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Ingleborough, Pen-y-Ghent, Fountains Fell & Whernside

(Four activations in four days).
20/08/2020
Arriving late evening I spied the Yorkshire Dales NP Car Park at Horton in Ribblesdale. This will do for my overnight stop in my camper I thought. A good choice too - that was until around 6:30am the next morning when I heard people talking outside. Upon opening the curtains, the car park which was just about empty when I fell asleep was now buzzing with activity and more cars were arriiving by the minute. Time to move as I intended to stay in Horton for a couple more days and didn’t want to fork out the £5 per day ticket. I noticed a pub in the village advertising £2 all day parking. It was relatively empty but within the hour more cars turned up and it too, was soon full. Looks like the Yorkshire Three Peaks is more popular than I thought.

Below, = the inside of a very old barn roofing timbers - just outside Horton.

!
Below, = a distant view of Pen-y-Ghent from Horton

Ingleborough 21/08/2020
The morning was windy, damp and showery. Its 8 km to G/NP-005 from Horton. The showers were slowly turning into long periods of rain and as I got higher the wind speed picked up. Did I really want to sit on the summit and get even wetter and colder?

It took me just about 3 hours to the summit, arriving at 1200utc. The summit was windswept and barren. Near the summit shelter stood a fairly new wheelbarrow full of stones and water. A stunt perhaps or just lazy shelter builders?. I found a better shelter just in the lee of some minor crags to the SE. Just bearable.

No phone signal but I soon got picked up by the RBN. 20 QSOs mostly on 7mhz & 10mhz and 2xS2Ss in 1hour.

The rain eased off as I returned. The village heaved with very wet 3 peak walkers & runners. I dried my radio kit out.

Pen-Y-Ghent G/NP-010 22/08/2020

Another wet damp overcast day. From Horton via Brackenbottom & Scar is around 4km and took me 1½ hours. Much to my surprise I discoved there was a small steep section near the summit which almost went by the discription of a scramble. Some of the folk ahead were strugling with this.

I arrived at the summit at 1020utc and soon noticed a dogpoo-bag poked into the lovely ‘S’ shaped shelter at the top and a discarded energy drink can. I found somewhere peaceful in the lee of the wall which runs over the summit. The clouds and showers rolled by. There was no view to enjoy, nor a phone signal to spot with.

QSO’s in 1hr ;20 minutes-
13 on 14mhz.
8 on 10mhz
11 on 7mhz.

The cloud lifted briefly and I could see my next summit, Fountains Fell appearing between gaps in the rain showers. But I was wet and despite it only being midday my motivation wasn’t up to activating Fountains fell the same day. On my way down I passed two adults carrying babies to the top tucked into their jackets to keep them out of the wind and rain. I wondered how the the adults would cope up the scrambly bit if they slipped.

I spent a couple of hours exploring the fleshpots of Settle and then I drove to Silverdale and parked up near the cattle grid at SD 843715 (Plenty of spaces and no other vehicles). Fountains fell looked grim in the cloud.

Fountains Fell G/NP-017 23/08/2020

Fountains fell still looked grim in the cloud and drizzle when I woke up the following morning.

On the summit at 1037utc after around an hours easy walk. The summit area contain much evidence of mine working and a curious low building comprised of local stone. (Pictured below)


No windows and a stone roof which was held up by each stone overlapping the one underneath. I’ve never seen such a roof in the UK before. No windows, just a curious entrance just about 2ft wide and high. I wondered what it had been used for.

Another wall provided shelter with the addition of a newly aquired collapsible brolly I found in the 'van.

Unable to self spot, my 2nd CQ soon got a steady stream of callers on 7mhz and soon 14 were in the log, including two I puzzled over later on as there was only one letter difference in each callsign GI0AZA & GI0AZB - perhaps I’d misheard one of them? But a later check on QRZ.com solved the puzzle - a husband & wife!.

10mhz = 8 QSOs
14mhz = 7QSOs including Leslie/K4DY & one S2S with YU7AE/P

After an hour it was time to pack up and get back to the van and head off to Ribbleshead Viaduct for my next activation:-

Whernside, G/NP-004 24/08/2020

There was plenty of space for my van when I arrived at Ribblehead last night but it was soon getting busy on this sunny Monday morning. Not a cloud in sight and just a light breeze!.

Below = The evening sun. My van and the Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside behind

I reached the summit after 2hrs 40minutes following the path alongside the railway and passing over the railway up the Dales High Way and the short ascent to the summit ridge art Knoutberry Hill. I arrived at the summit at 1030 utc to see a discarded sweat shirt and a grocery bag full of empty food and drink containers. And another dogpoo-bag stuffed into the wall! There were about ten other people on the summit and for once I wasn’t feeling self conscious about getting set up which I did on the very edge of the steep eastern drop, enjoying stunning views across to the Ribblehead viaduct, the hundreds of cars parked up, glinting in the sun…

Below = My operating position - with a view!!

Within 20 minutes of my first CQ on 7mhz I soon had 11 QSOs four of which were S2Ss. No self spotting required.

One of the callers I heard, was another M6 callsign - a rare occurance on CW but, although I replied to him I heard no reply or further acknowledgement. I found no information other than his name on QRZ with no further bio or listing on Google other than an Ofcom licence confirmation.

10 minutes later the wind dropped and the midges came out to play, which was annoying to say the least, until eventually a gentle breeze moved them on to annoy someone else.

A drop in trade and I QSY’d to 10mhz. got 12 QSOs in the space of 20 minutes before it all became quite.

When I went to alter the links on my linked dipole I saw around 25 people gathered around the summit, all enjoying the warm sunshine.

Below = Walkers starting to arrive on the summit

On 14mhz I got 39 QSOs which included 7 x S2Ss plus Leslie/K4DY again & 4 minutes later, Bob/AC1Z.

I must say thanks to Nick/G4OOE who, in another thread I’d asked for advice on getting S2Ss with another activator, and Nick recommended just sending /P instead of my full callsign. This worked a treat and as soon as I sent " /P" I immediately heard the other activator send " /P ?". Initially a couple of folk continued to send their callsigns until I heard him (I’ve forgotten who it was), then send “LSN /P? ONLY KN”, which got the silence I needed for a quick S2S.

For me this was an excellent days activation. Not only because it was beautiful day but also as I’d got 61 QSO’s in total all in the space of 2 hrs. My highest number in one activation and a suitable finish to my trip.

I returned to Ribblehead by making a circular route by continuing along the rest of the ridge to the south and was back in the car 1hr 40’ later and drove home in the glow of a lovely sunny day.

Below= No much parking left - and its not even Sunday!

Radio = HB1-B mk3 4 band, 5 watts max.
Key = A tiny ex Russian ‘spy key’.
Aerial = SotaBeams linked dipole 7 mhz, 10 mhz, & 14 mhz.
Log book = Pencil + spare, & an A5 note book.

Dave P,
Robin Hood’s Bay

;

11 Likes

I am hoping to do these this autumn, and was waiting until the crowds died down a bit so your report is very useful. Activated Tarn Rigg Hill on Sunday ( G/NP-012 ) and apart from the farmer didn’t see a soul ( just my daughter on the photo)

for the entite walk - and as far as that goes no rubbish either! ( Photo is towards the Howgills)
Thanks again to the chasers and for the report.
73 Paul

2 Likes

Hi David,

Thank you for the two QSOs from Pen Y Ghent, I was a bit surprised that you went through with the activation, the weather was a bit grim!

I saw your alert and thought it would be possible to get you on ground wave. I had no copy on 40m at all, 30m was a bit iffy but we managed it, 20m was best of all, which I did not expect. Maybe its the antenna efficiency coming into play. I would have thought that the radiation angle would have been higher on 40m promoting a stronger signal but it didn’t seem to work that way. Another factor is that my noise level is high and gets higher the lower the frequency.

Pen Y Ghent is just north of east from me at High Bentham and pretty much line of sight -


Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey. Media 010/20

My equipment consisted of my home built MTR-5B and a SOTAbeams 40/30/20 linked dipole on a 7m pole. I do not have a permanent set up so I used my SOTA gear on the playing fields near my house. I was glad to manage the QSOs on 30m and 20m, it repaid my efforts!


My son was talking to me via his PMR446 radios as he wanted to join in too! (The orange walkie talkie). BTW, our QSOs were the only CW QSOs I’ve had since June.

One small correction - your photo does indeed show G/NP-004, which is Whernside. Great Whernside is a smaller summit to the east of Pen Y Ghent and is designated G-NP-008.

A SOTA trip in a motorhome looks like a nice thing to do, I took the motorhome to Devon during the bank holiday weekend, I worked out that our camp site was only 30mins away from High Willhays G/DC-001, but sadly I didn’t have any gear, nor time to do an activation.


Superb campsite named Barley Meadow, between Exeter and Okehampton. There was a nice farm shop and cafe very near by. The facilities at the campsite were excellent, I’d definitely recommend staying there.

Hope to work you again soon,

73,

Colin
M1BUU

3 Likes

Colin

I’m glad we got a QSO, I’m not sure I’ve done so before. Its nice to get them from folk I see who post on here.

I guess I activated because after driving over from Robin Hood’s Bay - my home, I was determined to not waste the diesel!. I wouldn’t have gone ahead if it was any worse weather though!!.
Having said that I did check my 1:25,000 map to ascertain whether there was going to be a decent wall for shelter on the summit!! I might not have been so keen otherwise.

David

Ps I’ve corrected the title to just Whernside.

1 Like

David,

Thanks for a most interesting report.

73’s
David

1 Like

Hi again Dave,
I finally got around to reading this after an hour looking for it!

I think your expedition was quite remarkable considering how many QSO’s you made with QRP and the weather you suffered at first. I remember putting on the three peaks over the 24 miles in March-04. It took 8 hours-12 min plus 45 min at each summit for 2m-FM. What a killer that was and as you say a long way from Horton to NP5. (I did it clockwise).

I think you did some of this the hard way. I would suggest NP5 from Hill Inn or the boring/ steady gradient way I use, from Newby Cote Farm to the south. Takes about 70 min. It is a windswept flat top which is why I haven’t camped on it - (stony too and not peg friendly.) I know where you mean to the SE. I have used that too. Not very high and on the edge. I remember a tiny shelter there that possibly a small dog could get into.

NP4 can be climbed in under 45 min from White Shaw Moss up the west side. Pen-y-ghent from the road which runs between it and Fountains. I’m not sure where Silverdale is apart from the one in Lancs.

The 25k map of Fountains Fell shows, ‘Weather Station - Disused’ at SD8697 7083 but that low building you found, I have heard called something other than that. I have also seen a Geograph photo of something called a ‘Coke Oven’ at SD 8672 7180. Apparently it’s fenced around. I could have sworn I’d been over to what you photographed but I can’t find a photo.

I like the green pole, blending in well and the ‘QRO binoculars.’ Bad news on the dog poo bags and rubbish though.

I like your van. Exactly the right size - not too big. We had one that size from 1990 to 1999. Bought for £825 and sold for £180. A rusty old Leyland Sherpa, formerly the Scarborough Evening Newspaper delivery van. We did nearly all the Cal-Mac ferries in it. Yours is tons better of course.

Great report.
73, John.

Good to do these over 4 days.

I’ve done very quick “smash and grab” 2m hand held activations of the “3 peaks” while going around them in 12 hours with groups. I end up giving up my meal breaks to radio, then having to eat on the move… not very sensible.

1 Like

Thanks John.
Silverdale is the dale which runs between Pen y Ghent & Fountains. It was a nice peaceful night alongside the road. I think I chose to do Pen y Ghent from Horton,because;- a) I didn’t know how rough the assent might be from Silverdale, and the “facilities” were somewhat better in Horton.

Re the low stone building. I haven’t got my maps at hand but that could be the building - it was fenced around. But then it was so misty for most of the time, there could have been a Hilton Hotel 100yds away and I wouldn’t have seen it.

The binoculars I bought with a windfall I got about 15 years ago. They;re Zeiss. They cost more than my radio equipment combined - but I think the radio kit is fast catching up now.

The van we did buy because it was narrower than many. Great as you say, for navigating narrowish lanes, and for my last two trips across to the dales/lakes averaged around 38mpg, which suits my pocket.

BTW - I saw a video in which your morse could be heard - just. It sounded fine to me!!. (I can’t remembere where I saw the video, but it was someone chasing you - his ‘office’ was his motor bike pulled into a layby.)

Good luck!
David

A friend was bequeathed a pair of Zeiss 8x20 binoculars in a will. I was gobsmacked at how amazing the image was having used various pairs of rubbish to average gear over the years. These were collimated for a start and were so light they were easy to hold and use. Then I found out how much they cost new and almost needed the paramedics!

Hi Andy

Mine are 10X40 and as you say the image quality is amazing - I bought them when I was a much keener birder. I think optic quality is generally getting better for more modest binos (or my eyesight is getting worse!) A couple of years ago wife bought a pair of RSPB branded binos at a little less than half price of mine, and they are I don’t really notice any difference, they came with a hard case, and don’t weigh a ton like mine!