G/NP-003 Burnhope Seat & G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg.

My first two activations since I injured my right hip and thigh in April, some 3 months ago whilst drystone walling. I wasted 4 weeks by trying to get the NHS to help, but in the end I went to a private physio who has just about got me back in shape. I’ve yet to return to work but I felt it was time I did an activation or two. I was getting ‘cabin fever’.

G/NP-003, Burnhope Seat in Upper Teesdale 22nd June.
I left home in Robin Hood’s Bay rather late so I didn’t arrive until late afternoon. I left the car for the summit at 1430Z, or UTC if you want.

30’ later I was on the top after having walked through the English version of an alpine ski resort. It did occur to me this would have been a fun summit to do this activation under snow on skis, but parking seemed limited and the road would probably be under snow anyway.

The ground was very dry underfoot for which I was grateful as many other activators have reported it being very wet approach - but there’s been no proper rain in these parts for some months. The Trig point looked like a decent spot to set up office.

I soon had my kit strewn about the place, picked a nice stone to rest my morse key on and got to work.

A self spot on 7mhz didn’t produce the immediate response I normally get - maybe everyone was having tea as it was now around 4pm local time. ?

15:12 DL1HBT 7MHz CW
15:14 G0FVH 7MHz CW
15:15 EA2DT 7MHz CW
15:15 GI0AZA 7MHz CW
15:16 DL1USB 7MHz CW
15:22 M0LEP 7MHz CW
15:25 M0CQE 7MHz CW
15:28 M0BKV 7MHz CW
15:30 ON7GO 7MHz CW
15:35 F6EAZ 7MHz CW
15:45 SM5LNE 10MHz CW
15:46 S52AU 10MHz CW
16:00 SM0OGQ 14MHz CW
16:02 F6FTB 14MHz CW
16:02 S57S 14MHz CW
16:05 SP8JUS 14MHz CW

Trade was pretty slow and after several ‘final’, calls on 14mhz with no results I packed up and trotted down the hill to the car.

I spent far too long sitting in the car deciding what to do next. Cross Fell G/NP-001 was ‘only’ a 7 mile walk from Garrigill along the Pennine way, which was only a little way up the road and something I would normally have done without a second thought, but I worried about my leg. I didn’t fancy having to limp back. . I bottled out and drove to Kirby Stephen via Middleton in Teesdale & brough. A long but spectacular drive I’ve not done before.

I stopped to photograph this magnificant Oak,

and spotted the inside of a large field barn. The roofing timbers roughly hewn and shaped out of tree trunks with axe or adze, and held to gether with wedges and wooden pegs.


G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg 23rd June.

I woke up around 7am, It was quite chilly compared to the warm sun of yesterday. The outside temperature was 12 c and it was cloudy. My hips/thigh were aching which annoyed me no end but made me glad I’d not attempted Cross Fell from Teesdale. I couldn’t remember the last time I ever had aching legs.

The bottle of ‘water’, I’d bought to make my tea with turned out to be lemonade, and the Yoghurt I’d bought for breakfast turned out to be some protein paste. I ate my porkpie and an orange for breakfast plus the water in my rucksack.

An hour after leaving the car at the road end I was on top. It looked like it was going to rain so I found myself a nice shelter.

Another self spot at 0800utc produced :-
|08:18|DL5FU|7MHz|CW|| DL5FU threw me a little - had I misread it for DL!FU? A check later showed me I hadn’t misread it!

I’d got steadily colder, it was raining slightly and I was now wearing all my spare clothing even having to resort to wrapping my bothy bag around my shoulders!! The complete opposite from yesterday where I was sat in the warmth of the sun. I’d called on 14mhz without results for around 15 minutes so I decided to pack up and leave.

There were several people sweating their way up hill, some doing the Coast to Coast walk, which has just been made a nationally recognised route and over the next few years several sections of this will no doubt be improved by the 3 national parks and the several local authorities it passes through.

I said goodbye to the 9 standards and decided not to do any thing else and drove home. I’m going to work on Monday for the first time in several weeks. I’ve never been immobile for this long so I’ll be taking it easy.


Radio Kit:-
Venus tech SW 3B
Linked dipole for 7, 10 & 14 mhz + 12ft pole.
Very small Russian straight key
3 amp Lipo battery
Small pr head phones (JVC)
Log Book, pencils & clip board.

Binoculars (Zeiss)
Sit mats
Bothy Bag
Lightweight anorak
sleeveless duvet jacket
Umbrella, pen knife, bungee cord, compass.

1/2 pint of water, plus an orange or two and a biscuit.

My kit weights on average around 5kg.

Wildlife spotted

Hares, rabbits and a field vole whilst activating on 9 standards rigg

Some of the birds:-
Oyster catchers,
Golden Plovers
Lesser whitethroats
Numerous meadow pipits & skylarks,
Chiff chaff
Willow warbler.



Great report and photos David. Glad that you are on the mend. Missed you on your first summit but I’m pleased to say I made your log on the second…thank you.

73 Allan GW4VPX


I activated Fountains Fell G/NP-017 about 21 miles south as the crow flies from N.S.R. on 40m and 30m CW it seems exactly 48 hours later than you. I was getting - as per usual - more-or-less back-to-back QSOs with decent reports both ways [including some of the regular chasers you worked] but not that many per band before they ‘dried up’, 4 on 30m and 8 on 40m.

I’m not complaining but I used to boast I could easily qualify a summit just on 30m CW - well yesterday it was borderline. I don’t often activate SOTA on weekends, and I had expected the bands to be busier on a Sunday morning.

I can just confirm you’re using an old straight key. I have a perfectly good portable straight key (Palm PPK) but find most ‘working surfaces’ at the activation site [including my lap or legs] too unstable for the up and down movement of a SK. Instead I chicken out and use my Palm twin paddles which behave on my clipboard, velcro-legstrap plate or on top of a drystone wall.

P.S. Good list of upland birds spotted


Thanks for that. By the way I do spend time looking for a decent stone to rest my key on, as my legs don’t make a good desk :smile:

Well done David,
Good activations well executed. You also take great note of the wildlife, something I fail to do well.
30m has served me well, I think I have always qualified on there, It is dependable on weekends away from CQ test but has been manic in the winter time.
It is interesting to read how different ops approaching their activations in different ways with different goals.
Thank you David



I think you were right to avoid Garrigill to Cross Fell. I have done it three times, and I think I told my daughter it was only 10km. It isn’t and I’m still being reminded! It was the only walk I’ve done where Woody our trusty Springer Spaniel refused to get out of bed the following morning…

Glad you are recovering. 73. Paul


Garrigill to Cross fell is better done on a bike, the road has been re-graded in the last year.

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I walked it on New Year’s day this year, on the way down from an overnight on Cross Fell and Greg’s hut…the track did seem to go on absolutely forever!

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Hi Dave,
I enjoyed reading that. I didn’t know you were a bird species expert - will discuss further at the club. Burnhope is burnhopeless on VHF which I used from there 2003, 04 and 05, suffering in the cold as a consequence. After that HF - a better proposition. Gone down it in the dark a few times but I need to go back. Six years since I was there. I see you used a route a bit further north. I have always gone up from Darngill Bridge but your way there’s something to guide you.

Nine Standards is an interesting one to look at from the road but it can be boggy. I usually do it from the B6270 via Rollinson Gill. Nice set of photos.

Thanks for your post on my SS18 report. Yes it was quite steep but maybe not quite as steep as it looks when you’re still a little way off wondering how you’re going to get up it.

CU at SARS but I won’t be there next week.
I hope the leg problems go away soon.
73, John


Thanks John. Nine Standards Rigg was incredibly dry underfoot as was Burnhope. There’s been no real rain for quite some time in the those areas.

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That’s been my experience the last two times I activated N.S.R. However, I always wear my winter hiking boots when walking up G/NP summits. Despite prolonged droughts, my foot often manages to go down a boggy or watery hole crossing path-less moorland.