After a pleasant weekend get-together in the Eden Valley, two of us - Rob G0HRT and myself - set off up the A6 and down the A66. Most of the intended roads were signed as ‘closed’, so a few alternative routes were quickly hatched. We arrived at the lay-by beside Little Mell Fell G/LD-037 in warm morning sunshine, and coats and fleeces were consigned to rucksacks.
Rob and I passed through the gate and straight onto the steep hillside, through which a dirt path with useful footstep imprints provided reasonable going. I remarked that this ascent seemed surprisingly easy compared to how I had remembered it, but added that the hideous weather on the last visit may well, literally, have clouded the memory.
Within minutes we were topping out at the stone trig point and enjoying the wide-reaching views. I set up the dipole for 30m while Rob got to work on his vertical for 2m. We both made eleven contacts - all on 2m FM for Rob, including some S2S, and mine split 8/3 between 30m CW and 10m CW. The descent was even quicker as I struggled to corroborate the unpleasant and difficult conditions (wx & radio) of last time - November 2006 - with this splendid little jaunt.
Job done, Rob followed as I drove the lanes to the parking spot for Great Mell Fell G/LD-035. I immediately recognised the pull-in by the start of the track, and a car that was parked there - it had a mag-mount aerial on it and Pauline (Brian G8ADD’s XYL) sat in the driver’s seat reading a book.
We walked a short distance along the track before forking right through a gate and up the hill, initially steep. This then became a more graded walk, but it was uphill all the way - and a longer way it was too. How on earth I ever remembered this hill as an easier walk than Little Mell Fell G/LD-037 I’ll never know!
It is an easy walk though, just never in a million years as easy as it’s “Little” neighbour. As Rob and I passed the last clump of trees, we could see Brian G8ADD beginning his descent from the summit. He had just completed his 2m FM activation. We grabbed a quick round of photos, at a spot that was probably close to the edge of the activation zone.
After completing the short distance to the summit cairn, we set up our respective stations. Again, Rob qualified comfortably on 2m FM including contacts into Glasgow and S2S into GM/CS and others, while I made 12 QSOs on 30m CW. QSO totals weren’t huge, but this was more of a day to enjoy the lovely sunshine and stunning views, than to fill logbooks. We both got the points, and in Rob G0HRT’s case, a couple of new activator uniques.
After the descent, Rob decided he was taking a long leisurely drive home via the Cumbrian coast, while I was making straight back for the M6, so we said our goodbyes. Progress south was good, and I was astonished not to hit a queue after junction 33, behind all the traffic joining at 32 after a day out at Blackpool! Perhaps I beat it!
This was my third visit to one or both of the Mells, but the first time I have properly enjoyed them. So the day was very pleasing for that reason in particular.