In an attempt to acquire further Winter Bonus points I chose to activate Ingleborough G/NP-005 on Sunday, 15th Febuary 2009, of which would add 9 points to the tally. I abandoned this activation on the 1st February due to poor WX.
Left a clear and mild Blackpool at 0810 hours, although I could smell the smoke from the Tivoli Buildings as over 60 fire fighters continued to fight the blaze in Talbot Square; arriving Chapel-Le-Dale at 0945 hours. The Low Sleights Road out of Ingleton was covered in fog with visibility at approximately 20m and I was flagged down by a farmer waving a torch informing me that sheep were on the road ahead and could I please keep speed to a minimum, not much else I could do… I could’nt see the road! A start was made from the parking area SD 744776 at 1000 hours then via the track to Humphrey Bottom. The track was extremely muddy until I got to the wall stile at the 1 mile point and then it was just the long 1 mile stone staircase which was covered in places in ice. Up to this point Ingleborough could not be seen for hill fog. I reached Humphrey Bottom and tried calling on GB3FC, the 70cms Blackpool repeater, in order to contact Brian & Nathan ascending Helvellyn and Brian 2E0TOG/P ascending Winter Hill, all member of the Blackpool CQ Portable Group, but could not make the distance from that side of the hill. The steep route up to the summit from here looked impossible with a mixture of ice and snow with the snow-line being met at approximately 600m. The going wasn’t too bad because some areas on the ascent had blown bare whilst others had a covering of old ice, however, it was treacherous and at times I had to dig my toe in to get a foothold (Crampons… who needs them?).
Onto the summit with visibility down to 20 feet or less and I estimated where I thought the summit shelter was. Nevertheless found it quite quickly and after a coffee, set-up the VX-170 and RSS by wedging the RSS awkwardly into the stonework of the summit shelter. Ingleborough’s top consists of sparse grass amongst shale and small rocks but because the surface was frozen solid, sticking the walking pole into the ground posed a problem, therefore I could’nt employ the WASP Special, hence wedging the RSS into the shelter wall. Wind was fresh behind the shelter wall, but the writing fingers were very cold… but no rain!
Started off at 1120 hours on 4m using the newly acquired Wouxun KG-699E with 5w output into its helical, and worked Mike G4BLH in Briarfield, then Dave G6CRV and Ron GW4EVX/P activating a 4m contest somewhere in North Wales (sadly not a SOTA summit for the S to S). Very pleased with the way this radio worked, the digital display made life easier, however, although I received a 59/57 & 51 into N. Wales audio reports were complimentary. When I acquire the SMA/BNC the military vertical antenna should improve distance and quality reports.
Then I QSY’d to 2m where I worked a further 17 stations with the furthest contact being GW3 GUX in Anglsey. Two Summit to Summit contacts were gained, one with Richard GW3CWI/P on NW-054 and the second one with Brian 2E0TOG/P on Winter Hill SP-010. Activation ended with working Brian at around 1215 hours. It was nice to work Jen M6MIJ in Blackpool, who at the time of contact 1142 hours had also heard nothing from her husband & son, Brian & Nathan ascending Helvellyn LD-003.
Right, now the problems started, getting off the summit. Started off in the right direction in pea-thick soup and soon down at the top gate. Then it was a slippery, treacherous slope all the way down till I reached the stone staircase. Half way down I lost my footing on the ice, onto my bum and right shoulder and slid down about 20 ft over ice, rock and sharp stone resulting in a wet muddy bum and sleeve, a ripped glove (now in the bin) and an injury to my shoulder and the biggest bruise my posteria has ever encountered. Shoulder pain has now eased off a bit…
Glad to get back to the car in one piece and once packed hit the road home, time for soak in bath, Sunday roast and Man Utd hammering Derby County, what an enjoyable day… Will be out again as soon as the XYL lets me… Hi!
Thanks to all activators/Chasers worked.