11 November 2009 G/LD-013 Old Man of Coniston
Yesterday I had my final physiotherapy session at the hospital. Today I climbed my first Lakeland mountain for SOTA. Dad chose Old Man of Coniston and we set off for the village and the steep climb for our old Renault up the Walna Scar Pass to SD288971 - free car park.
We began walking from there at 10am and climbed on the quarry route to Low Water for elevenses. It’s a tarn [lake] in a fine corrie [cwm] with the Old Man towering overhead. We joined the path at SD275982 and began the majority of the climbing up the shoulder in a SW direction to the summit. We arrived at the summit Platform [pudding basin cairn] at 1145. I strapped the pole and SOTBeam to the trig point, sat 6 feet from the drop back to Low Water and began calling CQ on 144 SSB at 12 noon [unusually spot on time for my Alert]. No-one responded so I tried CQ on FM and Sue G1OHH came straight back to the call. She put a spot on [thank you] and told me about Phil G4OBK and his imminent arrival atop Helvellyn. 5 further stations called in one after another on FM. I reverted to SSB and spoke with three stations, the furthest of which was Steve Studdart GW7AAV in Connah’s Quay. My VX-7 then burst into life as Phil announced his summit arrival. I confused 145.450 for 145.550 and replied to an empty channel! I eventually joined Phil’s Fan club and got the S2S call at 1245. Dad performed the essential service of any activator’s companion - answering the rest of the public’s inquiries. Today’s oddest was “are you preparing the weather report?”. Perhaps Phil saw the weather recorder who ascends Helvellyn daily instead?
Dad said there was time to proceed to Brim Fell LDW-037, which is a pleasant stroll along the broad ridge, so I called Phil and asked if he was interested. Yes he and the others like WOTA and he said he’d put his rucsac antenna on and listen on S20 while descending. In a few moments we were at the Summit cairn on Brim Fell. The VX-7 went to flat battery mode after the first CQ. I put the rubber duck antenna on the 817 and spoke with Phil, now on Striding Edge, followed by Sue G1OHH, Dave G1CCL and Geoff G4WHA/M. We returned to the Old Man and descended in a SE direction towards the Bursting Stone on grassy slopes and some broken ground. “Real Fellwalking” according to Dad ie no path. I used walking poles in the style of the front legs of a preying mantis. We made slow progress towards the car park and were soon in the Black Bull Hotel bar in Coniston drinking a celebratory pint of Coniston Old Man ale.
Thank you to all callers. Tomorrow we’re visiting G/LD-022 Seat Sandal and I hope the local chasers can give us as much support again. Weather forecast is far from pleasant but I hope to be on top at noon. 2m SSB first. We may not want to hang around long.
73 David 2E0DAI