Sounds charming doesn’t it? But this distinctly named hollow in East Cheshire turned out to be mine and Jimmy’s objective in a night walk on Monday 13th April 2009.
We knew that Richard G3CWI and daughter Mai Ling were doing Shining Tor G/SP-004 as an overnight camp. Jimmy and I had been at my cousin’s house in Quarnford near Flash, me doing some GCSE Maths prep for him and my cousin’s daughter.
Leaving there at 8.30pm, we decided we would take a stroll up Shining Tor and surprise Richard & ML - and snag a quick activation as well.
Most of the ascent from just short of the Cat & Fiddle was done in darkening gloom, but without headtorches. These were turned on at the summit though, as we scoured the area for Richard and daughter. No sign though.
Jimmy M3EYP started to call CQ on his handheld, but got no response. Not until a certain G3CWI/P replied! “Where are you?” Jimmy demanded, “We’re at the trig but we can’t find you”. Richard explained that he had decided to activate earlier than billed, and continued on down deep into the valley to the North/North West.
I thought we might try to find them. Richard gave further details as to where he was, and I thought better of it. However, Jimmy was disappointed. I finished working Richard, checked for other callers - none - then set off along the ridge.
We soon turned left at the sign for Lamaload, and were then dropping steeply down a rough path. At a junction of wall and fence, we turned right and headed North, some gently downhill, some more steeply. I resumed 2m contact with Richard for status updates.
Eventually, we could see Richard’s torch in the distance, and made our way to him and Mai Ling, who was peeping out of the tent. “We weren’t actually expecting visitors” remarked Richard, at 10pm, in the cold and dark, at a place I later discovered was called “Thursbitch”.
After an impromptu photo-shoot, Jimmy and I turned, and headed uphill. Jimmy, who had navigated the route faultlessly so far (without a map and compass) continued to forge ahead, boasting about his encyclopedic knowledge of these fells from his Air Cadet expeditions.
We reached the saddle with Shining Tor high to the left, and the A537 road ahead and below, illumintaed by the occasional car headlights. Jimmy forged on ahead, deciding that we would get to the road, turn left, and make our way back to the car along it.
This we did, apart from when we reached the Peak View Farm Tearooms, from where we climbed up the hill and picked up the stony track more directly to the parking spot, cutting a wide corner of the main road.
I reckon it was about a 7km circuit, which we completed, in the dark, in about 2.5 hours, including a very short (one QSO each!) activation on SP-004, and a 10 minute rest and natter with the wild campers. Good fun.