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Pen-y-ghent and Fountains Fell

I always like to try and bag a summit or two when I come down for the Blackpool Rally. If the weather’s good on the way down, something in the LD region normally and for the return, something from the NP region. The WX was terrible on my way South but the forecast for Monday and the drive North was to be OK. I woke up and it was incredibly misty but I was hoping it would burn off soon. In the end I had cracking WX, a cool breeze but long periods of blue sky and sun. The countryside in NP really looks outstanding on a good day and I love the way the mountains here are quite obvious. There are so many in GM, they often blend into each other.

NP-010 Pen-y-ghent

I drove to Dale Head and reviewed the WX. The last of the mist was just lifting from Pen-y-ghent NP-010. If it was still in mist I was going to bag its neighboor Fountains Fell NP-017 first as there is a bit of scrambling on Pen-y-ghent. I don’t like scrambling or exposure so I wanted a good view of where I was going.

Now that is a proper hill… absolutely stunning view.

Summit station. The great thing about operating here is a few watts of 2m FM does the job easily. 5m pole with 300ohm ribbon J-pole. FT817 running 5W at the foot.

Ingleborough NP-006 in the distance. I did this one on 2m FM and 23cms FM a few years back. Another cracker but the WX was not brilliant that time.

Now you do need to do a bit of scrambling this way up Pen-y-ghent and I don’t do scrambling. But I looked at the many people climbing it and the fact The Pennine Way long distance path goes over and I thought it can’t be bad. It’s easy on a dry day. It could be “exciting” if the rocks were wet or icy. But it was glorious. This is the worst bit, there are several routes up and whilst I did need my hands it was not difficult or scary. It didn’t feel exposed but does look so on the way down. I just went slow and steady and it was fine.

Here’s a view of the steep bits. Not very hard to be honest. You can see the scarring from all the boots.

This was a lovely “old school” 2m FM activation. No stunning DX but plenty of chasers which was grand for late morning on a Monday. I got lots of nice reports for my audio from the 817 and standard mic… must be the new mic cable. I did think about HF but I wanted to grab Fountains Fell and I did have 240miles to drive in total so only 2m FM this time.

NP-017 Fountains Fell

From Dale Head it’s 2-3 mins drive to the next cattle grid and parking space. Fountains Fell is a very simple ascent on a very obvious path that is also part of The Pennine Way. I passed about 20people in all doing the path either in 1 go or a few stages.

I was running short of time so this was a bit of blast up as fast as my aging legs would go. I got as far as the style and the big cairns and it’s about 600m and 10mins walk to the true summit. The ground looked tedious to be honest and I was in the AZ already. Walking to the true summit would take the antenna to the centre of a big flat plane and that would cramp the performance markedly. I stayed nearer the edge. Again time pressures meant 2m FM only and I just hand held the pole and played “I wish I was Durga” with all her arms to hold the pole, log, operate the radio etc.

Here’s the view to the summit from my operating position. Everything you see and more is in the AZ. Lots of holes and disused mine shafts up here. I saved 20+ minutes by not going all the way.

A view back down the valley to Pen-y-ghent with Ingleborough in the distance. The WX was far better than first forecast. It did say it would be a bit cloudy at lunch then brighten up. That’s what it did. Walking down to the car was quite hot.

The view up the valley to (I think) Birk’s Fell and Buckden Pike. Whatever, it looks good to me.

All in a fantastic day. Lots of chasers which was nice, easy summits including the scrambly bits, fabulous weather and amazing views. Any summit is nice in good weather but this bit of England is truly delightful on a nice day. What a great place to live.

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Hi Andy,

Thanks for the QSO from Pen Y Ghent! I heard you on Fountains Fell but you weren’t hearing me from Bentham skate park (at top of big ramp).

Yes, I agree, it’s a beautiful place to live, Ingleborough dominates the horizon here, I see it each morning on tje school run.

73, Colin

Thanks for the QSOs Andy.
You were a very good signal into Pickering from both summits.
Perhaps an S point up on PYG.

73 Pete.

I was very near the edge of PYG and so the ground dropped away very sharply. On Fountains Fell I was well over 100m from edge and the ground slopes gently towards Pickering. The summits are only 3km apart and I don’t think there are any great differences in the far field path. On Fountains Fell the antenna would need to be 2 or 3 times higher (the top of the J-pole was at 5m) to make up for the lack of sudden slope.

I think it demonstrates the advantage of minimising reflections etc. from the nearby ground. Kinder Scout is another when operating from near the Southern edge gives much greater VHF performance than wandering to the true summit where your antenna sits in the middle of a huge flat area and is only a few metres above ground. If you get the height of antenna right for the ground slope you get lots of ground gain. We do this in my contest group but it’s hard when playing SOTA… go to the edge being the simple fix.

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