We were heading back home on the Friday and with the chance of another activation, the rain decided to fall on the Thurs so it was a drive around and do touristy things plus visit old haunts like Buttermere, Stonethwaite then visit friends. We had driven up Honister Passjust to see the lie of the land and a quick look at the route.
Friday morning arrived and with the legs still aching from Skiddaw‘s descent, we packed the car and left Cockermouth and headed through Keswick taking the Borrowdale road passing by Grange, Rosthwaite and Seatoller and at the top of Honister Pass, Katie dropped me off. We used to come down each August to watch the local fell race which includes today’s hill, Dale Head.
No option now, I was being picked up in 4 to 5 hours so off I headed across the road from the now busy Honister Slate Mine, the route marker is non descript to say the least but along a fence the path runs upward. Slowly I headed as I have said the legs were still tight from Skiddaw but it was a pleasant breezy ascent, I stopped to take a look at the old workings on the face of the opposite crag which dominates Honister Pass, the original slate workers must have lived a dangerous life working in those conditions, no Health & Safety rules in those days.
A quick break after 30 mins for a quick bite and drink and to take some photos. Dale Head is a short sharp ascent of just over a mile (1.2 ml) and a rise of 1,400 ft although not the steepness of Skiddaw’s initial path but enough for the legs to get a good workout, another quick break just before the hour and the summit was within touching distance. I arrived after 66 mins ascent, not bad considering.
First of all, I took in the views especially the Newlands Valley which literally just falls away below your feet and opens out flanked by Hindscarth and High Spy looking towards Skiddaw is breathtaking.
I spoke to a couple of walkers who had come over from Cat Bells via Bull Crag then High Spy in what looks a cracking ridge walk, they were still debating the next move whilst I set up the 4m JPole, I was quite glad I activated Skiddaw on 4m FM so hopes were high for a repeat. A handy single metal fence post is handily placed on the summit.
I proceeded to have a quick scran break before calling out on 4m FM and immediately Mike BLH, who I found out is one of the Summitbase team came back to my call from near Nelson in Lancashire, a quick chat then off to work John LYJ based back in GM land in the town of Annan, once again 4m was proving a good start as I spoke to Malcolm XAT from Seaton next , it is a pity there are not any more 4m chasers in GM land especially after a good start when I first used 4M FM on my activations, potential is there just have to find chasers.
Another station from the previous activation called in, Mark MPB from Annan, I’d like to thank Mark for the spots on both days, a quick ragchew and off to work Colin UXH from Milnthorpe in south Cumbria, I had spoken with Colin and his XYL coming off Walla Crag the other day. Lastly on 4m, Geoff WHA called in from Penrith.
Time for another break as whilst working on 4m , I put the 5 element Yagi beam together as I thought with the higher hills to the south and west, the beam could prove its worth. Everyone who passed showed interest in what I was doing and unbelievably nobody had previously come across any activators in the local area which is surprising as the LD hills are kept busy with both SOTA and WOTA activators.
Time for 2m FM…
First call and Colin UXH came back again answering my call, I had a quick word then Tony OAE in Seaton was waiting, we had a laugh about my trying so hard to stop putting the ‘m’ prefix in my call, this G7 came strange to me, a force of habit. I had only finished talking with Colin when John TDM in Penrith called in, these lads are the regular chasers in the northwest area plus I was not finished just yet as Jimmy EYP called STS (summit to summit) from a hill on the G side of the border, JImmy was on Peel Fell today, he was on holiday in that area and had activated most the Scottish Border Marilyns, it was good to make another STS. Next in the log was Sue OHH from Lancaster another station I worked from Skiddaw, a quick goodbye and I got a call from Bill DXT from Aspatria, I knew Aspatria was local but had to remind myself to check exactly where HI.
It was now back to S20 and after a couple of calls, I made contact with Brian ZRP from the Wirral area which I thought was an excllent contact considering the ring of higher hills in that direction, finally the last contact was with Barrie JYB, a SOTA activator from Ingleton in South Yorkshire.
Another excellent day with the hill activated first on 4m FM and overall contacts with the local chasers.
I would like to say many thanks with those I spoke to over my two LD hill activations, thank you for coming back to my calls and for making me feel welcome. The bad news for you ? I will be back, a trip back down next year is in early stages of planning, I will return possibly back to this hill as it is one I had previously visited about 25 years ago. You will see when you read my list of activated hills, I’m not a ‘uniques’ chaser that I will leave to people like oor Neil 2M0NCM.
Everything was quickly taken down and packed away, I had arranged with Katie for a pick up time which was due in 30 mins, I headed back down the same route and met a few walkers on their way up, a quick word with most and I reached the bottom of the hill 45 mins later, yes,15 mins late.
It was time to head back home…..sadly. I could have done a lesser fell on the next day but back to GM land was the order of the day. Mention of my ‘doing’ two hills on my anniversary break, let me explain…
I like hills, my XYL likes shops…..she doesn’t do hills and I don’t like shops, simples !
Feel free to click on images for full size..
Once again my thanks to Wikipedia..
Dale Head info..
Height is 753m or 2,470 ft ASL.
SOTA summit G/LD-020
WOTA summit G/LDW-063 (click on this link to register first <HERE>)