“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.” Dick Hallorann played by Scatman Crothers in the film The Shining.
When Helen and I activated the Gun the previous week it was a last minute addition and we had thought of doing Cloud as well but ran out of time. We will come back and do Cloud another day I suggested and we could do Shining Tor at the same time.
A fortnight later we were looking the dark and overcast sky and wondering if we should chance it. We decided if it had not rained by then we would go for it after lunch. It is typical of teenagers that having spent a fortune on a new pair of walking boots for Caroline that she did not want to come. Emily was a little easier to sympathise with as she had just returned from a trip with school to an outward bounds centre and she said she had done enough walking this week. Two of my lads were home so no problems leaving them and Helen and I could escape alone. It was going to be too late to do two summits and we opted for G/SP-004 Shining Tor as we had not done it before.
It was 11:55 UTC just after I had worked Robin GM7PKT/P on GM/WS-079 that we finally got mobile, stopping only at the local shop for some pasties and bottles of diet coke. The trip was quite straightforward once I had changed Helen’s setting of the TomTom from shortest (most convoluted) to quickest thus avoiding most of the town centres that had been en route. The drive was made that much more enjoyable by the fact that I bagged two summits Richard GW3ERP/P on GW/NW-037 and Charlie G0PZO/P on SP-013 and then as we came through Macclesfield a nice chat with TOM M1EYP/M who gave me permission to operate from the Macc Lad’s turf.
We arrived at the car parking space at the start of the walk just down hill from The Cat and Fiddle pub on the opposite side of the road at about 13:30 UTC. There was only one other vehicle parked there at the time so we had plenty of room. The ascent was simple and straightforward but maybe not as flat as one or two have made it out to be. We arrived at the summit about 20 minutes later but there was quite a crowd of muggles that we waited to disperse before setting up. In the mean time a little Geocashing was in order and with the help of two interested young boys and their even more interested parents we soon had found the highest Geocashe in Cheshire.
I cable tied the SOTA pole to Richard G3CWI’s favourite signpost with both the 2/70 antenna and the linked dipole on. I operated from the newer of the two summit benches while Helen opted for the other side of the dry stone wall and the picnic blanket. Helen went on to 2 metres and I started off of 5mHz working first Martyn MM1MAJ/P on GM/SS-052 and then Ian GW8OGI/P on GW/NW-054. Alistair GW0VMZ then got the ball rolling by spotting me as “Steve, talking to himself”. I had soon worked loads of the usual chasers plus Robin GM7PKT/P on GM/WS-096, Terry G0VWP/P on TW-004 and Steve GW1INK/P on GW/NW-062 Hope Mountain where he was accompanied by my partner in crime Mike GW0DSP. I did not actually work Mike but Helen did on 2 metres.
After the 5mHz calls dried up I went over to 40 metres and worked Paul F5NEP, who I heard and called from Gun but never made it, Lionel DJ5AV and Laurent F8BBL who’s videos are one of the highlights of SOTA on YouTube. Hopefully next time I work Laurent he will be on a summit and I can sign off that big fat zero French summits. Another interesting contact was Dick GM4WZI/P who was on Sanday Island in Orkney IO89QH, followed by Fritz DL4FDM, nice to give him some points back and then Paul DF1FN. I was toying with trying 20 metres but Helen had given up due to the horrendous break through on 2 metres making the weaker stations difficult to hear so we packed up at 16:00 UTC with 53 stations in the log, 16 on 5Mhz, 6 on 7mHz, 31 on 144mHz and 5 summit to summit contacts.
One of Helen’s last few stations was M0SGB who tipped us off to the co-ordinates of another Geocashe, which we bagged on the way to the car. It was only when we were already on the road home that she remembered there was a further one by the Cat and Fiddle along with a further trig point she could have logged. I think she maybe did not want to wait while I checked to see if the beer was as rubbish as real ale drink Steve G1INK said it was.
“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.” SP-004 is definitely one of them. The ascent is uninspiring at best and at times there is almost a feeling of desolation and of centuries of abuse, maybe I understand what J.R.R Tolken wrote a little better or maybe it was just the “Dark Satanic Mills” we passed on the way here that made me feel this way, however the short climb is well worth the trip and the summit shines in a different way to others. It is one of those things that are hard to put your finger on but Shining Tor to me had a certain feeling, a presence that belies its stature, like it is reaching up to heaven rather than heaven choosing to shine on it. Heaven choose to shine on it this day anyway and the views across 360 degrees were very impressive and seeing how we left home on a dull and overcast day it was a little surprising.
Finally – The midge season was in full swing that day and my (uncovered) arms ended up looking a used dartboard. Next time out we really must remember the repellent and something to keep the insects at bay ;0)
Regards Steve GW7AAV