Some say that college and school is very important, and I would be one to agree. It does, however, mean that other activities have to be put on standby. I was fortunate enough to complete all my college work during the weekend, and with the Bank Holiday Monday looming, the weather looking promising and a pass out for the day, I found myself with a fantastic opportunity to spend the day doing something I hadnâ€™t done for a while, SOTA!
A little planning, and an agreement with the mother produced Ingleborough and Whernside, with the possibility of a small one on the way home. The plan made, the bag more or less packed, and an excited 18 year old went to sleep ready to feel 13 again.
I woke up as any 18 year old does, groggy untill his shower, and left a little after 7:45am on my motorbike (Suzuki 650 for those interested). The issue with going on a motorbike is that you have limited â€œboot spaceâ€ aka, a top-box and whatever you can carry on your back. This meant I could only carry the essentials, the Handheld, waterproofs, first aid kit and a bivvy bag, just in case, as well as the good old snacks, lunch and water. The weather looked murky, so I hoped it would clear up later on. Traffic was light, a typical Bank Holiday morning, and I made good time, arriving at Fell Lane at 8:45am.
A quick change out of motorbike gear and I was keenly off within 5 minutes. I warmed up quite quickly and was down to my shirt in less than 20 minutes, but made good progress, making my way into the mist of the Ingleborough hat and somehow locating the trigpoint at 9:50am. Excited to get onto the radio, I made 15 QSOâ€™s in just over half an hour, including a S2S in Wales, and then shot down like a rocket, back into the warm sunshine and back to my bike at 11:20am. On the way down, I passed many families ascending the well-known hill, and it filled me with happiness that so many children were embracing the outdoors, even though was looked reluctant to be there. A half change into motorbike gear, keeping my walking boots on, I drove through Ingleton and up a very scary lane with gates to my next location at White Shaw Moss at 11:45am.
Whernside is different in many ways to Ingleborough, for example, you donâ€™t have to walk as far, itâ€™s not as long and there isnâ€™t much of a track, but this really depends on where you start. If you want a nice walk up Whernside, I donâ€™t recommend coming up the west side. If you do, I highly recommend taking a spare pair of socks and NOT attempt to run down bits of the fell, as my walking boots became sodden within 5 minutes, and I slipped down, mucking up my motorbike trousers (aka jeans with padding, again, not a great idea, but I was limited in my boot space). I arrived at the trigpoint just before 12:30pm, half an hour before I had planned to be there, so this gave me a chance to find a nice spot and have my lunch, during which I caught Bob M3XJV/P on NP-017. After lunch, I worked another 10 contacts, including another 3 S2S in LD, NP and SP land, and I took my leave at half 1, arriving at my bike, somehow, 20 minutes later. During this descending period, I made the decision that I had time to activate one more hill, just a small one, and decided on Arnside Knott, LD-058, as I knew this one very well and didnâ€™t take much time, as well as it not being too far out of my way.
The journey there was fantastic: motorbikes, quads, old Beetles, even a few trikes, they were all there on the A65; it filled me with joy feeling like part of the gang, despite travelling in muddy trousers and sodden boots. After taking a wrong turn due to my bad memory, I arrived at the Arnside Knott car park at 14:45, and made good time, arriving at the trig point in 10 minutes. The sun was out, the views were spectacular; honestly, at that moment, sat on the ground absorbing the view, I have not felt myself feeling that elated for a very long time. Only 6 QSOâ€™s were made on this summit, but it included an S2S on my old lump, LD-049, allowing myself to gloat at collects S2Sâ€™s on every summit climbed today, and boasting a 38 chaser point bonus, which made the day even better. I felt my hayfever start to attack, which dampened my mood, but not a lot, and I took my leave, arriving at my bike at 15:50.
It was at this time I made a full change into my full motorcycle gear, and, secretly, in the process, praising my mum (2E0MND for those who know her) for suggesting the idea of packing a spare pair of socks. I make the same comment every time I change my socks after any occasion involving wet or sore feet: there is nothing, NOTHING, better than putting on a fresh pair of socks! Due to the warm temperature and strenuous exercise, and the fact I had finished all my water by the time I got to the summit of Whernside, I made it a must that I purchase a drink on the way home. Conveniently, there were some parking spaces available right outside an ice cream shop in Arnside, and had a well deserved 20 minute break with a Death By Chocolate Ice Cream and a can of cold Diet Coke. After failing to avoid the horrendously slow Bank Holiday traffic, not helped by the police van I unfortunately followed more or less home, the gleaming 18 year old arrived back just after 5pm, having successfully completed a day full of things I enjoy: radio, hillwalking, biking and lots of sunshine.
All in all, a very victorious day! Just glad I was able to get back on the hills and on the air after a very long drought away, hopefully I will be back again in the summer holidays!
73â€™s and thanks for all QSOâ€™s,