I was returning from a jolly down South (a funeral, a 90th birthday and delivery of a cabinet) and was determined to activate something on the way home. My XYL found me a B&B in Brough – the woman was barking but produced a breakfast and packed lunch to die for! – and set off, late, to have a go at Cross Fell NP-001. All the routes shown on the SOTA database access this hill via the Pennine Way so, because I am just plain obstinate, I decided on a different route. Parking is very easy at NY650326 but the little lanes to Kirkland took their toll on time. The route is via a bridleway over access land (strange habits you lot have down there – there is no law of trespass in Scotland, just turn-up and walk!) and is easy going if a slog in temperatures in the 20’s – in fact it was really hot and I went through my carried water at a rate of knots. Where the track takes a sharp left turn, head straight on following the very obvious cairns until you pick-up another track which joins the Pennine Way and the final ascent onto Cross Fell.
I was greeted at the summit by a walker sitting in the cross shelter so just set-up my HF dipole away from the shelter so as not to obstruct the route too much – many others were on their way to the summit and the caravan was in view coming along the Pennine Way from Great Dun Fell. I had no idea what sort of activation I would have without a posting on the site – back to the good old days when we used to haul ourselves up onto summits and fail to qualify them? Initially I thought this might happen, a CQ brought G3RMD and shortly afterwards a QRZ from G0HNW – how different signals are nearer to centres of population, Paul is almost always 59 with me when in GM, here it was a generous 57 to 8 at best. Confusion set-in here with Paul wondering which GM hill I was on, not helped by me slipping into comfortable callsign mode and announcing myself as GM4 er sorry G4TOE. Finishing with Paul I was called by GW0VMZ to make 3 contacts, then nothing! Calling CQ, a little frantically but with hope, the spot finally propagated around the web and then it was into the usual swing of things – G6ZPR, GM4FAM, G0RQL, GW0DSP (not confirmed), G4OBK, G0NES and finally GM0UDL/P for a summit to summit. There were no other takers so I left Andy the frequency and set-up the 2m beam.
Operating 2m further south than usual was an eye opener – I actually worked people on SSB. A CQ brought in Don G0NES and then this was followed by G4JZF, G3RMD, G1OAE, GW0DSP (we did it on this band), M3PXW, 2E0HJD and G6LKB. I must admit that by now I was rather conscious of the time and with no further calls I closed down to eat my lunch, although I did try a couple of half hearted calls on 2m FM prior to leaving.
I had intended to make it a circular walk back to the car but with a 300 mile journey ahead I just returned the way I had come. For the record, the bothy shown on the map could be used in extreme need but it really is just the two gables, a roof and part of the back wall so offers little real shelter.
All in all a lovely day, a very pleasant walk and a quite different activation (for me). Thanks to all the chasers once again and to GW0VMZ and G0NES for spotting me on the reflector – I notice I was also spotted by ON3WAB, if I had known I would have qsy’d to 40m, so my apologies for not doing so.