Indoors on The Cloud

Has anyone noticed a kind of abandoned residence or lodge just by the Cloudside parking spot, on the left as you start to walk up the track towards the stairs? It is all very overgrown, but it looks like a rather substantial cottage, but with metal shutters over all the windows, and a big double garage and hints of a driveway and path to the cottage front door.

I wonder who owns it, whether it can be sold, and what it would cost to do it up? Perhaps it could be holiday let as a “SOTA Resort”!

Anyway, enough of that for now, although the ‘indoors’ link continues. On the evening of Tuesday 14th June 2009, it was the 70cm slot of the RSGB activity contests. This is the specialism of my club, the Macclesfield & DRS, currently second nationally behind Bolton WC. So even though the weather was awful and threatened more, there was no way I was missing it.

The bothy bag was packed into my rucksack, along with my coat and fleece. As I got out of the car at Cloudside, and wondering whether to put my fleece on or not for the ascent, the wind picked up and it suddenly tipped it down! Walkers in T-shirts and jeans suddenly came scurrying down the track to jump back into their cars. For me, it was a change of plan. On went the fleece, as did the waterproofs. Out of the rucksack came the bothy bag, and in went the budget Sainsburys tent.

The rain had stopped by halfway up to the summit, but my coat was wetted out by then. A chap in a white shirt and blue jeans was looking rather damp and rather sorry for himself as he looked ruefully over the Cheshire Plain from the trig point.

I continued to a slightly raised flattish area of grass right on the edge of the cliff. I pitched the tent, which is very quick, and then the SB6 on the fishing pole. Inside the tent, I got the rest of the station ready to go and made sure my wet gear was well separated from anything dry, if only to have an insulator to hand if I needed to dismantle due to electrical storm.

Thankfully, there was no hint of even distant thunder all night, although one of my contacts reported electrical activity in Bolton. I made a total of 52 QSOs, including good DX into JO01, JO03, IO91, IO84 and IO81. Disappointingly, there was nothing in my log from EI, GI, GD or GM. Many regulars reported low activity levels, although I didn’t seem to be doing too bad. I even had a higher serial number than Bryn G4DEZ when I worked him, which is unheard of! Suffice to say, this was no longer the case by the time the contest had finished and the claimed scores were on!

When things went a bit quiet, I tried CW, but to no avail. I then tried FM, and was surprised to note a bit of a ‘net’ of Manchester and Cheshire stations working each other and exchanging contest information. I joined the net, and got my score moving along again as a result.

There were periods of quite heavy rain while I was operating in the 2.5 hours, so I was pleased I had decided to take the tent. When it cam to 10.30pm, I rather wished I had brought my sleeping bag so I could just go to bed! I would have been all set for a pre-work activation, and be halfway to work as well!

Instead, I packed everything away and descended by the initally bright but soon meagre light of my wind-up torch. This LED effort gives a fantastic bright beam while winding, but fades quickly almost as soon as you stop winding.

My serial numbers seemed to be proportionally better than usual, compared to the other regulars, so like with my debut Backpackers on Shining Tor SP-004, perhaps poor weather contesting is my niche! It was nice, as ever, to be called by a few SOTA chasers throughout the evening. Returning home, I saw that Jimmy M3EYP had tracked my working frequencies for the benefit of chasers.

Thanks to all that called.


In reply to M1EYP:

Thankfully, there was no hint of even distant thunder all night,

Electrical storms were not far away. While you were relaxing in your tent, I was walking in the rain along the top of the Roaches, less than 10km away. Thunder was audible from there.

I was about to say that I had a clear view of The Cloud but it was only just visible in the rain.