From the parking spot for Boulsworth Hill-Lad Law G/SP-008, I dropped down the hill towards Colne. The second planned summit for Monday 26th August 2013 was Pendle Hill G/SP-005. As I spotted a road sign for Brierfield, it occurred to me to chance a call to Mike G4BLH. And as luck would have it, he was there monitoring S20 and came straight back to me.
Now there would be no such navigational woes for I had someone to do Jimmy’s job - shouting out all the directions as required. Mike perfectly directed me to the parking spot on Barley Lane SD814416, where there was a space right by the track entrance as lots of people were now on their way home.
There was still a huge number of people on the hills through, some going up, some coming down and plenty up on the summit. One thing that struck me as different to earlier years was the number of Asian people on the hill. I well recall that in the past, the demographic of people out walking has not exactly been representative of the demographic of East Lancashire. I also recall news items that the local council and ranger services were launching initiatives to stimulate a greater take up of outdoors activities by the Pakistani Heritage community in the area. Well something seems to have worked because easily over half the people I met on a very busy hill were minority ethnic - which stimulated a juxtaposition in my mind about the language of mathematics and statistics!
At the end of the main track from Barley Lane, I have always in the past turned right up the steep path to Big End. The alternative to the left always appeared to have some difficult terrain near the bottom. However, I fancied a change so decided to investigate further. What I found was that a good path weaved its way around some sharp corners, hidden from view by steep peat banks, and led onto the main path up to the south end of the hill. This was much easier going than the main drag up to Big End, and my enjoyable day’s walking continued.
When I reached the summit ridge, there was a sharp right turn, and then an uphill amble along a cairned path to the trig point. The walk had taken me 43 minutes from the car, and I was satisfied with that.
I was surprised to be greeted by the sounds of Blackpool Tower Ballroom at the summit, for there was a chap sat playing away on his portable keyboard. His repertoire was very much that one would expect on the Mighty Wurlitzer in the aforementioned venue, although the standard of playing and quality of voices was somewhat lower! I tried to speak to the organist, but he didn’t reply. I then noticed an empty bottle of white wine and an empty bottle of Scotch whisky by his side!
I set up on the grass between the trig point and the steep edge so as to enjoy the stunning view in the stunning weather while operating. Upon first switching on, the 12m band was rammed with activity on all modes. One QSO with N4EX and a S2S with Steve G1INK/P on Great Whernside G/NP-008 later, and the band was practically empty! Nonetheless I did manage to make 21 QSOs on 12m - 9 on CW, 11 on SSB and one on PSK31 - spookily exactly my results on Bouslworth Hill earlier!
After packaway, I called on the VX7R for this time I had kept the logbook and pencil handy. Seven 2m FM QSOs were added to the log, including S2S with Gerald MW0WML/P on Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051. The descent was taken down the same route as used for ascent, and took around 30 minutes.
Fortunately, Mike G4BLH was there again on 2m FM, this time to direct me into Pendle Leisure Centre in Colne, the site of the Bulmers British Stage at the GBBF - Great British Blues Festival. I was playing here with my band Manatees at 9.15pm. On arrival I learned that an evening only ticket was available at just Â£3. This was a great pity as several people, including some SOTA friends, had told me they would have come to see the band, but obviously weren’t prepared to pay a full Â£30 festival ticket just to watch one band playing for one hour. Sadly, the organisers had not advertised the Â£3 evening only ticket option whatsoever. Still, it was nice to round of the day playing live for an hour with the full ten piece band, but I was pretty shattered for the drive home to Macclesfield! Forunately, Arthur G0OHY kept me company on 145.475MHz FM for much of it.
If it works, a photo from the gig (can you spot me though?):
Photos from the walks and summits will be added to http://tomread.co.uk in due course.