On Sunday 25th August, 2019, I planned to activate Billinge Hill (G/SP-017) and Winter Hill (G/SP-010). Because of my restricted time I had planned to drive most of the way up Winter Hill, and walk the last 300-500 metres or so. When I got within 1.5 miles of the summit, I came across this locked gate and notice with weekend road closures.
There is enough space to park two cars here at a squeeze (SD 65778 12858 / 53.611273N 2.518692W).
Notice on the cattlegrid gate.
Winter Hill TV mast.
There is currently also a short term road closure at the TV mast building for about 100 metres to carry out works of some sort.
Apart from this, both activations went well with 20m being the band that most contacts were made on, and most of the signal strengths were very similar this band, about RST 579. I had no contacts on 80m, only one or two on 60m, and a small number of 40m and 30m, although signal conditions were very poor on these bands with a lot of QSB.
You should have rung Arqiva and got them to open the gate as you had an important task to perform.
I know David, that’s what we thought , so we had lunch first, calmed ourselves down, and walked the 1.5 miles to the activation zone. Mind you it was 30C up there, with a light refreshing breeze. After that we drove back to Scarborough, and arrived about 7pm, after a pit stop.
The signage has been there for years and although a little battered (April 2019), the message is clear. Yes you are free to visit Winter hill but not using wheeled transport! To ignore signs like this whilst activating brings SOTA into disrepute.
It’s not quite like that David. The sign on the gate, and that gate being locked at weekends, is new.
Although the old signage has been around a long time, public vehicular access to the upper parts of Winter Hill has been customarily tolerated for years, and confirmed at the summit office by site personnel.
Recent antisocial behaviour has caused them to withdraw this at weekends.
The sign looked very new, and I had the feeling that it might have been implemented because some people were not being considerate to others who use the access road. I made sure I parked responsibly, but I noted others who did not, i.e. by blocking one of the entrance/exit gates to the fields.
I imagine the antisocial behaviour that has caused withdrawal of weekend access would be more than just inconsiderate parking. Not wishing to go into detail about exactly what activities, but any regular nighttime activators will have stumbled across some disturbing sights at upland parking spots after dark.
Cairnpapple Hill GM/SS-254 car park regularly features discarded fast food wrappers, used condoms, empty alcohol bottles and discarded syringes. I don’t visit the place in the dark!