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Hi all,

My Dad M1EYP will post our LD activation reports soon, but in the meantime could I appologise to G0PZO, M3CWC and 2E0VNB when I was activating Kirkby Moor G/LD-049.

To G0PZO-Steve GW7AAV told me that you were calling me, so after I finished the QSO with him I called you but I got no response. You must have heard me but I didn’t hear you.

To M3CWC-Sorry I didn’t work you, because all the frequences I said to QSY to were all in use, so sorry for not working you.

To 2E0VNB-I’m sorry I didn’t work you because both mine and my Dad’s handhelds both went out of charge.

Jimmy M3EYP

Yes, it was a return to High Close (now called Langdale) Youth Hostel for me. I was last there staffing a Year 7 school trip in my NQT year, 15 years ago. It is still an excellent hostel!

Yes, the activation reports will follow (of course), but first apologies to you Jimmy, for telling you that the trip would take you to 200 activator uniques! For some reason, I thought you were 9 behind me, but it is of course 11.

Mind you, I’m surprised that you didn’t immediately correct me on it - you normally do!

Reports to follow, as I say, but in very brief summary, we had a fantastic weekend of great summits, great views, great weather and a great youth hostel. We also had some good radio activations (with a bit of DX from G/LD-048 Top o’ Selside) and lots of friendly voices calling in to say hello.

Friday was a particularly good day, with young Jordan M3TMX teaming up with us for a couple of joint activations. That was great fun. Jimmy and Liam really enjoyed having another person along more their own age, while I enjoyed having such an accomplished fellwalker and radio amateur added to the party for the day.

So it was five more chalked off the LD list - G/LD-039 Baystones, G/LD-047 Loughrigg Fell (previously climbed by me in 1993 and 1994), G/LD-048 Top o’ Selside, G/LD-049 Kirkby Moor and G/LD-053 Claife Heights.

The Lake District is a stunning, awesome and beautiful place when bathed in wall-to-wall sunshine, as it was for the past three days, and luckily, virtually every time we visit it! What SOTA is all about - wonderful.


Friday 17th April 2009 - Baystones G/LD-039

An earlyish start from Macclesfield saw us join the M6 and completely ignore Lymm Truck Stop. We had other ideas today. We sailed up the M6 and left at J36 to follow the A590 down to Newby Bridge. Here, we stopped to fill up with diesel at the Texaco garage, and also fill up with breakfast at the cafe next door. This establishment had been recommended to us by Steve M0SGB.

Here, we were soon met by Ian G7EGQ and Jordan M3TMX, plus Jordan’s three younger brothers and sisters. They joined us inside for breakfast and hot drinks. I tucked into “The Bridge” full cooked breakfast and pot of tea - excellent.

I had worked Jordan a couple of weeks previous, and he was bemoaning his current lack of opportunity to get out SOTAing, due to his parents’ work patterns. I mentioned my intended trip to the South Lakes, and said that he was welcome to join up with us on any of the days. It turned out that the Friday was feasible, and furthermore, thw two summits I had alerted would represent new uniques for Jordan.

After saying goodbye to Ian and family, we hit the road - the A592 - up through Windermere and Troutbeck towards Kirkstone Pass. The parking spot was a small layby at NY405068, usefully positioned right by the wall stile at the start of our ascent path.

What followed was a straightforward, gently ascending and occasionally boggy amble up to the summit of Baystones. The path was an indistinct faint line in the grass, but could be followed with care. It probably took about half-an-hour to reach the summit cairn, by which Jimmy and Jordan were already ascending a 2m beam when Liam and I arrived.

I assembled the 20m Magic Moggy and sat down to enjoy the lovely weather (when sheltered from the wind) and excellent views. This summit was also a WOTA - LDW-178 - but Jimmy and Jordan were better at remembering to offer the WOTA reference than I was! I worked just seven stations on 20m CW, but OM - Slovakia was a less-often heard one amongst them. Jordan M3TMX has a quick go on 20m SSB, and worked into Russia amongst others.

The descent was straightforward, and Jimmy and Jordan led the way, discussing all things Marilyns, Wainwrights and prominences. We were all back at the car in good time, about 1.30pm local, and eagerly anticipating the next summit - Loughrigg Fell G/LD-047.


Friday 17th April 2009 - Loughrigg Fell G/LD-047

After Baystones G/LD-039, we drove down ‘The Struggle’ to Ambleside and onto the Coniston road. Soon we were following the signs for High Close Youth Hostel (now know on the YHA website and directory as ‘Langdale Youth Hostel’ for some reason). This was to be our accommodation for the next couple of nights, and pulling into the car park soon brought back memories of playing volleyball on the lawns there back in 1993 and 1994, while staffing a school trip back at the start of my teaching career.

On both those occasions, I had climbed Loughrigg Fell on the day of arrival, following a small circular route. Here I was again, 15 years later about to retrace my steps, and at last claim a SOTA Unique for the last remaining Marilyn summit that I had already climbed in the past.

Jordan, Jimmy, Liam and I first took a break in the hostel gardens, enjoying our flasks of soup while basking in the hot sunshine. We had Chicken & Barley Broth, and were honoured that Jordan had respectfully chosen soup for his own lunch to mark the occasion!

The four of us wandered down the lane from the hostel to the T-junction, then turned right for a little way before entering the field on the left. Now we started to climb in stages, the terrain initially being grassy farm fields. These soon turned to bleaker heather-clad fells, and then stony-pathed and rocky mountains as we ascended Loughrigg Fell, a real Lake District mountain in miniture.

Emerging onto the summit, we were met with the contrast of stunning far-reaching views, and a sharp blast of very cold wind. We dropped a short distance down a steep bank in otder to operate in some degree of shelter.

Jimmy and Jordan set up the 2m kit again, and I the 20m Magic Moggy. The two lads made plenty of contacts again, including S2S with Tom 2E0WNT/P on Harter Fell G/LD-028. I also tail-ended them for this S2S, which proved to be my only VHF contact of the activation. 20m CW wasn’t exactly proflific though, and just two Ukrainians, two Russians and two Croatians completed my activation log. At least I was getting better at offering out my WOTA reference - LDW-211 - as well as my SOTA, not that I think anyone that worked me would have been collecting!

Jordan kindly issued the three Read boys with a bag of Maltesers each, plucked from his rucksack.

He then came across to the 20m station for another play on SSB. However, despite being spotted on the clear QRG 14.175MHz, there were no answers to his calls. Then suddenly, out of nothing came up a QSO between a 2I and a VK on frequency. The 2I was barely audible, but the VK was strong and clear. A couple of audacious attempts to break in to their ragchew were unsuccessful.

The descent route took us down the steep stony path of the ridge, while enjoying the fabulous views across Grasmere. I recounted that we used to tell the pupils that this was a heated lake, because of the nuclear pipe running from Sellarfield and across the water’s base!

A flat path through the wood returned us to the road, from where it was a short hop back to the youth hostel car park. We drove down to Coniston to meet G7EGQ, who was picking Jordan M3TMX up again. After the rendezvous, Jimmy, Liam and I adjourned to one of the local hostelries for a beverage, and then to the local chippy for battered haggis and chips (Liam had cheese & chips).

Back at the youth hostel, we relaxed and prepared our stuff for the next day’s walking. Today had been excellent.


Saturday 18th April 2009 - Claife Heights G/LD-053

Liam and I had enjoyed an excellent night’s sleep in the full dormintory at High Close Youth Hostel. Jimmy grumbled that he hadn’t - but I knew full well that he would still be setting the pace all day regardless.

We drove out of the hostel on another warm and sunny day, and I relaxed into my drive, trusting and allowing the JimNav to instruct my every move. He led me to a small church car park in Sawrey, at SD379954, and the requested £2 was deposited in the honesty box.

The sweeping bridleway track was followed gently uphill, before a left turn took us contouring into the woods. This was very pleasant and easy woodland walking, and I was really enjoying it. Another left turn at SD383973 finally had us climbing a little more steeply, while a final left turn was actually marked ‘To the viewpoint’.

And what a viewpoint it was. Wonderful views in lovely weather, over Lake Windermere, from this super vantage point, high up on, but relatively close to its west bank. Liam hunkered down beneath the trig point, and soon had his charged up Nintendo DS out of his rucksack to resume his virtual campaign.

Jimmy propped up his rucksack on some rocks to set the RSS antenna in an almost vertical position, and I set up the Magic Moggy 20m aerial again. We didn’t hang around too long, and we weren’t faced with enormous pile-ups. Jimmy worked six stations on 2m FM, while I made one less on 20m CW, with SP, HA, 9A, OE and S5 in the log.

After descending, the temptation of rest and refreshment in the bar of the Sawrey Hotel was too much to resist, and the Jennings Cumberland was a perfect antidote to the heat of the day. Before too long though, we were on the road again, and heading for Top o’ Selside G/LD-048.


Saturday 18th April 2009 - Top o’ Selside G/LD-048

I hadn’t really realised it, but doing Top o’ Selside as an afternoon summit, after the early Claife Heights G/LD-053 made for a relatively long and tiring day. Especially with us electing to take the longer, more graded walk-in from the south.

I would expect that most people park and approach from Dodgson Wood, but we decided to commence from the village of High Nibthwaite. We were lucky, as there is only space to park two cars in the village, and one space remained. We were soon on our way along the by-way, which certainly wasn’t driveable!

This was a long walk-in, but pleasant as it was very graded as it climbed above Coniston Water on this glorious Saturday afternoon. Eventually, Jimmy was able to announce that we had reached the point at which to turn right - SD303916. From here, there was suddenly some steeper ascending to be done, but in terms of distance we were virtually upon the summit, which was attained within minutes.

Jimmy plonked himself and his rucksack with RSS on the large summit cairn. I dropped a little lower onto a flatter patch to set up the Magic Moggy. And the cat purred on this summit, with USA (W), Israel (4Z) and Sardinia (IS0) supplementing the more standard fayre of UR, OK, S5, 9A, RA and HA. Over on 2m FM, Jimmy enjoyed a bumper run of 17 QSOs.

Soup of the day was Moroccan spicy chickpea and lentil.

In order to complete the descent in as quick a time as possible, I sent Jimmy and Liam on ahead, while I packed up all the gear. They must have been 80% of the distance back to the car by the time I caught them up. And the timely descent would now reap rewards, for we were at the car bang on 6pm - the deadline for ordering a hostel evening meal. I 'phoned High Close YH, and was delighted to hear that I was just in time to place an order.

The drive back to the hostel took about 40 minutes, giving us just enough time to shower and change before dinner was served. Carrot & ginger soup (Liam had garlic bread), Steak & Ale pie, and sticky toffee pudding was a wholesome, filling, tasty and satisfying meal, and a special reward for Liam who had walked wonderfully all day. There could be no doubt that the addition of the Nintendo DS to his rucksack was providing that previously absent motivation!

The three of us then watched Britain’s Got Talent in the TV lounge, after which Liam and Jimmy both chose to go to bed. And I should have done too. But I wanted to stick it out and watch Match of the Day. And when my favourite television programme did come on, I slept all the way through it, which was rather embarrassing. When will I ever learn?


Sunday 19th April 2009 - Kirkby Moor G/LD-049

The third most activated summit in the whole of SOTA - and I had never done it! But here was the chance, and the plan was to allocate plenty of time for this one, allowing a variety of bands to be used, and still getting us on the road home at a reasonable hour.

The JimNav took me away from High Close YH, and south through Coniston. Every so often, Jimmy would point out the wind turbines on the horizon, identifying them as Kirkby Moor. Our route was the A593, A5084 and A5092 before heading south on minor roads to Rake, SD268818, from where we drove along the Kirkby Slate Road.

Close to the end of this road was a convenient spot to pull my car onto at the side. Otherwise, finding somewhere to park would have been difficult. To this end, it proved useful to have had the local knowledge from Jordan M3TMX a couple of days earlier.

Jimmy, Liam and I walked along the easy access roads out onto the fell and into the windfarm. At a junction of roads we turned right to climb the hill, and then left at the top to get to the large summit cairn. This time there was more setting up to do, for on VHF we were unleashing the SB270, while on HF there was to be 80m and 6m aerials to supplement the favoured 20m.

Jimmy switched between 2m FM and 2m SSB, making a total of 22 QSOs. I operated entirely on CW, with sessions on 80m (6 QSOs, including S2S with Rick M0RCP/P on Grisedale Pike G/LD-015), 20m (11, including S2S with Zoli HA3HK/P on Badacsony HA/KD-019), 6m (1), 2m (1) and 70cm (1).

The weather was absolutely gorgeous again, but with not a breath of wind, there were some clouds around - of midges! These needed to be skilfully avoided when serving up the Sri Lankan spicy lentil and coconut soup.

Shortly after getting back on the road, we heard Chris 2E0FSR/P on Fountains Fell G/NP-017 and John GW4BVE/P on Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012. It was good to hear John back on the hills again, and he certainly sounded like he was enjoying it!

We were back in Macc by late afternoon, highly satisfied with a brilliant three days away in the English Lake District. Can there be anyone else who is as consistently lucky with Lake District weather as us? I just wish I could bottle it and take it to Snowdonia with me, where the opoosite inevitably occurs!


In reply to M1EYP / M3EYP:
Hi Tom & Jimmy,

An interesting and for me educational read about some LDs I know little or nothing about. If I remember right, Baystones used to be a ‘non-SOTA.’

You were lucky with the WX. Also, the diversity of frequencies stands out as does the number of QSO’s still to be had on 2m. Pity about the ‘almost’ VK but he wouldn’t have heard of SOTA I anyway.

I hate to admit it but I have never been in a Youth Hostel. You seem to know what you’re doing with them.

Yes, it is good to know that John BVE is back on the hills again.

Sounds like you really enjoyed these few days. I must say the soups are getting quite sophisticated: Two ‘double-barrelled’ blends: Carrot & ginger / Chicken & Barley no less!

73, John YSS

Here, we were soon met by Ian G7EGQ and Jordan M3TMX, plus Jordan’s
three younger brothers and sisters.

Mum wants to know where you picked up the extra child, I’ve only 2 younger siblings - a sister and a brother!!!

Amanda & Jordan

Typical maths teacher - master of differential calculus - but can’t count accurately beyond one!


In reply to M1EYP:

Ay. Not to worry. It was great to meet the three of you and activate the two unique fells. Thanks for the ‘Cabin Fever’ cure. Shame I’m catching it again! I’m in the shack for the International SOTA weekend. Usual busy, busy family!

Jordan M3TMX