Peel Fell SB-004
Friday 6th April 2007
With the extended radio activity on the Thursday of our stay in Northumberland I was not hopeful of being able to complete the SB’s this year. I also awoke late at 0815 UTC to find just Bev up and having breakfast. When they got up, daughter Nic and her husband Phil indicated that they were looking to do some walking in the Keilder area. Bev quickly put two and two together and made four and it was agreed that we should assault Peel Fell given the proviso that anyone not up to the task could turn back. Being 5 months expectant, I wondered about Nic’s ability to ascend the steep upper section of this hill. Bev also was not particularly fit.
We did not get away until 1000 UTC and were at the parking spot opposite the forestry track by 1045. We set off from the car at 1100 and made reasonable progress through the forest which is very pleasant and offers better views that that on the way up to Sighty Crag. On my schedule I had estimated 2 hours for the ascent. We decided to take a 15 minute lunch break at Deadwater Burn and shortly afterwards, having easily passed over the boggy section of track, we crossed into Scotland. As one would expect, the usual joke about passports was aired!
Once out of the forest, the steepness of the final kilometre became apparent. Far from lagging behind, Nic was off up the hill like a true mountain goat with Phil closely in tow. Bev followed some way behind and I trailed at the rear carrying all of the equipment. I never ask anyone to carry my kit - doing this maintains my excuse for being the last up the hill. We made the summit cairn at 1310 where I set up the mast attached to the nearest fence post. With the family present, I knew that the operation time would be limited, so I decided to operate just on 2m. I posted my presence on 144.333 and was in contact with Rob G1TPO by 1320. The second QSO was a most unexpected S2S with Richard GW4ERP/P on MW-004. A run of regular chasers then called in to make contact - Mike DSP, Graham JZF, Steve KPO, Sharon NBR, Don RQL, Roger OWG, Dave LKB and John GW4BVE.
The family were now starting to comment on the drop in temperature as the sun had gone behind the clouds and the wind was getting up. My lunch had been delivered to me while I was working the run of chasers and I finished this off after the QSO with John. I left the rig on 144.300 while I was eating and up popped Mark M3ZPY/P on Nine Standards Rigg NP-018 at strength 9 plus. A quick call and QSY resulted in a few more chaser points for us both. A switch to FM was not considered viable as the family were wanting to make a move, so I went QRT at 1350 and we started our descent at 1400.
Speedy up means even faster down, or so deems my daughter. We were led back to the car in one hour flat. I had allowed 1 hour and 30 minutes in my schedule! Either I must be getting old or my calculations were way out on this occasion. Perhaps the thought of a cup of tea back at the car helped. Once we had got out of our walking gear and had had the welcome drink, we still had time to pay a brief visit to Keilder Water. All in all, a very enjoyable day and a very pleasant hill as well. Like Ros Hill, this is one that I will revisit once I run out of uniques to activate.