Sunday, 11 July 2010

Walk 27.

88. Dow Crag LDW-047 2552 ft
89. Old Man of Coniston LDW-030 2635 ft
90. Brim Fell LDW-037 2612 ft
91. Grey Friar LDW-052 2536 ft
92. Great Carrs LDW-045 2575 ft
93. Swirl How LDW-033 2631 ft
94. Weatherlam LDW-058 2503 ft

Phil Judy and Treacle walked 13.3 miles and climbed 4640 ft

Route from street car parking in Station Road near the Sun Hotel Coniston
This was our most challenging walk of the week taking in the whole seven of the Coniston Fells. with over 4500ft of ascent calculated. To do this with one vehicle parked in Coniston, meant a walk in of over four miles via the Walna Scar Road to the top of the first Wainwright summit of Dow Crag LDW-047. 
A restored Miners Shelter on Walna Scar Road
Free parking is available in Station Road, near to the Sun Hotel and Judy  (XYL), Treacle and I were walking at 0930am up the Walna Scar road which is a public road.  We weren't familiar with the area and noticed that many of the walkers intending to climb Old Man of Coniston tend to park  (Free)  through the gate at SD 289970.  Parking here did not really fit in with our route plan, which was to finish at the Sun Hotel for our dinner, but it was good to know for future reference that parking was available here. 

As we proceeded along Walna Scar Road towards the turn at Brown Pike we met with a National Park Warden who was busy as he went, clearing out rainwater gullies of debris with a spade, his duty for the day.  We had good dry weather and were looking forward to the climb up to the Old Man.  We reached Dow Crag below and behind Old Man at  1140am, a walk in of over two hours.  The first station in my log was Sue G1OHH and 11 contacts were completed including a summit to summit contact with Simon M5TNT/P on Latrigg Fell LDW-206. I was thankful for that contact as  I could never contact Latrigg  from my home station.  

Dow Crag LDW-047 from Old Man of Coniston on July 6th 2010
Coniston Old Man with Brim Fell LDW-037 behind
We moved off around Goat's Hawse. A private helicoptor was working with Fix The Fells moving stone from near to Goat's Water and carrying it in a sling around to the other side of Old Man where some pathway renovation work was taking place.  I wasn't too surprised this work was necessary when we saw the crowds of walkers who were on top of the Old Man.  This rugged southern Lakeland summit is most accessible from several paths and as a result, is extremely popular as an objective for people of all ages to aim for.  We stayed for 45 minutes enjoying our lunch and allowing a family to entertain Treacle whilst I got on with filling my logbook with 17 contacts. ODX being with GW4BVE John, near Welshpool.  It was almost instant gratification when we left the summit as we were on Brim Fell LDW-037 just 12 minutes later to make another nine contacts, the most noteworthy being with Rob GD4RQJ/P who was on Snaefell summit GD-001 in the Isle of Man. 
We were on probably one of the best ridge walks in the district and had been since we left the Walna Scar Road at Brown Pike.  

Remains of an Halifax bomber from World War 2

The paths were well worn until we reached Swirl Band twhere we struck out towards Grey Friar LDW-052, exactly one mile to the west and a fell which frequently gets left out of many fellwalkers itineraries.  On our way over to Grey Friar the rain started and so waterproofs were donned which were to remain on our backs for the rest of the day. 11 contacts were completed from Grey Friar with Geoff G4WHA/M being first in the log from his car at work in Penrith.  I also worked GW0HUS/M in Wales, location unknown.  After chatting to a teacher on Grey Friar who was monitoring a group of students undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh Award some distance away towards Weatherlam, he told us the whereabouts of the 1944 wreck of an Halifax Bomber which came down in World War 2. This is close to Great Carrs LDW-045 which was our next summit, and was easy to locate. 

Great Carrs LDW-045 is below Swirl How LDW-033 and indeed is higher than the better known bulk of Weatherlam LDW-058 which we hoped to visit later, should we have the strength left to climb it! 

The cairn on Great Carrs LDW-045 - Swirl Howe LDW-033 can be seen behind
I had just set up to operate on Great Carrs when a man in his 40s who I recognised, approached us. I had seen him two days previously with his partner in The Sun Hotel in Coniston.  He was disoriented and wanted a steer on how to get back to Coniston. I stopped operating to try to help and explained by pointing up to the cairn on Swirl Howe above us that he needed to reach there and proceed on to Swirl Hause where he could then work his way down to Levers Water which was by far the easiest route back to Coniston.  He appeared quite distressed and wet, but he did have a 1:25000 map and was confident enough to set off on his way. without waiting for us. We never saw him again.

We completed the activation by making eight contacts, including one with Sue G1OHH in Lancaster who I thought may have struggled to hear me, owing to screening from Swirl Howe above me. However, we completed the contact without problem.  A mere 8 minutes after leaving Great Carrs we were above it on Swirl Howe LDW-033 to complete another 9 contacts. It was now 4.00pm and so someone must have come in from work to give me that extra QSO!  It was turning into a long day and the elation of the WOTA operations was keeping me (and Treacle who never seems to tire) going, however Judy was getting to the point where she had done enough and suggested taking the route back to Coniston which I had recommended to the man  who was lost.  I managed to persuade her to go on after some food and a drink and we topped Wetherlam LDW-058 our last summit of the day just after 5.00pm.  The rain had now stopped and we found the top unusual and interesting.

Profile of our Coniston Fells walk Dow - Old Man - Brim - Grey Friar - Great Carrs - Swirl Howe - Weatherlam

The Sun Hotel Coniston
WOTA wise there were still stations waiting for  a contact with seven stations being logged. One of which was GM4WHA/M Geoff at 5.10pm and on his way back home to Annan.  We now had an interesting gradual 3 mile descent back to the Sun Hotel in Coniston for our dinner. We made for Hole Rake and a well used path which brought us out at the Miners's Bridge. The route gave us a terrific overview of the Coniston mining area, Coppermines Valley and the eroded paths going up Old Man.  We reached the pub at 7.00pm meaning we had been out for nine and a half hours.  This had been one of the most demanding walks we had ever undertaken without doubt.   A decision was made to have an easy day tomorrow and fit in one or two token sentinel Wainwrights if the weather held up for us, as well as a pub lunch at New Dungeon Ghyll. 

The final tally of contacts for the day was 72 on 2m FM with a Yaesu VX-170 and J pole rucksack special antenna, no wonder it had taken us so long to complete the walk - I had talked far too much, but it was indeed a pleasure to make all those contacts, yes, it is certainly easy to radiate a good signal on VHF from the Coniston Fells with basic equipment. 

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