I was out gigging last night with Liam, so it was a fairly late night, delayed a little more by being pulled over for my umpteenth breathalyser on the way home. Passed with flying colours as usual of course. By now I’d got a sniff of an activation opportunity for Sunday, knowing that Marianne and the boys would all be having a late lie-in, then catching up on TV recordings from the Saturday night! I fancied the walk up from Rushup Edge to Kinder Low (for Kinder Scout G/SP-001), much of it along a relatively newly laid flagged path over a previously very boggy, remote and inhospitable moor!
So I really should have gone to bed as soon as possible - but I found myself writing bass parts for a client in Switzerland and eventually hit the sack at 0230z - not good activation prep.
I decided that the best time to set my alarm for was no time at all, and just wake up naturally. This I did at 0930z, and went down to put the soup on for the flask - Heinz Chicken Noodle soup on this occasion. While doing this I messaged Richard G3CWI on the off-chance he might wish to join me - and to my surprise, he did.
After picking Richard up, we drove across town and I found myself driving up Buxton Road as though I was heading for Shining Tor G/SP-004. Of course, for Kinder Scout G/SP-001, I needed to have taken the Whaley Bridge road up through Hurdsfield, Rainow and Kettleshulme. “Thank goodness for Fence Avenue” I said to Richard, before turning left into the aforementioned crescent that linked to the road I should have been on!
The lay-by on Rushup Edge was pretty full, but there were a couple of spaces free at the back. We headed up the bridleway onto the moor, and then out onto the flagstone path, which is quite an impressive accomplishment to have created. It is very nicely laid, makes this section an easy stroll compared to the utter purgatory it used to be, plus it allows the moorland to recover. I was really impressed today with the speed at which much of the natural vegetation has returned in the space of just two short years since the project to lay this path and reseed the moorland.
Shortly after the trig point at Brown Knoll, there is a right turn down an existing flagged path, which joins the Pennine Way as it begins to climb up to Edale Rocks, and then onto Kinder Low. So this bit was now familiar to Richard, who had never been this route onto G/SP-001 before.
We found a couple of spots under rocks to shelter from the strong wind. Richard used one of his new portable chairs which afforded him a relatively luxurious level of comfort as he spent time on the summit not even attempting to activate! I enjoyed my soup lunch, followed by a surprise bonus of a delicious piece of homemade fruit cake from Richard’s wife Wee Wah.
I’d intended - and indeed alerted - for 40m. When I got to the parking spot, the 40m dipole wasn’t in the car, so I took the 15m groundplane instead. At the summit, I felt it was too windy to be messing about with such an arrangement. I could only envisage radials ripped away from their connections and a SOTA Pole broken in several places if I tried - so I didn’t.
So yet again for 2018, 2m FM handie activating it was. No problem though, with nine QSOs coming in. Just as we were about to leave, Simon G4TJC/P joined us. He had also been activating Kinder Scout, but from a different and distant part of the plateau - it is a very large AZ on this one.
We monitored Simon’s 70cm activating as we descended, and we both called in to work him once we were below Edale Rocks and safely out of the AZ. The rest of the walk was simply a reversal of the earlier outward route, and we were back at the car just before 4pm.
We had seen many fellow walkers out on all sections of the path, all day, and a particularly large number of people in the Kinder Low area. Perhaps surprising for a January day with less-than-perfect weather (strong winds, thick fog and intermittent drizzle) - or maybe just an indication of the growing popularity of walking?
Pub stops on the way home were the Hanging Gate at Chapel-en-le-Frith for a pint of Old Golden Hen, and the Robin Hood Inn at Rainow for a pint of Proper Job. A most enjoyable outing - thanks to Richard for his company.