G4OOE: G/NP-007, Wild Boar Fell, 14 October 2011
I have long been drawn to this fell probably due to its unusual name. I checked on Wikipedia and it says that wild boar used to roam here over 500 years ago.
Having postponed the activation for 24 hours due to a much better weather forecast, I left home at 0502. After riding up and down a few times near the start of the High Dolphinsty footpath, I settled for a small area on the Eastern side of the B6259 off the road at NY 78320 00495. After coffee and a breakfast sandwich I set off at 0838 reaching the start of the footpath (SD 78260 99730) opposite Little Ing Farm at 0850. The path goes under the famous Settle to Carlisle railway line and I did see a couple of trains, a small two carriage purple coloured passenger train that seemed out of place and a much longer goods train carrying logs. The path up just beyond Hazel Gill Farm was absolutely covered in thick mud - more of that later as they say! Progress was slow and the visibility getting worse as I approached High Dolpinsty. John G4YSS had told me this one wasn’t easy and I certainly soon began to realise that! Dense fog spoiled any chance of views as I progressed past the Nab religiously following the arrow on the GPS. After passing a few false summit trig points that turned out to be either piles of stones or just tufts of grass I arrived at the summit at 1040.
I began setting up, I had intended to use a 3 element 2m SOTA beam, 2m dipole and a 40m dipole. The BNC connector had broken off on my extension lead so I abandoned thoughts of using the beam. Visibility had dropped considerably down to around 30 yards or so and it was very cold and damp. A quick phone call to G4SSH who kindly spotted me and I was on the air for 1030 gmt. Short skip propagation on 7Mhz was very good and I quickly had seven G contacts all 599 and a few weaker longer skip contacts with HB9 and DL. At 1040 I switched to 145-fm and I worked a few G and GW stations including s2s contacts with Hazel M6YLH/P and John G4YSS using GX0OOO/P on G/NP-009 Buckden Pike. It was pleasing to work Derek 2E0MIX to earn him his Shack Sloth and Gary M6AUE to take him to 200 chaser points. I had another interesting long distance 2m qso with John GW4GRW/P on Foel Fras, a 2900 ft mountain but unfortunately not a Marilyn so no SOTA chasing points! I had one more go on 7Mhz-cw which brought in a strong Steve MW0BBU and a couple of weaker DLs. A couple more CQs with no takers, being cold and wet I went qrt.
The journey back was another navigation test for me, I had managed to get the reverse route on the GPS but when it pointed over the cliff edge I knew something was not right! After checking it I found that I had brought up the reverse route of another summit. Once the correct one was selected I was fine and I saw the standing stone cairns that looked a bit like the Nine Standards Rigg pictures that I had seen, completely missed on the ascent due to thick fog. Once past High Dolphinsty the visibility improved dramatically and I had good views across the valley. Coming back down the track, just above the farm through the mud, my feet went from under me and I did a great belly flop and I managed to get completely covered in the stuff! Fortunately there was nothing damaged and no one else around! I then realised that my walking poles could also be used as a walking aids as well as dipole supports! Shortly after this I spotted a spitfire or possibly a hurricane plane flying overhead. The farmer and his wife were watching it too so I knew that it was something unusual! Another long wood laden train on the railway and after a few words with the farmer’s wife, I returned to the car at 1443. The drive back was fine and on the outskirts of Pickering I spotted a man in a Biggles like outfit with a woman dressed in a wartime uniform. Later I saw another in an old GI uniform and the penny then dropped, it was the North Yorkshire Moors Railway War Weekend and I reckon the plane spotted earlier must have been from the Battle of Britain Flight, possibly also linked to this event. I arrived home at 1805 after the 196 miles round trip. As I sat down watching the local news, the weather man announced that tomorrow (Saturday) would be a great day for walking in the Pennines!
HF - 7031-cw
FT-857D 20 watts,
40m half wave dipole configured as inverted vee 12 ft at apex on fibre glass pole with ends supported by two walking poles approximately 3 ft high.
VHF - 145-fm
TH-79E 5 watts
2m SOTA dipole vertically polarised strapped to fibre glass pole
7031 - G4SSH, G0NUP/P, G4CMQ, G4OBK, G3VXJ, G4DDL, HB9CGA, G3XQE, DL1FU, HB9MKV, G0TDM, G4WSX, DJ4AV, DL3HXX & MW0BBU (15)
145-fm - G0TDM, G4WHA/M, 2E0MIX, M6YLH/P, GX0OOO/P, M6AUE, GW4GRW/P & 2E0NHM (8)
Thanks to G4SSH and DL3HXX for the spots and thanks everyone for making it a memorable day.