Easy activation in the lakes for first SOTA?

Hi All,

I’m away with the family camping on the west bank of coniston water next week. I would dearly love to fit in my first attempt at an activation, but as the kids are 5 and 1 and would be left with the XYL, I would have to be out and back in a few hours.
We are planning to visit a number of locations and I’ve started to look at possible summits on route that can be climbed in an hour or two. I am reasonably fit. Ideally I’d like a summit that has a good chance of a 2m CQ being heard from so the activation could be swift, especially if I spot myself first. Also one that has something not to far from where the ascent would start so the family could do something while I’m gone. Will be using a kenwood th-d72 with sotabeams dipole. Not going to attempt HF with bendy poles and wires etc, although do have an 817. I know I’m not asking much…! :wink:

Any thoughts?



There are probably nearer hills to Coniston but how about Black Combe? I climbed it many years ago and I seem to remember it was very straightforward. I’m suggesting it because last week I chased two guys on the summit from Y Fron near Caernavon in North Wales. I was just using a cheap Baofeng handheld with its normal aerial. Its position is probably ideal for getting to G, GW, GI, EI and GD.

Hi Alex

Try Kirkby Moor G/LD-049…nice easy track to the summit from SD260829 . Easy to get to from West side of Coniston Water. 2m FM worked well for me beginning of the year especially if the G6LKB family are around.

See my blog for more details http://gw4vpx.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/kirkby-moor-gld-049.html

73 Allan GW4VPX

It depends if you want to take the 5 year old on an expedition. The shortest from the road is Gummer How G/LD-050 at the southern end of Windermere. If you want to combine it with as day out on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway - Muncaster Fell G/LD-059 in its new location. There are well defined tracks that are not too steep most of the way. Both should be possible on 2m with a little luck, more so Gummer How.

73 de

Andrew G4VFL

Many thanks GJ, Allan, and Andrew - super info - will get planning and hoping for good weather.


If the weather is nice Gummer’s How is a good option - drop the family off at Fell Foot Park by the Lake which is 5 minutes from the ascent of Gummers How and has nice views, water, a Cafe etc., or at the Lakes Aquarium on the other side of the lake which is about 10 minutes drive away. The ascent of Gummers How will take you around 20 minutes (either follow the path then up the last bit direct, or follow the path that loops to the right round the back), then expect around 30 minutes of activation on a good day, then 20 minutes down. They won’t know you’ve been gone! Gummer’s How has good take off to pretty much 360 degrees so if you look for alerts and time it right you can easily get summit to summit into Wales and the Pennines which is always good fun. When I last activated it there was a guy on Moel Siabod coming through at 5/9+ - I was on the FT-817 with whip and he was on a handheld with 1/4 wave whip. Bizarrely the curious bystanders were from close to Moel Siabod and were pretty impressed with the distance. They also helped with my pronunciation.:slight_smile:

If you do want to try HF Gummer’s How is also a good spot because there is plenty of room to setup a dipole (I use the SOTABeams quad bander so it’s 40 metres end to end) without annoying folks visiting the trig stone. I’ve got into the USA, Canada & Russia before from Gummer’s How on the FT-817 on 2.5 watts.

If you want more challenging then The Old Man of Coniston on a nice day is hard to beat, an obvious track up from Walna Scar Road car park and if you are fit it’s around an hours hard ascent with great views all around, and on this ascent you’ll pass through the abandoned slate mines. You could always get up early and attempt a morning activation - but if you do post an alert in good time and self spot to ensure the chasers are out of bed! I failed to activate on a very early wet Sunday morning (due to radio issues with the weather) but had a glorious evening activation the very next week (I shared the summit with a photographer who took some stunning pictures and a video with some radio in).

I’ll be around next week so please do alert, preferably the night before. You’re likely to get contacts from the regulars including myself in Windermere, Sue from Lancaster, Geoff from Annan, Tony from Penrith, David from Ulverson and probably others on the Fylde Coast and North Wales. If you want any other ideas, or maybe have a go at a Wainwright with the family see my QRZ page for other places I’ve activated in the Lakes.

Best of luck, Mark.

There are lots of possibilities. The Old Man of Coniston is the prime target of the area, a careful drive up the track to the abandoned copper mine and then about an hour up through industrial archaeology. A busy area with several climbing huts and Coniston microbrewery where the track reaches the main road, handily placed! However there are other good possibilities nearby, such as Lingmoor Fell LD-040, an expensive NT carpark overlooking Blea Tarn (the views of the Langdales are famous) and walk up the road to a track opposite the white cottage. Holme Fell LD-051 is popular, as is Loughrigg Fell LD-047, adjacent to the fleshpots of Ambleside! Gummers How has been mentioned - take the family up that one but get them to the summit by the circuit to the right when the direct path looks impossible for small feet! The view is to die for!

Wow thanks Mark - you couldn’t have been more helpful (short of carrying me up there!). Gummer’s how it is then.