Burnhope Seat NP-003 - 5th March 2009

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.
jim g0cqk

In reply to G0CQK:
Hello Jim,

I just saw this and enjoyed reading it. You did OK over the snow. Very interesting about the different summits, some 500m apart. The activation zone is big though but I remember we did once have a duscussion about the highest point. I have placed your ‘natural seat’ in Mapsource! No doubt the edge of a shallow grough. They are too shallow for windbreaks though and tend to be very wet for sitting, if you use them that way.

Glad you found it frozen. It can be quite bad at times and pools of water stand around well into the spring. It looks like you maybe went just to the N side of the fence; borderline though. I find it a bleak top with little shelter but a lot of my problem with it comes from its poor performance on 2m FM. Maybe not now but in 2002-3, it was desperate considering its ASL. I often used to get John though, from Longhorsley. I remember freezing an hour or more for 3 QSO’s until a 4th one after ‘weeping’ into S20! You don’t feel as cold when your workload is high.

I used to park right up in the quarry but lately in the pull-off which gives a quicker turnround. It is a good value for money 6-pointer which has gradually grown on me over the years. If it’s windy, I take a flysheet; pegs go in great because there’s no rock underneath. If I remember right, there is some winding gear to the right as you descend. Also on your left is a beck & a line of shooting butts. Unfortunately these don’t continue to the summit.

Views are OK on a clear day but never spectacular. It’s always quiet; I can’t remember seeing anybody up there and I bet you saw no one either. Some climb it up the other fence but you start a bit lower or it’s a bit further or both. I have never tried that way.

I thought that you were talking about NP3 but possibly Hoove, when you mentioned NPs close to your QTH. NP2 is close too but it’s a bit longer walk in. Nice though.

You did well to find someone about on 60m these days. Just shows how keen the chasers are.

Sounds like you blew the cobwebs out and tested your foot a bit more.

Keep up with the winter bonus & take care,
73, John

In reply to G4YSS:

6 points? In 35minutes? Noooooooooooooo!

I was thinking of nipping up Cold Fell on my way down to the Blackpool Rally as that’s not too far from the M6. But if you can get 6 points at Burnhope Seat then it would be rude not to collect them. Shame it’s a bit of a drag from the motorway as it’s in a sort-of hinterland of its own. Backtracking to get to the motorway is against my religion, but continuing down to Middleton-in-Teesdale and then Brough and back to junction 38 I’ll miss Tebay services. If I don’t bring some tasty comestibles back from the farm shop then I don’t get to stay with my mum!

Anyway, nice photos Jim. When I saw where it was, I realised that I’d been looking at Burnhope Seat when I activated Cross Fell on the way to Blackpool last year. Also, it’s good to hear your foot is improving.

Having been ‘real close’ to Lowther Hill radar and not that far from Great Dun Fell radar, I thought I’d try and find out what kind of output power they run on and around 23cms. Both radars run on 5 frequencies at once and I’m not sure if the data I have is for all 5 frequencies together or per frequency. Suffice to say it’s thought to somewhere around 8GW (yes giga) although it is pointing up into the sky slightly and not sweeping past the trig point. Food for thought!


In reply to MM0FMF:

if you can get 6 points at Burnhope Seat then it would be rude not to collect them…

You could always consider doing it on the way back north - the lighter nights will be on us. 0.75 miles of walking with 168 metres of climb (12.7m of climb per 100 yds) for 6 points or in the bonus period 9. Compares very favourably with for example SB-010 from Reedsford where its 200 metres of climb in 0.675 miles (16.8 metres of climb per 100 yds) for just 1 point all year.

I was put off Hoove after reading your report. The position of NPs in my table of driving times based on Richard’s parking spots are 3rd NP-020, 6th NP-003, 14th NP-001, 15th NP-002, 16th NP-024 so I’ll certainly have to consider NP-001 & NP-002 as I get a bit fitter.
73 jim