Coast 2 Coast Road Trip

Last year, my son Liam had this wacky idea. (Viewers of Steve GW7AAV’s ‘SOTA Television’ who have found Liam’s homemade SOTA idents will be aware that he has a flair for creative and tangential thinking!). The idea was to do the Pennine Way - in a car! Basically, he wanted a slice of the father-and-son expedition experience, like his brother Jimmy M3EYP has, but without all that walking! We did it, and it was great fun - and I managed to manipulate two SOTA activations into the schedule. Reports and photos via

We have now decided that February half-term is now officially and permanently when Liam and I go and do a road trip. This year, Liam has selected the Coast 2 Coast, so sometime tomorrow we should be driving up to St Bees in Cumbria.

SOTA summits? I’ll have to see what I can sneak into the itinerary without Liam noticing hi! But there’s plenty to choose from as we head from West to East. Jimmy has banned me from doing Dent G/LD-045, as that would be a unique for him too, and we won’t be approaching Patterdale via the Helvellyn edges. Perhaps one or two of the small easy LDs, same for NPs, but most likely are the TWs. Could be any time up to next Thursday/Friday.

The plan for Tuesday night will be to stop at the Tan Hill Inn and do the 6m contest from IO84WK, maybe a little down the road. Not a SOTA summit, and no doubt not the best take-off in the area, but still expect it will be fun, and if not, it will be compensated for by good food and fine ale.

Apologies for nothing more specific than that for alerts, but I look forward to any SOTA (or contest) contacts that do arise over the next 6 or 7 days.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom I think the nearest Sota summit to Tan hill will be NP014 Rogans seat.The last time that I worked Steve (G1INK) from there he biked it from Tan Hill.And it was dark when he cycled back .So there`s your chalenge.ATB 73 Geoff

No ta Geoff! I do like Rogan’s Seat though. I remember an amazing winter traverse from Kisdon G/NP-026 to Rogan’s Seat G/NP-014 with Jimmy M3EYP and Richard G3CWI a few years ago. It was fantastic.

No, we’ll just drive along the road a bit from Tan Hill and find a suitable spot for the contest, if not right outside the pub itself. Any walking for SOTA - even short ones - will depend on it being dry, and Liam having got over a little cold he currently has.

But we’re still hitting the road tomorrow morning and having a break from it all, whatever.

73, Tom M1EYP

Have a good one Tom and I will be listening for the IO84 multiplier…

Liam and I returned home on Wednesday evening, having completed the Coast 2 Coast in under four days. I also managed to weave in three SOTA activations. Here come those reports…

Sunday 20th February 2011 - Day 1

We set off from Macclesfield around 11am and had a good run up the M6 to junction 40. After dropping down the first bit of the A66, we called into the Rheged Centre for a coffee and a toasted panini - very nice. Then we continued westwards to Whitehaven, before dropping down into St Bees - out first main objective. The car radio was tuned to The Mouth FM on 87.7MHz - presumably from Cockermouth.

In St Bees, we walked down to the beach, each collecting a pebble to put in our coat pockets, then followed the first few steps of the C2C route along the sea wall and up onto the cliff path. Where it abruptly stopped - “Footpath closed due to cliff erosion”. Not a great start for a Coast 2 Coast walk, well not if you’re walking it anyway. Fortunately we weren’t, so instead we adjourned to the Coast To Coast Bar in the centre of the village for a pint and a J2O.

We had collected the first set of photographs for our road trip, and the next photo stop was at Ennerdale Bridge. Not much to see or do here, so it was up over Honister Pass to Borrowdale, taking things very carefully with a small rish of ice as it became dark and temperatures plummeted.

In Borrowdale, it was time to end the travelling for the day. I pulled in at the Scafell Hotel, gritted my teeth at the likely expense of overnighting here, and checked us into a twin room. A little later, we went into the Riverside Bar next door for a drink and meal, which was very enjoyable, the highlight being a wonderful double of 17 year old Lagavulin. We had a comfortable night’s rest.

To be continued…


Monday 21st February 2011 - Day 2

The day commenced with a full English breakfast for me in the Scafell Hotel, while Liam opted for the smoked mackerel. There was no possibility of tracking the real Coast to Coast route direction from Borrowdale to Grasmere - well not in a straight line anyway - so we followed the road up to Keswick.

Cue our first stop of the day, and a treat for Liam with a visit to the Cars Of The Stars Museum, and lots of photos taken alongside the motors from The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, Only Fools & Horses, Batman, The A Team and even Postman Pat! And many more besides.

From Keswick, we drove south over Kirkstone Pass, slicing between Stony Cove Pike G/LD-018 and Red Screes G/LD-017. We pulled in at the Kirkstone Pass Inn for beer/J2O, photos and a bowl of homemade vegetable soup each. I enquired after Stanley the British Bulldog, but learned he had emigrated to Scotland with retired former landlords John and Carol - the parents of the lady now running the pub.

Again, the roads were taking us nowhere near the C2C route, but it was as close as we could get as we headed towards Kendal to the south before turning East. Approaching J37 of the M6, I pulled in by the quarry for the first SOTA activation of the trip. It was to be Lambrigg Fell G/LD-046.

Liam and I crossed the road to the gate, on which were two almost contradictory signs. One stated that this was private land with no public right of way, except open access land according to the Countryside Rights of Way Act. The other signed confirmed that this was open access land! We walked the faint grassy path until it met the wind farm vehicle track cutting across it. Now we followed the track up to its highest point before cutting left and yomping up to where the high dry stone wall runs across the summit.

First job was to share out the venison chorizo I had brought as a snack-cum-bribe for Liam, and very tasty it was too. He then got stuck into the biscuits harvested from our hotel room that morning before settling to play games on his DS. Meanwhile, I set up quickly for 40m and called CQ on 7.033MHz CW, without a self-spot. I was found quickly by DL1FU and word soon got round, for there were 37 QSOs in the log before another 29 minutes had elapsed.

We marched back to the car, and used the M6 for a couple of junctions north. The next stop was Shap village, another key C2C stopping point. We had a drinks and photos break at the pub there, although I stuck to coffee this time. On the road again, and I thought I might just take the opportunity to make a surprise call on a friend. Alas, John G3WGV was not at home, so I adjourned to the Strickland Arms where I suspected he might otherwise be. Not so, but it wasn’t really a problem, because I had already earmarked the Strickland as a probable food and accommodation option, knowing it to be top class from previous visits.

And so it was. Penny’s Lamb Jalfrezi pie with roast potatoes was superb, as was the Jennings Cocker Hoop ale. We even watched Coronation Street on the big screen in the bar before retiring for an early night. Although it was a shame not to bump into John, the regulars in there were friendly and accommodating as usual, and Chloe behind the bar looked after us well.

To be continued…


Tuesday 22nd February 2011 - Day 3

The day began with a breakfast fit for kings at the Strickland Arms in Great Strickland, in the Eden Valley, East Cumbria. As we drove away, Liam advised that the next objective was Kirkby Stephen. We arrived there in good time, but found little justification to hang around and explore, so it was onwards towards Keld, with a careful eye on the snow on the high roads.

On the B6270 over Birkdale Common we paused for photos. I looked over at the tantalisingly nearby-looking Nine Standards Rigg G/NP-018 and briefly toyed with the idea of walking up there with Liam. However, I dropped this concept and continued the drive into Keld. We parked outside the Keld Lodge, formerly the youth hostel. Liam and I went for a walk downhill into the tiny village, and then down over the river on the short stretch of path that is both the Pennine Way and the C2C route. We inspected Kisdon Force waterfall before heading back into the village and climbing the hill back to the car. Liam had begged me not to activate Kisdon G/NP-026, so I granted his wish and set off in the direction of Reeth. A couple of photos were taken in this unpicturesque village with a contrastingly picturesque panorama. In the car we listened to the 106.4MHz regional station, now ID’ing as Capital.

Already, I was conscious that we were heading further and further East from our intended Tuesday night accommodation of the Tan Hill Inn. But the day was yet young, and I thought we could two or three more legs in during the afternoon, even if that meant a fair drive back in the wrong direction later!

From Reeth it was a short journey to Richmond and the inevitable photographs of the castle. It was then difficult navigation and several wrong turnings as I attempted to navigate across to Ingleby Cross, and taking a tiring route via Catterick Garrison and Northallerton. The car radio was tuned to 106.9 Garrison FM.

Well, I found the village of Ingleby Arncliffe OK, with the help of road atlas and road signs. But what of Ingleby Cross - the nominated stopping point in the Wainwright book? I drove over to where this was indicated on Mr Wainwright’s hand-drawn maps, but didn’t see any signs that said it was “Ingleby Cross”. “Oh well” I said to Liam, “This is definitely it here, because of that road junction there” as I pointed down the street and then referenced it on the map in the Wainwright book for Liam’s benefit. “So we’ll take some photos here” I said. “Right Liam, go and stand there beside that cross” I instructed while pointing to a war memorial. “That cross”! Aha - the Ingleby Cross!

There was still time left in the day, so no thoughts of retreating to Tan Hill just yet, and we pressed on up the A172 to Carlton in Cleveland. This was the cue to turn into the minor roads over the Cleveland Hills, and look for Clay Bank Top. We musn’t have been looking hard enough, for we were dropping downhill and reaching the junction at Chop Gate. I turned around, backtracked, and looked at little harder. This time, I managed to locate and turn into the car park at Lord’s Stones Cafe. However, after confirming that the cafe was about to close, and that the car park gates would be locked within 30 minutes, I exited the car park again to park on the side of the road just outside.

Liam and I kitted up - which included a Cadbury’s Wispa Easter Egg for sustenance - and set off for a walk along the Cleveland Way and C2C route to the summit of Cringle Moor-Drake Howe G/TW-002. The path is basically level as it emerges from the rear of the Lord’s Stones car park, and then nicely graded and not too far uphill to a bench and topograph.

The ensuing ridge walk was easy, but spoiled by thick fog totally blanking any views. This also blanked any hint of where the summit was, and we missed the faint track through the heather to the right of the path. Realising I had gone too far, I heather-hopped in the basic direction of the summit until I could make out the murky shape of the large cairn.

Soon, we were huddled down in the large hollowed out shelter and scoffing Cadbury’s chocolate. I set up the 40m dipole and worked through 17 contacts in 14 minutes on 7.032MHz CW. Many thanks to all callers.

We now faced a race against time to be off the hill before needing to don headlamps, a race that we just won. Initial enquiries for accommodation were fruitless, so we decided to concentrate simply on food, and getting to a motel on the A1 or A19 late at night if necessary. It was now too late to consider driving all the way back to the Tan Hill Inn, so accommodation would have to be sought more locally. As would food, and we chanced up a curry house in Stokesly, which was just the job.

Time was marching on, and I needed a site - and its locator - for the night’s 6m activity contest. I worked out an approximate OS grid reference from what appeared to be a viable spot on the road atlas, then broadcast a text message to most of the radio amateurs in my 'phone address book asking for a conversion to Maidenhead locator. Many replied within minutes with the IO94MJ I required, with Phil G4OBK adding “Enjoy the Lion Inn!”.

I telephoned him straight away for further elaboration. Yes, there was a pub near my chosen contest site up on Blakey Ridge - a usual C2C stopover nonetheless. “Accommodation?” I said, and asked Phil to get me the number. Phil came up with the goods quickly, and within a few more minutes, we had very conveniently located beds for the night.

We paid the bill and drove up onto the moors again, and parked on the spot I had identified. It took a while to get the 6m delta loop up in the very thick fog, but then it was the relative luxury of in-car VHF contesting for me. But it turned out that my site was rubbish. It was OK to the south, with JO02, JO03 nad IO91 coming in, but poor to the west, with only one station worked in IO83 and none at all from the Bolton Wireless Club - unheard of! On reflection, perhaps further down Blakey Ridge would have been better. Lower elevation, but with take off to the west as well as south.

We made it to the Lion Inn in extraordinarily thick fog just before 11pm. I had a quick half of Black Sheep and a large Jim Beam, while Liam had a J2O. We then went up to our basic twin room, a comparitive bargain at £44 B&B for the both of us.

Again, no trouble sleeping whatsoever for either of us!

To be continued…


Wednesday 23rd February 2011 - Day 4

Another cooked breakfast was enjoyed before we departed the Lion Inn on the Wednesday morning. It was still very foggy up on Blakey Ridge, and care was taken in nursing the car down to a lower altitude. While on Rosedale Moor, the car radio locked onto KCFM 99.8, a community radio station from Hull.

We drove down to the interesting village of Glaisdale, and its interesting arrangement of houses, shops, viaduct and fords. But then the route out of it was closed - and I had to find an alternative way to the next and final stop of Robin Hood’s Bay.

I parked in a side road opposite the main car park up out of the village. Only later did I see the sign that declared that this car park was free in winter months anyway! Liam and I began by walking about quarter of a mile the “wrong way” up the C2C / Cleveland Way path around the cliff edges, before turning back to walk the route to the finishing line in Robin Hood’s Bay.

We worked our way down the steep narrow main street, but were disappointed not to find the sea lapping the tarmac at the bottom of the street. Unlike our last visit, the tide was way out. Liam and I found a suitable pool on the beach in which to deposit our pebbles carried in our coat pockets from St Bees.

The next port of call was the Bay Hotel at the bottom of the village for a pint, a bowl of vegetable soup and thirty minutes reflection on the journey. Finally, was the steep climb out of the village, although this time we explored some of the walkways between the houses, leading out onto the town park with great views across the bay. Back in the car, and the journey home commenced, in the direction of Pickering.

I then followed the signs for Malton, Norton, Fimber and Fridaythorpe, and this took me onto my final target of the A166 which runs straight across Bishop Wilton Wold G/TW-004. I parked in the big lay-by adjacent to the covered reservoir and summit trig point. A short walk along the grass verge led me to the point where I decided to set up, and again it was the 40m dipole that was deployed. 33 QSOs in 23 minutes was my reward on 7.031MHz CW. This was a pleasing end to the amateur radio activity on the road trip. Many thanks to all callers.

A few more broadcast stations of note were logged on the journey home. These were Vixen 101, on 101.8 (Humberside?), Tempo FM on 107.4 (Worksop?), Radio Asian Fever 107.3 (Leeds), Phoenix FM 96.7 (Bradford/Halifax) and a strange silent carrier on 90.4 in the Leeds area, carrying RDS ident: RF_LEEDS

Arriving in Macc at 9pm, Liam and I went directly to the Weston Balti for a late tea. Jimmy accepted an invitation by text to meet me there for a beer, and he walked up to the restaurant from home to join us.

Overall a pleasing trip. A trip with a difference, because it was designed and shaped by Liam!


In reply to M1EYP:

Well done Tom and Liam. An enjoyable read indeed.

I can’t see what Liam has against Kisdon. I enjoyed it immensely - probably on account of the level of success on 2m. However, you certainly made up for it by activating Cringle Moor, but pity about the weather as the views are superb.

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

I can’t see what Liam has against Kisdon.

You obviously don’t know Liam very well!



You obviously don’t know Liam very well!

In contrast, I do.

That is how I managed to get two “good as gold” walks out of him on LD-046 and TW-002, with bribes of venison chorizo and Wispa Easter egg respectively.

Mind you, the Wensleydale cheese bribe wasn’t as successful on Kisdon last year, and Liam was determined he wasn’t going up there this year!


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom thanks for an interesting report.

I did listen out for you on Tuesday evening but looking at how far over to the East you were in IO94MJ it would have taken very strange conditions for us to be able to work. I did mange one station in IO94 square which is unusual for me, G4KUX, but he was further inland near Bishop Auckland.

I do like Liam’s choice of sustenance, similar to my own not very healthy Barbeque Beef Hula Hoops & Diet Coke. HI!

I’m glad you both had an enjoyable time.

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to M1EYP:

Mind you, the Wensleydale cheese bribe wasn’t as successful on Kisdon
last year, and Liam was determined he wasn’t going up there this year!

I’m sure your website shows Liam up some pretty sizeable hills and not relative tiddlers like Lambrigg and Cringle Moor, but that must have been some years ago. Looks like a youth-engendered downward spiral in action Tom. Food bribes are obviously not the way to go. More like you need to add a cattle-prod to your SOTA kit to invoke a little enthusiasm! :slight_smile:

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

Liam will go up any hill on the promise of a bag of pork scratchings and a bottle of J2O (served in a proper J2O glass or from the bottle with a straw).

In reply to G3CWI:

I’ve only had pork scratchings (or Donkey scabs as a fellow ham calls them) once at a liquid lunch session. I was 18 at the time and the two packets of said comestible were accompanied by 7 pints of Marston’s Pedigree (the first time I had had that beverage) and no other food. Sadly, the results were entirely predictable and to this day, some 32 years later, I still cannot face them. In fact they remind me of those rawhide dog chews. No problem with Pedigree though! :wink:

Tom, very interesting report. I understand now why I was receiving cryptic SMS asking for NGR’s to be converted to Maidenhead locators.


In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy I too got the text asking for the Maidenhead locators but my phone did not recognise the callers number.So Tom must have changed his number again.ATB Geoff G6MZX

Better late than never…

The full reports and photos from the C2C Road Trip (including 3 SOTA activations) are now up on my website.

I think the photoset is interesting and worth a look - but then I might well just be biased!

Take a look (if you want to) at


Sounds like you enjoyed a fantastic trip and I love the photos.
Nick G4OOE

Thanks Nick. A trip with Liam is always very different to a trip with Jimmy, but highly enjoyable nonetheless. My highlight was probably the 40m pile-up and Cadbury’s Easter egg on Cringle Moor TW-002!

Thanks for taking a look.