The Lake District SOTA weekend 2020 will take place on 20 June 2020 → 21 June 2020. Evening activity will centre around Windermere.
I’ve created a new topic so people can add their own personal plans.
I’ll start that off with a little bit of a curve ball - one of my Foundation License course buddies and now good friend Nigel M5TUE suggested some time ago that we should climb Pillar Rock and operate some sort of radio setup from the summit. We have made plans to do this on the Friday before the LD SOTA Weekend, Friday 19th. Nigel is an experience climber and will be training me up and I am now on a program to also reduce my weight (as opposed to the current beer diet which is doing the opposite!).
Clearly radio equipment selection will be a big factor based on weight and also antenna selection will be interesting given the relatively small size of the summit. I won’t be able to use my trusty SOTABeams quad-bander dipole for example!
Pillar Rock is steeped in climbing history and was a very popular spot for climbers in years gone past, quoting from the wikipedia page:
Pillar Rock is a large rocky outcrop surrounded by cliffs on the northern side of Pillar, well below the summit. When seen from Ennerdale it looks like a tall and thin column, hence its name. In the early 19th century it became widely known as one of the wonders of the Lake District, chiefly due to its featuring in William Wordsworth’s poem The Brothers .
You see yon precipice—it almost looks
Like some vast building made of many crags,
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the vale,
Whence by our Shepherds it is call’d, the Pillar.
— Wordsworth, The Brothers
The first recorded ascent of Pillar Rock was made in 1826 by John Atkinson of Croftfoot, Ennerdale. His route, known as the Old West Route, is still classed as a rock climb, albeit one graded Moderate, the second lowest grade on the British system. It is the earliest recorded rock climb in the Lake District (not counting Coleridge’s inadvertent descent of Scafell in 1802); subsequent Lakeland climbers also concentrated on Pillar, and by 1872 four different climbing routes had been pioneered on the rock. The easiest route to the top of Pillar Rock is now considered to be the Slab and Notch route, classed as a grade 3 scramble, whilst the classic route is the New West, classed as a Difficult rock climb. By 2007 over 90 climbs had been recorded, including 17 graded E1 or above.
By 1913, George Mallory seconded by Alan Goodfellow, climbed Pillar Rock by what is now known as “Mallory’s Route” – currently graded Hard Very Severe 5a (American grading 5.9) - similar in difficulty to The Second Step on Mount Everest.
Pillar Rock has a topographic prominence of more than 15 metres, and thus qualifies for the list of “Nuttalls” compiled by John and Anne Nuttall in their book The Mountains of England and Wales (see also Hill lists in the British Isles). It is the only summit on the list that cannot be reached without recourse to rock climbing.