Jimmy assured me he could remember the quickest route back to the M1, so I trusted him and followed his directions. When we hit the town of Dunstable, I realised he had been faultless with his navigation this time, and we were soon heading north on the M1.
Bardon Hill G/CE-004
It didn’t seem to take long at all to get up to our target of Junction 22, and we realised that we were making very good time, despite our relaxed approach to the day. Jimmy insisted on directing me via Copt Oak to approach the Vercor Close parking spot from the north.
As we walked outwards on the bridleway, also know as the “Ivanhoe Way”, we noticed two men ahead walking slowly with black sticks in their hands. We wondered what they were doing. I speculated on water divining, while Jimmy through they were dog leads. As we got closer, we could see that they were guns. They said that they were hunting for pigeons and squirrels to make a pie with! We passed them as the path turned to the left, but looking back a minute or so later, we could see that they had been joined by two police officers!
Jimmy and I continued to the summit, keeping a nervous eye on the weather. Thick grey cloud shrouded the land and towns in all directions, wind was picking right up, and I suspected that one of the threatened thunderstorms and heavy downpours could be closing in. We had been lucky all weekend to have avoid all the bad weather, managing to remain completely dry.
Listening on my Yaesu VX-7R to the medium-wave broadcast band revealed regular static crashes, so I decided to activate handheld style and not hang around too long.
There were not any replies to our calls on S20, but we broke an existing QSO on S19 to get the four contacts each. As two of these were SOTA chasers anyway, that was not a problem! After leaving that net back to its frequency, a clutch of stations followed me to S18 where I worked down the mini-pile-up. This included Graham G4JZF completing his set of working us on all five CE summits in the weekend, and Steve 2E0KPO who was able to inform me that the storm was 25 miles to my East, and heading in a direction that would not hit me.
All the same, it was nearly 5 o’clock local, rather cold, and the end of a long and tiring weekend. No more stations called in, and it was time to go home. It took us 20 minutes to walk down the hill, and a further 1 hour 45 minutes to drive to Macclesfield via the A50 through Stoke. Jimmy and myself took dinner at the excellent Weston Balti Raj on our estate, and yet again saw a certain G3CWI, someone obviouly pleased with our recommendation judging by the amount of times we see him there!
A very satisfying and enjoyable weekend. I had done all these summits several times before, and Jimmy had walked up them several times before, but not since he became licensed. Hence he needed these as Activator Uniques, and now has them. Over our curry, Jimmy started to plan how we should travel down on the Friday to next year’s BDXC event, and activate some of the South-East SE summits on the Saturday and Sunday. There’s no stopping this boy. All I could think about was a good kip.
A SOTA region completed in 30 hours and 59 minutes - with some time off for good behaviour!