First time out for a long while - and great to be back out. Last year my walking became severely restricted by Plantar Fasciitis. Essentially it feels kind of like having a drawing pin embedded in your heel. After researching, I tried a few brands of orthotic shoe inserts without any relief, until one day the XYL spotted a retiring pharmacist selling off Powerstep from Carnation (yes - the old bunions & corns company). Tried a pair and managed to walk further than I had in five months - after two more days of improved walking, I bought everything left in my size and put them in shoes, boots and even slippers. Result was not complete restoration of walking capability, but the difference was discomfort versus pain. It took another 5 months of gradual distance build up till I am now good for up to 6 miles albeit on the flat. Not cured but at least now some capability. The majority of people I know who have had this tell me it has been two years or so until it just suddenly disappears.
Shillhope Law SB-006 is my nearest 2 point summit and with winter bonus worth 5, but most importantly from Wedder Leap, it is just over a 2 mile return trip so that if I had a heel problem with the hill, it wasn’t too far to get back. But I needed to try walking a hill to see if this heel problem was controlled by these orthotic inserts other than on the flat. I left Newcastle just after 9:00am musing that such a time would be the norm for certain activators to have completed their first summit and been ready to move to their next. Arrived at Wedder Leap at 10:10 and prepared for the ascent. The legend is that a sheep rustler many years ago attempted to steal a ewe (wedder) and to make his escape, tried to jump across the Coquet river at this point but lost his footing, fell in, was dragged down by the weight of the sheep and drowned. In fact if you cross the foot bridge and the water is clear, you can look down and see that it must be 8 to 10 feet deep, just for a short stretch.
Ascent should have been fairly straight forward. Cross the foot bridge, straight up to the style, then right across the shoulder to meet the fence which runs up the gully. Turn left to follow it up northerly until a gate where you meet the quadbike track. (is the word quadbike an oxymoron?) Sharp right up the hill to turn right once more within the activation zone to the summit shelter/cairn. Only my loss of fitness as a consequence of my walking problem provided ample opportunities to take in the view. It’s approximately 255 metres of climb in a distance of approx 1.15ml or 1.85km (based on my GPS track) and yesterday it felt like a lot more - it took me all of 47 minutes to make the ascent.
Bungied the pole to the trigpoint and deployed the dipole. Set up the operating position gaining shelter from the wind which was fortunately approaching from the highest point of shelter wall. Keyed up on FE … and nothing… had I come all the way up here to go back down with no result? … was the rig faulty? …then I suddenly remembered that I had been doing some CW practice (yes I will get there someday) and had left the FT817 in KYR mode. Switched that off and called with an immediate response from Steve, GW7AAV for whom I thank for the assistance and the two spots. Although the bands are so quiet on a summit and every signal is readability 5 with most at strength 8 to 9+, it is hard to appreciate that chasers may be struggling with QRM, QRN and QSB none of which may be apparent at the summit. Despite the clear signals however it is very tricky to try and pick out callsigns when several people are calling at once. Worked 26 on FE, then a QSY to 3.666 supported by Steve brought a further 13 QSOs with 3 from ON - thanks to Peter ON3WAB for his 5mhz signal report on the spots. I was too cold to contemplate 144Mhz so closed down.
On the summit wx was overcast with wind 25-30mph gusting to 41mph, Temp 6c with windchill equivalent 0.6c from my Skywatch Xplorer4 - nice little device. Back down to the car park at Wedder Leap it was a balmy 10c. Some photos on Flickr.
Descent was 42 minutes - I really need to get some more exercise to improve on this - and after a quick snack and drink, I drove home in plenty of time to enjoy the XYL’s evening dinner. Conclusion: Given that my heel is comfortable although a little tender the day after, I think the situation is now manageable and I can begin to plan some future activations provided of course that I meet the XYL’s expectations for our home improvement programme.
For WAB enthusiasts yesterday was NT80 or if you want the fine detail NT 87309 09677 (average of 100 readings - accuracy displayed as 10ft) and my book number is 16520. Yesterday not a single S2S
Thanks for all contacts yesterday.
rgds to all & 73 (or 88 if appropriate)