Winter Bonus and the weather

I am not trying to teach anyone to suck eggs here but with the Winter Bonus starting this weekend and the possibility of people making the most of the extra points this weekend please don’t forget the weather and your safety.

This weekend is looking to be a stormy one, so please take care and think of number one and pack you kit with the weather in mind.

On that note, have fun and make the most of the points on the smaller safer hills.

In reply to 2E0KPO:

and pack you kit with the weather in mind.

I’d have never thought of that. As the bonus doesn’t start till tomorrow I guess it’s OK for me to continue doing activations today in my usual thong and wearing flip-flops!



In reply to 2E0KPO:

You are not teaching anyone to suck eggs Steve, you just offer very sound advice, especially with the weekend storms forecast, winter safety is a BIG issue, especially to any new activators.

Let’s hope that people heed your advice and take it seriously and stay safe in the coming winter months.

73 Mike GW0DSP

Hi Steve

Good advice… well received mate, I’m sure even the more experienced activators can become complacent… a reminder is appreciated. I hope to activate Ingleborough on Sunday WX dependant and will ensure I have the necessary kit with me for foul weather or abandon the activation if the situation dictates.

Ian 2E0EDX

In reply to 2E0KPO:
Looks like it is time for the shorts and the sun hat to come out

In reply to G6DDQ:

Looks like it is time for the shorts and the sun hat to come out

Careful Myke, we’ll hold you to that - for the whole of the bonus period!

Seriously, I agree that Steve has posted an important and timely reminder. There have been a number of new SOTA activators this year and no doubt a number of others will be coming up to undertaking their first activation, so the message is important. As someone that carries his bothy bag when it is 30 degrees C, I personally don’t need to be reminded, but others might have become used to travelling light and it now time to take stock and review what you take with you.

73 and see a number of you S2S soon.


In reply to 2E0KPO:

Hi, Steve.

You’re right. The forecast isn’t great so I’ll certainly be checking the updates later. I have, however, already cancelled one foray to the lakes due to thw WX forecast so this time, I’m planning to go anyway, and make judgements based on local conditions at the time. B & B paid for etc …

As a result, any alerts are likely to be no more than in indication of intent. I’ll try to update them with a “best guess” this evening and subsequent evenings if there’s GPRS covearge. I’ll try to self-spot just before setting-up each time if the prediction is way out.

I put down a couple of high-level walks originally. I think those are likely to prove impossible.

Take care out there,

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Hi, Mick.

It’s one of three items attached to the outside of my 'sack on a small alloy carabiner for easy access. The others are a small plastic compass and a tiny Li-ion powered torch to allow me to change the batteries in my head torch if neccesary.

I must check the whistle. I’m not sure I’ve ever done so …


In reply to G4ERP:
If your whistle is attached to the outside of your rucksac and you fall or your sac becomes dislodged from yourself then what use is the whistle ? It should be secured on your body where it cannot become detached from yourself.

In reply to G6DDQ:

Good point, Myke and something to consider. Whilst I’m walking I consider it would be difficult to become parted from my 'sack assuming the straps are clicked in and where it is, it has the advantage of being readily accessible. There are only so many secure pockets available about one’s person.

Food for thought.


In reply to G4ERP:

There are only so many secure pockets available about one’s person.

Indeed Richard. I suppose around one’s neck is the logical place, as it would be unaffected by how many clothing layers you have on / take off. However, it could be irritating and inconvenient, after all we are not just kitted up for walking, but for assembling and erecting antennas, operating equipment, etc. Of course we are separated from our 'sacks when on the summit and there could be an incident there. I guess it is impossible to cover every possible situation - we just try our best.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4ERP:
Excellent idea about the spare torch Richard, I activated White Hill in the dark and needed to change my headtorch batteries (in the dark). Not easy - a good torch (as well as the headtorch) is … Mick HJD, tell us which torch it is Mick, not cheap, but light (not heavy) and very effective.

In terms of packing yer sac for the winter bonus, its not the winter bonus which triggers this, it’s the conditions … but a good timely reminder.

In reply to G7KXV:
The only difference between my summer and winter pack is the 2 to 4 litres of water :slight_smile: I’ve been colder on a summit in Summer rain than windchill in winter.

Roger G4OWG

In reply to G7KXV:

Hi, Ian.

The “T-torch” was a freebie from the Outdoor Show at the NEC. :slight_smile: It weighs only a few grammes.

As you say, it’s conditions that dicate what you should pack, but I think Gerald is absolutely right in taking his shelter all year. I do now - but haven’t always. Severe windchill and ice on Helvellyn in early September prompted it’s immediate inclusion - along with my balaclava etc.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:

It’s good to see that a few humourous micky-taking comments have expanded this into a useful thread. In a way I’m glad the Winter Bonus is here, it means I can take this damn thong off!

The survival contents in my bag come with me Winter or Summer. All that changes are the number of layers and amount of water. I always have a wolly hat and change the thicker hat for a sun hat in the Summer. Same with gloves, there’s always the thin pair (good for radio ops) and the thick ones. The weight is negligible and they stuff into a corner of the bag. The compass, survival bag, whistle, windup torch, diabetes medicines and emergency carbohydrate supplies stay in the bag all year. I reckon 80% of the 12-14kg of my bag’s weight is nothing to do with radio.

Tom has written about his flask of soup, well I’ve started taking a flask of coffee with me. We had mildish but damp weather so far but even so having a flask of hot drinks with me has been very welcomed. Mine was a 500ml £2.95 stainless steel one from ASDA. Can’t fault it for the money.

Interesting about the whistle, mine lives in the top pocket of the bag, I think that will now change. Also I need to get another for when Sarah comes with me. I did think a pair of PMR446 handys may be useful. But I think a whistle for both is much more useful and works with non-radio equipped ears as well!

It looks like tomorrow afternoon may be dry enough for a bash on one of the local 2 pointers. It’ll be fun doing hills I’ve done before as I can see how much fitter I am that last year and try and better the times or find more interesting routes up them.


In reply to 2E0HJD:
Thanks Mick, thats the one, the surefire!

Last year (or the year before), Phil 2E0PHL posted info about the personal shelters, I was impressed and ever grateful to Phil for this information and I purchased a 2 man jobby which always, summer and winter goes with me on every activation, it is seldom used but what a great bit of kit when you need it, and you can keep your log dry.

Forgot to mention, I try and ensure everything in my sac has at least 2 purposes, right down to the towels I wrap my radio in, for protection. When I activate, I keep warm using one as a scarf, t’other is useful to dry your hands, my 2 man shelter also provides protection for my radio’s inside my sac.

Whilst I’m not planning on any Winter SOTA activations at present (that may however change) I have today purchased myself (from a local Camping/Ski equipment shop) a LED HEAD Torch. This is one of the variety that doesn’t need batteries. It has a hand wind-up generator, which I guess charges a high value Capacitor (as I doubt the claimed 40 minute running time from just one minute of winding the handle would charge any sort of battery).

Unless the WX is really bad I should get some idea of how well this little purchase works over the next few days (2m AFS /P on Sunday and 2m UK AC /P on Tuesday Evening).

In reply to 2E0KPO:
Nice little kit card on the Mountaineering Council of Scotland web site

Worth a visit

In reply to 2E0KPO:
I decided not to join my climbing club in the Lakes this weekend: I can still cope with nasty weather, I’m sure, but Pauline isn’t so keen nowadays!

One item I’ve added to my kit is a hand-powered torch (£7.50 from Tesco) which will give several hours of light from three minutes of cranking. It also features an FM radio, a press-button alarm (might be useful to guide rescuers!) and it can charge up a mobile phone, too! Come to think of it, I don’t own a pocket handy (does that make me unique?) but it could conceivably be used to charge one up.

Bearing in mind the original Joe Brown extensible rucksacs, now universally copied, it is worth thinking in terms of packing a square of foam to sit on, and putting your feet inside the empty rucksac - a good extensible comes well above the knees and will keep your feet nice and warm while you operate. If it was good enough for alpine bivouacs in the 70’s it should be good enough for SOTA now!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:


I remember those Karrimor JB sacs, the karrimat used to roll up at the bottom and provide some form of ventilation to the back. Still have fond memories of the old Whillans Alpinist orange sac and the Blue OB.

Most of our rescue team members had one or the other of these. Oh for those pioneering days. Classic style abseils, no posh climbing harnesses etc

Remember the Ellis stretcher for mountain rescue - did some great tests with this one of which involved using it as a canoe