Although not strictly an activation report, as the activation never happened, I thought i’d post briefly in case anyone had actually been listening for us and wondered where we got to!
Today, myself and Bob M1BBV were due to activate Kinder Scout. I’d checked the weather forecast for the peak and didnt see anything of any real concern.
Well, it all began a bit wrong when we missed our alerted start time due to the state of the traffic through Sheffield, but having re-spotted with a new 12:00 ETA whilst we still had phone coverage, everything then looked to be going our way. We arrived at Barber Booth and found plenty of parking space, the weather a tad drizzly but nothing to worry about. And we were well on target to reach the summit just before 12:00.
Just after the top of Jacobs Ladder, the rain increased a little, but still nothing of any concern. I began to consider stopping Bob for a moment to put my waterproof on. We reached the activation zone in great time for our proposed start, and so decided that since this was Bobs first SOTA, and first time up Kinder, we’d carry on, take a nosy at Kinder Downfall waterfall and then head back to Kinder Low, secrete ourselves by some rocks and set up.
Ive been going up Kinder Scout every few years since I was about 8. One of the first things I learned was that mountain weather can change in an instant. But even I wasnt ready for just how fast it changed! In the time it took us to walk perhaps 200m - the slight rain and breeze turned to gale force winds and driving, freezing sleet. The visibility, which had been moderate with a bit of hill fog, dropped instantly to about 15-20ft.
We turned back, heading for the rocks to get clear of the wind, open the flask of coffee and set up for a possibly quicker and fewer banded activation than planned. At this point, the devil in the detail revealed a slack drill and bit us hard! Knowing this part of the hill - I had neglected to record a waypoint for the cairn at Kinder Low on my GPS. With visibility extremely poor, a chance mistaken paved path led us slightly south west. Being not too far off course, we elected to drive East and reconnect with our correct path. But the wind was so strong we found that our course couldnt be safely maintained.
After some careful discussion, we decided that under the circumstances discretion was indeed the better part of valour, and whilst we were still ruthlessly insulting each other, a sure sign of high morale and good core temperature in ex-squaddies, decided the planned activation was binned and we were getting off the mountain! Conditions had deteriorated so badly that I seriously had to contemplate getting the map out! Between us we had two maps, a proper compass, and three GPS devices. Being actually lost was never an issue - getting back to where we wanted to be in that wind was!
Heading back to the last recorded waypoint at the top of Jacobs Ladder, we made our way back down, by now quite thoughly soaked, and in my case, coated with mud up one side where a slip whilst carrying the Clansman couldnt be corrected by a light weight trekking pole! By around 533m alt. the weather was again still and slightly drizzly, with great visibility - save for the very thick grey cloud on the summit just above us.
So apologies to anyone who might have been listening for us, it just wasnt happening up there today!