After looking at the wx forecast yesterday, I commented to the XYL that I might get out onto a hill today but then it started to snow. So I got all the gear ready but decided to leave the decision till the morning. Snow stopped fairly quickly, then it rained a bit, finally turned to freezing fog. Dawn broke bright and sunny but frozen - good, as boggy bits might be fairly solid.
Recently I converted Richard’s (CWI) parking spots to gpx, took them into Mapsource and got it to work out driving distances and times from home for SB, LD, NP, TW and the southern most SS hills. That brought some surprises, including the fact that NP-003 is 6th shortest driving time ahead of The Cheviot, Shillhope Law, Peel Fell and Sighty Crag, mainly because the A69 dual to just beyond Hexham, gives a head start. So I had my eye on it and at about 8:30 this morning made my mind up to go for it.
Loaded the car fairly quickly and headed off. Having read various reports about Burnhope Seat, I decided on the YSS approach so parked up in what could loosely be described as a lay-by at NY 7742 3713 opposite the track to the disused quarry. Tried to put up an alert, but something went wrong with the mobile phone - it went beep and appeared to switch off. Once kitted up, tracked round the side of the quarry and headed up toward the ruins marked on the map as a sheep fold. The going was quite good, with snow varying from nothing at all to a few inches deep. It really was just a straight line ascent, past a pile of stacked stones and up to the summit fence. Higher up some of the snow was a bit deeper and some even crusted enough to walk over but nothing boggy anywhere - it was well frozen. I decided to operate by the fence close to the RHB listed summit at NY 7841 3763 and at NY 7839 3759 I found a natural seat.
20 minutes John had said in one report, no chance for me - I took 35 - I’ll blame the snow. Established base camp - bungied the pole to a fence post and tied off the legs of the dipole to the fence - great no guys or end supports. Started the Olympus VN-1000PC recording and opened on 5-FE, with a response to my CQ by Frank G3RMD who kindly set up a spot - thanks Frank. Thereafter a run of 11 more contacts swiftly followed in the next 13 minutes and then no further response to a QRZ - but not bad for a mid-week without any alert. I had put on finger-tip less gloves at the summit and I had by now lost some sensation to the finger-tips so decided not to try other bands. Temperature was 0c with wind around 10 mph gusting to 20 and at worst my xplorer4 read windchill at -3.2c.
Took a few photos, now on flickr, packed up and descended back to the car in 20 minutes - well at least I can match the YSS up time on my way down. Leisurely drive home, apart from the delay at the over-running roadworks on the A69 at Haydon Bridge - delays expected till end February 2009 said the signs - well its 5th March and they’re are still at it. Thanks to all contacts especially for keeping it short given the cold and especially to Frank G3RMD for the spot. Once home uploaded the few photos taken, the track from the GPS, and the wav file from the Olympus to the PC to check the written log.