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NP in our sights


#1

After yesterday’s double on NP-013 and NP-019, Jimmy and I have an NP completion in our sights. We still need:

NP-007 Wild Boar Fell
NP-012 Baugh Fell - Tarn Rigg Hill
NP-014 Rogan’s Seat
NP-022 Calf Top
NP-023 Aye Gill Pike
NP-024 Hoove
NP-032 Cracoe Fell

Any tips for routes, parking spots, and especially combinations of good pairs/trios would be welcome.

Although we both have Kisdon NP-026 as a SOTA Unique, we only made 3 QSOs each on that one last time, so it needs to be redone - ‘Unfinished Business’ you could say. Perhaps we will go on Friday if the wx is good, although not sure we will have time for a second summit that day. Haven’t checked if there is an obvious candidate yet either.

Tom M1EYP


#2

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom
As a member of the MT you may be aware of my observations from when I activated NP-014 Rogan’s Seat in August. If not then please contact me on my own e-mail address.

73 Phil


#3

Hi Phil,

Yes I am aware of your observations - in fact I’ve just pulled the note up from the MT archives to refresh my memory. Am I right in thinking that access itself isn’t a problem, ie the area is access land? I’m pretty sure that the road to the summit must not be accessed by unauthorised vehicles, even setting aside SOTA’s own rules on approach for a moment.

I may contact the estate there regarding the main matter of your observations when I do decide to activate it, but that isn’t imminent.

Tom M1EYP


#4

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom
Yes it is access land, which the landowner and gamekeeper (as stated to me) they reluctantly accept. The problem with asking permission to erect an antenna however simple it is though, could well be refused. I rode a push bike up and back from that summit along the track above Gunnerside and strictly speaking doing that does not come within the public’s access rights, so is against the law. This was not commented on at the time by the gamekeeper who saw the bike parked up. Using a vehicle however to access the summit could have consequences I feel. Unfortunately I picked a day when a shooting party was active - that didn’t help - mebbe m’lud was in the party and that was why I received the unwelcome approach, which soured the activation somewhat.

A question for others on this forum - has anyone ever met a cheerful gamekeeper?

73 Phil


#5

Yes, I think requesting permission, even if only on a personal basis (as it should only ever be done) may not be the best policy here. I think I will walk to the summit, and if the coast is clear, set up for HF. However, if in doubt, we can just use our 2m handies, which should get out from there.

Tom M1EYP


#6

In reply to M1EYP:
I agree, discretion could be the best policy here Tom and the stone grouse butt (which provided a bit of shelter) with a fishing pole sticking out of it is rather prominent when seen from the track about 150m away. It may be better to just cross the fence at the back of the grouse butt (http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/934195) and get slightly further away and down the bank a wee bit. Then if the gamekeepers Landrover comes past you won’t be seen. If using a pushbike that can be hidden better than mine was as well, and not just left locked up by the side of the track.
Parking spot in Swaledale SE 941984 at the bottom of the track to NP-014:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72212983@N00/2793384339/

Have a good day tomorrow - I am in all day doing what Roger is doing, DIY - preparing my gutted loungs walls and ceiling for a plasterer to arrive on Monday, at least I still have a shack though!

Regarding the handies - if there are two of you on a summit and one leaves the 25m activation zone and you make a QSO does the remaining activator still on the summit get chaser points? Presumably if you only had 3 QSOs and your mate was the 4th and he was outside the 25m higher point then that would also qualify the summit?

Phil


#7

The remaining activator on summit wouldn’t get chaser points, because (a) the other station is not in the AZ and (b) you cannot chase the summit you are on. But there have been many instances of members of the same group working each other for valid contacts, one who has reached the summit and another who is still well outside the AZ.

Tom


#8

In reply to M1EYP:
Very good Tom - I keep trying to persuade my XYL Judy to sit the exam and take out a foundation licence, without success. If she had a licence she could have left the AZ with a handheld when we were on Hallin Fell LD-043 last week which would have enabled me to make a 4th QSO and then I would have qualified the summit. Only 3 QSOs were made.

73 Phil


#9

In reply to G4OBK:

A question for others on this forum - has anyone ever met a cheerful gamekeeper?

Maybe I have been lucky but all those I have met have been cheerful enough. I get the impression that some of them don’t see anyone from one weeks end to the other and it is quite a novelty to find someone to chat to. If you catch them on or just before a shoot then it is probably not a good day, we all have these after all.

Steve GW7AAV


#10

3 QSOs - nightmare. We were in the same position when we did Hallin Fell. Thankfully, John G0TDM persuaded his licensed, but rarely operative XYL to give us those precious 4th contacts. We were nearly resigned to one of us descending with a handheld, then reascending while the other did likewise. We were relieved that one of us didn’t have to do an extra 200 feet of work!

Last time we did Kisdon, I worked Jimmy while still ascending, and he worked me on his descent. Unfortunately, it was too little too late - that gave us 3 QSOs each. Hopefully 80m SSB/CW will prove more fruitful tomorrow. Possibility of NP-014 as well.

Tom M1EYP


#11

In reply to M1EYP:
Very good Tom - I am looking forward to seeing you on one band or another tomorrow then. Hope you have a good day and it keeps fairly dry. I also want to complete the NP set myself - but I have a lot further than you to go yet. I’ve never been credited with any winter bonus points so I hope to go over to the NP area in December and grab some then.

73 Phil


#12

The alerts for Kisdon G/NP-026 and Rogans Seat G/NP-014 had been posted, and I got a call from Richard G3CWI. He and his son were originally going to do Cracoe Fell G/NP-032, to maintain Richard’s “completeness” of the G/NPs, but deferred that agenda, preferring some company. Furthermore, Richard insisted it was his turn to drive - result!

After the traditional breakfast feast at Lymm Truck Stop, we headed north, unimpeded on the M6. Exiting at J38, we drove through Kirkby Stephen, Nateby, past Nine Standards Rigg G/NP-018 and down into Keld. Just beyond the village, we pulled into the lay-by opposite the start of the track, and changed into our walking boots.

The march up the green track along the side of the hill was rapid. We turned the corner to follow the high dry stone wall to the summit, and were there in short order. Richard set up his 40m dipole, and I the 80m dipole. In no time at all, Richard was reporting 20+ QSOs on 40m CW. A little later, both Jimmy and I had plenty each in the log for 80m SSB and 80m CW respectively.

The descent commenced, and just as we were nearly down to the car, Jimmy led us up a bank and into a large sloping field. Here, the route intercepted the Pennine Way between Thwaite and Keld and crossed a footbridge.

We now climbed briefly alongside Kisdon Force, and then looped around to pick up the wide bridleway edging up the lower flanks of Rogans Seat G/NP-014. The views down Swaledale were stunning, as was the narrow winding valley through which we were walking. We stopped for lunch (Baxters Deli Soups range: Chilli Beef with Lentils and Buckwheat) in a ruined stone building, and then pressed on. After a series of sharp mini-ascents, we were back on a wide firm stony bridleway track.

The final approach was confirmed with a sharp left turning, and another firm track to the summit. By now, the snow was coming down moderately, and soon turning the green of the moor to pure white. After identifying (and photographing) the small summit cairn, we used a large long peat hag to settle in under, and shelter from the wind.

Pile-ups on 80m SSB and 80m CW were worked through by Jimmy and I respectively. It was another most satisfying activation. In particular, it was special for me being my 700th activation in the SOTA programme. It was also a new unique (my 198th).

After a long descent, briefly punctuated to finish the soup and have a Double Decker chocolate bar, we drove to the Black Bull pub in Nateby for a well-earned pint. For the final part of the descent, we walked up through Keld village, rather than up over the steep slippery fields which would have been the more direct route back to the car. For me, this was now by torchlight, because I couldn’t see. Richard, Jimmy and Lewis walked on ahead, grumbling about me threatening to ruin their night-vision. It seriously enhanced mine!

The long drive home was exacerbated by a one-hour traffic jam on the M6 in Lancashire. But we made it back to Treacle Town by about 9pm, pretty tired after being out since 6.40am.

A great walk, the highlight of which was the traverse from Kisdon G/NP-026 to Rogans Seat G/NP-014 without touching a road or car park. The latter was a long old walk though!

So, the ghost of Kisdon was exorcised (we only got 3 contacts each there last time), and the reputedly long-to-walk-in Rogans Seat was done - this is a real challenge, being up to two hours in and 90 minutes out.

Thanks to all callers, and to Richard & Lewis for their company and the driving. The whole day was a great deal of fun.

Tom M1EYP & Jimmy M3EYP


#13

In reply to M1EYP:

For anyone wishing to repeat this route, the stats are:

11.1 miles, 791m ascent.

Just for comparison, an ascent of Snowdon from Pen y Pass is:

7.7 miles, 706m ascent

73

Richard
G3CWI


#14

In reply to G3CWI:
An interesting and quite challenging route in these days of limited daylight - well done to all!
Phil


#15

In reply to G4OBK:

Phil

It was certainly a good route and as Tom mentioned, the transit from Kisdon to Rogan’s Seat was amazing walking. There was a lot of snow on the ground and the Rogan’s Seat activation was in true winter conditions with snow flurries and lots of snow drifts.

I fear that I will be paying the price today with aching limbs.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#16

Morning both/all,

I was nodding off all the time I was typing the above report. As such, it took me ages to write, but contained numerous spelling errors and inconsistencies, which I have now edited!

It really was a fantastic day, a day that had everything from sun-bathed views down Swaledale under crystal blue sky, to a bleak 2000+ foot moor with drifting snow. It had everything in SOTA terms as well - a new unique, the point for Kisdon that we couldn’t manage last time, FB signals on 80m throughout the day and a “collectors’ item” S2S between Rogan’s Seat and View Edge G/WB-018 - I wouldn’t mind betting that no-one else has got that one! (OK, apart from Jimmy!).

The highlight though was definitely the middle section of the traverse from Kisdon to Rogan’s Seat, through Kisdon Force and Swimmer Gill. Truly stimulating walking, and highly recommended.

That traverse took us pretty much exactly three hours, but as far as we could tell, using the car to take us to an alternative parking spot and approach for NP-014, would have taken as long if not longer. I think Rogan’s Seat is simply a long walk from whatever direction!

Tom M1EYP


#17

In reply to M1EYP:
Or a very bumpy bike ride Tom, with a lot of pushing on the way up!
Great report and I hope you manage a few more NPs soon to finish off the full set. I love Swaledale having only recently realised myself how beautiful it is with a barn in almost every field. Glad you didn’t appear to have had any encounters with the gamekeepers from the Gunnerside Estate.
Phil


#18

One of the things I really enjoyed was meeting up, however briefly, with the Pennine Way. It brought back vivid memories of a difficult day from Hawes to Keld over Great Shunner Fell G/NP-006, and a superb day from Keld to Baldersdale via the Tan Hill Inn and Sleightholme Moor.

It was nice this time to be able to look down Swaledale in all its splendour. When walking the Pennine Way along it, from Thwaite to Keld, it was shrouded in low cloud and swirling mist, which was visually dramatic enough in itself, but it was great to see it all clearly this time.

The full journal and photos from our 2006 Pennine Way walk can be seen at http://tomread.co.uk

We did note on our final approaches to the summit of Rogan’s Seat that there were no tyre tracks in the snow, and the only other set of footprints were in the descending direction!

Cheers, Tom M1EYP


#19

Looking at yesterday’s logs, it looks like several chasers worked Jimmy, Richard and myself on each summit. Great support - thank you.

Tom M1EYP


#20

The NP “to-do” list now stands at:

NP-007 Wild Boar Fell
NP-012 Baugh Fell - Tarn Rigg Hill
NP-023 Aye Gill Pike
NP-024 Hoove
NP-032 Cracoe Fell

Today, Saturday 15th November 2008, we dealt with Calf Top G/NP-022. It was my 199th SOTA Activator Unique - and Jimmy’s 186th. (Yes, the priority “to-do” list remains those 13 that he has been up with me before he was licensed and that we haven’t returned to since!).

Breakfast was at Lymm Truck Stop for Full English plus extras and tea (apart from Liam who had one of those Muller Corner things). It chucked it down as we headed north on the M6, but I had faith in the BBC TV weather forecast that agreed with the Met Office website and assured me that early rain would soon clear southwards. Happily, it was dry by Preston, and remained so all day.

Jimmy directed me off at J36, through Kirkby Lonsdale and through to Eskholme after a diversion into Barbon to stock up on some chocolate bars for energy. We parked on a bit of concrete by a gate (without blocking) a couple of hundred yards before the big house at Eskholme. I had originally driven right up to the house, and the chap there suggested that parking spot to me. Usually in such instances, I get offered a parking spot in the private property, but this result was hardly the end of the world!

The footpath led out from behind the property and up the hill, and was hardly defined at all. After an initial annoying section of field, riddled with rocks in the grass, we followed a quad-bike track around to the left. This eventually faded to nothing, but left us with only a hundred yards or so over rough moorland before we hit the main path again.

A short level section was followed by a long curving ascent to Castle Knott, then a steep descent of about 50m in height to a very marshy saddle. The ascent to Calf Top G/NP-022 summit from here was fairly rapid. Coats and hats were soon deployed in the chill at the top, as we relocated behind the wall on the opposite side of the fence to the trig point, for much needed shelter.

The trig point was without cap, and Jimmy had already inserted his walking pole into it and assembled the SOTA Beam and WASP atop it, by the time Liam and I arrived. I tried to multi-task by serving the Baxters Deli range Italian Wedding Soup (pasta, meatballs, peppers, peas, onions in a rich tomato soup) while setting up the FT-817 with microphone and Palm Paddle.

Our activation results were:
M1EYP: 10 QSOs
M3EYP: 6 QSOs
2m CW: 3 QSOs
2m SSB: 4 QSOs
2m FM: 7 QSOs
70cm SSB:2 QSOs

Acceptable, but not astounding. On reflection, I think 80m CW/SSB would have been a better choice for this hill today.

I enjoyed a thoroughly pleasurable descent chatting non-stop with my youngest son Liam while Jimmy, as ever, forged on ahead. The three of us did convene briefly for a Double Decker bar each to supply the energy to round off the day.

Back at Eskholme, the property manager was out in the yard and keen to hear of our day since we saw him that morning. He was surprised to hear that Jimmy and Liam had made it to Calf Top summit and back in the day (probably about 10km) until I explained to him the actual depth of fellwalking experience my two sons have between them!

The Snooty Fox in Kirkby Lonsdale provided a welcome interlude before hitting the motorway. A pint of Black Sheep for me, water for Jimmy and a J2O for Liam, accompanied by a bag of pork scratchings each and the customary £1 profit on the It-Box Word Soup game.

A relatively long walk today, but a very enjoyable one. Thanks to all who called us on the radio.

73, Tom M1EYP, Jimmy M3EYP