Helvellyn mid week?

Hi folks,

I have been told by the XYL that we are going away for a few days in July somewhere. I hummed and hawed when she said going to France or Germany - nothing against those countries you understand. Then she came up with the idea about the Lake District or that other district further south. I sounded a bit more enthusiastic about that prospect. She searched for several places to stay (she’s paying I must add) for me to choose from.

Then the bombshell came, so what hills do you fancy playing SOTA on then? Well now that cheered up my fissog no end. :grinning:

So the question being is it possible to qualify on just 2m FM mid week. The summits I have in mind are G/LD-003 Helvellyn, G/LD-010 St Sunday Crag, G/LD-007 Fairfield and G/LD-022 Seat Sandal. 32 activator points for less distance than 2 points for GM/SS-073 Mullwharchar.

I’ve had a quick look at the routes and there is a bit of a drop between the summits but should be quite easy to do in a day.

Any suggestions as to 2m or 70cm or do I have to carry the ft817 as well.

Cheers Neil

On the two occasions that I have activated Helvellyn they have both been mind week. I stay away from the hills and the crowds at the weekends. One the first occasion I made 17 2-fm QSOs and on the second 13 QSO’s. Hope this helps

73 Glyn

Hi Neil

Yes it is possible to do those four with a 2 metres handheld and has been done several times by different activators. I wouldn’t say that it was easy though!


Yes, it is a pity that Mulwharchar is a 2 pointer… it rather ruins the oral tradition that all the difficult GM summits are single pointers. :wink:

G/LD on 2m FM - should be nae problem, what with a good number of locals and IO83 a mere smidge away.
Happy walking on solid ground. You’ll miss the tussocks. :grinning:

“I told my wife the truth. I told her I was seeing a psychiatrist. Then she told me the truth: that she was seeing a psychiatrist, two plumbers, and a bartender.”


Different area I know, but I was really struggling on 40m today. If it hadn’t been for my 2m Handie I wouldn’t have qualified GW/SW-001 this morning - never leave home without one :wink: (And a better aerial doesn’t hurt)

Hi Neil

I have done this route with the four summits during a week day using 2m with a handheld and a vertical dipole antenna on a 2m pole, even had a QSO with M0FMF. Great scenery and veiws in good weather so make sure you leave the rain at home and bring the sun cream. A good place to stay for the night was the Helvellyn hostel with fine beer, great food and a good starting point for Helvellyn.

Logs for the day

Seat Sandal
St Sunday Crag

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to figure this out. I looked at your log and the QSO is not in my logs. Then I looked at the date. I was paying a flying visit to G6MZX’s QTH on the way to Manchester Airport.

That was a big day you had… far too fit!

Hi Neil,

I made 29 contacts on 2m FM from Helvellyn in just under 2 hours on a Tuesday
in July 2014. Yaesu FT270 + speaker/mic for best audio, Sotabeams MFD dipole.
Activation Log here: Helvellyn 2014. Summit photograph on my QRZ.COM page,
taken by my daughter on what was a grand day out. I hope you have a great time!

73, John M0VCM

Hi Neil,

Well done on getting your XYL to buy you a holiday. I hope you enjoy the Lake District.

Having done that round nine times by now; three of them with just VHF QRP, I can confirm that you should have little problem in getting your four contacts. Helvellyn and Fairfield are big enough to get you out very well even if you have just 2 Watts to a rubber duck. Seat Sandal is smaller but still well placed to cover a wide area.

If you had to elect the poorest one for coverage, it would be St Sunday Crag LD10. ‘Poorest’ does not mean poor but you may well find you get fewer contacts from there than from the others. That said I have always qualified easy enough and one time that was with just a rubber duck. To save your time, whilst at the same time pleasing more chasers, I suggest that you alert your approx. QRV times, take an external antenna such as a J-Pole or other half-wave and also get someone to spot you if you can’t spot yourself. I was on these four in March and all had EE (Orange) mobile coverage then.

Despite the fact that it’s argueably the most efficient method in the UK of picking up 32 points (44 in winter) the route is not completely undemanding but it’s well walked which makes wayfinding easier. The best place to start is Patterdale Pay & Display opposite the hotel. Go via Hole-in-the-Wall and I would suggest not wasting time on Striding Edge. Swirral Edge is significantly quicker and when there’s no snow or ice, safe enough. Coffa Pike between LD7 and LD10 is quite steep and loose but again if there’s no ice there’s no problem. The final walk off St Sunday should not be underestimated as is steepish and a bit hard on the knees near the end. Allow an hour or more.

Total ascent is under 5,000 feet and I think it’s about 11 or 12 miles. If you need a .gpx route or some idea of times, send me an email (See QRZ.com)

As for SS73. There is a Whitley Bomber in Loch Enoch with apparently bits at the side. You may have seen something of that but not very likely.

I will be in LD from 5th to 9th June so if you’re there then I will listen out for you.

Hope you get good WX,
Good luck,
73, John G4YSS.

The round could be done from the other side of Helvellyn but in a different order. Follow the tourist route up Helvellyn from the car park at the south end of Thirlmere, then from either Striding edge or Swirrel Edge head for the “Hole in the Wall”, descend easily into Grisedale and ascend St Sunday Crag by Thornhow End or Elmhow Plantation, continuing with Fairfield and Seat Sandal before descending to the col above Grisedale Tarn and dropping down to Dunmail Raise. There is no particular benefit to doing it this way unless you don’t want to stay in the Patterdale area, but a change can be nice if you are used to doing Helvellyn from the east!

I know this western side because the climbing club often used to stay at the Dunmail Raise hut (I think it has been sold off now) or the campsite at Thirlspot. We have a tradition of watching the midsummer sunrise from the summit of Helvellyn!


Thanks guys for the info.

I still have to run this route past Cat the XYL, I know she said I could go play on the hills but did she really mean nearly a whole day? We will see. I know she wants to do some walking as well but it will have to be easier hills for her due to her dodgy knee.

The route I had first looked at was from the NW at Highpark Wood parking area then to Helvellyn. From there south to Grisedale Tarn and on to St Sunday Crag. Back to Fairfiled and then on to Seat Sandal finishing just north of Grasmere. Not exactly a circular or linear route more of a T route. Cat being a driver helps by not having to trek back to the start. I think that is similar to your route Brian.

Yes John I will have a look at your route. I might be able to change my route to include the summits and something for Cat to do as well. I knew about the plane wreckage but haven’t seen it yet but the location is a bit vague. Been to the one on Craignaw a few times and took Gerald G4OIG to see it the time I dragged him up the lovely Galloways.

I presume from that the going is good, good enough to jog downhill between hills? I can’t run uphill, those days left me when I left school. And yes I love my tussocks! :wink:
And as for Mullwharchar being a spoiler being 2 points, the second point is for getting out in one piece, alive and without a tear in your eyes.

Thanks to the rest of you, 2m FM it will probably be. That way I can look after my back a bit better by carrying the 25l rucksack which doesn’t press against the damaged discs in my lower back. Now I just have to get a bit fitter again, been very lazy last 2 years after slipping 2 discs in my back. Was out hiking last Sunday (over the Galloway Hills) and covered 20km. Soles of my feet were a bit sore but fine apart from that.

I post alerts near the time.

Cheers and 73 Neil

P.S. Just realised with a gulp that the last time I climbed Helvellyn was 40 years come August. Oh dear. :grimacing:

Hi Neil
In the Lake District it is best to double your insurance policy and Alert on Wainwrights on the Air too. As you pass over a Wainwright top the regulars will want to chase you and your progress on this monster round will be monitored. It takes only a few minutes to talk with G0TDM, G4WHA and Derek in Whitehaven while Cat has a rest. E.g. I activated 4 wainwrights including Helvellyn a couple of years ago so my SOTA chasers were well informed of our impending arrival at the main top.

I’ve adored the walks with my Dad to activate all Lakeland region and the WOTA local chasers make it very special. Activating all G/LD has been my favourite while I’ve activated over 80 Wainwrights and Low Lying Fells on the way round too.
I wish you fair weather and a great holiday
David M0YDH

Thanks David,

I did register with WOTA a few years ago to log my chases so will probably have a go if I am allowed on this route. I am slowly getting Cat in to my way of thinking. She doesn’t mind hanging around listening to me on the radio- she likes the crack! I just can’t get her to operate on her own though, she prefers to just do data modes from home. I think she gets embarrassed and scared she mucks it up. 3 or 4 years licenced and apart from marshalling races she very rarely picks up the mic.

The Lakes are about as far away from home as the hills around Tyndrum and Glencoe so once I get oomph back I may well venture back down for a day trip. That’s the only drawback about trying to keep to 100% unique activations.

73 Neil

Plus all the other drawbacks of abstention from something you enjoy! Don’t get over attached to that meaningless 100% figure in the Uniques table, and go and have some fun.

Tom M1EYP - 19.5% Unique, and loving it…

(Might creep back up over 20% again next week though!)

Yes I know Tom. I still do a fair bit of walking and usually have a handheld with me so I can chase a few summits while enjoying my walks. One of the reason I don’t get annoyed or upset if I don’t qualify a hill is that I know I can go back again sometime. One of the main reasons I wander the hills is to explore which is probably the main factor in me being late for my alerted time.

Enjoy your GI trip. I may hear Jimmy on 2m while driving to work.

73 Neil

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I suppose you do have lots of hills to go at up there. So much that even I have a 100% activator unique record in GM!

Need to get back there sometime. The GM/SI region will be the only UK SOTA region I won’t have activated in a fortnight’s time. I have gigs coming up in Dundee and Livingston, but of course Jim will ban me from any new ones. So if I do sleep over and bag a cheeky activation, it will be one that ends that 100% uniqueness!

I do so have plenty of hills and the best of all are the Galloway Hills that everyone loves to hate but they do have some wonderful details to the terrain.

Sneak up with an old callsign - we won’t clype!

Hi Folks,

Heading off tomorrow (Monday) morning to G/LD for our few days away.

Unfortunately due to a recent family bereavement on Cat’s side plans have changed a bit. Helvellyn and her companions will have to wait for another trip but our plan is to hit Blencathra G/LD-008 about late morning/mid-day on Monday. I may get the chance to do another one sometime. Only taking the 2m and 4m handhelds with me.

Here’s hoping for good weather, lots of sight seeing to be done and quality time together.

Hope to hear a few of you on my first activation in 12 months.

73 Neil