G4YSS: Activation of G/LD-011 & G/LD-018, 03-06-19
This was day-1 of our annual six-night break in the Lake District with the usual walking group.
G/LD’s activated in the five available walking days:
Day-1 LD11 & LD18; Day-2 LD20; Day-3 LD4; Day-4 LD3; Day-5 LD7, LD10 & LD22
HIGH STREET & STONY COVE PIKE on 2m-FM QRO
From Hartsop Car Park. Partly with walking group
G4YSS - John, using GX0OOO/P
All times BST UOS
Moonraker MT-270M 2m/ 70cm 25W Mobile Tcvr.
One Turnigy 11.1V, 5Ah battery
2m Band Vertical J-Pole
Umbrella as a mast (forgot mast with whip inside)
Ali welding rod as whip
IC-E90 4-Band, 5W, VHF H/H with 1.3 Ah integral battery (not used)
Pocket Rig: Baofeng UV-3R, 2W, 2m/ 70cm H/H (used for PMR monitoring & WOTA)
Garmin Geko 301 GPS
Hitachi MP3 Player
DAB Cube (flat battery – cricket on phone)
This was part of our annual ‘Lakes Week’ walking holiday in Keswick (since 2002) staying at the Avondale guest House, Southey Street B&B for the first time. Sandon B&B is no more; the owners Steve & Margaret have retired. I’m afraid as a walking group we are dwindling somewhat with only five of us this year, three of us walkers.
The group’s target today was Angle Tarn and Boredale Head from Hartsop. Initially this was planned to go clockwise in which case I would have peeled off to do Place Fell. A word to the organiser David, and we changed to anti-clockwise, enabling a much more agreeable detour to High Street and Stony Cove Pike; two SOTA’s instead of one.
The car park at Hartsop NY 41000 13000, is free (charity box) and capable of taking a dozen cars or so. Leave by the gate and take the track east, crossing the footbridge over Hayswater Beck at NY 4267 1276. (Note: The footbridge shown on older maps at the exit to Hayswater was removed around 2013).
Follow the path uphill via NY 4280 1270; NY 4287 1284 and NY 4302 1298 to the ‘T’ Junction at NY 4315 1308 where you turn right to follow the path that runs SE from Boredale Head and Angle Tarn to High Street via The Knott. Follow the gravelly path up to a high point at NY 4381 1272, 200m east of The Knott, then down to a low point at NY 4407 1202. Here you can chose to walk either side of the wall (depending on wind direction) all the way to G/LD-011. High Street summit trig point is at NY 4410 1110.
The path from High Street to Stony Cove Pike (LD11 to LD18) goes via Thornthwaite Beacon NY 4313 1001 and Threshthwaite Mouth NY 4272 1029, the latter being a bit of a pain due to a shaley descent followed by a rocky climb. If you’re not doing Stony Cove Pike G/LD-018, the junction of the path back to Hartsop via Pasture Bottoms is at NY 4259 1027. Otherwise the climb up to SCP goes via NY 4223 1019 to a cairn at NY 4187 1000. You need your hands down in places on the lower sections but there’s nothing onerous unless perhaps it’s icy. There’s a low wall near to the summit where you can operate out of the wind if you’re lucky.
The way off SCP LD18 is north via the path which runs down the left-hand-side of the wall to NY 4156 1101, thence to Hartsop Dodd (WOTA LDW-126) at NY 4113 1180. There is a zig-zag path down steep ground to NY 4087 1258 after which you cross the wide bridge at NY 4105 1294 which takes you back to the car park.
The 20 mile drive from Keswick took about 35 minutes. Two cars were used because of the different timings. We were underway out of Hartsop at 10:24 passing active sheep pens with four attendant sheep dogs. The MWIS forecast said that it would be windy with single-figure temperatures and a risk of showers and low-cloud. The three of us, yes only three these days, walked together as far as the Angle Tarn/ High Street path at which point I turned right to round The Knott. David & Rob went left (NW) to walk up past Satura Crags as far as Boredale Head via the tarn.
Since the Hayswater dam and accompanying bridge were removed with Hayswater reverting back to a natural lake, I have suffered some confusion about the route up to The Knott from the footbridge. It’s not rocket science but after two failed attempts to find the path coming down, I finally nailed it going up today (see ‘Route’).
I saw a few people on the way up to High Street, all well wrapped up against the cold wind and one young lady complaining of cold hands. Luckily I had the solution to that if required; the winter mittens were still in my fleece pocket.
HIGH STREET (Racecourse Hill), G/LD-011, 828m, 8pts. 12:22 to 13:28. 6 deg C. SW wind – 25 mph. Dull overcast. No rain or low-cloud. (IO84NL, WAB: NY41, Trig: TP-0693). Vodafone coverage.
The forgotten Mast:
My goodness, what an omission. In the inevitable mental wrangle between HF and VHF, I had somehow forgotten to bring a mast. Worse than that the whip for the J-Pole ‘lives’ inside it! After a little thought the solution was to use the furled brolly as a mast, with a short length of bungee to secure the J-Pole to it. A well travelled, rolled up 3mm diameter aluminium welding rod that’s resided undisturbed in my rucksack since 2002 in case this should ever happen, was unravelled to form a makeshift whip. This inelegant contrivance, topped with the whip which resembled several dogs legs joined together, was wedged between wall and rucksack in the hope that it wouldn’t rain. I was somewhat ashamed but it transpired that neither passer’s-by nor RF noticed a thing.
145.550 FM – 6 QSO’s:
Following a self spot, I called CQ on S20 at 11:49z, bringing in G0TDM 57/ 42. John confirmed QRV with his own spot and I went on to work Geoff G4WHA/M 51/ 52 driving from Carlisle to Penrith and G0HRT Rob, a strong signal from Southport.
Next I heard ‘Summit to Summit.’ This turned out to be newcomer G0UXC/P enjoying his first SOTA activation on G/SP-017 Billinge Hill (59/ 54). Peter had ridden up the hill on his push bike and was using a new FT818. Finally I worked M1DHA Alan in Barnoldswick 59/ 59+ and Chris 2E0MOW/M ‘two miles north of Blackpool, reporting ‘almost unreadable audio.’
Using the Moonraker MT270M 25W mobile rig sometimes invites comments regarding transmitted audio. I have a label on the microphone reminding me not to talk too loudly but even so I can still get the odd poor audio report. Alan confirmed it was acceptable though ‘lacking in the medium frequencies.’
My angle on it is the weight or lack of it. At just over half a kilo I can accept poor audio and worse still mediocre receive selectivity so long as people can hear what I’m saying. When taking this rig, I always carry a half decent handheld as backup in case I lose more than the odd word from the chasers. Weight is paramount to me. Yes I could have hauled up a heavier 2m Kenwood mobile rig but I’d gone lightweight for a reason. Just sometimes I need some respite from the heavy stuff.
Power was 10W and 25W for the final two QSO’s and the activation took just 17 minutes. Next came lunch; very welcome when you need warming up. Is this really June? February was much warmer.
Walk to LD18:
It wasn’t pleasant walking straight into the cold wind which made my eyes water but apart from a stumble while texting near the beacon and tedious progress in Threshthwaite Mouth, it was uneventful. The sun came out for a while and the wind dropped in the shelter of Threshthwaite Crag. Grateful when it was over, the ‘inter-SOTA’ journey was made in 59 minutes; noticeably quicker than with HF QRO gear.
STONY COVE PIKE, G/LD-018, 763m, 6pts, 14:27 to 15:51, 10 deg.C, intermittent sunshine, 15mph SW wind - dropping. (IO84NL, WAB: NY41, No Trig). Vodafone coverage.
145.550/ 145.575 FM – 13 QSO’s:
In a rush due to the presence of a shop customer, Geoff G4WHA/A responded to my CQ and self spot with a 59/ 55 exchange. Next in, after missing me on High Street was BYLARA member Sue G1OHH, 59+ both ways followed by Mark M0NOM who requested my logs to help test the experimental WOTA on-line logging system. Sue had a request too. When I mentioned my intended descent route she told me in a hopeful manner that Hartsop Dodd was a WOTA. This I made a mental note of.
Next in the SOTA log was G7CDA Douggie who gave me 59 plus 30dB. Now increasing power to the 25 Watt maximum level mainly for the sake of John G0TDM struggling at 52/ 31, I went on to work: 2E0DXO Paul telling me ’59 plus 50dB!’ from his caravan in Heysham and G7OEM Tony – Westby, Blackpool.
After these a return to S20 was required and I was lucky enough to get a reply from Tom MW1EYP who worked me on 145.575. Initially calling him ‘Jimmy’ Tom sounded more bemused than annoyed. I apologised and in due course the real Jimmy turned up as MW0HGY/P. Tom and son Jimmy were on Aran Fawddwy GW/NW-007 getting eight activator points apiece and I thanked them for the day’s second S2S.
With around 15 minutes to spare, in came one of the ‘Three Musketeers’ - Ray G6HMN QTH Winewall near Colne using an X510 co-linear at 60 feet AGL. Steve MW0ISC/M followed with a quarter-wave on a mag mount from somewhere in NE Wales. The final two in the log were M1DHA Alan in Barnoldswick and just as I was reaching for the ‘QRT button’ Brian G4ZRP – QTH the Wirral at 40m ASL. Brian is recovering from a health problem and therefore glad to be back on the air. We had quite a long chat as he’d missed Blackpool Rally.
Descent & WOTA LDW-126:
Prompted by Sue during the LD18 session, I stopped at Hartsop Dodd on the way down to put on WOTA LDW-126 pulling in Peter GM3VMG from a CQ, 57 both ways. Peter, a ‘saver of bacon’ for me plenty of times when I’ve been struggling for 2m contacts in years gone by, lives in Eaglescliff near Lockerbie. He has no interest in SOTA or collecting any references; in fact he’ll usually mention that we’re all slightly deranged but it’s all done with the best of humour. John G0TDM 59/ 52 came in next, calling from Penrith but then there were no more takers.
For this brief ‘bonus activation’ I used a UV-3R’s linked to the vertical J-Pole left partly assembled on the umbrella ‘mast’ from LD18. Power was 2 Watts. Before QRT, I de-squelched to listen for Sue G1OHH and also Geoff G4WHA/A but nil heard from either I’m afraid. This hill is 618m high but bigger stuff surrounds it.
With 25 minutes expended on the WOTA, the car wasn’t reached until 17:07 and it took a further 35 minutes to get back to Keswick. After I’d sorted everything out and prepared for the next day, it was 6pm and time to wake up the XYL.
Eighteen points gained was much better than the four that Place Fell would have given me, had the set walk been done the other way round. I was happy that the path up to The Knott was now in the GPS.
If I needed any reminder, 2m-FM activating was again demonstrated to be several times easier than my usual multi-band, multimode HF QRO efforts but I badly needed a ‘holiday.’ This walk, last done on Christmas Eve 2018 the opposite way around, wasn’t a bad one apart from watering eyes walking off LD11 into that cold wind, not forgetting the annoying Threshthwaite Mouth of course. It didn’t matter to me that I’d only done these two six months earlier.
The WOTA on the way down wasn’t my idea but I was pleased to oblige, even if I only got two in the log.
The other two in the group got back to their car at 3pm after missing one of the paths on the way down from Boredale Hause.
QSO’s on 2m-FM:
10:24: Left Hartsop
12:22 to 13:28: LD11 SOTA
14:27 to 15:51: LD18 SOTA
16:16 to 16:41: LDW-126 WOTA
17:07: Arr. Hartsop
Driving: 2 x 20 miles
SOTA points: 18
Car to LD11: 1hr-58min (walking group)
LD11 to LD18: 59min
LD18 to LDW-126: 25min
LDW-126 to Hartsop: 26min
Summit time LD11: 1hr-6min
Summit time LD18: 1hr-24min
Summit time LDW-126: 25min
Ascent and Distance: 838m (2,750ft) and 12.3km (7.7 miles)
Thanks to ALL STATIONS worked and to the one spotter G0TDM but also for the phone spotting system. Thanks to David for arranging a walk in this area.
Footnote: New Top Band coils, to replace the ones lost under snowfall on Ben Wyvis last month, have been completed and just need testing. 160m will be resumed in due course I hope.
Please report errors
(G4YSS Using Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call GX0OOO/P)
Above: Sheep pens just after leaving the car park at Hartsop
Above: G4YSS & Rob
Above: David crossing the footbridge at NY 4267 1276
Above: Hayswater, formerly Hayswater Reservoir
Above: Rob and David heading for Angle Tarn
Above: Activation of G/LD-011 High Street on 2m-FM
Above: Moonraker MT270M (poor receiver)
Above: Thornthwaite Beacon
Above: Threshthwaite Mouth looking from the High Street side
Above: Looking down Pasture Bottoms
Above: Start of the climb to LD18
Above: View back over Threshthwaite Mouth to Thornthwaite Beacon
Above: Derelict wall on LD18 SCP
Above: Activation of G/LD-018 Stony Cove Pike on 2m-FM
Above: Hartsop Dodd WOTA LDW-126
Above: Looking down on Hartsop from the final slopes of Hartsop Dodd