Activation report of GD Land 12th to 15th July 2010:
Originally planned back in January as a Holiday/SOTA Activity,IOM going to be 4 days with 5 summits plus tourism squeezed in between. Booked to stay in Peel,guest house gave us a good route to all summits plus interesting villages to explore.
12th July 2010: GD/GD-002 Slieau Freoghane:
We got the Seacat at 1030 UTC with an estimated docking at Douglas for 13.30 UTC allowing plenty of time for my Alert from summit at 15.30 UTC. 20 mins late docking but still no pressure to rush,arriving at base camp on B10 at SC342866,with time to spare. We set off up well defined path,rocky under foot in places and loose gravel but no slipping today! when we got to approx 405 ASL the path on the map became indistinct in places ,but as Richard says in his report we went up in the correct compass direction reaching the top 10 mins after alert time but only a couple of mins to set up. two mins of calling got me Roger G0TRB in log and a spot was placed(Thanks Roger) 7 calls in log on 2m SSB by 16.12 all went quiet. called on 2m FM and Bill G4USW was first in log again with a welcome spot(Ta Bill). total of 14 in log by 16.45 decided to get down and check out Guest House for next 3 days stay.
13th July 2010: GD/GD-004 Bradda Hill:
After a Full fantastic breakfast from Chef/Owner we set off for 1st of two summits today,and Port Erin and Port St Mary to visit in between. Arrived at Ballaglonney,with me saying to Elaine earlier that these two will be a doddle today!!?? Looking up at very steep section apologised to her for mis-reading the map! This looks OK but advice to anyone not fully fit ( as we are not) my calf’s took a hammering going up and my knees got it on the way down. path was overgrown in places hiding some rocky path so watch your feet. reaching the wall at what I thought was top lovely views and then spotted still another up section to Cairn on the left path,arriving late on summit set up with wall just beyond Cairn to shelter from wind. 10 contacts in log on 2m SSB,all quiet. Not sure if I missed any one because of late arrival? set up 6m dipole on the top of the wall and shouted for a good 10 mins,before deciding “Magic Band” closed today! Headed down and off to Port Erin for Tourism and Lunch. ( For Tom and any other Gastronomic fans) we had Fish,Chips and Mushy Peas with a Buttered Barm and washed down with a shared bottle of Speckled Hen on Port Erin Beach. LOVELY!!
13th July 2010: GD/GD-005 Mull Hill:
After visiting Port St Mary we headed up to Free park spot at Cregneash disused Quarry,this time I promised Elaine an easy ascent. Mull Hill did not disappoint as walk in is mainly flat with slight incline. What did disappoint was summit was not impressive at all with what looked like buried buildings and brash vegetation. Decided to set up at highest spot next to pillbox, hoping for HF from here. Silver Rod up and ground spike in,wind was ferocious and blew it down four times before I used a lashing of stretchies and rocks for anchors. Asking on 14.285 if it was clear and Italian station came booming in chatting to his mate ,did not acknowledge me at all so either he could not hear me or they were both running the usual 1000 watts?? Hi Hi. Moved up and down on 20m for 10 mins or so calling in on some QRZ calls but to no avail? Switched to 18.130 and very similar results,deciding HF poor today and with 7ah Slab running down swapped to 5ah slab for 2m SSB shouting on here for over 10 mins no come backs?? went to 2m FM and after what seemed like an eternity Colin 2E0XSD came back for 1st call in log after 35 mins on summit. 2 more mobils came back to me from Cumbria area and quiet again until I heard a familiar voice but with unfamiliar Callsign. Rob GD4RQJ/M who was waiting in Douglas to catch boat home after warming up all the summits for me on his time here came back to me with no4 in the log( A very Grateful 2D0LAE/P thanks you Rob). no more calls after a few QRZ decided to head back to Peel for Rest and Relaxation ready for the mammoth Snaefell tommorrow.
14th July 2010: GD/GD-001 Snaefell:
Woke up to misty conditions today in Peel with reports of Fog on high places(our Friend the poor WX had found us again) Realising I had not paid the WX Fairies on the day we docked. Decided against Train from Laxey to Bungalow and headed in car direct to Bungalow,this made us early for start of walk from Bungalow, but decided we would need more time to get up in Heavy Fog and Rain.Through 1st gate from park spot with zero visibility and then through very tight kissing gate continuing up well worn path. arriving at 450 ASL,wind had picked up quite a lot and now it was driving the rain and damp deep into our wet weather gear!! at approx 500 ASL the path gets indistinct so using compass ( My Etrex did not have Topo for IOM) to navigate final steep section to arrive at Flatter area checking Etrex we were at 620 ASL,still in zero visibilty. set up Fishing Brolley with again needing to tie down all that could be possible blown away. Kicked off on 2m ssb,over an hour earlier than Alert time? nothing at all,so with weather worsening (if it could get any worse?) and no signal on my Phone decided to get Bill G4USW to QSY to help me out after working me he spotted me and I was grateful as a “small” pile up soon followed. WX was the worse I have ever seen on any summit,with Winds of approx 40 mile an hour with zero visibilty and driving rain that went through out waterproofs(obviously not what they say on the tin??). 15 contacts on 2m SSB with varying sig reports as wind was using the beam as a spinning top. Was great to hear Mike GW0DSP back on air ( I commented I thought he had emigrated to India or Africa Hi Hi). After giving a couple of final QRZ calls with chasers coming back and I had to give a big Thanks to G4OBK for his patience as he reported I was going from 3-1 to 4-4 with QSB and QRM but got you in the end Phil!! we decided the picnic of "Duck & Hoi Sin sauce Wraps with a couple of Mini Pork Pies and another bottle of Speckled Hen would have to wait till we got down safe. We had thought of getting the train back down to Bungalow,but we decided we could be searching summit for station in zero visibilty so we used the Etrex paper trail I had used with waypoints to get up was to be followed back down. safely arriving at base camp,we had planned to visit Ramsey for some tourism but pea soup fog made us decide to gingerly make our way back to Peel instead, having a late picnic in our room after a well deserved shower.
15th July 2010: GD/GD-003 South Barrule:
Again waking up to Misty conditions with Fog again on high spots after paying guest House bill and Fantastic cooked breakfast we packed car as we were returning home after this summit. Arriving at park spot in Heavy Fog and driving rain again, after checking about 40-50m of path from stile we both looked at each other and said we cant go any further!! we were in such a fog,if we moved more than two feet away from each other we lost sight of the other! I thought about leaving Elaine in Car,but then this thought quickly changed to what if something happens to me higher up on my own? Reluctantly I decided to abandon this one ,quite disappointed as my original plan was to complete this association in one trip ! Sorry to any chasers who were waiting for me.
Overall this expedition worked well with its usual ups and downs, we had a holiday and with SOTA woven in it was a good time had by all,we even commented that the time went very quickly while were there. The Guest House in Peel was we agreed the best one we have ever stayed in, hospitality in bucketsful, and a chef to cook the fabulous breakfasts.
I would like to say this trip with its 5 summits was a struggle for me with my mobility problems getting worse and my damaged heel from Moel Y Golfa still not right(Possible operation needed in September this year to fix it.) I was taking extra heavy Painkillers this trip, I was also going against doctors orders to not be going up hills. So a few of you will have seen I have calmed down this year on my activations,this will probably continue for some time to come,so I will be activating less but will be heading for my Shack Sloath award instead, hoping to be able to help with spots for my fellow activators.
A Big Thanks to all who have contacted both on IOM and in Previous Activations, will catch you all soon albeit from 1 or 2 pointers for a while!!
Tony & Elaine