With an unusual lack of commitments over Easter, I suggested to a couple of old university friends that a weekend walking in the Lake District might be a nice idea. They're not licensed, but are very keen walkers and mountaineers.
I figured I could hopefully squeeze a summit or two in along the way, and sent them the list as a kind of "it might be nice to swing by some of these if it's not too inconvenient".
When we met up on Thursday evening, it turned out they'd come prepared with routes. Routes not just planned around SOTAs, but optimised for points, and they weren't going to fail...
We camped at Gillside Farm, near Glenridding. Pleasant enough, though the showers required a dance of removing clothes before jumping back out of the cubicle to insert 20p, then back in and showering before the water went cold again.
Friday began with Grisedale Pike, G/LD-015 on 2m FM, followed by Grasmoor, G/LD-009 on 30m CW. Back at the car park, we found an ice cream van, and the temporary sugar high gave us the silly idea of "quickly popping up Skiddaw (G/LD-004) before dinner". The sugar wore off part way up the ascent, and we questioned the decision before re-affirming it with some cake. A quick 30m CW activation did the trick.
Saturday was due to have the best weather, so we got an early start and headed up Helvellyn, G/LD-003 via Striding Edge, enjoying the lack of wind. 2m FM gave a quick activation, and we headed over to Seat Sandal, G/LD-022 for the same. From there, we dropped back to the saddle and had lunch before heading back up Fairfield, G/LD-007. The clouds had lifted, but by now the wind had increased substantially, and on the way over to St Sunday Crag, G/LD-010, it must have been approaching 40mph at times.
Still, a final 30m CW activation brought the day's total to 32 points, a personal best which I suspect I won't beat any time soon - at least if my knees have any say in the matter!
Sunday was due to be wet. Still a little sore from Saturday, we decided to play it by ear, and parked at the top of the Kirkstone Pass to head over to Stony Cove Pike, G/LD-018. The promised precipitation came in the form of snow, but didn't spoil 30m. From there, we headed over to High Street, G/LD-011 and returned to 2m.
Back at the car by 3pm, it was a little early to finish for the day, but Red Screes didn't look like a wise choice, so we opted for the two Mell Fells (G/LD-035 and LD-037) instead - pleasant little hills with a lovely view when the clouds lifted. Again, 2m did the trick which saved getting the KX3 any wetter than it already was.
Finally, Monday morning was time to take down the tents and prepare for the drive back to Cambridge. But not before a final ascent of Blencathra, G/LD-008. The weather was lovely, and it was nice to have a more relaxed activation on 30m before heading home.
Thanks so much to all the chasers, particularly John G0TDM, Geoff GM4WHA and the whole 'LKB clan who caught me on so many of the summits.
I was very conscious that all the time I spent playing radio was time Dave and Jenny were having to wait around getting cold and wet (not to mention holding the fibreglass pole up some of the time!), so apologies for the often-short activations, and thanks for everyone who jumped on air so quickly after I popped up.
All in all, 82 activator points in 3.5 days of walking, and a fantastic weekend...
Rob, M0VFC (strictly not /P for a few days!)