G/LD-057, Swinside - access challenges

I’ve left Swinside to be my 2nd last Marilyn and SOTA in all of England and Wales (G and GW). It appears this has turned into something of a mistake!!!

After almost 10 days of calling various numbers to get access to the summit I have now been given the following information from the current owners.

Foot access by walkers is now restricted to the month of March each year. Email to QUADTREKS@MAIL.COM to be added to a list for permission for the next slot. I was told they are very happy to accommodate walkers during that month. So the hill isn’t closed for access, just heavily restricted to 1 month.

The main reason given was concerns about disturbance and possible introduction of Bird Flu to the commercial Pheasant population.

They have recently added many more “private - keep out” and “CCTV in operation” signs all around the base of the hill - so it is very clear that you need permission to get in!

However, there is a way to access the summit… but it’s going to cost you!

They run Quad Bike treks, which pause at the summit for “10 to 15 minutes” to look at the view. These are currently £69.00.
Edit: These only run 1st March to 1st October

The route for the Quads is not open to walk and it is “carefully routed away from the areas where the birds are and the shoot”. I’m not getting into any discussion on why it’s OK on a petrol quad bike but not on foot… that’s the Landowners decision and they can do what they want.

So if you have deep pockets you can get up there.

I’ve planned my final summit to be G/LD-044, High Rigg, on Thursday, so I’m just going to have to stump up the cash, or put my plans on hold for over six months!

So tomorrow I’ll be on a Quad Trek with a 2m handheld with a 1/4 wave whip and I am now pleading for someone (at least one) person to be available to speak to me on 2m FM from the summit so I can at least activate it (even if I don’t get 4 contacts to get the 1 point available). I wanted to walk up, I try to walk a bit of the way up summits with vehicle access, but some are literally “drive on” like a few I’ve done lately in Germany and France, so I’ve no personal qualms about using a quad to reach a summit I could walk up in 15 minutes.

Anyway… I’m sure it will be fun and a new way to activate a hill (always look on the bright side of life…)


Best of luck! Hopefully they’ll be someone to work! :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:


Got APRS on the HT?
Can you set up a “QRV 10 minutes” spot to get people ready just before you get to the top?

I should be able to do it off my phone. Reasonable 4G coverage around there when higher up.

I will listen out for you, location near Morecambe, but the summit of High Raise (762m) is precisely on the path between us.

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Remember that you will need to get off the quadtrek and move away from it before operating the radio. I’m sure this is your intention - as you’ll want your activation to be valid - but your post reads as though you might be sat on the quadtrek and calling on the radio.

Personally, I think I’d prefer to wait until March for a much more enjoyable and relaxed experience!


Thanks for the info… as I have some LD uniques left it isn’t imminent so I’ll try booking a place in March. Should say there is no chance of 2m from here…sorry…Paul

, For Info - copy of e-mai ljust received… Hi Paul.

Thanks for your email. Best thing to do would be to get in touch nearer the time and we’ll be sure to work something out for you - it’s just a very busy time at the moment.

Good luck with the rest of the Marilyn’s.



Lake District Off-Road




Sadly I’ve made arrangements for Thursday’s last one… so this is a lifeline. Can’t be any worse than clambering over landfill on Dundry Down G/SC-010 or getting out of the van to get the true summit on Crowborough before finding a spot slightly lower to activate in a patch of scrub next to a housing estate.
Actually, now I’m booked on, I’m actually warming to the idea… might be a bit of a laugh.


The glamour of it all! :rofl:

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Not all summits are created equal… it’s a bit like the old maxim “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”… although there are not too many “frog” summits. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks. I fear I’ll need people in the immediate vicinity due to the topography. But it would be great if you can try.

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Hi Gerald @MW0WML , do you think you’d get away with smuggling in a small mast and SlimJim for 2m…? :slight_smile: I will listen out for you, but don’t think I’ll make it on 2m from Liverpool.

Bird Flu has been a PITA for a couple of years now. For most of the early part of 2022 our chickens were in lockdown (so no access outside into the garden - always under cover) and it was the same in 2021. If any bird in your own flock is suspected of having it, you’re supposed to report it to a vet immediately (but what I’ve heard from other chicken owners is that this results in the whole flock being culled). I can see why they are worried. Perhaps the quads and visiting riders are disinfected - you’ll have to let us know if you get fully showered with Dettol before you can play on the quads! :rofl:

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Seriously… I will ask… but I’m pretty sure it’ll be a “no” on two grounds. Safety of carrying it. Time to set up. We only get 10-15 mins on top so it’ll be hop off the quad, move a few metres and get going ASAP.

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Absolute claptrap! There might be wild birds about (not highly likely on a commercial shoot - wild pheasants are lousy breeders) and, if they are breeding or buying poults, it is unlikely they would be released from their pens until August or September.
Sounds to me that they are doing this just to prevent an organised trespass (like Kinder)



I was going to post something along the same lines Barry but didn’t want to worsen my Old Duffer ranting image, but what the heck. Yes, it’s an excuse and not based on the science [like “Keep out - Conservation Area” - conservation my arse!]. Many landowners just don’t want the public on their land.

Captive bred pheasants are not “disturbed” by people or even dogs on leads. Here in south Cumbria they are thick on the ground in some places as well as thick in the head - they have no survival instinct. They spill out of the field onto a narrow country lane near me and dozens and dozens of them trot slowly in front of my car (I’m going 2mph thinking they must be going under my front wheels). And when walking my dog (on her lead) near them they can barely be bothered to get out of the way - some jumping out of perfectly-good hiding places right in front of my dog as if to tease her.

Bird flu is widespread. I’ve found dead but uninjured dead crows in our local woods. There are Defra signs up saying only report it if you see dead sea birds.

Airborne bird to bird transmission or indirectly by touching contaminated food or bird muck are the main vectors for spreading bird flu. Carrying particles on shoes and vehicle tyres is a minor contribution. None of the farmers around here are making any attempt to keep the birds isolated. It’s not like bovine foot-and-mouth disease. An infected bird can fly in any time from an infected region.


….agree with Andy it is Keep off my Land!!! not bird flu although they are probably concerned about being sued by any trespassers being ran over by a (herd) of quad bikes not entirely under the control of the day trippers….
….also agree with Andy about Pheasants, they are even more stupid than Grouse, our local ones are not deterred from sitting in the garden by a very lively Springer Spaniel, so quite how they would be frightened or infected by a quiet walker but not by the said herd of quad bikes I’m not sure.
Finally it might just be Teesdale but it does feel that there is more “Keep off my land” attitudes from some land owners and farmers than pre Covid (signage) even when there is a right to access eg PROW or Open Land…. or perhaps I am morphing into a grumpy old git…


Up to 2008, my work office was in a very rural location. I used to dread the release of the captive bred birds late August / early September. I would often have to stop my car and shoo them off the road. I’d then phone the Estate Office to advise once I got into the office. Stupid, they certainly are!

If the restriction on Swinside was anything to do with disturbing birds and bird flu, then what’s the quad bike thing? It’s no more than a money maker.

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My view exactly. They were scattering in all directions as we went through on the quads.

I’d have waited until March if I hadn’t got down to the last 2. SOTA rules are clear, permission or “custom and practice” for access has to be in place. So I had little choice.

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