Well today saw me heading off towards Pendle Hill SP-005 to carryout my 1st activation of 2009.
Set off from Blackpool at 0830 hours in normal Monday morning work traffic arriving at the Barley car park at 0940 hours. Brian 2E0OYG had previously given me a 6 Figure Grid that would have enabled me to park closer at a greater height to the summit, but wanted to test my fitness levels after a lay-off of several weeks.
Set off from the car park at 0950 hours and soon heading up the good track towards the foot of Pendle Hill of which I could see in the distance thick in cloud cover. WX was overcast with a slight wind at this stage, but good for an activation I thought. On reaching the last farm building, I had a choice to make, the slow traverse to the left or the steep stone staircase to the right. Went up the traverse on my first activation, therefore, opted to try the staircase this time and off I went. Good decision as the wind was behind me all the way up. As I reached the furthest point on the staircase that you can see from the bottom, the wind picked up fiercely and became an icy wind with slight sleet. Stopped and put on another inner layer, my balaclava and gloves before carrying on. On reaching the summit you have approximately a 300m flat walk before the trig point and although in cloud with visibility down to 20m, their was no problem as their is an obvious path straight to the trig. Arrived at the trig at 1040 hours ten minutes over time estimated.
Set up VX-170 and rucksack Special just to the east of the trig point in a hollow to avoid the worst of the wind and put the 4m PFX handheld together, quick coffee from the flask and was ready to operate. Called CQ on 70.450 at 1054 hours and immediately was replied to by Dave G6CRV in Heysham where we QSY to 70.400 with 59 both ways, then came Charles M0BEK in Burnley and Mike G4BLH in Briarfield, both 59 reports both ways. No more callers and the battery went dead, must be a duff battery so will swap over for tomorrows activation.
WX at this time changed, the wind really began to gust and not sleet but big flakes of snow descended from the heavens, time to crack on!
Then QSY to 2m and worked 14 callsigns with two callsigns in Leeds and of course both John M0JFE & Brian 2E0TOG on the Fylde Coast, thanks to all stations for looking out for me, pleasure to work all. My signal was down on Brian being given a 54 whereas John gave me a 59, however, movement of the rucksack Special propped up in the rucksack may have been the cause. In the wind experienced, a beam would have acted as a weathervane, so glad I took the RSS. With no more calls I packed up at 1130 hours and set off towards the staircase. As I got near the bottom Mike G4BLH called me and offered a brew at his QTH of which he said was only a 15 minute drive away in Briarfield, I agreed to go, the chance to meet Mike and was given his postcode etc to input into my GPS. Back to the car park now in sleet & rain, but was soon packed away and off I set to Mike’s.
Arrived at Mike’s QTH and after introductions, a cup of coffee was placed in front of me while we chatted about Pendle Hill, and 4m etc… as you do. Outside, Mike’s bay window clearly seen was heavy snow falling, so made my excuses to Mike and thanked him very much for the invite before leaving, it was nice to put a face to a voice.
On travelling home on the M65/61 it was snow blizzard conditions of which I personally have not experienced for 15 years while driving while stationed in Germany… WX dependent, out tomorrow on Fair Snape Fell.