Cracoe fell report NP-032
Stuart G0MJG arrived at my qth at 0830 and we were soon on the road, I don’t know what the gritters had been doing all night but the roads were lethal this morning.
Time soon passed and we made good time to Skipton and turned North to park in a small lay-by with enough room for 3 cars at the start of a bridleway.
Kitted up we slithered along the frozen track picking frozen snow for any grip we could as it was so slippy on the ice polished track. Turning off the bridleway we followed another tack up towards the monumental cross with the snow getting deeper all the time.
Eventually we came to the wall which was to be our guide up along the ridge, 100 yards up from this the snow became very deep and we both disappeared up to our knees, this was to be the pattern all the way to the summit, sometime the snow was frozen enough to take your weight then kerplunk you were through it again. This was to become my most challenging walk in my whole sota expeditions. Being five foot five is no joke when you disappear through 2 to 3 foot of snow. What made it worse
I couldn’t use my arms to lever out as they just went into the snow. I eventually adopted a sort of rolling commando style not pretty but it worked.
We played this Russian roulette game all along the ridge before deciding to set up not far from the obelisk, the wind had by now picked up and was a biting unwelcome heat stealing wind. Armoured with one thermal, a fleece , wind proofer and a paramat coat 1 full balaclava and a beanie hat to boot… we set about what to do.
The ascent had taken its toll and we were now miserable so just opted to do 2m fm then scarper. Between the two of us we got the beam set up which just blew were the heck it liked and we weren’t going to stand in the wind and sort it. We worked a mini pile up before the cold had got to the battery with just half an hour of operating, it was time to go.
Before departing I coupled my E92 D star and called on the digital voice simplex channel, this brought 4 stations in quick succession which took me by surprise although I lost the 4th contact. The crystal clear audio was a treat to hear 2 stations from the Sheffield area and 1 from colwyn bay.
Which way back neither of us fancied the knee swallowing ridge or turning north into cracoe which would have meant a long walk to the car. We opted the do or die approach and went straight down… eerrr mistake the innocent looking tufts poking through the shallow snow proved to be great hummocks hidden by huge snow drifts
Too late we were too far down to turn back so we carried on in belief the snow must get lighter… it didn’t.
Several changes of course saw us climb down and up a small valley were a deer spooked ran and cleared a fence, then 10 minutes later stuart got caught in a snare the wire gripping tightly around his boot. Lord knows what would have happened if it had been round his ankle. ( or a deer’s hoof). By this time the snow was getting better and lighter and we made good progress back to the car absolutely shattered, looking at the route it didn’t seem much but time and strength??
Animals of the day were plenty of grouse ( not whiskey unfortunately) a vole mouse thingy which I swear was after Stuarts sandwiches and a deer. As I sit typing this it all seems a blare now.
73,s Keith G0OXV
ps apologies to those awaiting various bands but it wasn’t a day for playing. Tks keith.