Close the borders! I'm heading to the UK..

So it looks like I am heading to the UK this fall for a two week vacation… excuse me, I mean “holiday”. :grinning:
While there I’m looking to do some hiking and of course some SOTA activation’s. I realize that is a pretty broad statement, but if you were going to the UK for the first time, where would you go?
We are flying into London from Dulles (Washington, DC) and I will be bringing my Mountain Topper and Packtenna antenna.


Hi Stuart, With a name like yours, you’ll have to come to Scotland! The west coast has the most rugged mountains, but there’s plenty to do all over the country.

73, Fraser


No kidding huh?!? I do have the perfect name for Scotland :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
My wife does want to visit Scotland as she is a fine connoisseur of whiskey.


Ah well, that’s sorted then. Find out her faviourite dram - Speyside, Highland, Islay, Lowland etc and get yourself on a distillery tour, with a few local hills thrown in along the way. BTW, it’s Whisky in Scotland, Whiskey just about everywhere else. :tumbler_glass::blush:

It’s Burns night tonight. I washed my haggis down with a Scapa Flow. That’s from the island of Orkney.


On your way to Scotland you can do G/TW-004 near to the Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery. Then head west to the Yorkshire Dales with plenty of G/NP summits (G/NP-028 is my local) and then on to the Lakes Distillery which is pretty close to G/LD-004 for 10 points. And there are plenty of other summits nearby. There’s also a few Welsh distilleries near summits.

As far as I know there are no whisky distilleries in London and no SOTA summits so there’s no point staying there.

And most London Dry Gin is distilled in Warrington.

It would be worth your while to visit the English Lake District, if only for a quick tour - think of it as a pilgrimage, because if the love of mountains started anywhere, it was there.


My wife mentioned the Lake District. Pictures look amazing. Perhaps a shortened version of the Coast to Coast hike? I need to lay out the GPX summit points and compare to the trail. Might be an interesting trip.

1 Like

Switzerland ?

Geoff vk3sq


That’s on the list too… :smiley:


I think we would normally expect most Americans to conquer most of the UK in a fortnight :wink:

Seriously though if you want some advice about places to visit, an idea of where you need to be (visiting family, friends or just places you really want to see) will give us a base to start from. Look forward to welcoming you here and happy to help.


Good point! Let me narrow it down and see what you guys suggest.

1 Like

Yup. Saw a London whisk(e)y for sale last week!

Hi Stuart, many first-time visitors to the UK make the mistake of trying to pack in too much with too many destinations and end up spending much of their vacation just travelling. The UK may be tiny compared to the USA but you can waste a whole day getting from one end of the country to the other.

Reading between the lines “some hiking” suggests that you and your wife want to do other things too, e.g. sightseeing.

You don’t say which London airport you are flying into - it has 3 major international ones. Each has fast trains into central London so you might want to spend at least a day there seeing the sights. For LHR airport, the Heathrow Express to central London takes 15 minutes.

Re hiking and SOTA: I agree with Brian @G8ADD about the Lake District – not just because I live here and it’s my favourite part of the UK – there are 55 SOTA summits packed within the 40 miles by 36 miles area of the National Park itself, so you can do some of the most beautiful walks in the world and mop up dozens of SOTA activations at the same time.

BTW: National Parks here are not like ones in the US. There have towns, villages, farms, shops, pubs, etc like elsewhere except they get special protection. One warning: the LD NP gets 14 million visitors a year and will be crowded in autumn. There are plenty of less-popular summits that most tourists don’t visit particularly towards the west near the Irish Sea. Or, do as we locals do in summer and get up early to activate the popular ones before the crowds get there.

My other suggestion for rugged and stunningly beautiful hiking with SOTA would be the west of Scotland. The SOTAs are more spread out there but some of our GM friends could suggest where you could cluster 2 or 3 in one day.

Have fun on your visit.

73 Andy


Hi Stuart @KB1HQS, I hope your keeping well and looking forward to your holiday/vacation in the UK. Reading the above replies you’ve had, I can’t see much mention of the beautiful Welsh hills/mountains we have in Wales! It would be quite a drive from London, but a fair bit closer than Scotland (p.s. we do have our own brand of Whiskey as well :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) there are some good routes that do challenge you in North and South Wales seeing great views and lovely countryside! So, if you want to know more, let me know!

Have a safe trip over and I hope you enjoy where ever you go.




One thing you should build into your plans is consideration of the UK’s weather. Weather can change quickly and one reason we have such a “green and pleasant land” is because it rains a lot. Sure places like East Anglia often have a similar rainfall to Israel but I doubt you’ll be going there. The West coast is wetter and the North West coast wetter still. Fort William (Ben Nevis) has an average of 50 rain free days a year to give you some context. So make sure your plans have the ability to switch around days to accommodate the fickleness here.

There’s always the temptation to want to bag some of the famous summits whilst you are here. Sadly so does everyone else but there are plenty of excellent summits that are free of marauding visitors and just as enjoyable. Big walks and climbs to quick strolls. But back to the rain, you may not be bringing big heavy walking boots, but it’s probably wise to have waterproof footwear. Just because it hasn’t rained for a while doesn’t mean you wont find copious amounts of wet countryside to walk on.

Finally with some careful planning you can visit plenty of tourist sites (Buckingham Palace, Stratford on Avon etc. ) and also bag yourself 3 new associations (G, GW, GM). Any more than that means flights/ferries.


Four of us did the C2C in 2010 Stuart. It’s around 192 miles of dedicated walking end to end. En route you travel across several summits and come close to access a few more with small deviations:
G/LD-045 Dent
G/LD-022 Seat Sandal (small detour)
G/LD-007 Fairfield (small detour)
G/LD-010 St Sunday Crag (smal detour)
G/LD-027 Place Fell (1 mile each way detour)
G/LD-011 High Street (0.75 mile each way detour)
G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg
G/NP-014 Rogan’s Seat (1.2 mile each way detour)
G/TW-002 Cringle Moor
G/TW-001 Round Hill.

If you can’t do the whole route and you are capable, I would start from St Bees and finish at either Patterdale (Allow 4 days) after LD-010 or in Shap (Allow 5 days). If you add Place Fell LD-022 into the Patterdale to Shap section it is a hard day’s walking. In my opinion you should be able to qualify all these summits with a 2m FM handheld and external antenna or a RH770 whip.

Have a good holiday - I am in the Lake District myself for five days staying in Patterdale itself, with a group of walkers, Sept 4th - 9th.

73 Phil


So there is. They are cropping up everywhere these days! Still no SOTA summits though.

There are at least two brands of Welsh Whisky. No e.

Scottish, Canadian and Japanese distilleries produce whisky. I think it’s actually only Irish and American distilleries that produce whiskey. Even then, George Dickel, Makers Mark and Old Forester make whisky.


I quite like that one. Popular in bars in Edinburgh and I’ll have that as single malts are often silly prices to catch tourists.

I’m not a great fan of Bourbon - I find it a bit uninteresting like lowland and Irish whiskies. I had a dram of Laphroaig last night for Burns Night. Haggis will have to wait till Friday, assuming Sainsburys don’t substitute it for something else.

A word of caution: the national long-distance trails [like the Coast to Coast] are great experiences so they are very popular particularly in the school holidays (late July to early September). You have a lot of people walking the same linear A-to-B route at the same time and wanting B&B accommodation close to the route. They get booked up many months in advance so you would need to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Or you can use 1 or 2 B&Bs near the trail and have someone drive you to the start A and finish B points each day. We did The Ridgeway trail with a two-car system which involved driving to the start and finish, leaving and collecting cars - a bit of a faff.

Frankly, doing a circular walk or a there-and-back route to one or more summits is logistically much easier.

1 Like