Friday 17th April 2009 - Loughrigg Fell G/LD-047
After Baystones G/LD-039, we drove down ‘The Struggle’ to Ambleside and onto the Coniston road. Soon we were following the signs for High Close Youth Hostel (now know on the YHA website and directory as ‘Langdale Youth Hostel’ for some reason). This was to be our accommodation for the next couple of nights, and pulling into the car park soon brought back memories of playing volleyball on the lawns there back in 1993 and 1994, while staffing a school trip back at the start of my teaching career.
On both those occasions, I had climbed Loughrigg Fell on the day of arrival, following a small circular route. Here I was again, 15 years later about to retrace my steps, and at last claim a SOTA Unique for the last remaining Marilyn summit that I had already climbed in the past.
Jordan, Jimmy, Liam and I first took a break in the hostel gardens, enjoying our flasks of soup while basking in the hot sunshine. We had Chicken & Barley Broth, and were honoured that Jordan had respectfully chosen soup for his own lunch to mark the occasion!
The four of us wandered down the lane from the hostel to the T-junction, then turned right for a little way before entering the field on the left. Now we started to climb in stages, the terrain initially being grassy farm fields. These soon turned to bleaker heather-clad fells, and then stony-pathed and rocky mountains as we ascended Loughrigg Fell, a real Lake District mountain in miniture.
Emerging onto the summit, we were met with the contrast of stunning far-reaching views, and a sharp blast of very cold wind. We dropped a short distance down a steep bank in otder to operate in some degree of shelter.
Jimmy and Jordan set up the 2m kit again, and I the 20m Magic Moggy. The two lads made plenty of contacts again, including S2S with Tom 2E0WNT/P on Harter Fell G/LD-028. I also tail-ended them for this S2S, which proved to be my only VHF contact of the activation. 20m CW wasn’t exactly proflific though, and just two Ukrainians, two Russians and two Croatians completed my activation log. At least I was getting better at offering out my WOTA reference - LDW-211 - as well as my SOTA, not that I think anyone that worked me would have been collecting!
Jordan kindly issued the three Read boys with a bag of Maltesers each, plucked from his rucksack.
He then came across to the 20m station for another play on SSB. However, despite being spotted on the clear QRG 14.175MHz, there were no answers to his calls. Then suddenly, out of nothing came up a QSO between a 2I and a VK on frequency. The 2I was barely audible, but the VK was strong and clear. A couple of audacious attempts to break in to their ragchew were unsuccessful.
The descent route took us down the steep stony path of the ridge, while enjoying the fabulous views across Grasmere. I recounted that we used to tell the pupils that this was a heated lake, because of the nuclear pipe running from Sellarfield and across the water’s base!
A flat path through the wood returned us to the road, from where it was a short hop back to the youth hostel car park. We drove down to Coniston to meet G7EGQ, who was picking Jordan M3TMX up again. After the rendezvous, Jimmy, Liam and I adjourned to one of the local hostelries for a beverage, and then to the local chippy for battered haggis and chips (Liam had cheese & chips).
Back at the youth hostel, we relaxed and prepared our stuff for the next day’s walking. Today had been excellent.