My last night spent atop Seatallan was in 2021. I’ve been on the summit several times since as It is a favourite summit. A major disincentive of camping atop the summit is that water can be difficult to find on the approach that I usually take, from Windsor farm. There are many small streams shown on the OS 1:25000 map, starting at the 550m contour on the SW side of the summit, but you have to descend somewhat lower than 550m before they yield running water,
today, I set off via Greendale tarn in order to explore the eastern face of Seatallan for water sources closer to the summit.
I left my bicycle locked to a tree at a popular parking spot near the foot of Greendale, and began the heavy slog up the stony path to Greendale tarn. I was carrying lots of radio gear so my pack was already heavy, and I wanted to leave collecting water until the last possible opportunity.
I was soon at the tarn, which occupies an area that feels really quite vast and wild, despite being only a 20 min walk from the main Wasdale road. I have previously camped at the tarn since it makes an easy spot to reach in the dark after work.
I headed around the western side of the tarn and then began following a small stream that heads almost due west from half way along the tarn. Too soon the stream faded into a small trickle and I was forced to fill up with water, lest there be no further sources higher up. I was now carrying an additional 3kg of weight as I like to have plenty for cooking and drinking.
I climbed northwest,up a grassy hill side broken by occasional rocky outcrop. Every now and again I came across some additional water sources - although not all would be reliable except in wet weather.
Eventually, the last water source I found was at NY14142 08128 - at an elevation of 648m and SSE from the summit. It looks fairly reliable and so Seatallan is now going to become my number 1 destination for overnighters.
I reached the summit at about 1700hrs, the night was clear, but with clouds hanging over the Irish Sea. A stiff and cold wind was blowing (20 to 30mph).
I setup my tent about 10m below the summit on the eastern side of the summit plateau, hoping for a smidgen of shelter from the westerly wind. Tonight I was using my Hilleberg Akto, a winter sleeping bag (from PHD) and wearing a Buffalo mountain shirt - these three items signifying Summer is now well and truly over.
With the tent setup, I then started on the antanna. An EFHW for 40/20/10m was setup with the end held aloft by a Decathlon 6m pole setup about 20m from my tent.
Eager for some dx, I setup the Yaesu ft818 and BaMaKey TPIII and began calling CQ on 10m CW.
First to call was LW2DO (Argentina) and then K6YK (California). The promising start on 10m ended abruptly - since the sun was setting it was perhaps a bit late in the day.
Moving onto 20m I made some good QSOs around EU and than I moved onto 2m using an FT5D and 1/4 wave whip. GW4PL gave me a fairly poor report with this setup. By now the wind had picked up and it was looking very cold outside the tent. However I braved the leements to go outside and setup a 4m pole with a flowerpot antenna.
I enjoy listening to 2m through the night, and the flowerpot makes a more comfortable operating position than using a HT and whip. Nevertheless the reports I got were not that great, and so I moved to the Yaeasu VX6 which seemed to getter better reports - so much for the top-of-the-line FT5D!.
Dinner was chicken tikka followed by a berry crumble (both dehydrated rations) and a Poundland TwinPeaks (dark chocolate) to add further energy to keep me warm through the night.
I played around a bit more on 40m and 20m , including waking at 0100hrs to see what band conditions would be like in the early hours (answer: quiet). A thick fog had set in, and the wind was still blowing hard.
You kind of forget that you are on a summit when you are wrapped up in your tent, but stepping outside for a quick toilet revealed the summit plateau was not a terribly nice place to be and I was glad to dive back into the tent. I was toasty warm in my tent overnight, despite temperatures dipping below freezing.
I was up at about 7am, to find a glorious clear morning and ice on the outside of the tent. I started off calling CQ from inside the tent after checking the antenna was still up. LZ2AF/2 called first followed by F4WBM and IU8CNE. I made around 50 QSOs over the morning including S2S with @GW4BML and @M1BUU as well as EA8/DL2DXA in the Canarry Islands. My best dx was another call into Argentina on 10m.
At around 10am I started packing up and heading back down the way had had climbed the previous night - checking on the water sources for next time. Greendale Tarn was glass-like still, it was a perfect morning for walking.