SOTA Blues

A beautiful day on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August 2013 saw me heading for the Lancashire hills. I had reason to be in the area, but more of that later.

As I had to be in Colne for 8pm, there was no need to make an early start, and it was around 10am when I set off with my flask of steak & potato Big Soup. The driving went well up the M60, M66, A56 and through Rawtenstall, Bacup and Todmorden. Then things got tricky, and I struggled to accurately navigate onto the minor road between Hebden Bridge and Colne. I found it eventually, and that was to be that last of my navigational woes for the day.

At the summit of that road, I parked in a small pull in a few yards past the locked gate at the start of the track at SD914337. It was a lovely day with sunshine and blue skies. The only disadvantage was the extra weight in the rucksack of the fleece, coat and hat, which turned out to be carried all day and totally unused, rather in contradiction to my recent claim of using everything I pack!

A long walk up the gently ascended track was followed by a short descent to a turning area, which marks the end of the track. A bunch of lambs that were running away from me then showed me the faint path leaving the turning circle, down to a slightly damp clough and then the easy final ascent to the summit of Boulsworth Hill-Lad Law G/SP-008. It had been a splendid walk which I thoroughly enjoyed.

On the summit, it was necessary to explain my activity to a cyclist who had followed me from the turning circle, and was continuing over to the reservoir tracks, a young couple out for a walk, and a Scottish chap who sat by the trig point playing songs on his penny whistle! He would not be the last fellow musician I would encounter on summits today!

12m yielded 21 QSOs - 11 on SSB, 9 on CW and one on PSK31. I forgot to leave my logbook handy when packing away, so didn’t make a call on 2m prior to descent. Apologies if anyone was waiting for that.

The return walk to the car was just as enjoyable, and it was time to move to the other side of Colne for an afternoon jaunt up Pendle Hill G/SP-005.


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 £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 £30 festival ticket just to watch one band playing for one hour. Sadly, the organisers had not advertised the £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 in due course.


In reply to M1EYP:
Yes the link to the photo works Tom. Interesting to read about your day, sorry we didn’t know about the £3 tickets until it was too late, as it would have been worth coming over to see the band.

73 Phil

In reply to M1EYP:


Nice picture, of course I don’t know what you look like, so what instrument do you play? Check out my band, and you can see what I look like as a Rock Star;-) We released a CD last September that actually got a lot of play in Europe.

Oh and nice story on the summits.


Mike AD5A

Great website and great sounding band Mike. I play bass, and you can’t see me on the photo - apart from my machine head sticking out from behind the alto sax player (2nd from the left on the horn section).

But you can have a look at me in these places:


Photos of this lovely sunny Bank Holiday Monday in East Lancashire are now on the website:



In reply to M1EYP:
People coming from the Leyland / Chorley area (like me) would be more likely to call the Pendle / Boulsworth Hill’s area East Lancashire Tom.

73 Phil

PS Great pics by the way!

Thanks for the geography lesson Phil, will update!

Glad you liked the pics, though I think that 747 is coming in a bit low (last pic on Pendle page), don’t you?