G4YSS: G/LD-033 Lords Seat, 26-12-19
Issue-2 (East-West errors)
LORDS SEAT G/LD-033 on 2m-FM QRP only
G4YSS using GX0OOO/P unaccompanied
All times UTC (GMT)
RADIO EQUIPMENT - HF (Carried but not used):
FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF 5W Transceiver without internal batteries
MX-P50M, 50 Watt HF Linear Amplifier
Link dipole for 80-60-40-(30)-20m
Four section, 5m CFC mast with 1m end sticks
One 5Ah Li-Po
Unitone ‘D shape’ ear-cup phones.
Equipment - VHF:
IC-E90 4-Band, 5W-VHFM Handheld with integral 1.3Ah battery
Baofeng UV-3R pocket rig with set-top helical (not used)
Garmin GEKO 301 GPS
Pack-weight: 9.5 kg (21 pounds) including 0.25 litres fluids (not used)
This was the third and final full day of a 4-night stay at the Derwentwater Hotel with my XYL. I’ve been healthy enough for months but never quite got round to activating. The usual thing happened; a sore throat developing on 22nd December. Care must be taken with this as I have suffered from chronic bronchitis most of my life. It seemed that SOTA must be off altogether but after a restful 2-days things improved somewhat from a bad throat and headache to mild asthma.
Just my luck. The Mountain forecast for the three applicable days was only good for Christmas day which turned out quite sunny with light winds and no cloud on the hills I could see from the hotel. Boxing day’s forecast didn’t read well – ‘Snow or rain most of the day, winds up to gale force.’ Despite MWIS having a tendency to exaggerate somewhat, I took that as a warning to stay low which is why LD33 was chosen. That and the fact that it’s close to the hotel.
When climbed from Whinlatter Pass, LD33 standing at 522m ASL is a relatively quick and easy SOTA; the start point being at 320m ASL on the road which goes west from Braithwaite to Lorton.
The 4-mile drive took under 10 minutes and I was able to park on the verge with a dozen other cars in Whinlatter Pass a couple of hundred metres west of the large parking area.
The path leaves the B5292 road at NY 2047 2452 and heads NE uphill to NY 2082 2483. Follow the forest trail to the left passing through NY 2072 2496; NY 2076 2518 and NY 2079 2536 to NY 2065 2544 where you have a choice. Straight on NW (west route) is slightly more direct but it descends a little. The alternative is to turn sharp right here (east route) which seemed to be a bit of a ‘round the houses’ route when I accidentally came down it on the return. However, further investigation has deemed it to be the better option due to less re-ascent (See ‘Descent’ and ‘Walk Data’).
West route: At NY 2049 2554 the track angles right and generally north via NY 2058 2577 to a smaller path at NY 2052 2597, which leaves the track near a hairpin bend. You then walk steeply up via NY 2063 2625 to NY 2075 2635 and here a sharp left turn is made at a ‘T’ junction to join a gravelled path. This leads to the summit via a stile at NY 2042 2646. At the summit there is a steel post which I GPS’d today at NY 20417 26551. The ascent took 37 minutes but that was with quite a heavy pack. There is some re-ascent required with this route – perhaps around 30 metres one way. I set off walking in very light drizzle at 14:04, meeting a few people on the way up, though the summit was initially deserted.
LORDS SEAT, G/LD-033, 552m, 2 pts, 12:41 to 13:39. 4 deg C and dropping. 25 mph wind – decreasing. Increasing rain, sleet or snow showers but no low-cloud. IO84JD, WAB: NY22, No Trig. Phone coverage unknown (not tried).
145.550 FM - 9 QSO’s:
Having no idea how this would go, I carried up 50 Watts of HF, a mast and a dipole as insurance.
A CQ on S20 with 5 Watts from the IC-E90 opened the activation at 12:50 when GM4WHA (Annan) called immediately. Geoff had seen the SOTA alert I’d put on before leaving the hotel but sadly there was no sign of John G0TDM. These two used to come as a pair but looking at a map beforehand told me that Annan would be easy but not so for John, who was screened by part of Skiddaw. Geoff went on to offer me his ‘B’ call - GM6SMW, ‘just in case.’ Geoff spotted me too – a great help.
Next in was 2E0LDF Reg giving my 5 Watt signal a 59 plus 60dB report from Cockermouth. Reg told me that I could expect 2E0MIX at some point and Derek did show up later. I think I must have nipped back to S20 for the next caller who was Ethan M7ECT/P located in Broughton and just returned from a walk. He needed three goes at getting my club callsign but that’s nothing new.
Requiring just one further QSO to properly qualify, another return to S20 brought in Sue from Lancaster – G1OHH. All reports so far had been 59 but this was a trickier path at 55/ 51. I thanked Sue for the qualifying QSO and squatting under a black umbrella in a small rock cleft, fighting off rain, sleet and later some snow, I was truly thankful that I would not be needing to deploy the HF station. This was just a token activation with an ongoing sore throat but apologies to the further away stations looking to collect LD33. I haven’t given up on you.
Just when I thought I’d been already very fortunate, in came four more stations. First GM3VMB Peter in Eaglesfield near Lockerbie, then as predicted by Reg, 2E0MIX Derek in Whitehaven, followed by G7WKX/P Simon, a visitor in Keswick. Reports for these were all 59 both ways and just as I was announcing the QRT, in came GM6BIG from near Lanark (IO85CP) at 960 feet ASL. David was using 50W to a co-linear and the exchange was 57/ 51.
Peter reiterated his judgement on the sanity of people who sit on mountains in rotten weather. I enjoy this; we always have a good laugh about it and I must say it does make me think of how I’ve managed to become one of these people. When I ‘boasted’ about my age and a recent ‘zero’ on it, Peter mentioned he’d got six years on me.
On a similar note, Derek told me that he was starting to have difficulty with big ascents these days and I think it comes to everyone. To me the psychology of it is very challenging too. The older you get the more you wonder where the next inspiration and motivation is coming from.
A case in point; well not really age related but certainly life related. I’m so ‘gutted’ by the loss of Sasha, the dog that accompanied me up numerous summits and camped on five of them including three this year, it puts me off doing things. We walked almost 7,000 miles together in 5 years. What a friend. Irreplaceable!
Simon told me he’d been out the day before and done half a dozen mixed summits. I was jealous. I had to eat turkey instead. He reeled off a few but Grasmoor, Whiteside and Hopegill Head were the three I remember. Surprisingly considering its height, he didn’t manage to qualify the SOTA Grasmoor; or at least that’s what I thought I heard. Probably a lot to do with it being Christmas day.
There were no more takers, though I didn’t return to S20. It was time to go. Packing up a VHFM station takes very little time but just as I was about to leave half a dozen people arrived on the summit. See photo.
The descent took 33 minutes to 14:12 but I went slightly wrong in missing the right turn at the ‘T’ junction NY 2075 2635, instead walking a further 80m to another right turn at NY 2079 2628. Here a gravelled path took me down in a loop via NY 2067 2598 and NY 2093 2567 to the junction at NY 2065 2544. From there it was a retrace. Though this return (east) route is very slightly longer, it turns out there’s much less re-ascent Just when I thought I was being led up the garden path, four people showed up, coming the other way. I was reassured that this path, which later became a track, did in fact lead back to Whinlatter. It was a good find it but I can almost hear you telling me, ‘That’s the way you’re supposed to go!’
QSO’s on 2m-FM: 9
SOTA Points: 5
Ascent & Distance:
Today: 265m (870ft) of ascent / 6.3km (3.9 miles) walked up one route and down the other.
(292m (958ft) of ascent / 6.2km (3.9 miles) walked if using today’s ascent (west) route both ways)
(240m (787ft) of ascent / 6.4km (4 miles) walked if using today’s descent (east) route both ways)
Preferred in future: Use east route both ways.
A quick and simple activation added to some force-fed fresh air. Exercise too but most of all the sense of achievement that SOTA brings. Five points gained on a 2-pointer that I haven’t activated since January 2006. Qualified on 2m, there’s something about that simplicity that’s refreshing and it doesn’t take as much psyching up to as HF either. A few relaxed chats, despite slightly inclement weather. Photos aren’t up to much mainly down to a dull day. Home to Scarborough tomorrow.
According to my High Ground wrecks listing, there is a WW2 Avro Anson crash site 60m NW of LD33’s summit at NY 204 266. I didn’t look for that today but I may have in the past. If so I would expect to have failed. This is just an inaccurate six figure ref, not far enough off the beaten track and there is rarely much left of Ansons apart from the one on Ben More Assynt.
To all stations worked and today’s spotter: GM4WHA Geoff. (Please report errors)
(G4YSS using Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call GX0OOO/P.)
Photos - please excuse poor quality:
Above: B5292 Whinlatter Pass looking east from Start Point
Above: B5292 Whinlatter Pass looking west from Start Point
Above: B5292 Whinlatter Pass Start Point/ Path
Above: Route to LD33 after leaving the forest
Above: Final approach to LD33. Stile ahead but out of sight
Above: Activation of G/LD-033 on 2m-FM only
Above: A blurred and shaky horizon
Above: LD33 Summit iron post
Above: LD33 Summit walkers
Above: LD33 Summit walkers
Above: Descent on forest track
Above: Skiddaw from the B5292 on the way back to Keswick
Above: Keswick on Christmas Eve 2019 (1)
Above: Keswick on Christmas Eve 2019 (2)