(Four activations in four days).
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
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.
Robin Hood’s Bay