Tag Archives: Dale Head

2012… in retrothingy…….part one

‘Twas the night( four sleeps actually) before Christmas !

It has come around to that time again but this year being a pessimist I thought waiting just to make sure those Mayans had it totally wrong SO at 11.12 UTC (December 21st) I sat down to write this as I still know I have an audience. You are still out there, are you or has it all past me by ?

Sitting comfortably are we ?

2012 almost started with an activation but due to the weather being extremely seasonal the trip out was abandoned. It took me until late April to make my first appearance on a hill although the local hilltops got pounded in pursuit of points. At the beginning of February I did activate Corlic in its guise as a ‘HuMP‘, the official title being GM/HSS 088. I had headed there to try and catch fellow blogger Neil 2MØNCM who was on Cruach Tairbeirt in the Arrochar area so a hybrid summit to summit to start.

The first SOTA activation took place in April with a visit to that hill which no one likes, the Hill of Stake the highest point in Renfrewshire although on the ’11 visit I got put wise to a drier route which was still boggy but not sink to the knees boggy. I did manage four STS (summit to summit) that day including one to EI land (Ireland). I think a visit in ’13 why not ?.

GAX on a'Mhanaich

GAX on a’Mhanaich ® Roddy 2MØIOB

This was quickly followed at the start of May to another of my now yearly visits, I headed to Beinn ‘a’Mhanaich on the west side of the Luss hills only this time, Roddy 2MØIOB had accompanied me but we split hills, Roddy headed to the nearby Beinn Chaorach which managed to evade a visit this year, I’m sure we could have had a STS in semaphore but we did have one not only on 2m FM but also using PMR, a first for us both. We had used PMR to keep in touch during the ascents.

The next weekend on what was a boomerang visit to Duncolm in the Old Kilpatrick hills, I had done an activation there in 2009 and on what was a sunny but very breezy day, I headed up an exellent aggregate track before following an occasionally damp grassy track until a short, sharp ascent. It was a busy day out on the GM slopes as I worked another 4 STS. As I researched Duncolm I came across the inference that Duncolm was a major part of ‘Glasgow’s Secret Geometry’, interesting. I like that kinda stuff as it makes you think. Unfortunately the main links to the original site with this info has a malware warning.

I now turned to serious stuff ( for me anyway !) as mid June saw me heading to the Arrochar Alps and on what turned out to be a miserable wet, cloud day I headed to the summit of Beinn Narnain and after a pleasant ascent, the weather or more to the point, a dark cloud decided to position itself over the hill and kill visibility and later on another activation I saw that the descent from the summit was one I’d rather have done in clearer conditions. I still enjoyed my day as it cleared up literally as I left the rock field just before the summit.

Narnain summit from Beinn Ime

Narnain summit from Beinn Ime

Four weeks later I headed the same route only this time, I had set my sights on the Cobbler but after a good walk in, I saw the path heading up Beinn Ime was kinda saying ‘ C’mon Mhor’ so off it was. Was it worth it ? I bet as the views in all directions were exceptional, a hill worth a return ( the Cobbler to do first though).

This was my last GM activation for 2012 but on my now regular yearly Lake District visit, I took the time to ascent Blencathra and although I had RX problems with a hand-held I enjoyed a day on a hill I had often looked at, I did the opposite route from the guidebook starting up Blaise Fell from near Threlkeld and although I did have a look down Sharp Edge, I thought better of it. I had read that this hill was riddled with paths and on the descent and I had to consult the map on more than a few occasions. I had finally exited down Mousethwaite Combe then a short walk to Scales. A good activation.

The following day, Katie and I headed to Latrigg which overlooks Keswick and I managed to sneak a handie and  activated the WOTA fell. A good day for a stroll plus it was fun to take my beloved with me plus Katie toddled along too. I meant my 2m handie ..what did you think I meant ?

Following on from the previous years visit to Mull and Ben More, it was off to the Lakes with both Roddy 2MØIOB and Patsy UPG. I’d planned more than a few hills but the main target was Scafell Pike, the highest point in England-shire and on what turned out to be four seasons in a day, the cloud lifted as we topped the hill and even the RAF saluted us with a 360 fly past as we arrived on the summit proper.

Mr Mhor on Scafell Pike

Mr Mhor on Scafell Pike

The following day I’d pencilled in a double activation, Robinson and Dale Head and surprisingly there was no achy legs and both hills proved no problems, Dale Head is worth the walk just to see the view northwards. It did end with Bob being slightly forgotten.

Two days later was to finish my outings for the year, Stony Cove Pike is ascended from the top of the Kirkstone Pass and I activated the hill as I had done the previous three hills on 4m FM only popping on to 2m FM to give out the odd WOTA point.

Highlights ?

Them all of course.

I enjoy heading out even it is only on to my local hillsides to work those who have taken the time to head out and on a sunny day there is nothing better than turning the beam round to bring in someone. I did manage to pass what I call my portable chasing sloth (1,000 points) at one point, it fair beats sitting at home.

Next year ?

I have already chosen 2013’s intentions and pinned it to my computer desk, I did the same last year and managed one or two of them but this year I have downsized and have only three…

The ridge walk to Hallsfell Top

The ridge walk to Hallsfell Top

We will see….

For my blog posts for the above…just go HERE

Yep you have guessed it, a pt.2 will be in production soon. Keep an eye out.

My thanks as usual to Wikipedia, Peakbagger and Roddy IOB for use of an image taken through a monocular !

I hope that the holiday period has been good for you and I look forward to either ‘chasing’ or working you from a hilltop in ’13.

Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh !

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr dhuibh uile!

To embiggen any image just click on it…

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(Sept) Radio Days

I thought a wee break in posts was in order after I posted the three rapid blog posts of September’s Lake District activations and visit.

September was a busy month as it was the yearly trip of myself, Roddy IØB and Patsy UPG and this year we headed for the Lake District after the 2011 visit to the Isle of Mull was deemed a roaring success. We first activated the highest point in England, Scafell Pike in what turned out to be almost weather-wise four seasons in one day. The following day it was a dual activation as Roddy and I headed on to separate hilltops and passed each other on Littledale Edge to each others first hill, the venue was Dale Head and Robinson, two ‘Marilyns‘ separated by just 3 km  . The weather was much the earlier days but thankfully this time no hailstones on this trip.

Scafell Pike Summit

Scafell Pike Summit

Finally the five day visit was ended after an activation of Stony Cove Pike near Kirkstone Pass on the Fri, all done with handheld activations except my 4m one on Dale Head as the wind was strong on each of our visits except for Stony Cove Pike which has amazing views looking south to Morecambe Bay. Thanks obviously must go to those who took the time to work us plus I’ll be back down next year. Blog posts are here Pt 1  Pt 2  Pt4

Chasing

Another busy month started with a visit to the now usual Lurg Moor trig point and first in the log for the month was Robin PKT who was on Beinn Udlamain which is the highest hill on the west side of the Drumochter Pass. I had returned home and caught Robin on his next summit Sgairneagh Mhor on 2m SSB.

The following Saturday Robin popped up on Schiehallion and the next day I headed to Lurg Moor and although knowing Graeme 2MØGIL was activating Meall Corranaich I missed him as I was heading along the single track road with the handie scanning the 2m band, I later found out I had mistimed and missed him. I did catch him later on his other hill of the day Meall a’Choire Leith but back to my arrival and set up.

Trig point station

Trig point station

I switched on the 817 and lo and behold, a ‘ lift‘ was on as I made contact with Mike YYY on Pen-Y-Ghent in the North Pennines, I did try to contact stations on Great Gable, Blencathra among others but with no joy. The strong signals you receive in the Fells would dwarf mine as the incoming signals were weak. I gave up trying after a short time. Jim GLM was next in the log from Meikle Bin followed by Robin on Carn Dearg  to the east of Glen Roy and a good contact given its lower height and it being over 115 kms away . The day wasn’t finished as Craig HCF appeared on Schiehallion which I also worked the previous day.

A midweek contact with Kenny ZUN who activated Ben Lomond, this one caught from sea level from my work base.

It was off to the Lakes and on our second days on the Fells I worked two STS (summit to summit) with Roddy 2MØIOB on Dale Head and Robinson. Two days later, I had just reached the activation zone when I worked a station PLF on Snowdon ‘handie to handie’ over 175 km away then a local STS with Richard JTD who was just to the north of us on Hallin Fell which overlooks Ullswater.

Beinn Bhuidhe © Roddy 2M0IOB

Beinn Bhuidhe © Roddy 2M0IOB

The next day it was back to chasing in GM (Scotland) land and Robin PKT was on Binnean Mor the highest and one of the remotest Mamores. Meanwhile Jack COX had climbed up to Beinn Bhuidhe at the top of Loch Fyne and was my final contact that day.

The following day I recorded points from Neil 2MØNCM who had travelled north from his Ayrshire base to Beinn Udlaidh which towers over Glens Lochy and Orchy. this Corbett is known for its quartz rib which is visible from the main road which runs to its east plus it was good to see Neil oot’n’aboot again and last contact for the month was with Robin PKT who also started the month, Robin was to the west of Neil on Creagh Bheinn to the west of Loch Etive.

Neils blog post on his activation of Beinn Udlaidh is HERE

A busy month with points mounting up..a possible 99 pts.

Apart from enjoying the contacts it then leads to a ‘google’ of any new summit worked and reading about the hill, its Gaelic meaning and all relevant info plus I look at possible routes even though I may never visit the area so it’s not all about the chase it is a learning process after the contact, I also apply this to any HF contact I make….the Internet is such a wonderful learning tool.

HF…

Propagation started to really pick up towards the latter part of the month but my activity was negligible although most days I had a call. 15, 12 and 10m started to show some exotic DX locations but none seemed to come my way.At the start of the month I did manage to work a station in Beijing on 17m JT65HF. I’m presently having a rest from it all.

Other…

Still playing with the ‘dongle’ on VHF and UHF. Things have slowed slightly as stocks of the superior 4000 tuner chip are now running out. Work is currently being done on the suitably of a 820 chip which has appeared on the market. Some sellers are now labelling these dongles as SDR so please check the chips first are suitable, check this at the subReddit RTLSDR

I’m still heading out to higher local spots for radio work and the trig at Lurg Moor is beginning to be my ‘go to’ place, it has excellent views in a 180 degree vista from west to east. I must organise a seat as with a wet summer, the grass areas are sodden and Bob must save his weary legs.

Thanks goes to Roddy 2M0IOB for © the image of Beinn Bhuidhe seen from the outskirts of Inveraray near the head of  Loch Fyne also my linking to Wikipedia and Peakbagger.

Mr Mhor Does A Fell Or Two Pt 2

It was time to head down from the Scafell Pike summit area as the cold wind which accompanied the rain and lastly the hailstones could return.

As we set off from the trig point, another horizontal hailstorm hit us straight on and this one was ‘stingy’ to say the least. Luckily it never lasted long and it was time to pick our way down through the rock strewn hillside, cairns are built at roughly 25m distances which are I imagine very handy in poor visibility. The path in places is broken but due to repaired sections  it makes descent easy and especially as you pass Brown Tongue where a stepped path was built. We soon exited the rough top section finding ourself on a good path which then zigzags down towards the Hollow Stone area.

It was time to make our way across this rocky area with a distinct path passing through and we decided to head down Brown Tongue and slowly we made time walking down what in places was a steepish grass ridge. Roddy had called me and pointed out a dismantled wooden hut lying piled up and one side being used as a ‘bridge’ across the nearby gill.

View N from Buttermere Moss

View N from Buttermere Moss

At our crossing point, it was time for a break and a last look back at what had been a day to remember. A Toffee Crisp and a swig or two of water then it was off back to our pick up and Patsy UPG waiting on us at the expensive car park. Looking towards Wasdale Head I saw a heavy shower quickly heading down our way, Patsy had noticed this and headed to the road end where we made the Discovery just in time.

On the drive back to Cockermouth, a reflection on the day spent ascending England’s highest top left a satisfying feeling, anything else this week would be an anti-climax but I was looking forward to our other intentions which included my favourite view in all of Lakeland, more on this later.

It was time to get the dirt and cold of the day washed out and after a preening session, it was a ‘where are we eating tonight ?’ and after a long day, we decided locally.

SOTA Activation of Dale Head G/LD 020 and Robinson G/LD 021 on 19/09/2012

SOTA Activation of Dale Head G/LD 020 and Robinson G/LD 021 on 19/09/2012

After finding a parking place, we headed towards the town centre and Roddy and Patsy got talking to a couple of locals who recommended the Tithe Barn and it was off to find it. A look at the menu plus a cold pint of cider ready to be devoured, the food arrived and this did not disappoint, excellent scran and we headed back the next two evenings as well. The Steak and Ale pie was excellent, give it a try if in the area.

Dale Head valley

Dale Head valley

A pow wow was had later that night when we returned to our ‘base’ and we decided that next day, we would attempt a ‘dual’ activation but with a twist, Roddy would get dropped off at Newlands Hause and ascend Robinson and I would be dropped at the top of Honister Pass and ascend an old favourite, Dale Head. Both hills have an ascent of just over 1,400 ft and Dale Head was straight up with no relief and as I headed up, the odd shower passed over and as I had a quick drink of water, I was joined on the ascent by another lone walker, this made the ascent more enjoyable as the main topic was local walking in the immediate area.

The summit with its distinct cairn was soon in sight and I said goodbye to the woman I had made the ascent with. I made contact with Roddy who was about to walk along the last ridge to Robinson’s summit cairn, at this point I was almost caught in a  downpour.

I took shelter hiding (yes, me!) behind the tall cairn and enjoyed a scran break. A couple appeared and started talking to me and the bloke started pointing out something about me and I thought..mmmmm? It transpired my Morton tammie made him laugh as he was originally a Greenockian and still followed the teams fortune from way down south.

The rain moved away as quick as it appeared and I got busy setting up the 4m JPole but first making the STS with Roddy. I made contact with Colin UXH and Sue OHH.

I then called out on 4m FM and instantly Geoff WHA from Penrith was in the log followed by Patsy UPG who had based himself in the valley below took a break from working HF to talk to me. Next was Clive FZH from the Isle of Whithorn across the border in Scotland. Colin UXH had called in this time on 4m before my last contact for this hill, John TDM in Penrith nipped in to grab the points. The weather by this time was starting to become showery as I packed everything away and I called Roddy who was just about to do the same.

Misty and rain heading my way

Misty and rain heading my way

I headed west along and dropped down Hindscarth Edge mulling over whether I should nip on to Hindscarth to activate the WOTA hill but I thought if the weather was going to come in that a quick activation of Robinson could be in order. Heading slowly down what was a good descent path and as I made my way past the path to Hindscarth,  clouds came scuttling up from Honister Pass.

I carried descending Littledale Edge. I met Roddy on the level section of this ridge and soon I left him to ascend and walk along the hilltop until I reached Robinson’s summit cairn. This was exposed to the weather which I could see racing this way so I huddled down behind the cairn.

I made contact with Roddy first and said I was thinking of working whoever I could then heading down to meet them at Newlands Hause.

As on Dale Head, I worked Colin UXH and Sue OHH before I headed to 4m FM. The aforementioned Colin called in and as on the earlier hill, Geoff WHA and John TDM called me from Penrith. Final contact was with Derek MIX whom I have spoken with from earlier activations, most notable was a STS from Ben Lawers to nearby Pillar which was hidden in the clouds to mejust to the SW of me. I called a few more times and had no come back.

I contacted Roddy and he was ready to head down and get picked up by Patsy and then head for me. I packed everything away but as this was a handheld only activation, it never took me long. I followed the path back off the summit and headed to find the path down towards what I was warned was a wet and boggy Buttermere Moss and even though I found the path through the moss, I found Roddy’s warning was correct…boggy !

Buttermere and Crummock Water

Buttermere and Crummock Water

The soggy underfoot conditions disappeared as I crossed High Snockrig  I followed the path until I could see Knott Rigg which was my mental guide, a steep descent found me waiting at the car park for my lift, I had come off the hill in what was fast for me and later I got picked up. The lads had not reckoned on me being so fast and had wandered into the Honister Slate Mine whilst the auld bloke got battered by wind and rain (dramatic effect). I had spoken with a cyclist who had climbed non stop up from Buttermere and I think his pal was swearing under his breath as he topped the hill.

Another day on the hills and with Scafell Pike done the previous day I had managed without any comeback a double activation, a first for me.

Back to base and after a hot shower and a change of threads, a decision made to head back to last evenings venue.

It was excellent and more cold cider to celebrate.

Thursday was looking looking poor weather wise so a day off…

Useless information…

Scafell Pike…originally one of the ‘Fells of Sca Fell‘ and was erroneously named on an Ordnance Survey map as Scafell Pike and we assume Wordsworth never ‘climbed’ it as no visitor centre on top (tongue in cheek, folks) although his sister Dorothy did !

Dale Head ? obvious if you look at the map

Hindscarth…’pass used by the red deer’

Robinson…allegedly named after a Richard Robinson who bought lands in the Buttermere area centuries ago.

More to follow…..

Boy ! I’m really kicking the erse out of this, please vow you displeasure below.

My thanks to all those sites I have linked to…a full thanks on the final post.

That Was The Year That Was….Pt 2

Have you wakened up since Pt 1 ? don’t worry the end is nigh.

July – Dec……

SOTA activations continued..

Skiddaw near the end of July was my first activation in England, the Lake District to be precise. I was away for a few days as part of a celebratory 30th anniversary break and being based in the north-west lake area, a compromise was made as I don’t shop so I got allowed to play ‘radio’. Skiddaw was memorable more for the crazy parking area and being passed by mountain bikers just before the last climb to the summit plateau. I activated on both 4 and 2m FM with no problems and made three STS (summit to summit) contacts, two locally on Pillar, Arnside Knott ( the lowest ‘Marilynin England) and one to Jimmy EYP on Sighty Crag in the Border region.

Derwent Water from the ascent of Skiddaw

Derwent Water from the ascent of Skiddaw

Two days later, I returned to old pastures with a quick nip up to Dale Head from the top of Honister Pass, I first visited this summit in the early ’80 and was blown away with the view north to Skiddaw and yep, the view is worth the visit. I had intended to try to fit in the nearby Robinson but alas we had to head home early so one for the next visit. There is a convenient fencepost at the summit so off I called and worked the same friendly group of chasers I had worked two days earlier on Skiddaw. Only STS was again Jimmy EYP who was on Peel Fell. A quick activation then to Honister Hause and sadly off back home.

My English adventure was over and the next activation was two months later but what a doozy, Ben More on the Isle of Mull, I had worked Gerald AQU there earlier in the year and as I always do, I had a look at the hill etc and made a mental note that this would be a cracker and when Roddy IOB mentioned a trip, I was front of the queue.

The weather gave us a window of blue skies and sunshine and we took full advantage, 4m contacts to outside Glasgow, South Uist and Skye was surprising plus two STS to Iain WJZ on Beinn Chaorach and Robin PKT on Beinn Lora. As we descended and reached our start point, it started to drizzle. An excellent 3 days on Mull thrown in as well.

Looking towards Loch Scridain from Ben More

Looking towards Loch Scridain from Ben More

Finally but not least was my annual trip to Beinn Chaorach in the Luss Hills, another excellent weather day and only one STS but made not with the 5 ele 2m yagi but my wee Baofeng handie and its two watts(Nagoya 701 antenna), I was trying 4m FM with no joy and whilst I called, I had my handie monitoring s20 and heard Robin PKT on Meall Chuaich so I followed him and made contact at approx 105km with the twin peaks of Ben More and Stobinnean in the way. Another good day.

That was the last for 2011, 13 activations and plenty fun and tired legs along the way. Thanks go to Roddy 2MØIOB for his company and his suffering my snail pace and tales of yore.

Thanks also to anyone with whom I have spoken to over the past year from a summit.

2012 ? who knows…

Chasing highlights…

Leaving out the STS, all contacts are highlights as well as points!!!! It is possible I could work 95% of contacts from sitting here in the shack but a good day, sunshine, fresh air and the chance of a contact outside isn’t to be sniffed at. I have a selection of high points I use.

I achieved ‘Shack Sloth’ during the activation of Cruach Ardrain with an STS,  I only claim points after the activator posts his log online so looking at my chaser log it looks different date wise but Colwyn YCJ was on one of Beinn Eighe‘s tops and that when uploaded gave me over 1,000 pts. Over the year, I amassed at least 800 plus points doubling both 2009 and 2010’s total.

Beinn Chaorach from the Green Road

Beinn Chaorach from the Green Road

In conclusion…

My thanks go out to all those who were out in all conditions to activate and for the points I accrued from you.  I have promised to try get my golf handicap down in 2012. I said that this time last year and never.

HF…

Another year but I have not been as active as possibly the previous year but I still manage on most days for a call. In addition to PSK (I only use datamodes), WSPR and RTTY. I have also made contacts on ROS, JT65 and Contestia.

I experimented with ROS and V4 before deciding to give more time to WSPR whilst getting set up for JT65 which has taken most of my HF work lately.

A few new DXCC counties added to the list and in November, I finally worked into South America on 10m JT65. WAC achieved.

The outlook for 2012..

I’ll work away on HF mostly from 20m to 10m and have a more than close look at the other data modes I’ve not used. I had thought of looking more at WAB (Worked All Britain)this year but got bogged down elsewhere, next year ?

SOTA wise…

Hopefully to get my 150 activator points then cut back on both that and chasing.

The end of my inane ramblings for another year….I said that last year didn’t I ?

Hope the year 2012 is a good one for you in all radio and other contexts.