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G4YSS:LAKES WEEK G/LDs:20-19-22-7-4, Jun-22

G4YSS: LAKES WEEK June-2022. Five LD SOTA`s over four days
Issue-1 (Pse Rprt Errors)

G/LD-019 HI RAISE 13-06-22 (ABORTED)
G/LD-020 DALE HEAD 14-06-22
G/LD-019 HI RAISE 15-06-22
G/LD-022 & G/LD-007 SEAT SANDAL & FAIRFIELD 16-06-22
G/LD-004 SKIDDAW 17-06-22

All Activations on 2m-FM only
QRO from LD19-LD22-LD7 using Moonraker MT270M 25W Mobile & 2.2Ah Li-Po
QRP from LD20-LD4 using UV-5R with Sotabeams Filter
Half-wave vertical J-Pole omni antenna on 2-section mast
All times BST (UTC plus 1 hr)

Reserve Rigs:
IC-E90 4-Band, 5W VHF H/H (not used)
Two UV-3R’s Handhelds used for Group inter-communications on PMR-446
Pack weights: 8 to 9kg

This report relates to our annual six-night break in the Lake District from Sunday 12th to Saturday 18th of June, with the usual walking group assembled from Worthing Birmingham and Scarborough. This year the group comprised seven people including three non-walking ladies. Of the walkers, Rob could only manage on-the-level routes and of the remaining three, Chris would become an early casualty. More of that later.

This group has been going since 1991 and I have had the pleasure of walking with them by invitation from the start of SOTA in 2002. In all that time there has been not a single cross word, just a lot of fun, fresh air, exercise and great companionship. However due to ageing and a general lack of numbers this will be our final get together in this format at least.

Accommodation was at the Avondale B&B in Southey Street, Keswick which was taken over by Amy & Chris from the previous occupiers Pearl & Tony in March-22. Standards are just as high as before and the cost was £55 PPPN minus a 5% discount negotiated by our walk leader David Barnes. Since the group started, various Southey Street B&B’s have been used such as The Lyndhurst, Bluestones and the Sandon. Back in 2002 the B&B cost just £16 PPPN.

Evening meals were found in Keswick at the Casa Bella, Thyme, Sultan and Pheasant Inn but it was necessary to book. The George was closed and the Royal Oak turned us down unbooked. All places served good quality food and cost was around £25 for two courses.

Group leader David Barnes made a route list based on Lakeland Walker Magazine but due to a lack of numbers the only route which was actually walked was the LD19 High Raise one. There were five walking days and this year the only summit I climbed solo was Skiddaw on the Friday.

Apart from Friday afternoon when it rained, weather for the week was good with no low-cloud, plenty of sunshine and light cooling breezes. Summit temperatures were typically 11 to 15C.

MONDAY 13-Jun-22:

This walk was undertaken by David, Chris and myself from the National Trust car park near the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and the Stickle Barn. In case I should be delayed on the activation, we took two cars. Parking was free because both David and Chris are NT members. Plans can go awry to say the least – read on.

We set off at around 10am taking the wrong path at first. After fording Dungeon Ghyll, Chris stopped to remove waterproofs and a little later some further layers. We proceeded upward on steep ground but at NY 2888 0656 around 10:40 Chris sat down and announced that he could go no further. A minute or two later he said that he was about to pass out. Seconds after that he went unconscious and while still in that state he vomited. This was alarming as he was unresponsive. We turned him onto his side and to our relief, he came round after a two or three minutes.

Chris was grey and weak so we agreed to allow him some time to recover before going back down. After half an hour we asked if he was fit enough to attempt to get him back to the car with close help from us but when he moved and tried and get onto his feet he felt ill again. The path was steep, rocky and narrow in places and it was about 700m back to the car park with 160m of descent. Eventually we decided between the three of us that it would be unwise to try to walk him down between David and I as he might get worse, go unconscious again or he could even fall and be injured. There was also the rocky stream to ford.

Eventually Chris conceded that he would need some outside help but there was no mobile signal for either of our phones. We made Chris as comfortable as possible but because of the stony nature of the ground he was still in some discomfort. We attempted to move him to a grassy area about 3 metres away but abandoned that idea after he felt ill again. Dave had a bivvy bag so we got that under him and also a sit mat plus my rolled up mountain jacket to support his head. It was quite a warm day but we covered him with coats.

It was agreed that I would go down to the Sticklebarn and ask to use their landline to call the emergency services. After testing the PMR radios, I set off down the 10-minute descent. The bar staff called the police and gave me the phone. Details requested were name, age and current state of the patient, location, telephone numbers, number in party etc. I gave the all-important Grid Ref and a description of the location on the path opposite the Dungeon Ghyll waterfall. The officer took time to confirm the location by asking questions about where we’d set off from and which direction we’d gone in.

The police then passed the information on to the Langdale MR saying that my phone would get a text with a link that would enable the phone to be located. This didn’t work due to a lack of phone signal and I would have needed an Internet connection too which I didn’t have.

After taking Chris’ rucksack back to the car, I used the PMR to give David and Chris an update then set off back up to them. I passed two people sitting down resting and mentioned that there was a casualty further up. Just before the MR arrived, this couple got up to our position. It turned out that they were both retired GP doctors and they asked Chris all the right questions.

I lost track of time but it didn’t seem long before the first Langdale MR team member arrived. I later found that he had a history of 900 call-outs and he looked all of 30 years old! He also mentioned that the majority of call-outs were for broken legs. All the kit was deployed with Chris wired up for ECG, O2, blood tests and then covered with a sleeping bag.

There was good liaison between the retired GP’s and the MR, which had the effect of making the transfer of information to their paperwork quicker. Because of Chris’ condition, the MR decided that they would have to call in a helicopter and one was dispatched from Prestwick in Scotland. While this was on it’s way a second MR team arrived at back – the Kendal team. In the end there were about 14 of them at the scene.

G-MCGT, an Augusta - Westland of HM Coastguard helicopter, capable of 157 mph (according to the MR), with two pilots and initially three medical occupants, did the rescue in four stages. Stage one seemed to be just a careful assessment of Chris’ location on the steep hillside and a guiding smoke flare was lit by an MR team member for that. Landing was out of the question as there was no flat and level ground available anywhere close by.

Just before the helicopter arrived, we’d been asked to go downhill 50m, stop any approaching walkers and brace ourselves for 120 mph winds but I was quite shocked at the ferocity. We were grit-blasted by small stones and rocks. Unfortunately where we had been sent turned out to be right under the final approach of the aircraft but there was little choice with the deep Dungeon Ghyll ravine to one side and high bracken everywhere else. I was blown down the grass slope a short way as was my camera, which was stopped by a couple further down. We were then guided a further 50m away by Langdale MR and most of the Kendal team with us.

In stage two a paramedic was winched down to check Chris before it flew back to lower a stretcher. Finally Chris was lifted off. Between stages the helicopter flew in circles over the valley. Visibility was excellent under a thin cloud base with only light winds. The helicopter was in attendance over the scene for approx 75 minutes in all.

Chris, who was extremely grateful for all the attention he received both from the MR and the helicopter crew but also said that it was an experience he would not recommend! As well as the terrific downdraught, the strobe effect of the rotor blades, visible during the flight through closed eyelids, added to Chris’ problems but once his head was propped up and tilted forward he felt better. According to the MR the choice of hospital was made by the crew on the basis of Chris’ medical condition combined with range and refuelling requirements. It could have been Carlisle, Lancaster, Barrow, Leeds or somewhere further up north.

Our friend was flown the 30 miles to Carlisle Infirmary and admitted overnight for observations and tests. What a day and I hope we never have to go through that again but what magnificent and in the circumstances timely attention Chris received from the MT and coastguard! Now I know why I put a fat donation in the MR collecting boxes whenever I see one. Any of us might need them one day and this day we certainly did. Chatting with them, while walking down to their Land Rovers, I felt somewhat emotional. We couldn’t thank them enough but words are so inadequate.

I also nipped into the Sticklebarn to thank the staff there. They told me that the MR had been to a rescue close to ours and only the evening before. The whole team had been treated to sandwiches and hot chocolate. They keep some of their equipment there. Dave and I went back to the B&B preoccupied and without any thought for more walking or the lost SOTA. Our first priority was to pay Chris’ wife Liz a visit to reassure her as much as we could.

Next day, the 14th June, after waiting for the doctor to release Chris, we drove up to Carlisle to collect him; picking up Liz from their camper van at Braithwaite on the way. He was just finishing his lunch when we arrived so we stooged around the hospital’s ‘peri track’ for five minutes until David brought him out to the car. The hospital is larger than any of us expected and looks well laid out. We got the full saga from Chris on the way back to Keswick and the whole process took just two hours via the A591 & A595. In the end pre-existing low-blood pressure, exacerbated by a side effect from a drug recently prescribed, was deemed to be the cause. He seems to have recovered, thank goodness.

TUESDAY 14-Jun-22:
After a short drive to Honister Pass parking free again in the NT car park with David’s pass, we walked off at 14:18. The path is easy to follow beside the boundary fence. Initially it crosses a stile to take you from left to right of the fence. Later there are deviations to the right and away from the fence to avoid rocky or boggy ground. David and I walked up at a very easy pace and the weather was sunny with good views and a cooling breeze.

G/LD-020, Dale Head, 753m, 6pts, 15:21 to 16:23. 5 mph wind, 12 deg.C, sunny intervals. IO84JM - NY21. Vodafone coverage.
UV-5W via a Sotabeams filter to the J-Pole.

I set up the mast about 20m SE of the rock stack and settled down to call CQ while David talked to one or two passers by. Some sheep and black lambs approached us to within 10 feet. They must have been after food and I was too l ate with the camera. It wasn’t long before I got a contact and this was Chris M0TCH/P, located down at Wasdale Head in readiness for an attempt on Scafell Pike the following day (57/ 45).

Next in was an old radio acquaintance; Steve G1IGG on Walney Island (59/ 55). ‘Long time no hear’ but somehow I remembered his name.

After that things began to look shaky as further CQ’s brought nothing. Eventually Derek 2E0MIX came up having heard sound coming from another room. He was 59 both ways. I had a brief chat with this well known SOTA activator/ chaser but he said he hadn’t been too well lately with a lot of hospital visits involving ‘not very nice treatment.’ Let’s hope things continue to improve for Derek.

Knowing David was with me and patiently waiting, I was getting quite anxious. For the next 10 minutes, despite a spot from Derek, no one turned up. Finally thank goodness, Bob 2E0GVD called me from Chorley with 59/ 55 reports. The summit was qualified but it had taken a total of 35 minutes which had seemed like an hour. Bob was using a Diamond X510 at 10m AGL and 10W from a Wouxun, with an MC60 base mic. Job done but I called again just in case.

I packed up at speed and we began the walk down, possibly much to David’s relief although we agreed that it was a pleasure to be high up on a day like that. We were back at the car for 17:16.

WEDNESDAY 15-Jun-22:
HIGH RAISE G/LD-019 Second Attempt.
Without Rob and after Monday’s events no Chris either, David and I agreed we’d make a second attempt to get High Raise done. Actually the route that David had in mind didn’t quite include the SOTA but he elected to wait out the activation at Sergeant Man to have his lunch. Meanwhile I would be as quick as possible which meant VHF only again.

I elected to drive us to New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and we parked in the NT car park using Dave’s membership as before. The ticket stated, ‘Until Closing Time’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. With the idea of saving the embarrassment of the previous day, I put the 25W rig in the rucksack, risking it somewhat by leaving the heavy Pye filter in the car. If there was noise I could always break out the 5W ICOM H/H and use the Sotabeams filter. Hopefully I’d get away with it as LD19 is a better VHF location than LD20.

We set off walking at 10:18 and were soon passing the spot where Chris had his drama with the helicopter two days before. It didn’t look any more comfortable to lie on as it did then. The path goes steeply up to bypass the Langdale Pikes, fording a trickling Dungeon Ghyll at NY 2792 0728, before rising further at the west side of Harrison Stickle. We climbed neither. David didn’t mention doing so and I had no interest as neither are SOTA’s. Perhaps that’s the wrong attitude as there may be a HuMP amongst them. I didn’t check and we had no extra time anyway.

From there the character of the land changes into much more of a flat, grassy walk via Thunacar Knott, a few hundred metres after which David & I parted company. I went straight on to LD19 while Dave turned right for lunch with Sergeant Man. While at Thunacar I worked Neil GQ0WPO/P on LD5 Great Gable and also Dave G6LKB who was chasing him. With the help of Neil, I also tried to reach Dave G3TQQ/P on NP17 Fountains Fell, without success but I was only using a 2W pocket handie.

G/LD-019, High Raise, 762m, 6 pts, 13:06 to 14:05. Overcast with some sunshine, 13C. 5 mph wind. LOC: IO84KL; WAB: NY20; Trig: TP3803. Vodafone coverage.

With a convenient rock to sit on and the J-Pole/ Moonraker MT270M combination set to 25W, I worked the following stations: GW4ZPL John IO73WD; G0TDM John - Penrith; G6LKB Dave Ulverston; G4WHA/M Geoff outside the computer shop in Carlisle; 2E0MIX/P Derek at Scilly Banks nr. Whitehaven.

Next in were G3TQQ/P and GQ4OOE/P both S2S on G/NP-017 Fountains Fell; M7ASK John - Morecambe; 2E0XUP Steve - Dearham; G0HIK/P Nick on Yoadcastle, a high-point on Birkby Fell; M7BIA/P Martin S2S on G/SP-004 Shining Torr; G1OAE Tony - Seaton; G7SXR Mark in Leeds and G0MWE Roger – Dearham.

The session spanned 26 minutes; quite quick by my own standards and I used GQ4YSS/P for the contact with Nick G4OOE. After packing up I called David on the PMR to tell him I was on my way and promptly left on the wrong path; the one I’d arrived on! Sergeant Man and David were eventually gained after a cross-country hike across grass and past some ponds.

After a brief stop we made our way down and soon met a man who’d forgotten his map. We gave him our spare A4 version. Somewhere close to NY 2915 0842 we turned right off the path for a short-cut to Stickle Tarn but like all the other times I’ve tried it, there was the lack of a decent path. We should have carried on to NY 2928 0792 then turned right.

The steep descent beside Stickle Ghyll, involving minor scrambling, was tedious. David guided a lady and her daughter coming the other way, up a particularly large rock as the mother didn’t have the confidence to climb it. We were more than pleased to reach the car at 16:06, just in time for a large pot of tea at the Hotel, after finding the Sticklebarn had closed.

THURSDAY 16-Jun-22:
We were looking for a compromise here but I often feel I’m getting too much of my own way. A day in the Lakes without SOTA points seems like a waste to me but I can see that there exist ‘normal’ people that may not agree. That aside, David and I decided to walk up from Dunmail Raise to Grisedale Tarn. There Dave would wait while I completed the activations of LD22 and LD7. I usually add LD10 St.Sunday Crag to these two but it’s well to the east and there would be insufficient time for it on this occasion.

David was going to have to wait by the Tarn for a two or three hours while I climbed, activated and descended the two summits. He didn’t seem at all upset by this and in many ways you couldn’t blame him. It was a glorious day with a gentle cooling breeze and perfect visibility. Had that not been the case it might have been just LD22 and quickly back to the car.

We were away from Dunmail and walking up Raise Beck by 10:05. Just after the gradient began to ease, we came across three men from Fix-The-Fells who were having their tea break. They had with them spades, shovels, picks and a long thick steel bar. We had a chat for ten minutes and put a note in their collection box.

Saying he’d been wakeful the previous night, Dave spread out his bivvy bag overlooking Grisedale Tarn and settled down for a sleep. What better place? I envied him a short time later after starting up the steep north ridge of Seat Sandal but the pain was short lived when fifteen minutes later I was deploying the J-Pole.

G/LD-022, Seat Sandal, 736m, 6 pts, 11:38 to 12:33. Sun & Cloud, 16C. 3 mph wind. LOC: IO84ML; WAB: NY31; Trig: Not Listed. Vodafone coverage.

With 25W from the Moonraker MT270M and omni vertical the following stations were logged: M6HVD Lyndon – IO83LT nr the M55 Blackpool; G0TDM John - Penrith; G7CDA & G1OHH Dougie & Sue in Lancaster; G6LKB Dave - Ulverston; 2E0XUP Steve - Dearham; M6KWB Kelly – Blackpool and G6NHW Pete on holiday in Knott End on Sea.

Continuing on: M7ASK John at Morecambe; M7BIA/P Martin S2S on G/SP-004 Shining Torr; 2E0MIX Derek - Whitehaven; G4JTP Howard in Skelmersdale, 15 miles NE from Liverpool and G0PZO Charlie – across the Mersey in Birkenhead.

Reports ranged from 55 to 59 with a 54 from Ulverston. In other words everybody was hearing me well and I them but you can never account for the effect of noise which gets into these cheap rigs so easily. I de-sqelched and checked the freq. Nobody calling and very little noise – well audible noise at least which doesn’t account for de-sensing of course. Lyndon reported my audio as BBC quality. Nothing wrong with the transmitter it would seem.

I had to chuckle at John G0TDM who mentioned that his cat has a habit of bringing live mice into the house. One of the latter chewed through a Cat5 cable which caused a network failure. Since the broken section is down the back of some barely accessible furniture it is likely to stay failed for some time.

The radio bit had taken almost three quarters of an hour which was longer than planned. I must have got somewhat carried away and distracted, without a thought for poor old Dave down by the Tarn, until now. I didn’t bother to put the radio in its jiffy bag or wind up the coax neatly; just rammed it all in the rucksack and away. This is not as easy as it sounds however. RG178 has other ideas about where it will or will not go but the draw cord on the rucksack captured it after a minor fight.

The walk across to Fairfield took 42 minutes and I checked-out Dave on the PMR as I set off. The main problem was haste. It’s much easier to rush an activation than a steep ascent. Not only that, the final section down Seat Sandal needs care due to steepness and loose rocks. Good job I was travelling light today as I’ve done this many times with a big HF station and in the early days Lead-Acid batteries too.

G/LD-007, Fairfield, 873m, 8 pts, 13:15 to 13:52. Cloudy with a little sun, 16C. 3 mph wind. LOC: IO84ML; WAB: NY31; No Trig. Vodafone coverage.

Because the rig had been quite hot to the touch after the LD22 activation, I elected to save the 2.2Ah battery by reducing power to 10W this time. Since I would be using 10 Watts I could now use the Sotabeams filter which is rated for 5 Watts. It wouldn’t have to mind the extra 3dB! I was willing to see what would happen but I have faith in Richard G3CWI who would surely have tested it at a higher power than he’d rated it? Hope I’m right!

Sitting by some rocks not far from the main shelter I checked the working freq. which is something I do before calling on S20. Sometimes if you’ve pre-alerted, people respond to this check.

Informed of my presence by John G0TDM, first in the log was Geoff G4WHA/A located inside the computer shop in Carlisle. The signal was better than he was getting on the /M outside so it must be a decent setup and a very tolerant shop owner – which has proved to be the case. Should a customer walk in and want to be served, QSO’s with Geoff are necessarily short. ‘Back to work Geoff.’

John G0TDM followed by giving my 10W a 59++ report. It is good to hear from John once again and I’m pleased he made the effort to work me. Most of his antennas blew down in the winter gales so he doesn’t have much in the way of band choices any more.

G6LKB Dave in Ulverston was telling me about a family member who has the same complaint as my XYL, namely MS so that made three of us indirectly affected by this nasty complaint.

Now we settle into a steady routine: G6NHW Pete on his hols at Knott End; M0TCH/M Chris – Barnard Castle; 2E0XUP Steve - Dearham; G1OHH Sue in Lancaster; 2E0MIX Derek at Whitehaven; 2W0FWP/P Iwan? S2S on GW/NW-042 Moel-y-Gamelin and G7CDA Dougie in Lancaster.

The 5W Sotabeams filter wasn’t warm to the touch after 20 minutes of 10W through it and though you can’t see what the extra RF Voltages might have done, no smoke issued from it at any stage.

I made it back to David near the Col (574m) in just under 30 minutes but the total separation had been just under three hours. Feeling a bit guilty I enquired if it had seemed a long time because to me it was a short time without even a chance to eat or drink. David had killed at least 20 minutes sleeping and further time talking to passers by. One couple had even loaned him their binoculars and spotted me when I was two thirds of the way up Fairfield.

Before the LD7 activation, David had managed to get the PMR radio onto the 2m-band and had heard all the QSO’s. Unfortunately he hadn’t remembered to switch back to 446 which on leaving LD7, had me thinking he’d returned to the car. A quick one-way message on 145.400 reminded him to switch back over and we had comms again.

The car was regained by 15:07 but a warm descent was further slowed by the state of David’s right boot sole which was half off by the end. As for me, I stuck my head in the beautifully cold and clear Raise Beck and felt much better after that.

END OF PART-1 (Pse QRX for Part-2 inc photos)


PART-2 Including photos

FRIDAY 17-Jun-22:
Morning Walk Round The Lake followed in the afternoon by:
The final-final walking day had arrived but David’s hip joint was playing up. It locks and is painful if he’s inactive for an hour or more. Although walking is not particularly affected, David had to drive back to Worthing the day after and so was looking for a level walk. His plan was to catch a boat across Derwentwater to Hawes End then walk back to Keswick around the north end of the lake.

With David being so flexible regarding SOTA and since this was probably the last day I would ever walk with him or any of the group for that matter, I elected to join him. The possibility of a SOTA later in the day wasn’t entirely given up but whilst it was fine in the morning apart from a strong breeze, heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon.

We walked down to the jetty without rucksacks; just what could be carried in pockets and a fleece tied around the waist. Not even boots – just shoes. It felt very strange indeed. The man in the pay booth told us, ‘No boats today unless this force-4 dies down.’ We had to revise the plan for less sailing and more walking but Dave was still hoping to reach Hawes End. I said that I would tag along at least part of the way.

We set off walking via Portinscale, passing the Derwentwater Hotel where my XYL and I have stayed over several Christmases. On reaching Nichol End, I turned back to Keswick and Dave carried on south. On the walk back to the B&B, the closest option of Skiddaw was decided upon. The sky was gradually changing to a darker colour but the top of the target mountain was cloud-free for the time being.

Getting ready as quickly as possible at The Avondale, I drove to Underscar car park which is the best start point for Skiddaw but also the most boring path. To combat the latter I grabbed my MP3 player. Sometimes at midday the car park is full but with the impending bad weather, there were a few vacant spaces.

I was underway in shirt sleeve order by 11:45 but by noon a few spots of rain were detectable. I needed to be as quick as possible but went for a steady plod without stops. New boots were being tried out today – some cheapo unbranded ones off ebay at £24.95 which were billed as ‘Waterproof.’ These were bought for dog walks but at least they were light at 940 grams for a pair of size-9’s. This compares with 1.7kg for my usual leather Scarpa Ranger GTX’s (size 9.5), if you include the insoles.

To combat the strong side-wind I pulled my sun hat down over one ear but the sun had gone for the duration. By the time I came out from the shelter provided by Little Man, cloud was scudding across the summit accompanied by rain. I usually go to the trig point but in deteriorating weather conditions I stopped at the first shelter I could find at NY 2604 2866. This is some 440m short of the trig but well inside the 25m activation zone. The climb had taken 70 minutes.

G/LD-004, Skiddaw, 931m,10 pts, 12:55 to 13:28. Low-cloud; 11C; 30 mph wind; heavy rain from 12:45 thro’ the remainder of the afternoon. LOC: IO84KP, WAB: NY22; Trig TP6001 (not valid today). Vodafone coverage.

After setting up the J-Pole and connecting the UV-5R plus Sotabeams filter, I removed my sodden shirt and sun hat, wrung them out and shoved them in the rucksack – outside the liner of course. The nice dry fleece replaced the shirt but it wasn’t to be dry for very long. With time the essence and a desire to be down and out of the weather ASAP, the waterproofs stayed in the rucksack. I detest the things and rarely wear them, preferring a brolly if possible. I tried to unfurl one here but it was damaged almost immediately due to not getting it into wind quickly enough.

First to reply to my ‘CQ-SOTA’ was 2E0XUP Steve in Dearham. Steve (ex M7XUP) was in a web meeting at the time but responded nevertheless. He even took the trouble to spot me two minutes after the QSO. Many thanks Steve.

Steve’s spot brought in 2E0MIX Derek in Whitehaven; MM7FEM/M Jim in Moffat (Home Ayr); G1FVA Keith – Howtown which I think is on Ullswater; G0TDM John at Penrith and M3TMX/M Jordan S2S on G/NP-001 Cross Fell, ‘It’s not raining here yet’.

Finally I worked M7BIA/P Martin S2S on G/SP-004 Shining Torr for the fourth time this week. I commented that he must have built a house on top of that one. He replied that it saved on travel costs, significant with fuel £1.80 a litre. A keen newcomer methinks and a fitting end to what appears to be my final Lakes Week (as we have come to know it) after 20 years. Power was 5W or less after the filter and due to the bad weather, the session took only 12 minutes.

I still had to get down of course and the rain was quite heavy and being driven from the west. The shelter had been stopping some of it but my top half was already soggy despite the fleece having a Pertex lining. I made a rapid retreat down the mountain in 53 minutes overtaking plastic clad groups of walkers in my determination to drop out of cloud and hopefully the rain too.

It wasn’t to be on either score. The fog only parted a couple of hundred feet above the car park and there were minor streams running through the latter on arrival. I didn’t mind being literally and completely soaked to the skin from head to foot because after a short drive I was in the shower and sorted. Not so the wet gear though which decorated the walls of the room overnight. Oh and by the way, the new dog walking boots either leaked or filled up from the tops, I don’t know which. At least they were fairly comfortable and the low weight was noticeable.

In Conclusion:
A subtitle that’s easy to write normally but that was apparently the final ‘conclusion’ of twenty years of Lakes Week. Sad it is too but time marches on and waits for no man. After a peak of twelve or more walkers, the gathering has been sparsely attended over the past 5 years and covid didn’t do it any favours either. David Barnes is the hero in keeping it going for so long, in fact since 1991 but now he too is beginning to ‘crumble’ and driving from the south coast gets harder every year. For me it’s less than a three hour cross-country trip. Rob has a serious complaint too and his wife has been completely blind for years now caused by the cursed MS. Dave has cancelled his subscription to Lakeland Walker so I know he means it. His first mountain was Helvellyn in 1966 and like many more of us, he fell in love with the Lake District.

The events surrounding Chris on day-one were unprecedented both for the walking group and me personally. I hope nothing like that ever happens again but when we needed help it was forthcoming and timely. The Langdale and Kendal MR were quickly on the scene and the helicopter not far behind. We are very grateful to them.

When these things happen it seems like you’ve opened the flood gates so feelings of guilt are mixed with the other emotions. All these people torn away from their normal existence but we were told later that we’d done the right thing. Many times, people have tried to deal with the situation themselves making the problem worse and harder to sort out when eventually help had to be called in. When last contacted, Chris seems to have made a good recovery and by now will have had his drug regime revisited by his GP. Two days after the event we completed the aborted route – for Chris.

There was no HF from any summit. When accompanied by non-amateurs, a simple activation is called for. 2m-FM seems to be as popular as it ever was for SOTA with the reasons still as obvious as they were from the outset in 2002. A lighter carry and range increasing with height. Also it can be quick or you can stay longer – the operators choice or sometimes the WX. The only danger is failing to qualify, especially on the lower hills.

My only solo activation was Skiddaw on the final afternoon but the weather was atrocious and time seemed tight. In the event I was up and down in just over 2.5 hours including the activation so if it had been a fine day, an HF multi-band operation would have been possible. However, the older I get, the less I want to put myself out. This way of climbing Skid is the most boring but also the most efficient. I always look for the latter and care little about the first.

The Avondale B&B on Southey Street, Keswick can be readily recommended. The adjectives comfortable, friendly and well run come easily to mind. The place changed hands in March but we need not have worried. It’s as good as ever.


MONDAY 13-Jun-22: High Raise G/LD-019 Abandoned

TUESDAY 14-Jun-22: Dale Head G/LD-020:
Ascent & Distance Walked: 397m (1,302ft) / 4.5km (2.8 miles)
4 QSO’s / 6 pts

WEDNESDAY 15-Jun-22: High Raise G/LD-019:
Ascent & Distance Walked: 672m (2,205ft) / 9.0km (5.6 miles)
15 QSO’s / 6 pts

THURSDAY 16-Jun-22: Seat Sandal G/LD-022 and G/LD-007 Fairfield
Ascent & Distance Walked: 799m (2,621ft) / 6.2km (3.9 miles)
LD22: 13 QSO’s / 6 pts. LD7: 10 QSO’s / 8 pts

FRIDAY 17-Jun-22: Skiddaw G/LD-004
Ascent & Distance Walked: 660m (2,165ft) / 9.7km (6.1 miles)
7 QSO’s / 10 pts

Ascent & Distance Walked: 2,528m (8,294ft) / 29.4km (18.4 miles)
49 QSO’s / 36 pts
Miles Driven: 477

Thanks to ALL STATIONS Worked and for SOTAwatch Spots as follows:
2E0MIX; G6LKB; G4WHA; 2E0XUP; G0UUU - DX Cluster

73, John


Above: LD19 Aborted. NT Car park, Dungeon Ghyll. Free if you’re a member. Chris & Dave about to start the walk on day-1.

Above: LD19 Aborted. Chris fording Dungeon Ghyll

Above: LD19 Aborted. Chris after going unconscious. Langdale MR were quickly in attendance

Above: LD19 Aborted. HM Coastguard Rescue Helicopter G-MCGT arriving from Prestwick

Above: LD19 Aborted. MR smoke flare to guide in the helicopter

Above: LD19 Aborted. G-MCGT hovering slowly towards the target

Above: LD19 Aborted. Lowering a stretcher

Above: LD19 Aborted. The 120 mph downdraught broke this tree

Above: LD19 Aborted. MR descending after the rescue

Above: LD19 Aborted. Langdale & Kendal Mountain Rescue team vehicles at Sticklebarn after the rescue


Above: LD20: Honister Pass start point. ‘Dale Head 1 mile’

Above: LD20: Honister Crag and quarries

Above: LD20: David on the way up

Above: LD20 Dale Head summit rock stack

Above: G/LD-020 activation on 2m-FM. Walk leader - David Barnes from Worthing

Above: LD20: Portuguese man, married to a UK girl for 11 years, and his dog on their way for a night on Robinson (LD21). Honister mine below

Above: LD20: Intelligent retriever requesting a dog treat from his owner


Above: LD19. Dungeon Ghyll

Above: LD19. Climbing up Loft Crag

Above: LD19. Crossing the higher reaches of Dungeon Ghyll

Above: LD19. Cairn on Thunacar Knott

Above: LD19. G/LD-019 High Raise activation on 2m-FM

Above: LD19. Near Sergeant Man. Walker who’d forgotten his map & David

Above: LD19. David walking down Stickle Ghyll

Above: LD19. David guiding a nervous walker up a scramble beside Stickle Ghyll


Above: LD22-LD7. Climbing the ladder stile at Dunmail Raise

Above: LD22-LD7. Raise Beck waterfall

Above: LD22-LD7. Fix-The-Fells team on the path beside Raise Beck

Above: LD22-LD7. Activation of G/LD-022 Seat Sandal on 2m-FM

Above: LD22-LD7. Heading off LD22 Seat Sandal for LD7 Fairfield (right of photo). St.Sunday Crag LD10 is at centre (not today)

Above: LD22-LD7. Activation of G/LD-007 Fairfield on 2m-FM

Above: LD22-LD7. The gravely path down Fairfield and Grisedale Tarn

Above: LD22-LD7. Raise Beck. A lamb enjoying some shade


Above: LD4. The ‘Skiddaw Motorway’ from Underscar Car Park… The quickest and most boring route

Above: LD4. The cheapo (£24.95) ebay ‘waterproof’ boots, straight out of the box. Intended for dog walking but tried out here

Above: LD4. Passing Little Man. ‘Motorway’ fog and a change in the weather

Above: LD4. Activation of G/LD-004 Skiddaw on 2m-FM. Wind, rain, fog and a comprehensive soaking for the op.

Above: LD4. On the way down ASAP. Great views!

Above: LD4. Back at the car park thank goodness. A sad end to the final LAKES WEEK (1991 to 2022)



What a big trauma for first day, your lengthy description and report was a great read.

My heart goes out to your friend, and glad he was released from the Hospital next day. Congratulations for continuing with your efforts to reach the other summits,

I for one bow to your efforts, and thanks once again for a great report

73 Tony