I’m planning a SOTA trip to the Lake District with a friend at the start of July & I’m looking for some inspiration!
It will be a 3-4 day trip with the aim of 1 summit per day. We want to do a couple of the bigger (10 point) summits as a joint activation, but also want to do some solo activations on the smaller summits (timed to coincide so that we can have a couple of S2S contacts between us).
My friend is primarily a VHF activator. I also tend to favour 2m FM but often also do 40m and/or 20m SSB if I have time & the conditions are favourable.
I also prefer the quieter summits with less people. As much as we should all be a good ambassadors for the hobby, I prefer not to be bothered by questions from the public while dealing with a pile up!
Which summits do other activators think are the best (or most enjoyable) to activate?
Which ones would you choose from my current shortlist of potentials below?
You can select up to 3!
Your favourite Lake District summits
- G/LD-001 Scafell Pike
- G/LD-003 Helvellyn
- G/LD-004 Skiddaw
- G/LD-005 Great Gable
- G/LD-017 Red Screes
- G/LD-024 Pike Of Blisco
- G/LD-034 Hard Knott
- Other suggestion (in comments please)
Place Fell LD-027 is probably quieter and less crowded. High Rigg LD-044 is a nice short, quiet 1 pointer, perhaps a lazy afternoon summit and Knott LD-023 is also off the beaten track. Another stunning one pointer on the way up or down is Dufton Pike NP-027 - so if you end up on the A66 worth a short detour!
Given when you’re going I can only suggest restricting things to places close to where you are staying. I’m a lapsed Cumbrian and my experience of the Lake District dates from the 60s and 70s but even then we used to joke that in summer they would put up signs saying the LD was full.
If you don’t want to spend ages driving - stay local.
… and probably arriving early so you can park a car within a mile or so if your start point would be good!
Gummers How G/LD-050 is my favourite, both because of its VHF takeoff and its views. On a clear day, you get a gorgeous landscape of the central fells, but, unsurprisingly, it comes with it’s fair share of tourists for the same reason!
From your list, my #1 would be Red Screes G/LD-017, however I’d suggest pairing it with Stony Cove Pike G/LD-018 if you can, as you can hit both from the same parking spot, which conveniently is a pub…
St Sunday Crag is my number one, for the views down Ullswater (as the sun sets).
The best SOTA day-outings in G/LD are those that involve a traverse between two summits. You can plan excellent circular walks taking in two activations. The following are all possibilities, but there are others:
Dale Head G/LD-020 & Robinson G/LD-021
Seat Sandal G/LD-022 & Helvellyn G/LD-003
Grisedale Pike G/LD-015 & Grasmoor G/LD-009
Fairfield G/LD-007 & St Sunday Crag G/LD-010
Great Gable G/LD-005 & Kirk Fell G/LD-014
My favorites summits are the new ones for me.
These I did not chase yet.
I agree with the comments about working a cluster of G/LD summits near to where you are staying. If you’re coming here in July, the roads to honeyspots will be chocker with tourists after 9am and you will spend a lot of time sweltering in traffic queues or fighting over the last parking space rather than hillwalking and doing radio. If you’re staying for just 3-4 days, you can’t really expect to cherry-pick the big [and hence] popular summits in peak tourist season without a lot of hassle.
I don’t have favourite summits cos I like variety. Most G/LD summits are lovely in one way or another and you wouldn’t go far wrong picking a mixed group of 1- to 10-pointers in one area.
But since you asked about quieter summits, I never get tired of walking one of my locals, Whitbarrow Scar (Lords Seat) G/LD-056, just across the Kent estuary from my village. I walked it yesterday evening (Saturday). Not another living soul to be seen on the entire walk or while I did HF CW radio at the summit, which is hard to believe as it was a sunny and warm evening (19C) and it has lovely views in all directions. I could have picked on dozens of other summits to highlight.
My advice (which locals gave me), if activating a popular summit in high season, get there early in the morning.
I’m sure you will have a great time.
Thanks for all of the suggestions folks. Good point regarding not trying to travel too far between summits due to the busy time of the year.
We will likely be staying near Coniston Water & Lake Windermere (I know, probably one of the busiest areas of the Lake District), so my current thinking is:-
Day 1 - Arrive at caravan site at about midday to drop off the caravan, with the intention of an afternoon/evening activation of Red Screes.
Day 2 - Early start with the intention of activating Helvellyn at around midday. I was originally going to do Scafell Pike, but that’s a longer drive & I recall it being a very busy summit the last time I climbed it, so I think I’ll pass on that until my next visit when it is less busy. Also, Helvellyn scored higher in the poll (albeit that only 4 people voted so it’s a very small sample group).
Day 3 - Visit to Hard Knott Fort (been wanting to go there for a while), with activations of both Pike Of Blisco & Hard Knott.
Day 4 - Morning activation of Holme Fell before picking up the caravan from the campsite & heading home.
Obviously this is a month or so away, so plans could change in that time!
Thanks again for the tips. Most of the suggestions which didn’t make the plan for this trip have been added to my “wish list” for future visits.
Like Roger @F5LKW said : my favorites G/LD are the summits that I have never worked
My missing little list :
73 and good trip
Sorry for the delay but it can be used by another activator
Did anyone tell you about parking costs? In 2019 it cost me £6.70 for 4.5 hours in a pay on exit car park. Budget on £10-£15/day. Some car parks take cards, some are cash only.
The Lakes were the busiest I have ever seen them today. I cannot imagine what it will be like in school summer holidays.
The best advice here is from Andy @G8CPZ get to your parking spot early. Langdale was pretty much full by 10am today. Parking for G/LD-034 could be problematic after 10 am. Parking for G/LD-024 after Hard Knott will very likely be problematic. After Hard Knott you can walk over to G/LD-028 and you don’t need to move your car. These are two great summits for the views.
One of my favourites is G/LD-025. Should be quieter, good parking options and great views.
Watch out for ticks on the smaller summits. I’ve brushed them off my trousers on G/LD-051, G/LD-050 but by far the worst is G/LD-056.
If you’re doing Helvellyn G/LD-003, you might as well combine it with Seat Sandal G/LD-022. Park at Dunmail Raise layby, north out of Grasmere. Ascend via Raise Beck to the saddle just before Grisedale Tarn. Head up the hill on your right (south) - Seat Sandal. After activating, drop back down to the saddle, then turn right towards Grisedale Tarn. Shortly take the zigzagging stony track up to Nethermost Pike, pass Dollywaggon Pike, and continue onto Helvellyn.
Descent via the Wythburn Track, but turn left before reaching the car park in order to return to the layby you started from.