Having failed, yet again, to push my QSO total significantly nearer to that of Steve G1INK in the SOTA 12m Challenge, I figured that adding to the multipliers might be a better idea. Surrounding me (at some distance) were three easy summits, as yet unactivated by me in the Challenge. Trouble was they were all in the middle of nowhere - and not particularly near each other.
Programming the parking spots for Bardon Hill G/CE-004 (Coalville, Leicestershire), Normanby Top G/TW-005 (Lincolnshire Wolds) and Bishop Wilton Wold G/TW-004 (East Riding of Yorkshire) revealed the true horror of the 303 mile round trip. A summit on an urban quarry, and two “roadside” summits on large flat plateaux, and over 300 miles of driving. For the purist mountaineer, surely the SOTA Expedition from Hell, a nightmare fit for Halloween.
I couldn’t get the preferred early start on All Hallows Eve, Thursday 31st October 2013, for I had to drop Liam off at college at 9am. But then I was soon motoring down the A536, A34, A500, A50 and M1 into deepest Leicestershire. The first of several wrong turnings during the day meant I took a less than direct route into Vercor Close, Coalville, the start point for the walk up Bardon Hill G/CE-004.
Pleasingly, I was enjoying good energy levels, and a brisk walk saw me up the hill in good time. Rather than battle with the low branches to get to the trig point, I elected to activated from the bench just before the radio station access road. This is virtually at the same height as the summit area, and comfortably within the SOTA activation zone.
Plus it had a bench, more room to erect the antenna, much better views, and would spare me a few valuable minutes on a heavy schedule. It was a bit damp and drizzly, but not too bad and I didn’t get too wet. It was wet enough to make me not feel like doing PSK31 though! I made 18 QSOs, 10 on SSB and 8 on CW.
That was a good start to the day, and time wise I was well ahead of schedule. I packed away and made for a swift descent to try and put the banked slack time to good use. Next it was off to Normanby Top G/TW-005.