SOTA from Seat Sandal, G/LD-022

This was the first time this year I’d visited Seat Sandal, G/LD-022, and in fact when I think about it the year before I was here I didn’t activate it because it was too early in the morning, I only had one QSO at about 6:30.

After a touch of man-flu had knocked me out on Saturday I was really glad the weather had turned from Saturdays ‘almost dark at 2pm’ to a very promising, if bracing, outlook on Sunday. Alex and the girls were down in Blackpool so I threw a few bricks in the rucksack and headed off on the motorbike. Someone had helpfully dropped a continuous trail of oil right from Troutbeck Bridge to the top of Dunmail Raise so I took it easy.

Parking at the lay-by next to the AA call-box I headed up the track following the road, but then deviated off up the ascent of Seat Sandal, way too soon to hit the track that ascends the westerly side. Last time I’d been up here I’d actually come up by mistake - it’s amazing what a year does to your sense of geography!

This is no easy ascent, but then I’m not sure there is one for Seat Sandal, it is pretty punishing from all sides! There was a stretch when I was on hands and knees and could have done with my trail running shoes in preference to the walking boots. This is the angle of slope at one point:

Anyway… I do this to myself, clearly. Early on in my SOTA career I’d had a catalogue of approaching a summit from the most direct and punishing route, clearly I’m not learning! To add insult to injury Seat Sandal is one of those summits which keeps the view rolling off nicely so you think you’re there, and then there is more, and then there is more! Anyway I got there eventually!

The SOTABeams QuadBander was setup at reduced height due to the biting North-Westerly wind, and having linked for 80m I immediately went back to 20m for a potential S2S. That didn’t pan out but I did work several stations and then a spot came up for TF3EK/P on TF/SL-190 in Iceland. I listened for several minutes and he was coming and going with QSB. I decided I probably wouldn’t be able to work him and went to reclip the antenna just as there was a lift. Just after Manuel I managed to log a S2S which is my first Iceland contact!

I then got an unexpected local S2S contact with G7HEM/P who was on the Old Man of Coniston and this was truly line of sight - the benchmark was clearly visible silhouetted against a white sky!

Having finally linked for 80m I got an amazing run of contacts, with some stations maxing out the FT-857’s S-meter. One interesting contact was with OZ1NJL, reports were 58 & 59+10 - he was using a 15.2m wire antenna via a 9:1 balun at 1cm height off the ground!

I then moved to 2m and decided to use my new homebrew 8 element coaxial colinear which I had tested for SWR but not much else. I taped this to the 10m mast and apart from one complete collapse of the mast at one point stayed up and worked well. With nothing to attach the mast to I resorted to holding it in the crook of my arm - and in anticipation of this ‘needing to operate standing’ scenario I had purchased a camera strap from eBay to hang the FT-857 off which worked beautifully, the clips on it sit either side of the plastic section on the fold out foot and it didn’t swing away from me when bending down to pick up the numerous dropped items, so well worth the £8.54 it cost!

The antenna seemed to work really well but it is a big one - maybe best left to summits where the pole can be strapped to something, but I was itching to try it!

By this time the views had come out nicely so the descent (via the path this time!) was filled with magnificent scenery - just don’t walk and look at the same time.

Off down to London now on the train - I have a training course for two days. This follows on from a previous one and no doubt I will be educating some of the attendees on the magnificence of the Lake District. Last time I talked to folk who didn’t even know it existed. North of the Watford Gap syndrome.

Thanks to all Chasers, hopefully I will be able to make good use of the +3 point winter bonus over the next couple of months. Some more photos here.

Date: 09/Dec/2018 Summit: G/LD-022 (Seat Sandal) Call Used: M0NOM/P Points: 6 Bonus: 3

Time Call Band Mode Notes
11:48z EA3HXT 14MHz SSB David Girona
11:50z OK2APY 14MHz SSB
11:51z SP9AMH 14MHz SSB
11:52z SV2HSY 14MHz SSB
11:53z S57ET 14MHz SSB
11:54z 9A1AA 14MHz SSB
11:54z S52CU 14MHz SSB
11:55z EA2DT 14MHz SSB
11:57z EA3KT 14MHz SSB
11:58z OE5HDN 14MHz SSB
12:05z TF3EK/P 14MHz SSB Iceland!
12:15z G7HEM/P 144MHz FM
12:17z G0RQL 3.5MHz SSB
12:19z MM0XPZ 3.5MHz SSB Steve
12:20z G4OOE 3.5MHz SSB
12:20z G6NHW/P 3.5MHz SSB Pete Morecambe
12:21z M0JJA 3.5MHz SSB QRP 5W
12:22z DG1NPM 3.5MHz SSB
12:22z G0FEX 3.5MHz SSB
12:23z GI0AZA 3.5MHz SSB
12:23z M0MDA 3.5MHz SSB
12:24z G0TDM 3.5MHz SSB
12:25z G3TQQ 3.5MHz SSB
12:26z GM4WHA 3.5MHz SSB
12:27z G8ADD 3.5MHz SSB
12:27z GI0AZB 3.5MHz SSB
12:28z G0GWY 3.5MHz SSB
12:28z G3RDQ 3.5MHz SSB David
12:30z G0BFJ 3.5MHz SSB
12:31z G3KIP 3.5MHz SSB
12:31z M6PKF 3.5MHz SSB
12:32z G7LMF 3.5MHz SSB WAB: SJ61
12:33z M0GQC 3.5MHz SSB
12:34z G4AFI 3.5MHz SSB Fleet
12:35z 2E0TUE 3.5MHz SSB
12:38z M0GDX 3.5MHz SSB
12:40z G3SED 3.5MHz SSB Mike
12:43z G7SSE 3.5MHz SSB John Nottingham
12:44z G1SWX 3.5MHz SSB Chris double 1m magloop Bristol
12:47z G3YZY 3.5MHz SSB Howard 6m n. Portsmouth
12:49z G0KNK 3.5MHz SSB Wigan
12:51z G4PDF 3.5MHz SSB Bob Lincoln
12:53z M0JLA 3.5MHz SSB Rod
12:54z MW0TTF 3.5MHz SSB Welsh Valleys
12:55z OZ1NJL 3.5MHz SSB Niels 15.2m antenna @ 1cm 9:1 Balun 100w
12:58z G8YAE 3.5MHz SSB Chris Chigwell FT-991A
13:01z GW3XHG 3.5MHz SSB Dave
13:04z M1EUZ 3.5MHz SSB Dudley
13:22z M6NZX 144MHz FM Rivington Pike NP
13:27z G0TDM 144MHz FM
13:28z GM4WHA 144MHz FM
13:30z 2E0LDI 144MHz FM
13:31z 2E0LDF 144MHz FM
13:32z G3VVT 144MHz FM
13:35z 2E0TUE 144MHz FM Nigel 1w
13:43z M7RAC 144MHz FM Reg Bootle
13:46z G0TVB 144MHz FM Paul Hebdon Bridge KX3 2m TV
13:53z G4WGN 144MHz FM Ken Mellin 10k E. Liverpool
14:07z G1GDB 144MHz FM Bothel Carlisle W. Binsey
14:10z 2EODIJ 144MHz FM
14:11z M0LKB 144MHz FM

Great report Mark. Sorry but I was not around this afternoon…catch you again soon.

73 Allan GW4VPX

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Well done, Mark. I would like to do this summit in the New Year.

UPDATE: re-reading your post you mentioned Dunmail Raise, so you probably took the path EAST (sorry I said West) up Raise Beck and then south near and to the summit.

I wonder if the longer route parking on the A591 just south of Town Head and walk the footpath NE up by Little Tongue Gill then anticlockwise round the summit and approach it from near Grisedale Tarn, is any easier?

That’s a tricky one in the high winds. I just tried my new Sandpiper 2m 3el yagi on G/CE-005 on a camera tripod yesterday. The tripod blew over in the high wind and bent one of the directors. I switched to a guyed 3m pole after that - takes longer to put up but lighter and more stable in the wind.

73, Andy

I think you mean east up Raise Beck Andy. I haven’t tried your suggested route, but I would council against the route up from Grisedale Hause if you’re trying to avoid a steep ascent :wink:. If you meant the final ascent from the north, then you’re probably as well just doing the route up Raise Beck, Mark described. The other option seems to be a track marked on the 1:25k map up to the shoulder SW of Seat Sandal. I haven’t tried that either, the final ascent doesn’t look too bad, but it’s just as steep lower down. It’s a nice group of summits, but I’m glad I negotiated Cofa Pike without an audience (another reason for starting early) :woozy_face:

The track up Raise Beck is fairly easy, and so is the path from the col overlooking Grisedale Tarn southwards to Seat Sandal. That is the route that I would recommend - plus the continuation from Seat Sandal to Fairfield is fun.

Just to clear up confusion, probably caused by myself, here is the route up and down I took:

The route that I took down is a distinct path which is used primarily by fell runners it would seem. It isn’t quite as punishing as the direct route I took, but not far off and not much fun descending via that route either to be honest.

I would recommend the alternatives of either Dunmail Raise to Grisedale Tarn then up via Grisedale Haus, or up from High Broadrayne to Grisedale Hause. This second longer option is an attractive path to follow. Of course the obvious day-walkers approach would be to ascend from a walk on the Westerly flank of the Fairfield Horseshoe via Great Rigg and Fairfield, although you would need to arrange your transport as this is not a circular option.

I have not approached via the path on the North side of Seat Sandle - it looks from the contour lines like the height gained following the beck from Dunmail Raise takes the worse of the steepness out compared to the approaches from the West.

Note that the ascent via the beck from Dunmail Raise is fairly steep in places but more manageable given the well-defined path.

Regards, Mark.

Yes, I only ever had trouble with this well-used path once. That was on the occasion I activated Seat Sandal myself, it was winter and the rocky section just below the high point was sheeted over with a thin layer of green ice. It had thawed away by the time I descended! The path that approaches the summit from the northwest is difficult to find on the ground and probably pointless anyway. Incidentally, I once climbed Dollywagon from that col, but never again - purgatorially steep grass isn’t my scene!

This is the only route I’ve ever taken when activating this summit. The ascent up Raise Beck towards Grisedale Tarn to what I can remember is steep, but enjoyable with it walking by a river. Just before to get to Grisedale Tarn, you turn right and walk up a path by a wall to right of you all the way to the summit. This bit to what I remember is very steep and punishing, but compared to the other routes you have mentioned I think this is the best route.

Jimmy M0HGY

I agree with Jimmy. The route you took Mark seems unnecessarily punishing. Just walk up by the stream from Dunmail Raise, then turn right at the wall just before Grisedale Tarn, and follow it to the summit. Much easier than your route.

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