Saturday 25th May 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015, Gun G/SP-013 & Winter Hill G/SP-010
Gig: Liam Read Band @ Swanload Festival
Venue: Swan With Two Necks, Macclesfield
Gig: Simon Faulkner Band
Venue: Rivington Hall, Bolton
Well what a busy day this turned out to be. My son Liam had the honour of being the opening band for this year’s Swanload Festival. That was a 3pm slot, so I nipped out during the morning to get my exercise in.
It was a very nice warm sunny ascent of The Cloud G/SP-015 to kick off with, and five 2m FM contacts on the handheld when I got to the summit.
Next it was over to Gun G/SP-013, and another enjoyable short stroll in the lovely weather. Unlike a little later in the day though, the band was quiet. Just two QSOs made in this activation.
Next, the Liam Read Band opening up the Swanload Festival. A well received set of live music including covers of Joy Division, Radiohead, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Beatles and Kinks.
Next, it was a swift pack down, load in the car, drop my mum home (she had been to see her grandson perform) and get on the road to Bolton. I had a wedding gig with the Simon Faulkner Band, so this had the usual fayre of Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake etc. A very nice carvery supper too - so this was a good gig!
Of course Rivington Hall is in the shadow of Rivington Pike. Well not at that time of day, but you get my drift. Rivington Pike is on Winter Hill G/SP-010, although a fair distance away from the actual summit. Liam had accompanied me on this gig, and shortly after midnight, we were packed down and loaded up. I fancied a cross midnight UTC “double bubble” (for the chasers, not for me) activation, and Liam was up for a little adventure too.
I used the service road for most of the distance to the summit, meaning only a trivially short walk remained for the “final ascent”. It was 2352z by the time I was in position with my handheld switched on, so I needed to get a QSO quickly in order to be able to record an activation for the current UTC day. Unnervingly, there was no response to several CQ calls on S20.
I found a QSO down on S10, and invited myself in. This resulted in a QSO and a big sigh of relief! When I called again on S20, this time I was answered, so like Gun G/SP-013 earlier, it was a two QSO activation!
Sunday 26th May 2019 - Winter Hill G/SP-010 & Shining Tor G/SP-004
Gig: Joe Longthorne
Venue: Norton House Country Club, Sheffield
So, cross midnight UTC (1am BST), and time for a new activation of Winter Hill! 2E0TLD was the only station to benefit from “double bubble” by working me in both activations. A few more stations materialised on air though, and this time four QSOs resulted.
I walked back down to where Liam was waiting in the car, and we set off home.
That night’s gig in Sheffield meant another obvious summit choice - Shining Tor G/SP-004. The musical director had requested an early soundcheck, and when I got to the parking spot, just short of the Cat & Fiddle, I realised I had a time window of only 75 minutes.
My ascent walk was timed at exactly 30 minutes, so I could relax for the activation (which would still be a fast one on 2m FM with the handheld) and return walk. Six contacts were made, including a surprise call from Jimmy M0HGY at the home QTH.
I was at the venue in good time and completed soundcheck. We then had about 90 minutes to seek out some food, so I used Google Maps on my phone. A fifteen minute walk to the Sportsman Inn was indicated, and as it was a lovely afternoon, I managed to persuade the band to go for a walk. It was a very pleasant walk around the outskirts of Sheffield, with plenty of green space on one side and great views over the city centre from relatively high ground. The steak and ale pie with mash, greens and gravy was first class too.