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Cracoe report

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.

In reply to G0OXV-2:

Thanks for a very graphic report Keith, it sounds like you had a very testing day out with the deep snow.

I’m sorry I missed you, I saw Roger’s spot stating that you were setting up on the summit so kept looking for you but to no avail.

Maybe if one of those in your mini pile up had taken the trouble to spot you, especially knowing the conditions you were operating under, we would have had a chance of finding you!! Still, not to worry, the main thing is that you managed to qualify the summit, despite the adverse weather conditions, well done.

Thank God the snare didn’t cause Stuart any serious injury, those things can cause untold damage in a short length of time and especially under freezing conditions.


Jimmy has identified this summit as “a quick easy one we can do with Liam”. Thanks to you Keith, it might yet be so, provided we stick with the wall on ascent/descent - and wait 'til the snow has gone!

Excellent to read one of your activation reports. It’s been how long? Reminds me of the ‘old days’, great stuff.

I think I’m right in saying that this activation restores yours and Stuart’s NP completion?

73, Tom M1EYP

An excellent report Keith. As Mike says, very graphic. I was instantly reminded of disappering into a 6 foot snow drift in Derbyshire many years ago from which I had to be virtually dug out - after my friends had finished rolling around laughing! We were out for a casual day’s “walking” so it didn’t matter how far we got (provided we reached a pub), but it must have been very frustrating trying to reach a specific location hindered by the deep snow. Fortunately for Paul G4MD and myself, there wasn’t much of it around in mid Wales yesterday - just enough to provide a very satisfying crunch under the boots en route to MW-003.

Looking forward to ascending this already popular summit sometime next year. Well done on the activation under difficult conditions.

73, Gerald

In reply to M1EYP:

Jimmy has identified this summit as “a quick easy one we can do with Liam”.

Think again Tom, I did it a few weeks ago without snow, starting from the same point as Keith & Stuart, it took well over an hour getting up & about an hour coming down. The ridge walk following the wall is normally very boggy to the right of the wall & drier but more exposed the other side. In hindsight, I reckon it`s quicker to use the old route towards Thorpe Fell then walk past it to Cracoe.

Interesting. Out of the three options, I think I’ll don the gaiters and go for the ridge walk to the right of the wall. I’ve done the old route to G/NP-025 twice and fancy a change from that really.

And don’t worry - I take Jimmy’s optimism with a pinch of salt! He might have been referring to the driving involved actually, with G/NP-032 being (by far) the most accessible of our remaining NPs.

Is there still an NP event planned for Sunday 4th January 2009? I think I originally put down for Kisdon G/NP-026, but I’ve done that one now. It would have to be one of Wild Boar Fell G/NP-007, Baugh Fell-Tarn Rigg Hill G/NP-012, Aye Gill Pike G/NP-023, Hoove G/NP-024 or indeed Cracoe Fell G/NP-032. I can’t remember who has reserved what though, and no-one has alerted on SOTAwatch.


In reply to G0OXV-2:

Hi Keith,

glad to hear you and Stuart managed to get down safely. There are certainly some challenging conditions up there at the moment. I guess Thomas and I got the best of the weather on Saturday which was relatively balmy in the sun with hardly a breath of wind. 80m was on good form also making it a rewarding if tiring day out.

For anyone else planning to do NP-032 in the near future the problem is that the safe path to the top along the ridge lies behind the wall and that is where the snow drifts are deepest. The alternative is to walk off path (off-piste?) i.e. ‘on the heather’ where the snow is ‘only’ knee/waist/neck deep.

Another point worth making is that the crusting caused by repeated freezing and thawing of the top surface of the snow potentially makes steep slopes very dangerous! If you are venturing out onto the higher hills and particularly if you don’t know the terrain you may find yourself on please consider seriously whether you need to carry and know how to use an ice axe.

Rick M0RCP

In reply to M1EYP:

Is there still an NP event planned for Sunday 4th January 2009?

News to me Tom - does this need a new thread?

73, Gerald… was planning some NP’s on 3rd January.

In reply to G4OIG:

Check out the SOTA Forum for summits/ops…


Here is the original idea…



In reply to GW0DSP:

Any chance of making that forum readable by non-members? I’ve no problem with having to be a member to post and any requirements to verify who you say you are is who you really are when joining. But as a matter of principle I try to avoid forums which require membership just to read the postings.


In reply to MM0FMF:

This is the list for 4/1/09 Andy

G/NP-001 Cross Fell
G/NP-002 Mickle Fell
G/NP-003 Burnhope Seat
G/NP-004 Whernside - Chris, 2E0FSR
G/NP-005 Ingleborough - Scott, 2E0RCS
G/NP-006 Great Shunner Fell
G/NP-007 Wild Boar Fell
G/NP-008 Great Whernside - Myke, G6DDQ
G/NP-009 Buckden Pike - Rick, M0RCP
G/NP-010 Pen-y-ghent - Lee, M0LMP
G/NP-011 Great Coum
G/NP-012 Baugh Fell - Tarn Rigg Hill
G/NP-013 The Calf
G/NP-014 Rogan’s Seat
G/NP-015 Great Knoutberry Hill
G/NP-016 Dodd Fell Hill
G/NP-017 Fountains Fell - Steve, 2E0KPO
G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg
G/NP-019 Yarlside
G/NP-020 Cold Fell
G/NP-022 Calf Top
G/NP-023 Aye Gill Pike
G/NP-024 Hoove
G/NP-025 Thorpe Fell Top (soon to be Cracoe Fell) - Steve, G1INK
G/NP-026 Kisdon
G/NP-027 Dufton Pike
G/NP-028 Rombalds Moor - Mike, G0DSP
G/NP-029 Sharp Haw
G/NP-030 Lovely Seat
G/NP-031 Birks Fell


I don’t know what it is that it doesn’t like, but Sotaforum is blocked by the Stoke-on-Trent LEA internet filters. I’ll have a look later. Maybe participants in the event could add their alerts on here as well? Would make sense.

Edit (1156z): OK, thanks for that Mike. Looks a bit sparse at the minute. I’ll ask Jimmy what he fancies doing - looks like most of our needed uniques are still available.


In reply to M1EYP:

I don’t know if the event will still be on but I’ll ask on the forum.


In reply to GW0DSP:Hi Mike please can I claim G/NP029 Sharp Haw All the Best Geoff G6MZX

In reply to G6MZX:

I have added you to the list on the Sota Forum for NP-029 Geoff


In reply to M0RCP:

For an idea of conditions on the higher Lakeland fells in winter I find this website useful.


Iain, M3WJZ

In reply to M3WJZ:
Shame upon you, you have access to all the data in house!!! c u in work tomorrow.

In reply to Tom, i still have rombalds moor and Mickle fell to complete for the NP,s and raw head for the SP,s… shame on me hi.

The route up Cracoe would be ok and reasonably quick without the snow but as Steve says can be boggy, the last time i was up via this route the route by the wall was a small stream.

I’ll try and write a few more reports but had a busy year ( thats my excuse)

Plus thanks to all for the comments
73,s Keith G0OXV