Saturday, 20 November 2010

Walk 37
9.9m / 2865 ft ascent

Phil G4OBK and Geoff G4WHA

135. Longlands Fell LDW-179
136. Brae Fell LDW-134
137. Great Sca Fell LDW-114
138. Knott LDW-082 (SOTA LD-023)
139. Meal Fell LDW-148
140. Great Cockup LDW-159
(Drive to Binsey Lodge)
141. Binsey LDW-190 (SOTA LD-041)

Our route in November 2010
After talking to Geoff (G4WHA) in early November I discovered that he enjoyed walking the lakeland fells in company. As the leading WOTA activator (Phil) and leading WOTA chaser (Geoff) we had enjoyed well over 100 QSOs with each other over the past year. We also both chase and activate and so we agreed we ought to have a day out activating together. We'd met in person in 2009 at the NARSA Blackpool rally, so we weren't complete strangers to each other, so I had no problem recognising Geoff when we met near Longlands, below the Northern Fells a few days later.

There were differences in our usual choice of operating days - I prefer to walk during the week when Geoff is at work but Geoff HAS to walk at the weekends as he has a full time job. After my trip up to Keswick during the week previous when I activated the fells around Lord's Seat on a Tuesday afternoon, I got the chance to return the following Saturday. Geoff was also free that day so we chose a route on the Northern Fells which had previously been done by WOTA PR Officer Phil, M0AYB, in October. If there was time at the end of the day we intended to add Binsey LDW-190, but this would have to be car assisted from Longlands to the parking spot at Binsey Lodge on account of the limited daylight.

The view north as we climbed Longlands Fell on a frosty morning

An early start of 5.45am from Pickering got me to the parking spot at the foot of Longlands Fell (GR 266358) by 8.15am. The latter part of the country lanes after Keswick were hilly and ice bound so care was needed. Geoff appeared before 8.30am and we were walking just after that in a temperature of -2c on hard frosty ground. The view north over Charleton Gill was open and clear and we gained the top of Longlands Fell (LDW-179) at 09.17am to complete 4 QSOs each with G4ILO the first in the log, followed by G4UXH/P M0DXT and MM1MPB . The early bird catches the worm......

We did not work any distance from this fell or the others climbed all day. This was due to the bulk of Skiddaw and Blencathra blocking our signals to the south. We did however manage to quickly establish that my J Pole antenna performed better than Geoff's shorter Co-linear on most contacts, and we thank all the chasers who took the trouble to give us comparison reports.

Geoff G4WHA - posing for the camera on Meal Fell LDW-148
When walking the fells shortest is not usually best, so we made our way along the upper side of Charleton Gill until the steep sides levelled, crossing at 28162 34785 to climb the grassy flank of Brae Fell in mist. The top was located by GPS and we each completed seven QSOs. A quick biscuit and we were off south, crossing Little Sca Fell (not worthy of Wainwright classification) and then on to Great Sca Fell LDW-114. There is probably a better route around the side of Little Sca Fell which saved the climb but we were seduced by the quad track over the top of it. Little Sca Fell does have a cairn and one would need to be careful in mist not to mistake it for the higher Great Sca Fell 400m on. The conditions were not comfortable with the mist, so we worked who we could and made for the highest point of our day at 2329 ft on Knott LDW-082 (SOTA LD-023). It was now lunchtime and we were joined by three other walkers who appeared out of the mist, being spotted first by my dog Treacle who alerted us to their presence. We stayed for 40 minutes before returning via the same route down to the col at 292336 where we turned north west to head for Meal Fell (LDW-148). It was here where we heard Richard G1JTD/P operating from Great Rigg - a summit we both wanted to work as Chasers for a "unique" contact. Richard was 53 but unfortunately failed to pick up our signals, so after repeated attempts and assistance from G1OAE and MM1MPB we gave up and made for our next Wainwright, Meal Fell where another seven QSOs each were completed. Now at last the mist cleared and we had a view down deep into Trusmadoor, a pass which we had to cross to reach our final summit on the round Great Cockup (LDW-159). Views remained clear then on, and the view of Binsey and beyond gave us the inspiration to climb it.

Treacle - resting while we make some contacts from Great Cockup LDW-159
The route back to the parking spot was a lovely walk down from Great Cockup across the upper reaches of the River Ellen and then alongside a path beside the greenery of Longlands Beck. We had made good time and were back at the cars by 2.48pm. Geoff had ventured up Binsey one evening after work during the summer of 2009 but still wished to climb it again. There was also a SOTA point in it for us both as Binsey satisfies the Marilyn criteria which makes it LD-041. If I climbed Binsey that day then it would free up part of on another day to do another singleton Wainwright summit. On this last one we rounded off the day by working Colin G4UXH/P on his final summit of six on the day, which was Hallin Fell LDW-We were walking from the Binsey Lodge parking spot (takes about six cars) by 15.05pm.

Binsey LDW-190 seen from the top of Longlands Fell LDW-179
We enjoyed our time on top of Binsey, at the end of a great day for both of us on the fells. We had enjoyed the company on our joint activation having made 45 QSOs each across the seven summits.
By this time Colin G4UXH/P was on his sixth and last Wainwright - Hallin Fell LDW-203 and another S2S was completed. We'd followed each others activations all day, a great opportunity for me to work some Wainwrights which I could not have done from home! Thank you for turning out Colin, I uspect your day was a touch harder than ours was. 

Binsey as the northernmost of Wainwrights by a short head over Longlands Fell, felt different to all the other Lakeland Fells somehow. I looked over the Solway to Criffle above the windfarm in the foreground.

Returning to the parking spot as we bade our fairwells, we both agreed that we would activate some more Wainwrights together as soon we got the chance.

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