Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to Paul G4MD (G6GGP) for inviting me to join him on G/SP-003 Ward’s Stone today. The date for this trip was set months ago so the weather really could have been terrible. As it turned out the weather was superb, with blue sky, sunshine, although a bit breezy on the top.
The main purpose of this activation was to give Gerald G4OIG a chance of chasing G/SP-003 which would complete the G/SP region for him. Due to it’s reputation as a bit of a qaugmire (Giggety) Ward’s Stone is one of the lesser activated G/SP summits & whilst 145MHz has been by far the most popular choice of activators, the HF bands are used much less.
The original plan was for Gerald to travel up to Lancashire as well & chase the summit from a local HUMP, but family commitments scuppered that, so the only realistic option was for me & Paul to use HF to allow Gerald to chase us from a HUMP near to where he would be. That wouldn’t be a problem as both myself & Paul are primarily HF activators.
This was a day full of surprises, firstly, on arriving at Jubilee tower we found the car park full & many vehicles parked along the road due an event that was taking place. On inquiring I found that this was a Scout event called the Bowlander & thankfully for me & Paul the participants were all heading down hill, rather than up towards Grit Fell & on-wards to Ward’s Stone.
The second surprise was the conditions underfoot. Whilst several summits in the G/SP region are quite boggy in places, Ward’s Stone is up there with G/SP-002 Black Hill in terms of its reputation. As we haven’t had any serious rain for several weeks I hoped that the worst bit, Cabin Flats between Grit Fell & Ward’s Stone would not be as bad as it can be. To both mine & Paul’s surprise, this was actually the most pleasant & dry part of the walk. The worst bogginess was actually encountered on the stretch between Jubilee tower & Grit Fell. I would go as far to say that if we don’t have any serious rain in the next few days, now would be the ideal time to bag Ward’s Stone if you have been put off by previous bad reports.
Suprise number three, really was the icing on the cake, after I had finished on 40m, 30m & 20m CW I decided to drop my linked dipole & try my end fed half-wave vertical on 10m. Whilst doing some initial tests a gentleman came up the hill towards me & introduced himself. This was none other than fellow SOTA activator Gerald M0WML, (more usually MW0WML). He is staying in the area & was on a walk with some family & friends taking in Ward’s Stone today! After a chat we walked round to the other side of the summit where Paul was busy working Jack GM4COX/P on GM/SS-165 on 40m SSB. Just as Paul was finishing with Jack, I introduced Gerald & Paul handed the mic to Gerald so he could work Jack for the S2S on HF. Not a bad start considering Gerald had only brought a 2m Handy & a dipole!
Gerald’s XYL, Sue acted as official photographer & took a group shot of the three of us, which Gerald has kindly posted here:
As far as the main purpose of the activation was concerned, despite a fair run on 40m CW I hadn’t come across Gerald G4OIG so before going to 30m, which I knew would be too long to work him, I dropped to 60m where I found Gerald G4OIG/P working Paul from HUMP G/HCE-021 Shotover Hill. I broke in & worked him shortly after, giving him two chases of Ward’s Stone in the space of 5 minutes, after waiting so long to chase it for the SOTA complete
The descent from Ward’s Stone & re-ascent of Grit Fell was much easier than I thought it would be, with the ladder stile on Grit Fell being a very pleasant sight in front of us, without me needing to stop for a “photographic opportunity” on the way, unlike the ascent of Grit Fell, & final ascent of Ward’s Stone in the opposite direction. From there it is a simple bog-dodging descent back to Jubilee tower.
Thanks also to all chasers & activators for making this a very enjoyable day for both me & Paul. HF conditions did seem a little depressed with varying reports & QSB but we both qualified the summit with ease, & most importantly gave Gerald G4OIG the final summit he needed to complete G/SP
A couple of photos for now:
Paul G4MD at the trig point (G/NP-005 Ingleborough in the background):
The descent towards Jubilee tower from Grit Fell:
Thanks again & very best 73,