“'Til we have built Jerusalem, and made it look like Milton Keynes” - Spitting Image.
Saturday 6th April 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015
Gig: Simon Faulkner Band
Venue: Bistro Live!, Milton Keynes
After failing to make the planned early get-up for the DX S2S SOTA event, I spent the Saturday morning working on my website. With a couple of errands to run in town, time soon ebbed away, and I was left with another 2m FM handheld raid on my local summit as the only feasible possibility of getting a SOTA activation in before the gig.
Four QSOs were made, then no further callers. I got on the road to Milton Keynes and checked into my digs in time to watch the Grand National on the telly.
Sunday 7th April 2019 - Wendover Woods G/CE-005 & Sir William Hill G/HSP-024
By the time the gig had finished, and we were fully loaded out (a tedious and lengthy operation back-and-forth across a large pedestrianised square in Central MK), it was approaching 3am BST. Fortunately, my digs were only five minutes away, so I could get my head down in a comfy bed. Two of the other guys in the band were contemplating a night sleeping in a van!
I only slept for five hours before waking up, but the sleep quality had been excellent and I felt great. Wendover Woods wasn’t quite as nearby as I’d have liked, but I was near enough to it not to be able to resist bagging it while in the vicinity!
As usual, I ignored the road entrance into the Forestry Commission estate, but drove up onto Aston Hill. The gateway where I often park my car was not available, as the gate was open to let cars in to park on Aston Hill - quite close to the trig point - for a cycling event. The grass verges nearby were all coned off too. I decided to drive in, pretend I was a spectator for the cycling event and pay the £2 for spectator parking.
The marshall looked surprised when I then headed off with my rucksack to a far corner of the field in the direction of the true summit on Haddington Hill! He later came over to enquire what was going on - and was very positively interested when I told him.
I decided to just do a short activation, as I knew the family were meeting for Sunday lunch in Foolow, near Eyam, Derbyshire, then going for a long circular walk. If I didn’t hang around too long in the Chilterns, I could rendezvous with them for that.
Hence I stuck to just 30m FT8 and worked seven QSOs. The penultimate of these was the most satisfying - US SOTA activator and chaser Paul KB9ILT.
I managed to get to the Bull’s Head at Foolow in time for a FB roast beef & Yorkshire pudding dinner, and pint of real ale. We then climbed up the road to Bretton, then walked along the ridge to Sir William Hill. This is a HEMA summit, G/HSP-024, and I walked up to the trig point with my handheld. Four QSOs were made on 2m FM.
We then followed the byway and road to Mompesson’s Well from the Plague era, then I found a great path down to the village of Eyam. A swift pint in the Miners Arms, then back up the roads to the cars at Foolow - a circular walk of around 15km.