G4YSS Activation Report, G/LD-007, G/LD-010, G/LD-022 on 2m-FM, 07-06-19
This was day-5; the final day of our annual six-night break in the Lake District with the usual walking group; just three of us this year plus two non-walking XYL’s.
G/LD’s activated in the five available walking days:
Day-1 LD11 and LD18; Day-2 LD20; Day-3 LD4; Day-4 LD3; Day-5 LD7, LD10 and LD22
G/LD-007- G/LD-010- G/LD-022.
FAIRFIELD; St.SUNDAY CRAG; SEAT SANDAL on 2m-FM
All times BST (UTC + 1) and UTC for Radio ops
G4YSS using GX0OOO/P
Moonraker MT270M 2m / 70cm 25W mobile rig
IC-E90 4-Band, 5W, VHF H/H
Half-wave vertical J-Pole for 2m
5Ah Turnigy Li-Po Battery
Garmin Geko 301 GPS
Hitachi MP3 Player (DAB Cube – not used)
Pack weight: 8kg including 750ml of water, primaloft jacket and umbrella
David mentioned the night before that he would be walking with me for the fourth day but changed his mind at breakfast. I could well understand it. He had spent time and effort devising routes in advance and having been on three SOTA missions in three days, he naturally wanted to try one of them on the last day. He chose the hills south of Braithwaite; Barrow Door was one of his targets.
Because it’s the shortest distance to walk and the highest start point available, the best place to access this trio of summits is from Dunmail Raise (240m ASL).
The weatherman said ‘good’ for the morning but also warned of an incoming low pressure with heavy and persistent rain some time in the afternoon. This was predicted to arrive in Northern England between midday and 2pm, so I decided to start the walk and monitor the weather. That way I could decide in real time how many of the three available SOTA’s to put on and in what order. At the start I was only aiming for two.
Dunmail Raise to Fairfield:
From the ladder stile at Dunmail Raise - NY 3278 1160, walk east and uphill beside Raise Beck via NY 3352 1194 to the 574m spot height which overlooks Grisedale Tarn at NY 3438 1208.
Turn right (SE) to skirt the Tarn anticlockwise 30m above the water on a fairly height efficient path via NY 3441 1206; NY 3453 1191; NY 3480 1174 and NY 3488 1171, then climb Fairfield via a steep path starting at NY 3490 1168. The path zig-zags up via NY 3535 1182 and NY 3547 1176 to Fairfield’s extensive top at NY 3586 1173.
Fairfield to St. Sunday Crag:
Climb carefully down Coffa Pike on a steep path via NY 3572 1185; NY 3581 1198 and NY 3593 1235 to a low-point at Deepdale Hause NY 3609 1258. I make a mental note for later that here the path down to Grisedale Tarn goes off left here (west) but keep walking NE and uphill to St.Sunday Crag’s summit at NY 3693 1340. If doing HF, the best place to put a dipole is on a grassy area 100m short of the summit and off to the left of the path at NY 3685 1335.
St.Sunday Crag to Seat Sandal:
Retrace your steps back to Deepdale Hause to turn right (west) down a steep, stony path to NY 3595 1264 where it turns left. Pass through NY 3568 1237 to NY 3536 1220 where the path down to Grisedale Tarn branches off to the right. Keep left and walk via NY 3532 1213 and NY 3504 1188 to start the climb up to Seat Sandal from Grisedale Hause on loose rock and gravel at NY 3487 1166. At NY 3463 1150 the gradient eases and the path becomes grassy to the summit at NY 3439 1152.
Seat Sandal to Dunmail Raise:
Downhill all the way, the path off Seat Sandal goes due north via NY 3440 1169 and NY 3437 1193 to the 574m spot where you turn left by the remains of a steel fence post, to walk down beside Raise Beck and back to the ladder stile by the A591 at NY 3278 1160.
The drive down to Dunmail took just over 15 minutes. Getting off the dual carriageway onto the 4 metre wide verge quickly is an art on a 70mph road. Hanging back to allow overtaking traffic, I indicated early. Traffic was light but I couldn’t shake off the tailgater until the very last minute. Parking just short of the ladder stile, I got the car as near to the fence as possible.
Getting started at 10:20 later than I’d hoped, I climbed the stile and headed up the valley determined not to fall for the right fork which takes you up the side of the hill. It’s a steady climb up a reasonable path with a few semi scrambly bits beside a waterfall.
At Grisedale Tarn I took the anticlockwise path past Seat Sandal and around the tarn to the foot of Fairfield, arriving at the top by 11:38. Wind speed was less than 5 mph so I set up a short distance from the largest shelter. That’s when I found my error of forgetting to pack the logsheets so I spent the next ten minutes drawing a table on the back of a spare map with a pencil.
FAIRFIELD, G/LD-007, 837m, 8 pts, 11:38 to 12:29. 13 deg C. Cloudy bright/ Hazy sun with <5 mph wind. LOC: IO84ML. WAB: NY31 (No trig)
145.575/ 145.550 FM - 11 QSO’s:
Checking S20 first, I heard Jimmy MW0HGY/P calling CQ SOTA. At the same time I heard Geoff G4WHA/M calling me. After our QSY to .575, knowing Geoff was at the shop and might be hard pressed for time, I had to think fast so asked Jimmy to work Geoff before working me. In the event Geoff could not copy Jimmy so I was really cheeky and worked Geoff myself directly after logging Jimmy. Fortunately Jimmy was unfazed by this and I think he’s worked Geoff enough times to know the score. Thanks Jimmy! Jimmy’s Dad Tom MW1EYP/P followed up with a 59 / 57 exchange. Their summit was GW/NW-070 Great Orme.
With 10W to the vertical, I went on to work the following stations after a QSY to 145.550: G0TDM John; G7CDA Douggie; GW4ZPL/P John; G1OHH Sue; G0UXC Peter; MW1ISC Steve; G4BLH/M Mike on the Clitheroe/ Kendal road and M0NOM/P Mark.
Now there was a decision to be made but the skies still looked clear and settled. Looking across at St. Sunday Crag and despite telling myself beforehand that I really ought to avoid going over there because it would add anything up to 2 hours to the schedule, it now got the nod over Seat Sandal. Benign right now, this decision eventually got me a good wetting from the incoming bad weather.
The walk down Coffa Pike and up onto St.Sunday’s took 39 minutes and there were one or two walkers on the path. Taking my phone out of my pocket, I noticed that the screen was black and curiously the torch was on. I tried to bring it back to life but nothing worked. Now I couldn’t self spot and having forgotten on Fairfield, I couldn’t text the XYL either. The phone was to stay like that until I got back.
ST.SUNDAY CRAG, G/LD-010, 841m, 8 pts, 13:08 to 13:41. 13 deg C. 10 mph Wind. Overcast. LOC: IO84MM. WAB: NY31 (No trig). (Phone out of action)
145.550 FM - 12 QSO’s:
Sitting at the cairn overlooking Dollywaggon Pike and Helvellyn, I was QRV six minutes after arriving.
The following stations were worked with 10 Watts: G4WHA/M Geoff in Carlisle; G0TDM John; MW0ISC Steve; M0NOM Mark; G7THI Frank - Appleby; G0SLR Roy; G7OEM Tony; MW0HGY/P and MW1EYP/P Jimmy and Tom S2S on GW/NW-070; G7CDA Douggie; G1OHH Sue and G0UXC Peter. Five reports were 59 both ways with the remainder 55 to 57 and the session spanned 23 minutes.
Unusually it was St.Sunday that had the most people on it today but the distraction of them coming up to talk made me forget the summit photo. I remembered when about 50 metres from the top on the way down and annoyingly that’s all there is. Someone pointed to a summit on the horizon and asked if I could identify it for them. I tried to fire up my GPS for a ‘Go-To’ but it was taking too long. Someone brought out a 1:25,000 while I ‘sloped off’ unnoticed. The unknown mountain turned out to be Great Gable but I only realised that after looking at a map that evening. Shameful!
To be honest, it didn’t help that I was thinking of the weather front which was on its way and I was as far away from the car as I would get that day. Some of the chasers reported rain already and someone said it was tipping it down in north Wales. That information could have come from Jimmy and Tom on Gt.Orme. There were a few grey clouds on the horizon; nothing serious yet but it was time to get moving again.
LD10 to LD22:
After passing some walkers before Deepdale Hause, I turned right there and made my way towards Grisedale Tarn. I can’t remember seeing anybody after that. They’d all got the message but it was beginning to look like I was the only one not heeding it.
Once past the Tarn and turning to look back into wind, I got something of a shock. There were some nasty looking dark grey clouds and clag following me up the valley and just then it started to spit. Rushing to climb Seat Sandal, I was panting when half way up the rain came down in earnest. My umbrella was fastened to the rucksack, as was my fleece and I was walking in a base layer. Nevertheless I made the decision to go for the top knowing there was a low wall there. It felt like I was stuck in treacle but I was going as fast as possible which was a bit pointless as it meant I had to keep stopping. By the time I got there I was pretty wet already. However once the brolly was up things improved and the antenna was assembled under its protection. I leant the mast against the wall and wedged it with the rucksack. All in a day’s work.
SEAT SANDAL, G/LD-022, 736m, 6 pts, 14:33 to 15:13. 9 deg C. 10 mph. Overcast with rain, heavy at times. A grassy top with a cairn, wall and small shelter. LOC: IO84LL. WAB: NY31 (No trig). (Phone not working).
145.550 FM - 14 QSO’s:
Carefully holding the brolly and thankful for the wall, I worked the following stations using 25 watts: GM3VMB Peter at Eaglesfield; G0TDM John in Penrith; G1OHH Sue - Lancaster; 2E0EVD Clive on Walney Island; G7OEM Tony nr. Blackpool and MW0ISC Steve Pantymwyn.
Continuing on: 2E0BLL Mike in Preston; GW6STK Robert in Colwyn Bay ;G7CDA Douggie on Morecambe Bay; MW1FGQ John wishing me all the best from Holywell; 2E0MOW Chris in Poulton-le-Fylde and M0LJH Les at Bispham. The final QSO on the final summit of the final day of the holiday was with G0NAJ John in Dukinfield (Manchester).
Downhill all the way, the walk back should have been pleasurable but the weather made it anything but. Once again I forgot to take the summit photo until a short way down; this time the excuse was the driving rain. The final walk, with brolly deployed most of the way, took 42 minutes and I was back climbing the ladder stile to the road at 15:55. My walking trousers were soaked through along with everything in the pockets; anything electronic having been moved to a higher position.
It was far too early to go back to the B-and-B; my XYL suffers from MS and sleeps in the afternoons, so I went round the shops in Keswick again. Our final evening meal was at the Casa Bella again. Establishments used on other evenings were, The George, The Thyme and treat of treats - The Pheasant Inn.
QSO’s on 2m-FM:
10:20 Left Dunmail Raise (240m ASL)
LD7: 11:38 to 12:29
LD10: 13:08 to 13:41
LD22: 14:33 to 15:13
15:55 Rtn’d Dunmail Raise
Drive from/ to Keswick: 17min
Dunmail to LD7: 1hr-18 min
LD7 to LD10: 39 min
LD10 to LD22: 52min
LD22 to Dunmail: 42 min
Total time spent walking: 3hr-31 min
Average walking speed: 2.1 mph
Summit Durations (min): 51+33+40
Total Summit time: 2hr-4min
Total time Dunmail to Dunmail: 5hr-35min
Ascent and Distance: 940m (3,084ft) ascent/ 12km (7.5mls)
(Dunmail – LD7-LD10-LD22 - Dunmail)
STATS for 5-DAYS:
Activator points for eight summits: 62
Ascent and distance walked (5 days): 3,666m (12,027ft) and 47km (29.4 miles) comprising…
LD11-LD18: 838m (2,750ft) ascent and 12.3km (7.7 miles)
LD20: 444m (1,457ft) ascent and 4.4km (2.8 miles)
LD4: 680m (2,231ft) ascent and 10.6km (6.6 miles)
LD3: 764m (2,507ft) ascent and 7.7km (4.8 miles)
LD7-LD10-LD22: 940m (3,084ft) ascent and 12km (7.5miles)
Total distance driven for week: 408 miles
(Inc. from/ to home in Scarborough)
QSO’s (5 Days):
Total QSO’s: 85
This was more or less a repeat of last year’s final day using VHF equipment again. The same summits were done but in a different order and total walking time was just one minute different. I was a little unlucky with the weather, getting a soaking on the final summit but what’s the worry when all you have to do is walk back to the car and drive the short distance back to where you’re staying? Adding St. Sunday Crag was well worth the wetting. This is a good way of getting 22 points without killing yourself. The round is compact meaning not too much walking in between summits. Adding Helvellyn and walking from Patterdale requires more effort than Helvellyn adds points.
The Five Days:
In terms of effort at the summits, all eight VHF activations added together were about equal to one of the multi-band, multi-mode HF QSO activations I often do. Simple FM is very much easier but one could argue it’s less fulfilling too. However it can be more personal and great to hear the same people calling in day by day. A kind of loyalty and camaraderie developed over the 5 days. Geoff and John G4WHA and G0TDM gave me great support as is often the case but there was no prearrangement.
Summit times were measured in minutes rather than hours so the emphasis was on walking for a change. Very noticeable was the amount of time I had on my hands after each day’s activating and despite the late start times, all could be easily fitted in with time to spare.
I intended putting up the HF dipole on at least one summit and resonating the new 160m coils. It never happened because I could hardly subject David and/ or Rob to watching me take VSWR readings in a cold wind. On the first day I walked part way with David and Rob but due to circumstances that was the first and last time Rob hill walked this holiday.
For the next three days there were only two of us, David and myself. On the last day three summits were put on the air in a solo round. That has been HF QRO territory for me in the past but not usually in summer between set meal times and not with the weather threatening as it was.
There was nothing wrong with my phone. On returning to the car a faint glimmer was visible on the screen. Somehow in my pocket the brightness had set itself down to just above zero and the torch had turned on. This despite having an app which tells the phone not to do anything when it’s in my pocket. It had taken 73 black photos whilst it was in there and sent the lot up to the cloud. Was that the cause of the bad weather?
Speaking of the weather, it wasn’t as poor as the forecast tried to make us believe before the holiday. In five days of operating we were curtailed for one afternoon, one morning and only got wet twice. It was non too warm much of the time but that was OK by me, being traditionally a winter activator. Despite the rain my waterproofs stayed in the rucksack, the umbrella being sufficient.
Our ‘Lakes Week’ break has been going since the early 1990’s and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it since 2002. Only five people made it to Keswick this year and from these only three were hill walkers as such. It was much the same last year but we are hoping for better support in 2020. Lakes Week has got me an awful lot of SOTA points over the years not to mention the friendship and exercise.
After Steve and Margaret retired from doing bed and breakfast at Sandon guest house where we’ve stayed for the past 12 years, this year we were over the road at Avondale with Pearle and Tony. A very good place as it turned out. Rob and Chris continue to stay at Edwardean. Both these places have a lounge with WiFi, useful for typing up reports and putting SOTA alerts on.
For my first year, coincidentally the first year of SOTA too, we stayed at Bluestones which is run by Michael and Debbie. Michael is car crazy and runs a Sunbeam Tiger. All this accommodation is on Southey Street where there is on-street parking and a short walk to town for evening meals and the sandwich shop in a morning if required.
Keswick and the LD region in general are not cheap. Typical costs are around £54 pppn for B-and-B with evening meals in town coming in at around £20 to £22 per person including two courses and a tip, though you could pay more for certain choices.
Thanks to all stations worked for your repeated support through the 5 days and to the spotter for today: G4WHA/A Geoff. Also for spotting during the 5 days: G4WHA Geoff; G0TDM John; M0NOM Mark and the SOTA Spotting ap.
If anyone is wondering why Roy G4SSH didn’t join us as a spotter, he’s currently in a retirement home called Briar Dene in Scarborough. It’s looking like this will be a permanent arrangement as he is unable to cope at home on his own even with full professional support and good neighbours. He did make a 2-hour visit to his bungalow last weekend, actually managing to fire up his FT5000 and work one station in Spain.
When Briar Dene commission their new building next door in September, the plan is for him to move into it, if possible bagging a top floor room. If that happens we’ll see what the possibilities are but you can bet HF will be very noisy indeed and there will be little or no chance of an outdoor antenna. Perhaps this kind of situation is worthy of a special dispensation for the use of an online receiver? It wouldn’t solve the possibility of transmitter interference however.
(G4YSS using Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call GX0OOO/P)
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Above: Grass verge at Dunmail Raise on A591 dual carriageway
Above: Walking east along Raise Beck to Grisedale Tarn
Above: Grisedale Tarn with Fairfield G/LD-007 behind
Above - Left to Right: Grisedale Tarn; Sunday Crag G/LD-010 in distance and Fairfield G/LD-007 in foreground
Above: Seat Sandal G/LD-022 (left) and Grisedale Tarn (right) from the path up Fairfield G/LD-007
Above: Fairfield G/LD-007 path
Above: Vertical J-Pole for 2m-FM. Fairfield G/LD-007
Above: Fairfield G/LD-007. Pre-activation ‘office work’ necessary due to forgotten log sheets
Above: Overlooking Sunday Crag G/LD-010 from Coffa Pike
Above: A parting shot of Sunday Crag’s (G/LD-010) summit
Above: Path down from Deepdale Hause with Grisedale Tarn ahead
Above: Further along path from Deepdale Hause to Grisedale Tarn - bypassing Fairfield (left of path)
Above: Path up Seat Sandal G/LD-022
Above: Ugly weather on its way up the valley. From the path half way up Seat Sandal G/LD-022. Fairfield on the right
Above: Seat Sandal G/LD-022 and the price of adding St Sunday Crag. A good wetting in progress with Fairfield obscured
Above: Seat Sandal G/LD-022. Leaving after the activation
Above: Walking down beside Raise Beck and back to Dunmail Raise
Above: Back at the A591. Job done.
Links to other Lakes Week 2019 reports:
LD11-LD18: G4YSS:G/LD-011 High St & G/LD-018 SCP, 03-06-19
LD20: G4YSS: G/LD-020 Dale Head on 04-06-19
LD4: G4YSS:GLD-004 Skiddaw on 05-06-19
LD3: G4YSS: GLD-003 Helvellyn on 06-06-19
LD7-LD10-LD22: This report
Please reports errors… Thanks Jimmy. Don’t know my left from my right! Errors corrected, I hope. Will reply properly to all later,