G/SP-016 Raw Head

While chatting to Mick, 2E0HJD on Skype, it came up in the conversation that he only needed G/SP-016 to complete the South Penine summit group, a coincidence because my partner in crime, Steve GW7AAV and I had discussed the fact that we might activate the summit in the near future, because it was quite near to us.

Another coincidence cropped up when John GW4BVE kindly sent me a list of easily accesible summits(I have a severe back problem)and Raw head was on the list. John also took the time and trouble to email me a map of the area, thanks for all of your help John.
I planned to do the summit and hopefully work Mick for his final SP as soon as the wx allowed, so when I awoke this morning to glorious sunshine I packed my rucksack and set off down the A55 Chester southerly bypass. The drive was only about half an hour and was pleasant enough.

John and I discussed ascending from Droppingstones Farm on the Northern approach to the summit, the ascent being very simple from this location, so I headed out that way. What followed was almost farcical.

Having asked for permission to park from the farm owner and the lads in the fabrication workshop, which is in the picture named “first parking spot” on the flickr website, I had only got as far as opening the hatch on my car when a 4X4 with three very large occupants suggested that I leave and only come back if granted permission from the estate office some 3 miles back down the road.
I won’t go to deeply into the events which followed, but from what I could glean from all concerned, a very VIP party was expected on the estate at 1300 hrs. I did go to the estate office, but was refused access, I thanked them politely for their time and left explaining that I would use the alternative approach from the southerly side of the summit via Coppermine Lane, they were happy with that solution.

From the Coppermine Lane approach, there is ample parking space and the path provides an easy and pleasant walk.
This summit is ideal for those of you who take your XYL and/or children with you for a family walk/day out. In fact the Sandstone Trail can offer a walk of some 5 miles (round trip)with two hills on the route, unfortunately only Raw Head is a sota summit,there are also plenty of good pubs/restaurants in the area.

I started the activation as a pre arranged sked with Mick 2E0HJD, on 3.666, but we couldn’t make the contact although I did hear Mick and offered a report, this summit had eluded him again. A quick phone call to Mick and qsy to 7.068 but still, the same result, would he ever get the summit?

I decided at this point to go over to 7.031 cw with poor results at first due to the broadband blocker which has haunted us for a few days, but after a few cq calls I managed to work a total of 12 stations including 5 DXCCs.
Half way through the cw session there was a short but heavy rain shower and I had a small problem with my Palm Paddle but managed to fix it on site.

I put the 60m links in the dipole and did a swift qsy to 5.3985 FE, which was in much better shape than it has been lately with most stations booming in with very little qsb, but heavy static crashes were regular.
A total of 11 stations were added to those already worked, unfortunately Mick has no NOV for 5 Megs so I still couldn’t offer him this elusive summit.

The rain showers had started again so I figured that cowardice was the better part of valour and decided to take the hf antenna down and to give it one last shot for Mick, this time on 2m-ssb.
A quick natter with John GW4BVE on FE and he spotted me for 144.300-ssb, it was Mick’s last chance for the day.
I set the sotabeam up horizontally and after a quick cq call, I heard a faint voice in the noise. I called again and this time identified Mick’s voice and managed to “tweak” the beam, we exchanged reports at 51/31, but it was all we needed for a good contact and Mick had completed the South Penine summits.
Congratulations Mick :wink:
Some pictures now on Flickr.

Many thanks to all for the spots and to all stations worked as follows…


vy 73 Mike GW0DSP

“What shall we do today then, it looks a lovely day?” was the enquiry from Marianne as we woke up this morning. Half-asleep, and unimaginative, I tried my luck with “We could go for a walk on Raw Head and have the carvery in the Bickerton Poacher”. “Yeah, alright” she replied, and a bonus surprise SOTA day was created from nothing!

Jimmy was lazing in bed enjoying his lie-in, Marianne turned back over and continued hers. Liam was already up glued to his Sunday fix of Scrapheap Challenge on More 4, and I got up to go down and type the rest of my GI reports into SOTAwatch.

Some three hours, some chuckie eggs, buttered toast and frothy coffees later, we set off in Marianne’s car. Jimmy and I improvised the directions to get around the road closures on both the A534 and the A556/A51. Usefully, we had a ‘dry run’ yesterday having headed out this way to watch Macclesfield Town away at Wrexham in League Two.

Marianne pulled into the car park at the Bickerton Poacher, and a debate began between her and the lads about whether to do the long circular route from the pub, or just do a short walk. I kept out of it! Liam, and uncharacteristically Jimmy, both preferred a short walk, so Marianne conceded to this, got back in the car and drove us up to the top of Coppermines Lane.

Fifteen minutes along the Sandstone Trail later, and we were at the summit trig of Raw Head, and highest point of the trail, now with a new sign celebrating this fact. We were not carrying rucksacks, poles or any of the usual walking gear. In fact, only Liam had his walking boots on, the rest of us in our trainers. Jimmy and I carried handheld transceivers, pencils and logbook in our pockets, as Marianne had pre-warned there was to be no ‘bedding down’ for any amount of time on the summit!

21 minutes on air on 2m FM brought 4 contacts for Jimmy followed by 6 for myself. Marianne and Liam had left the summit during Jimmy’s activation, who himself left at the start of mine. Nine minutes and six contacts later, I was on my way too. The family were reunited at the car on Coppermines Lane, and five minutes later in the Bickerton Poacher.

The Sunday carvery at this pub is always very good, and today was no exception with delicious roast ham, turkey and beef and all the possible trimmings there could be. A pint of John Smith’s Winner’s Tipple proved to be a dark and tasty real ale that accompanied the food well. Somewhat stuffed, we drove back to Macc, accompanied by heavy snow.



In reply to M1EYP:

I thought the best way to get to Raw Head was “Twenty pints of Boddingtons every Friday night” for you Macc Lads. Sorry that’s the best way to get a raw head!

Thanks to you and Jimmy for the points.

73 Steve GW7AAV