We wanted to get another winter bonus hill in before we headed back to the flatlands, but the forecast wasn’t ideal, with cloud and the possibility of some light rain, but the rain might stay to the south.
Our target was Pendle Hill, and it was well in the clouds as we parked at Barley Lane just before noon. Despite the cloud there were plenty of cars, and people up and down the track. At least it wasn’t raining. As we approached the start of the main ascent we heard someone calling CQ SOTA from SP-005: hmm that’s what we’re about to climb up. We stopped for long enough to work Ron 2E0RWB who told us he was operating from near the wall at the top of the main path, so we hoped to see him once we were up there. The main path was very busy with groups and families coming up and down, including some with toddlers and babes in arms, who seemed to heading up into the clouds and heading for the summit. At the top of the main path we peered over the wall to see if we could see an antenna: there we no sign, but as we carried on we spotted a man with a pole on his back coming towards us, so we stopped to have a chat. We worked Dave G3TQQ/P on Hardknott LD-034 for an S2S before heading for the peat hags between the trig point and the wall where we set up our stations. The cloud was thick enough that we couldn’t see either wall or trig from our operating position, but it meant we were away from the groups we could hear by the trig point. Caroline made another 7 2m FM contacts before they dried up, so she tried 70cm, getting 4 contacts, before reverting to alternating calling CQ on 2m FM on the FT-817 and dipole, and 70cm on the handie with whip, but this only yielded more 5 more 2m FM contacts. Meanwhile Martyn had made 18 contacts on 5MHz, including an S2S with Rick M0LEP on WB-003 Stiperstones.
By the time we were packing up the cloud had thinned slightly so we could see wall and trig point. Just as we set off Caroline heard a faint station calling CQ from WB-003, Stiperstones, but struggled to get the callsign, eventually realising that she should have recognised the voice of Colin G8TMV and the contact was made, so she had the S2S too. We made our way down, the whole walk and activation having been done without rain (though the cloud meant it wasn’t quite dry!).