G4YSS Activation Reports for NP22, NP12, 02-03-07

Calf Top & Baugh Fell (Tarn Rigg Hill). G4YSS using GX0OOO/P.

02-Mar-07. All times UTC. G4YSS using GX0OOO/P. Unaccompanied.

This was another ‘same morning’ final decision because of a lingering respiratory tract infection. For that reason too, it was to be two simple ‘radial’ assaults and I could nicely afford the use of QRO gear.

It was still a fair way to drive but it’s all too easy to do the ones closest to home first. This leads to a crisis later if for a period, the WX should take a turn for the worse. These two aren’t the easiest of NP four-pointers; in fact both my routes up them are very steep, because they are so direct. For that reason, I had devised a new route for Calf Top, which I was eager to try out. The likelihood is that every one else has been using this route from day one and I’d simply ‘missed it.’

When I went to post the alerts, the system wouldn’t allow it, so I made do with a Reflector message and an email to Roy, G4SSH. The posting problem now seems to be resolved.

Left Scarborough at 04:35, driving the 120 miles via York, Harrogate & Skipton. Arrived Barbondale, beside the footpath I wanted to use (SD 6832 8645) at 07:10, walking away in first sunshine by 07:22.

Hitherto, the preferred assault on NP22 for me, has been ‘straight up the side’ from SD 6767 8589 to the spine of the hill at SD 6691 8645, then along to the summit. It’s short but I wouldn’t call it ‘sweet’ owing to the fact that you can barely stand on some of it and getting down, especially if this is the last one of three in the day, is somewhat arduous.

Today, I followed the path along to a gap in the wall at SD 6821 8691, making my way up a Quad or Argo track to a gate at SD 6796 8705. From there if you can find the odd animal path or quad track, you’re doing quite well but there may be a path curving further to the NE, which avoids the cross country. However, the ‘spine’ is accessed via a stone stile at SD 6738 8691. From there the summit is a ‘good’ mile away along the ridge path. Mindful of the need not to chill, I settled down on the lee side at SD 6647 8569. The route was a success. It’s further but there’s less ascent and it took me around the same time.

I once walked-in from Fellside Farm at SD 636889, which is well to the NW but only because someone wanted a young collie-dog very well exercised. ‘Honey’ and I walked all the way back to Killington afterwards but looking at her, I suspect that she’d finished with more ‘fuel left in the tank’ than I had! She wasn’t impressed by being tied to a heavy bail of rusty fence-wire, while I activated.

G/NP-022: CALF TOP, 609m, 4 pts, 08:21 to 10:30, frosty surface, 0 Deg.C and rising, 10mph wind, constant low-cloud at the summit only.

Opened as (badly) advertised, on 3.728 CW at 08:35 but by 09:00, a
succession of CQ’s on both CW and SSB, with ever increasing power output, produced nothing to log. A call to the ‘SOTA Control Room’ (Roy G4SSH) was ‘message only.’ On such a nice morning, Roy was out in his garden, having not yet seen my email.

Traffic on 7.031.5 CW was very slow at first but at least the log page was gradually filling up to that ‘magic’ fourth line, though mostly with ‘non-believers.’ Soon the familiar callsigns started to come through and I remember thinking that I must now have been ‘found.’ Near the end, LA4FG, who sent his name as ‘ODD,’ called in. ODD? Can that be right, I thought? Checking QRZ.com later showed that it was indeed his surname shortened and probably what he was called at school!

After 26 QSO’s on 40 CW, a trip back to 80m for 5 more minutes of CQ’s, produced nothing apart from a ‘flat’ battery and my cue for ‘exit stage left.’

I was back down to the car by 11:10, after directing another walker, who said he was ‘doing a Government sponsored project,’ and must get to an area near the top. With the low-cloud now lifted, it was easy to point out the route features up the hillside but he did leave me slightly curious.

The next bit is typical of me. Trying to save time by not looking at the atlas, I found myself on a remote, gated road which finally hit the main road on the ‘wrong’ side of Sedburgh, which should have been ‘short-circuited via Milnthorpe.

It was a nice day by now, so I took a few photos of Winder and arrived at the Baugh Fell ‘jump-off’ point in Garsdale (SD 7337 8989) in time to be underway at exactly noon. The footpath goes through a farm yard, after which I head up through an open gate at SD 7338 9019. This route is desperately steep in places too and it was hard work today with its southerly aspect and full sunshine. The gradient finally eases at SD 7382 9106 but by the time you reach Tarn Rigg Hill, some 498 metres (1634 feet) have had to be gained.

G/NP-012: BAUGH FELL, 678m, 4 pts, 13:00 to 15:02, 6 Deg.C, overcast with some sunshine, 20 mph wind with good viz.

The top wall had collapsed in a very convenient place, which meant I didn’t need to climb it to sit out of the wind. A protruding flat stone made a handy seat with a backrest. Very civilised!

That evening, I became aware that Roy had spotted his estimate of my NP12-QRV time (13:30) and QRG. I started at 13:18 on 3.772 CW, so he was accurate enough and a ‘line’ of chasers were all ready to exchange. Bizarrely in the middle of the day, as well as the expected ‘local’ 80m stations, Europe was also worked four times on that band. After 13 on CW, there were six on SSB, preceding a QSY to 7.032 CW, which netted a further 18 regulars, through to 14:36 UTC. There were Amp-hours to spare, some of which were used calling CQ on 1.832 CW with 100W until 14:52, at which time I closed without success on Top Band.

It was then that I noticed, by its absence, the J-Pole feed-section of the 145 MHz antenna, with its spiralled RG316 coax, which should have been fastened to the back of my rucksack. Photos later revealed that it was in its proper place on Calf Top, so it must now lie somewhere on there, as a careful GPS ‘track-back’ of my route up Baugh Fell, failed to locate it on the descent. If it fell off onto the well tramped ‘spine’ path, I won’t be seeing it again. If it lies on some cross-country section of the climb-up, there might be a ‘tearful reunion’ next year! I will make a new one but this is the second time that something has ‘dropped off’ the rucksack unnoticed. If it wasn’t for some walkers redirecting me back up Pen-y-Ghent earlier this year, I would have had to make a new HF mast too.

The steep walk down took me until 15:45 and rejecting thoughts of a third NP, I was home early for once at 18:06, having driven 230 miles in the day.

NP22-Calf Top: 312 m (1023 ft) ascent, 4.3 miles (6.8 km) up & down.
NP12-Baugh Fell: 498 m (1634 ft) ascent, 2.8 miles (4.4 km) up & down.
Total: 810 m (2657 ft) ascent, 7.1 miles (11.4 km) up & down.

0 on 1.8-CW.
13 on 3.5-CW.
6 on 3.5-SSB.
44 on 7-CW
Total: 63 QSO’s.

Battery utilisation (one ‘fresh’ 7.5 Ah SLAB taken to each summit):
NP22: 99% discharged. NP12: 80% discharged.

Thanks to all stations worked and to G4SSH, HB9AGH, ON3WAB, GW0DSP, for the now all-important spotting services.

73, John G4YSS
(using GX0OOO/P; Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call)