Tag Archives: Lake District

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 4th Fell Then Goes Home

Thursday was a washout although all earlier days had wet spells, the rain was almost day long plus we decided that a rest day or ‘touring’ day would be had. Roddy and Patsy returned to the Honister Slate Mine and did the tour of the mine.

Me ? I stayed at base and just chilled, I wrote the first draft of the first post in this series of blog posts. I listened to a couple of ‘No Agenda’ podcasts and caught up on some emails.

SOTA Activation of Stony Cove Pike G/LD 018 on 21/09/2012

SOTA Activation of Stony Cove Pike G/LD 018 on 21/09/2012

The Tithe Barn was once again the choice for evening nosh but this time I decided more cider…….just as a research to find out if it tasted as good as back home. I’m returning to finish my research next year avec Katie.

The food again was most excellent and after saying goodbye to the lads who did us proud it was back to prepare for the next day.

I fired up the laptop and had a look around the Lakes and had a close look at hills with a relatively easy ascent, Great Mell Fell and Stony Cove Pike. Roddy and I discussed the various advantages of both and we decided to go for the six pointer Stony Cove Pike just south of Ullswater plus a wander through some of the best scenery the Lake District can offer.

The hill start point is next to the Kirkstone Pass Inn which I remember having bar lunches on more than one occasion in earlier visits to the Lakes. I think a bar meal treat for Katie the next time we are down plus Red Screes is just across the road, ideal.

Friday morning arrives and we pack our assorted kit including Roddy’s big tin case then say goodbye to Cockermouth and as every other morning it was off to Asda for one of their excellent breakfasts.

Eventually we headed back towards Keswick and the A591, the journey takes you through what I would call traditional Lake District scenery. First we passed through open countryside meeting the high steep slopes of Helvellyn running along the east side of Thirlmere, there looked plenty of parked cars and walkers at another expensive car park in the woods. Temptation of Helvellyn will have to wait until another visit but not the route up Striding Edge ( this is when I wish I was 20 years younger).

Before long Thirlmere was left and we soon approached the picturesque village of Grasmere where you guessed correctly Wordsworth and his sister lived at Dove Cottage, I did that tourist bit in the ’80s. Grasmere is in my thought the prettiest village in the Lakes and is worth a visit.

Kirkstone Pass from St Ravens Edge

Kirkstone Pass from St Ravens Edge

Heading quickly towards Ambleside as we left Grasmere we saw on our right Rydal Water which reminded me, yes Wordsworth resided locally at Rydal Mount, isn’t there anywhere he was that isn’t commemorated ? Wordworth ate chips here, Wordsworth had a pint here etc. All because he saw a field of daffodils whilst wandering lonely as a cloud, today he would have been given the best medical treatment coming out with that statement. (Wordworth fundamentalist please note that it’s meant as humour)

Arriving at Ambleside and as soon as, we were heading out on the Kirkstone  Road which had given us a warning as we headed out-of-town, the first part of this road named ‘The Struggle’, up and up and up we headed up a 1 in 5 slope at times.

Slowly along a single track until we could see the Inn in the distance, the intelligent motorists seemed to be coming down the road. A left turn and we parked in a FREE car park, I’m guessing the Inn must own this and is good business sense if they do, a mental note to visit the Inn after the activation/ walk.

Boots on, walking stick..let me tell you the story about the walking stick.

I forgot one thing, a walking pole. I feel more comfortable using a single walking pole especially if I am descending, it helps this auld git. Roddy kindly offered use of a varnished wooden ‘real’ stick with a rubber foot which I proceeded to kinda wreck on the Scafell Pike ascent. I must get round to at least replacing this piece.

Near the top

Near the top

Everything checked and off we headed through a gate towards what is probably the steepest part of the ascent, this hill has only just over 1,000 ft of total ascent which after our outings earlier in the week was just right as it would stretch our legs but not be enough for to sit the 160 msl back home with achy legs.

Onwards up a few light scrambles until we stood on top of St. Ravens Edge where we headed along what I called a traditional Scottish hill path….wet and broken. Some welcome remedial work has been done by laying large flat stones as stepping-stones in the more muddy peaty boggy bits. Ascending at a good pace, we passed landmarks such as Pike How and then following a dyke eastwards after John Bell’s Banner and the climb now was much easier, it was now to find where the summit cairn was on Cauldale Moor ( its other name). We heard a station calling out on 2m from Snowdon in North Wales, I had first shot and worked him after a station had mentioned to him that I was calling him from the Lake District just over 170 kms away. No problems were had except I forgot to take a note of his name, signals and call signs exchanged, enough.

Reaching the summit cairn, it was time to take photos and just on the south side of the dyke, cracking views of the expanse of Lake Windermere spread south towards a wide Morecambe Bay in the distance. Excellent unexpected views. The nearby ‘Marilyn’ of High Street was tempting and the excellent ridge walk of Froswick, Ill Bell and Yoke stretched to the south-east of us. Red Screes and its ridge south looked tempting for a visit next year.

Ill Bell from SCP summit

Ill Bell from SCP summit

It was sunny but a chill wind was blowing and as before I found a hidey hole about 40yards south of the cairn and I proceeded to first work Sue OHH in Lancaster before changing over to 4m FM and as normal, Colin UXH just to the south of us was first to reply to my call, Geoff WHA called in next followed by John TDM also from Penrith. Doug KLZ called me from Lancaster and next in the log was Patsy who was at the base in the FREE car park and discussed whether to have a celebratory pint in the Inn before we headed home, I needed no persuasion.

Colin UXH had said that a WOTA activation was taking place just to the north of us on Hallin Fell which overlooks Ullswater and I found Richard JTD/p on 2m FM and he was next in the log and my final contact was with Dave CRV in Heysham. I called after this but no more takers. I had spoken at length with the stations today as the earlier activations the weather was not at it best so it was good to have extended QSOs especially as we were heading home.

Packing everything away and heading down the track, we soon reached the scrambly bits again and as we were dropping down the last part of the descent, the rain could be seen heading our way from the valley to the north and as we were putting our bags in the car, a short burst of rain passed by.

Kirkstone Pass Inn

Kirkstone Pass Inn

A quick strip and fresher clothes put on, it was time to head to the Kirkstone Pass Inn. A cold pint of cider was enjoyed but sadly no scran was on offer plus the curry menu looked tempting but instead of waiting, we decided to head back home.

We headed down the pass reaching Patterdale and Glenridding before driving along the west bank of Ullswater and looking up to the summit of Hallin Fell on the opposite bank. We left Ullswater and sadly before long we reached the A66 and the short drive to the M6(North).

We got on to the M6 and headed north and apart from a quick leg stretch near Crawford, it was home.

The five days had passed too quickly and as we headed northwards, the sun shone mockingly.

My thanks to Roddy and Patsy for their company and suffering me for the five days. Roddy for his company on the hills and again to Patsy who manned the base and backup support. I would also like to say a big thank you to those ‘chasers’ who waited and worked us on each activation. I’ll renew contact in ’13.

It was back to ‘chasing’ the next day with a 10 point starter.

That is it no more Lake District ramblings from me…a wee bit in Sept Radio Days excepted..

Mr Mhor Does A Fell Or Two Pt 1

We decided last October after the resounding success of the trip to ‘activate’ Mull’s Ben More that a trip was made over the border to the Lake District to aspire to stand over England‘s lowly plains.

Over the following months,dates worked out and plans laid to where to stay, what hills to do and whatever else.

Mid September we chose this time as the English holiday season would be gone and hopefully the hills would be quieter but as anyone who knows the Lakes this isn’t the case.

SOTA Activation of Scafell Pike G/LD 001 on 19/09/2012

SOTA Activation of Scafell Pike G/LD 001 on 19/09/2012

The day arrived and finally we set off from the Mhor abode to pick up Patsy UPG and all loaded with this that and probably more than we needed.

It was time to head down south, the day was sunny but with a bit of a breeze which was to continue over much of the trip. Heading down the M74 we made for Carlisle for last-minute supplies and the first of our daily breakfasts from the supermarket chain which always gives you the opportunity to have change in your back pocket. I’m not allowed to say Asda am I?

Scranned up we left and then bypassing Carlisle we headed down through Cumbria along the A595 towards our base for five days Cockermouth but we had arrived early for our check in so we parked up and had a stroll around our ‘base’.

Cockermouth History Wall

Cockermouth History Wall

I’ve been down here more than a few times in the last 18 months and haven’t taken the opportunity to explore what is I found to be an more than interesting area. Famous sons include Wordsworth and Fletcher Christian. If you know the Lake District this bloke Wordsworth tends to pop up everywhere. A walk through the Memorial Park then across a fast flowing River Cocker on to the main thoroughfare checking out possible eating haunts and having a nosey in general.

A stop to look at the ‘History Wall‘ which time-lines some of the history of the area plus a height chart of the floods which have hit the area in recent years.

After a good recce we headed to check in and decide the essential things we had to do e.g. eat, activate and other incidental things.

A trip that evening to walk round Keswick and arriving just as the overpriced parking costs got kicked into touch until 8am the next morning, £3 saved. I’ve visited Keswick on many occasions since the early ’80s and I was returning just six weeks after my latest visit. If you come to the area and forget any of your outdoor gear, you will find almost every third shop is an outdoor specialist shop. I remember I think there used to be about three in the ’80s.

My evening meal was a fish supper devoured hungrily in the Discovery before heading back to Cockermouth and to get planned for our activation of Scafell Pike the next day. Lets just say the pickled onions were the highlight.

The mountain weather forecast had promised wintry showers and high winds on the higher tops and this forecast proved  correct but first the Discovery was packed and off towards Workington and as the day before a hearty A**a brekkie consumed but as we left the store car park we saw our route south was stacking up with traffic and as an ambulance raced past us so we set off to find an alternative route. Not before long we were heading south along Cumbria’s west coast heading towards our intended target Wasdale Head situated at the top of Wastwater but we found our route east diverted further south but eventually after a bit of a delay we were driving along Wastwater and soon we had parked in another expensive car park whilst we suited and booted and after checking everything, Roddy and I headed up a diverted path to reach the main path ascending up towards England’s highest spot. Diversions are the big thing of this day.

Up yonder we go

Up yonder we go

Off we headed passing the remedial work that the National Trust are doing to the path along the lower part of Lingmell Gill, we followed the north side of the Gill for roughly the first third of our slow but steady ascent over rough and well maintained and reconstructed parts of the path and as we crossed the free-flowing gill and heading up on the south side of Brown Tongue along a reconstructed path taking us up to the area known as Hollow Stones, this has a broken path through literally as the name suggests but soon you end up on a good path which zig zags towards the north side of the hill, looking to your right from Hollow Stones the dramatic crags show a route up to Mickledore on what looks a rough scree covered steep gap in the crags, the tourist route will do for me today.

We were treated to a sight of a RAF jet skimming over the adjacent tops but soon we saw worsening weather heading up the valley we had just come from.

It rained steadily for the next 20 to 25 minutes and just as we headed to negotiate the rock strewn fields which populate the final push to the summit area it turned wintry and I soon realised that wearing shorts may have been a daft idea but as we headed up we noticed that if we left the path area, the mossy areas were slippy with the hail still lying there.

Mr Mhor on summit © Roddy

Mr Mhor on summit © Roddy

Onwards we pushed and just as I was expecting a false summit, the trig point was showing in front of us, I was there !! on top lording over Englandshire below.

It was horizontal wind and rain but suddenly the weather improved and the sun came out and we got treated to extensive views in all directions and just as if arranged, the RAF jet circled and flew past and I noticed that people who had hidden out of the wind in the shelters stood up to watch this, they reminded me of meerkats.

It was time to take photos, a panorama video and take in the views and try to guess what was what. Excellent views were had whilst the occasional wispy cloud scuttled past.

It was time to activate and only 15 mins after I had alerted for, I called out using only my 4m FM hand-held with its helically wound duck antenna and first in the log was Roy RDZ in Burnley but not wanting to hang about for when the weather deteriorated, I proceeded to work Colin UXH to the NW in Milnthorpe, Colin proved to be very helpful during the next days in spotting Roddy and myself on both the SOTA and WOTA sites. Thanks Colin !!

Next in the log was John FCQ based in North East Wales but as I previously said contacts were unfortunately kept short due to thinking the weather may deteriorate. Patsy 2E0UPG called us from our operations base in Wasdale Head and next I worked John TDM from Penrith, another station I have worked most times I have been in the Lake District as also my next contact, Geoff WHA who was also in Penrith. My last contact was Sue OHH in Lancaster whom I worked on 2m FM.

Impressive vista

Impressive vista

I would like to have stayed longer and been able to get a beam or Jpole in use but with the cold, wet and very windy conditions it was impossible it was time for a quick last look and a quick tap on the trig point, it was off down in another hail storm this time into our faces…

The main intention of the trip was achieved and now to descend safely.

More to follow……

My thanks to all the sites I have linked to and to Roddy 2MØIOB for use of images and apologies for the poor panorama shot but lets just say I provide a big target for the wind.