Monday, 16 August 2010

Walk 34
Skiddaw Group Northern Fells Sunday 15th August 2010
13.5m / 4870ft ascent

Phil G4OBK Geoff & Treacle (Terrier)

116. Dodd LDW-174 1674ft
117. Carlside LDW-064 2448ft
118. Long Side LDW-070 2408ft
119. Ullock Pike LDW-098 2264ft
120. Skiddaw LDW-004 3054ft
121. Skiddaw Little Man LDW-015 2838ft
122. Lonscale Fell LDW-080 2346ft
123. Latrigg Fell LDW-206 1204ft

Route from Applethwaite

Dodd LDW-174 from Hounslow Bank
We set ourselves a hard job on this walk, and managed to just complete it in the time we had allowed. We left Pickering at 6.00am local time enjoying a good drive to Applethwaite north of Keswick, where there is roadside parking at GR 260258. After leaving the car at 8.15am we walked through Millbeck intending to take the footpath up into Lyzzick Wood. However, we missed our turning into the wood and continued climbing along the fenceline finishing up at the top of Hounslow Bank. A bad start to the day and we paid for it later. Our destination was Dodd LDW-174 - a hill often missed out by walkers doing the Skiddaw Group.  After another bad decision when we missed the path again we found ourselves climbing Dodd through an area of cleared fell from the south, eventually finding a graded path to the summit when we were around 2/3rds the way up. This error cost us around 30 minutes and a good half mile of difficult climbing.

Memorial plate
Once we found the stoney path it was excellent, right up to the monument on top (pictured left). Geoff was off form to start with but soon gained strength and continued on with renewed vigour for the rest of the day. As the fell was devoid of sheep my terrier, Treacle, was able to enjoy a short spell of freedom off the lead.  Dodd is well screened off and although the Memorial plate says it is 1612ft my source at states 1647ft.  Dodd is hidden behind the back of Skiddaw so it didn't bode well for radio contact with Penrith. Only two contacts were made with Julian G4ILO/P, on his way to activate Outerside LDW-142, and Colin 2E0XSD in Frizington.  Whilst activating we were invaded by swarms of flying ants, also noted by Julian, Frank G3RMD and Ian 2E0EDX who were all out activating in Lakeland.  Having lost time, our earlier than expected start on the walk wasted, we made off down the excellent path and came out within 25m of where we had doubled back at 250273 before the ascent and kicked ourselves for just missing the path. It was my decision, oh well.   
We were following one of Stuart Marshall's classic routes from his book "Walking the Wainwrights". Stuart's mapping up to Carlside via the steepest route proved a little suspect, it couldn't be seen on the ground, so we deviated eastwards via the obvious path to White Stones which was covered by Wainwright in his pictorial guide. We then headed north to the summit of Carl Side LDW-064 (2448ft), which was reached just before 11.00am.  The extra height made a difference on VHF with six contacts this time. Julian G4ILO/P was worked summit to summit on Outerside LDW-142. The best DX was with MW0SEC on Anglesey.
The south west face of Skiddaw
To our left slightly below us we could see our next two targets along the ridge of Longside Edge. Within 10 minutes of leaving Carl Side we we fighting off the flying ants on top of LDW-70 Longside Edge.  Once again the regulars were worked and were followed by GD0NFN John near Douglas and then Ian 2E0EDX/P was there, on a round of Wainwrights above Coniston after an early start like us.  Ian was on his highest point of the day of Coniston Old Man LDW-015 and we exchanged 59 reports. Soon after this Frank G3RMD/P, on a visit up north to see his family, called in from Fairfield LDW-013 before I made off to escape the flying ants. So long as you kept moving they left you alone. Ullock Pike LDW-098 was reached in just eight minutes and proved to be an excellent vantage point of 2264ft above Bassenthwaite. Five stations were worked, Penrith (G0TDM) was one of them but Lancaster (G1OHH) was not. The height drop of less than 100ft being enough to prevent a line of sight contact.  The last contact was one of the best of the day, it was Nick GI0HIK/P on SOTA GI/SM-007 Slieve Gallion in The Sperrin Mountains of County Tyrone. Nick was struggling to get contacts and I noticed when I got home that he had not been picked up by SOTAWatch on the internet.  The flying ant problem was at its worst on Ullock, Geoff set off back along the ridge towards Skiddaw taking Treacle with him and I had no choice but to keep moving about to keep the ants from biting me.  We took the slanting path up to Skiddaw after returning to Carlside Tarn, it looked worse than it was and we climbed it without needing our hands. The surface was more like broken slate rather than the scree which Wainwright had reported. As I went up the slope I heard Ian 2E0EDX calling CQ from his next target of Brim Fell LDW-037, we had a quick QSO before I continued on to the summit of Skiddaw LDW-004 which was reached at 12.47pm, in time for a long lunch break in the sunshine.  I chose one of the shelters beyond the trig point away from the melee and no one bothered me for the next hour.   The take off at 3054ft was amazing and twenty QSOs were completed using the normal set up of VX-170 at 5 watts and rucksack special vertical antenna.  Summit to Summit contacts were recorded with:

G4ILO/P        Julian          Scar Crags                LDW-101
G8HXE/P      Keith           High Street                LDW-025
2M0NCM/P   Neil             Beinn an Lochain       GM/SS-018
G3RMD/P     Frank          St Sunday Crag        LDW-022
M1AVV/P    Simon         Hutton Roof Crags     G/LD-052
GM7PKT/P  Robin           Bidean nam Bian       GM/WS-007
2E0EDX/P   Ian               Swirl Howe                 LDW-033

G1OPV/P    Phil              Nine Standards          G/NP-018

Long Side LDW-070 and Ullock Pike LDW-098 from Skiddaw
Geoff heads off from Skiddaw Little Man
The monument on the flank of Skiddaw
It was all downhill now, with three summits left to cross. We were making good time, the sun was shining, the flying ants were history and we headed for Skiddaw Little Man LDW-015 (2838ft), which was reached in 25 minutes. Phil G1OPV/P was worked again on Nine Standards Rigg and I was grateful that Colin 2E0XSD alerted me to the presence of Ian 2E0EDX from Great Carrs LDW-045 who was operating on another frequency. The crowds were still coming up the tourist path to Skiddaw but a lot were also heading back. We struck out towards Lonscale Fell LDW-080 (2346ft) crossing their path and then Jenkin Hill on the way to arrive on LDW-080 at 2.55pm. Take off was not very good from here and only 2E0XSD, G0TDM and G4ILO (now back home) were worked.  We returned beyond the fence at Flag Pots 280273 to head south following Whit Beck to the car park. Just short of this there is a monument and we asked a German chap to take our photograph.  We told him we were making for Latrigg Fell LDW-206, our 8th and final Wainwright of the day. He decided to accompany us on the 15 minute walk there to the summit which was quite busy when we arrived at 4.10pm. We stayed 20 minutes and managed just three contacts with G0TDM, G3RMD/M and G4FBC/P.  There are paths all over Latrigg Fell, few are shown on the 1:25000 map and we made our way down to join the Cumbria Way at 273249, following it for 600m before turning north west back towards Applethwaite, where my car was parked.  Our expected time was 5.30pm and we got there at 5.27pm! 
A change of socks and we just had time to drive into Penrith for a Big Mac and Coke before the drive back to Pickering.  It had been another great day out doing the Wainwrights and I got into Malton in good time to pick up my wife Judy from the London train.

Thank you to all the chasers, activators and spotters who helped complete the sixty contacts made throughout the day.

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