With a good weather forecast and the last day on the winter bonus, it seemed like at good idea to play radio on some hills and judging by the alerts appearing I wasn’t the only one with that idea.
My poison of choice was the Yorkshire 3 peaks, I’d had it in mind to have a go at this for a while, in fact I’d nearly attempted it last October, when some mates did so, only I already had a booking that weekend to go play in the Scottish Borders.
I knew John G4YSS had already completed this and I wouldn’t bet against a few others having done it too. Johns report was really useful, particularly to give me an idea of timings for the various legs.
Anyway set the alarm for 0500 (0500!! but it’s a weekend!!) not in the same league as G4YSS & G4OIG but early enough. Made myself a bowl of porridge before setting off, in fact I made extra to take a bit with me.
An uneventful journey to Horton in Ribblesdale to the sounds of Sharlene Spiteri for those who take an interest. Kitted up whilst eating my extra porridge (with blueberries, ‘cos they contain antioxidants so they’re good for you)
Left the car at 0715 to make the direct ascent of Pen-y-ghent to meet the main ridge south of the summit. I passed a group of students who I was to repeatedly see during the day as they followed a similar route to myself, I’d pass them on ascents then they’d pass me whilst I was playing radio. Reached the summit at 0818 so I was a little bit early, I wandered a bit away from the trig and set up against the drystone wall that runs over the summit. Some glorious views and plenty of sunshine on offer. I set the beam up for horizontal polarization and started on 144-ssb, I immeadiately found Paul GW4MD/P on NW-047 for the first summit to summit, I had hoped to catch Paul on some later summits but he was too fast and I was too slow. I then went to put my own call out….nothing….oh, high swr…whys that?..oh the clip’s disconnected itself from the element on the beam. With the clip reconnected I found Richard GW4ERP/P on MW-010 for s2s number 2. Mike GW0DSP asked me to go up to 144.330 which I did, leading to a further 5 contacts ending with Don, G0RQL in North Devon. 2m FM brought another 9 stations. I’d picked up a “partially” charged slab and it finally gave up during QSO with M3VYD, apologies for the delay whilst I quickly found the handheld to finish the QSO. Fortunately I’d brought another slab, phew! Packed up and was on the way at 0908.
The next leg was the longest and Whernside looked a long way away, it was also the stretch I’d never set eyes on before. It’s a bit boggy in places this stretch, thank goodness for gore-tex. Although I did mange one step into bog over my shoes, the gaiters and quick retraction of said foot ensured it stayed mostly dry. It’s a long leg but the sight of the Ribblehead viaduct is a welcome one although the albeit short stretch of tarmac wasn’t so welcome. I had a break sat under the Ribblehead viaduct for lunch of Jamaican gingerbread (it sounds better it you say it with a Jamaican accent!)
I don’t usually bother with my walking poles now unless I’m doing some long walk-in in Scotland or carrying an exped rucksack but I’d stuck them on the rucksack as a late addition and pulling them off the bag I was pleased to have them today. Made my way up to the summit, arriving at 1257. For some reason I really felt this ascent so was pleased reach the summit and have a break to play radio.
It was a bit breezier now but at least the wall could be used as shelter rather than the wind blowing along the wall. Just as I was setting up, a chap introduced himself as G6CGI (or something like that, sorry I’m rubbish at remembering callsigns) although he hasn’t been tempted to drag his kit up a hill yet. Anyway 8 contacts on 2m FM including a s2s with Rick M0RCP/P on Inglebrough, I could have waved if there hadn’t been a cloud in the way. A further 5 on 2m SSB with David, G2BOF in South London being the best in terms of distance and a s2s with Rob, G4RQJ on Pike of Blisco.
Packed up again and left the summit at 1342 following the wide track all the way down past the Hill Inn. The stepped approach to Ingleborough leads to one very steep section – although the path is good. At the base of this section saw two chaps who’d asked me what I was up to on Whernside, unfortunately I was in the middle of the QSO with M0RCP and they hadn’t hung around so at least I was now able to explain my antics to them.
Reached the summit of Ingleborough at 1552. The wind was really picking up now and the summit was fairly quiet and covered in cloud, with the few visitors quickly moving on. As I’d been ascending I’d been listening to G0EWN on NP-030 work his way through a sizeable pile-up, fully intending to make the s2s I continued to listen as I set up, then all of a sudden I realised he’d gone, doh, sorry! 9 QSO’s, 7 on 2m FM and 2 on ssb, I left the summit at 1643, after having a chat with and taking a summit photo for a chap who was just out walking his dog and planned to do the 3 peaks later in the year.
It can be a bit tricky getting off the summit of Ingleborough in the cloud, and I knew there are 3 major paths leading off the western end of the plateau all in different directions, I’d just stopped to consult the map when a brief parting of the clouds allowed me to see my decent route clearly, bingo!
A quiet descent back to Horton, although I was amused by the notice saying that cows “can act defensively when confronted by large groups of walkers”, the cows I’ve met have the potential to act offensively, ie they charge after me!! Arrived back at the car at 1820. Pink Floyd & Elbow for the journey home although not at the same time!
Many thanks to all the stations worked, especially to G4BLH, G1OHH and G4USW who worked me from all 3 summits, it was nice to have a bit of company all the way round.
I haven’t got any nice mapping software yet, I really must get my finger out there, but according to the interweb, that’s 37km and 1627m of ascent or 23 miles & 5337ft in old money, phew, little wounder I slept well. The interweb also tells me that the record for this is 2hrs 51min 49sec, the marathon world record is only 2hrs 4min for 26 miles!!!