hill Inn at Chapel-le-Dale. It was busy in that area with many cars squeezing into all the available roadside spaces, but one remained so I backed in quickly.
This was a new approach onto Ingleborough for us, for we had always taken the easiest, and most boring line from Ingleton before. This was a much better route, and we soon had a spring in our stride along the well-maintained wide stone path as the sun beat down on a gorgeous morning. By the time Liam and I had reached Braithwaite Wife Hole - a huge, deep, steep and rather terrifying open mouth in the land, Jimmy had marched on ahead and was out of sight. Following our agreed protocol, I switched on my VX-7R and called him. He answered immediately on his VX-110 and described the imposing wall of Ingleborough before him as he crossed the boardwalks onto the stone slabbed path.
Liam and myself plodded on at our own pace, slightly fearful of that imposing wall which did not seem to become any less vertical the nearer we got to it. However, a welcome call on the radio from Jimmy reported “It’s actually very easy and I’m halfway up it”. Sure enough, it was a series of stone steps carving up the hillside in steep zigzags. This then opened out to climb along a ridge onto the massive Ingleborough summit plateau. The views would have been commanding were it not for the heavy haze that day.
We could see the cross shelter and trig point ahead, and soon met Jimmy there who had found the Sotacache, sent a SOTAwatch Spot on his 'phone and set up the SOTA Beam all ready for our arrival. He had also already activated the summit on his handheld! I was listening in on mine during the ascent as he made six contacts.
We retreated to a quieter spot near the south-western edge of the plateau, bedded down and set up there. There ensued a spectacularly satisfying activation with 2m FM, 2m SSB and 70cm FM in good form, and 71 contacts made from the summit - 54 by me and a most uncharacteristic 17 by Jimmy. The regular chaser stations like AAV, DSP, LKB, NHM, BLH, BVE et al were typically supportive, advising of S2S opportunities and possible changes in the weather. The number of S2S contacts we each made was into double figures. The downside was that the soup had fallen out of the rucksack when Jimmy had chucked it into the boot earlier, so we had to wait until the return to the car for that. We got by on our Tracker bars and water.
We were visited by three groups of interested observers, one of whom turned out to be a G0 station called Bob. We spent a total of around 4 hours on summit before packing up. The return walk to Chapel-le-Dale was enjoyable in the afternoon sun, with Jimmy shooting off ahead yet again. On the steep section, we both worked M3ZCB/P Caroline on Baugh Fell/Tarn Rigg G/NP-012 for a final chaser contact of the day, before retrieving the elusive flask from the car boot for a long awaited drink of hot soup. Disappointingly (and strangely), The Hill Inn was closed at this time, so there was to be no afternoon drinkies.
We drove straight home, happily without the expected congestion from the Blackpool day-trippers where the M55 joins the M6, and were treated to an excellent homemade fish curry and apple & cinnamon crumble courtesy of the best wife and mother in the world.
We thoroughly enjoyed the day, and agreed to return to Ingleborough next year to try the route from Horton-in-Ribblesdale.