Claife Heights G/LD-053

My son has just started at a college campus in Kendal. Transport to Kendal is a bit difficult from home as we’re in a rural area and public transport is rather infrequent and often unreliable. My new role therefore is taxi driver. It makes no sense to drive home after dropping my son off, as this would be over 50 miles for a round trip, adding up to over 200 miles per week extra.

Claife Heights G/LD-053 is a small hill on the western side of lake Windermere. Kendal lies about 8.5 miles east of the lake by road. I’d looked at G/LD-053 a few times on the map, and I remember my friend Allan @GW4VPX doing the hill during an LD weekend. There is a cable ferry across the lake to the western shore and it takes about 10 minutes for the reasonable cost of £1 per foot passenger. There is a large car park near the eastern shore ferry terminal and parking cost £7.30 for 6 hours.

I dropped my son off in Kendal and then took a short 20 minute drive to Ferry Nab car park.
The ferry was at the terminal about to set off when I got near and it was all a bit of a rush! I was on the ferry and underway across the lake before my brain had properly registered it. The payment was electronic only, a quick tap of my phone had that sorted.

Plenty of room to park even the numbest of Kia SUVs

It took me about an hour to reach the trig point from the ferry ramp, I took my time and made an effort to enjoy my surroundings rather than rushing straight to the top. I explored the viewing station and enjoyed the ‘picturesque’ views. The walk is mainly through woodland. I saw a handful of people, mostly on the way back, but it was predominately quiet.

I’d taken a small set up with me consisting of an MTR-2B for 30m and 20m and a two band dipole designed to be used with a 4m pole. All my gear fit inside my backpack, disguising me an an ordinary walker. :grin: I’d seen that there had been aurora sighted over North Yorkshire the night before and the K index had been up at 6. My hope was to manage at least 4 QSOs anything else would be a bonus. The K index dropped to 3 before leaving home and then went to 2 during my activation.

I managed 19 QSOs across both bands (30m and 20m), but 30m was by far the most productive. I’d noticed that the spots on SOTAwatch were mainly for the lower HF bands. The bands were in poor shape. All of a sudden signals would just disappear, like they’d been switched off. It was tempting to think that my radio was faulty! The propagation conditions helped me out in one respect, I was mid way through an S2S trying to copy the summit ref when another station insisted on sending ‘/p’ over and over. Thankfully I copied the summit ref eventually through the QRM and then the ‘/p’ faded into the noise! I’ve said plenty of times, if you’re going to just send ‘/p’ over and over again, and over ongoing QSOs, you’re going to get ignored by me. I want the full call sign please, and in the proper sequence.

I packed up leisurely and then had my lunch, enjoying the view over lake Windermere. I walked back to the ferry the way I had walked up. I was excited to get my first ever glimpse of a red squirrel, I do hope that the large bird of prey I saw immediately before didn’t spot the squirrel too!

Ferry approaching to take me back to the eastern shore.

I really enjoyed the little hill and it felt a bit more special taking the ferry too. I got back to Kendal and sat in a cafe uploading my log into the SOTA database before it was time to pick my son up again.

I’d definitely recommend Claife Heights as a fun little hill to activate, especially with a ferry ride thrown in. I didn’t even seem to pick up any ticks, despite disturbing a pair of large deer near to the trig. (I see deer and bracken and think ticks!)

73, Colin


Nice report Colin.

Until a year or two ago Claife Heights summit was surrounded by tall trees with only a tiny gap towards the east so no good views and a poor VHF takeoff if the trees were wet. All that changed following several storms in winter of 2021/22 which flattened most of those trees. I had a failed activation trying unsuccessfully to get to the summit a few months later.

But two months later I tried again and this time the loggers had cleared the fallen trees from some of the paths so I managed to activate it again. The scene from the summit had become totally different with good views in all directions.


Nice report!

I did this two days after Storm Arwen toppled thousands of trees around that area in November 2021.

Your pleasant walk was for me a tortuous scramble through broken trees which took a couple of hours to get to the top. On reflection I really should have quit as many of the part fallen trees were really dangerously balanced.

Good to see they have sorted it out.

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I did wonder when the trees might have been felled. There was one fallen tree that had to be negotiated, but it had been cut to make it passable. There was some forestry ongoing (apart from the lunch break when it was eerily quiet. (Apart from the laughter of the men sharing rude jokes!))

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Super report Colin with some lovely photos. The summit is totally different to how it was when Paul G4MD and I activated it. The weather was totally different as well. :grinning:

I think you can rest easy… the bird of prey would most likely be a Buzzard which normally wouldn’t tackle a squirrel. Rabbit and voles are their main fare. It could have been a juvenile Goldie, though I doubt it. I have seen them in Galloway, but the Lakes is possibly a little too far south.

73, Gerald

This is “the path” as I found it…