Brown Willy DC-002 and Kit Hill DC-003 - Monday 30th July 2007
After a pleasant Sunday with the wife and daughter which included a trip to Padstow, I packed the car and managed to depart from Lostwithiel at 0910UTC on Monday 30th July. I had given consideration to travelling part way home (Northampton) and detouring to activate a couple of SC summits on the way home, but with the excellent weather I decided to stay in Cornwall and activate Brown Willy DC-002 and Kit Hill DC-003 instead. Brown Willy had been pinpointed as a potential family walk to be undertaken at a future date. However, having given this some thought, I decided that it would be good to get this summit under my belt in SOTA terms so that radio will not be an issue when we eventually get around to it.
There are several ways that one can approach this hill. I used the satnav with Richard G3CWI’s POI file to guide me in through narrow lanes to a point close to Alex Tor at SX116790 where I parked on a large area of grass on the right side of the road. From the wheel marks on the grass, I could see that this was a reasonably regular parking spot. Nevertheless, when I park in such locations, I always wonder whether I will come back to a car adorned with a terse note from the local GOML. I was pleased to say that this was not the case on this occasion.
To the east north east I could clearly see the two summits of Rough Tor on the left and Brown Willy on the right, some 5 kilometres distant. The route is initially very easy as the metalled road continues as a private roadway surfaced in stone waste past Camperdown Farm and I set off along this at 0956UTC. Within a few yards I was being heckled by the local riff-raff – a couple of young Buzzards obviously concerned that I was out to bag some quarry on their patch. This made a very pleasant change to two days previous when Carnmenellis and Watch Croft had revealed very little in the way of wildlife. A couple of kilometres down the private road, I decided to cut across left over the moor to tackle Rough Tor head on. I hadn’t originally planned to do this, but as I felt in good shape, the caper was really just too good to miss! It was fun boulder hopping and clambering up the south west face of the hill. A couple of times I had to put down my mast and antennas (which were being carried by hand on this occasion) in order to pull myself up and once on the top, the obligatory climb up onto the stone stack just had to be done.
A quick glance at my watch showed me that I was starting to lose quite a bit of time “mucking about” on the summit of Rough Tor, so I decided to set off for Brown Willy. Descending down the south east side of the hill was easy and I then came to the crossing at the small and strangely named De Lank river. I took a brief spell on the east side to rehydrate and then went on up the very clear path to the summit of Brown Willy, visiting both the trig and the tall cairn. There was plenty of room for HF antennas and shelter from the moderate northerly breeze was found behind a rock formation on the summit. I set up by using bungies to strap the mast to the rock outcrop and ran out the HF dipole avoiding the path across the summit. A few people came and went during my stay, all of which acknowledged my “Hi”, but none came over to question what I was doing. Brown Willy is a very pleasant summit with good views all round and I certainly will be going back when the family get their act together.
Although I was not working to a strict schedule, I was on air at about the time I expected to be. At 1200UTC I started to use the mobile to spot myself and in doing so noted Frank G3RMD had been posted on 7MHz CW from EI/IE-006. I decided to start my activation by attempting to contact him and by adding S2S after my callsign I got the desired response from Frank and we exchanged reports quite easily. I would say thank you to all the EU stations that kindly stood by while we made the contact. After the QSO, I spotted myself for 144.333 and was soon in contact with Graham G4JZF, followed in close order by Don G0NES. For the third time on three summits, Barry M3PXW called in to make contact and Don G0RQL qualified the summit on 2m for me. Don kindly provided “back up” information on local net frequencies, callsigns and the like in case I had problems raising anyone from Kit Hill later in the day (I had read Tom M1EYP’s report for that hill). After our chat there were no more takers, so I moved on to 5MHz, having been advised by Don G0NES that there were GM summits being activated on the band. On FE I found Steve GM7SRJ/P on SS-029, then Cris GM4FAM got me to move to FM where we exchanged reports and dropping down a couple of channels I then worked Jack GM4COX/P on SS-015. Paul G0HNW made QSO number 4 back on FM after which there were no more takers. Conditions were strangely long skip, with signals south to north seemingly better than the other way around. Activity seemed low both on 2m and 5MHz, but that is what can happen on a weekday lunchtime, especially when the weather is fine and sitting in the shack may not be the best place to be.
At 1300UTC, I decided to try 7MHz CW rather than 10MHz CW and found the rat race that normally exists on this band not to be present. I was therefore able to enjoy a very pleasant run of 10 contacts, mainly in DL, F and HB9, but also including GM4FAM and G4SSH. Many thanks to all that I worked – it made a very pleasant change to have such an orderly operation. I was now in what I call a “Grade A mood” and could have stayed longer, but reluctantly I had to pack up and by 1342UTC I was making my descent. The weather was beautifully sunny with some cloud and a moderate northerly breeze. After the river crossing, I kept close to the edge of the Open Access land, then cut across to view the ancient Field System on Roughtor Moor. My viewing was undertaken as I passed by and by not stopping at all on the return journey, I was back at the car inside 50 minutes.
After a brief break at the car to take off my boots, gaiters and don more “civilian” atire, I drove into Camelford where I filled up the car with petrol and then set off south across country towards Callington and my next summit, Kit Hill. En route I had a wild thought that I should change tack and go to High Willhays DC-001 instead, but I resisted the temptation with the thought that it would make a nice 7 point summit if activated in the winter period.
I arrived at the access point to Kit Hill country park at about 1545UTC and followed a small car up the single track road. Near the top, a 4 x 4 had to reverse to let us through and as I passed I raised my hand in thanks only to see the driver was a lady with a deep scowl on her face. Looking down, I could see from the sign on the vehicle’s door that this was the infamous park warden……. once past, I just had to laugh out loud. So nearly made contact! Thankfully she didn’t return, which probably means that anyone can run riot up on the hill when it is evening.
After visiting the trig, I decided not to tempt fate and so set up on the edge of a bank to the north of the car park which allowed me to operate 2m, with the mast held in my left hand ready for a quick lowering had the warden returned. My initial CQ at 1610UTC brought back Don G0NES who had been patiently waiting for me. Signals seemed to be somewhat better than earlier in the day and after a chat with Don, Steve 2E0KPO called in and was very pleased to make contact with me so far south. Graham G4JZF and Brian G3EDD completed the qualification, which took all of 10 minutes (sorry Tom, you certainly had it rough). The run didn’t stop there and a total of 10 contacts were made in 50 minutes on 2m, just one of which was on FM with GW0RBD/P near Tenby. Barry M3PXW again featured in the log – excellent, since that made it 4 out of 4 summits for him. I did not need to put out an appeal on the local repeater or hi-jack a local net and so left the locals in peace and possibly oblivious of my presence.
After the pleasurable session on HF earlier in the day, I was tempted to set up the dipole, but decided that as I had about a four hour drive ahead of me, I had better pack up and get off. A quick phone call was made to Bev and I started my journey north at 1730UTC. In light traffic, I made home by 2115UTC and after unpacking the car, immediately went out to see Whisper (my Barn Owl for those that don’t know) who unusually was in a very good mood and pleased to see that the wanderer had at last returned. I was not “sent to Coventry” this time around.
Once again I would like to thank the regular chasers on 2m SSB that kept faith with me turning up on the summits despite only having an outline of a schedule. I had a particularly pleasurable day, partly due to the weather. I will be returning to Brown Willy, God willing, since it is an excellent summit with some brilliant views. Whether I take the radio with me will depend upon whether I have given up my task of activating as many Uniques as possible without repeat visits.