Route taken by Phil G4OBK and friend Geoff on April 1st 2011
|Barn at Burnthwaite Farm B&B with Great Gable behind|
I finished up with a knee injury which took six months to heal properly but we did achieve our objective of climbing and activating these six Wainwrights from Wasdale, albeit rather late in the day by the time we were done. Kirk Fell, Pillar, Scoat Fell, Steeple, Red Pike (Wasdale) and the formidable Yewbarrow. We never saw a soul all day and we didn't take any photographs either - survival was paramount in the gales and the use of a camera was impossible. The wind was sufficiently strong to blow me off my feet on top of Kirk Fell and force us both into crawling on all fours to makes progress across the top of Scoat Fell.
|Kirk Fell © MIchael Graham under CCL|
We had no problem navigating via GPS to the summit of Pillar in the mist. There was a fair scramble after that down to the Black Sail Pass...I think we were on the right "path" if you could call it one. We had 10m visibility at best. Pillar came and went - we had our lunch there and stayed 30 minutes making 18 contacts on 2m FM with the rucksack special and Yaesu VX-170. Moving off downhill we reached Wind Gap - the wind there was no worse than anywhere else despite the name, it was just b****y strong. It was here that I made a navigational error, I'm not sure how I went wrong but we finished up descending over 300 foot down Green Crags when we should have been climbing up towards Scoat Fell from Wind Gap. It was on this unnecessary descent that I fell, either banging or twisting my knee in the process, it was hard to tell. I picked myself up with that initial burning pain you get when you bash yourself hard. A couple of minutes recovery and we were on our way again, limping but it could have been a lot worse. The Ibuprofen and Paracetamol helped...After another scramble to get back to where we should have been above Green Crags we found the path but as we arrived on LIttle Scoat Fell the wind became more fierce as we rounded the summit. The only way to make progress to the stone wall to conduct the radio activation (which runs across the top of the fell) was to go down on all fours. We made the wall - our sanctuary, got down behind it and reflected on the madness of what we were doing....the flask came out and some food, and we got on with making more contacts with our Wainwright's On The Air Chasers.
|Scoat Fell seen from the cairn on Steeple - © Copyright Michael Graham CCL Geograph|
|Stirrup Crag from Dore Head ©CCL M Graham Geograph|
Over a pint we reflected on our testing day - six Wainwrights bagged, 87 contacts completed, not a single person met whilst walking the fells, and no summit to summit contacts whatsoever - we were the only activators out on the Lakeland Fells, Pennines and North Wales that day. The chasers were very active with six operators making contact with my station G4OBK/P on all six summits. These operators were:
Malcolm M0XAT (Seaton), Sue G1OHH (Lancaster), Colin 2E0XSD (Frizington), Geoff G4WHA (Penrith), John G0TDM (Penrith) and Gareth M0MOL (Barrow).
It is always more enjoyable when thinking back on a arduous day on the fells when the weather has been bad and there has been no visibility. We had beaten the elements but I had an injury which fortunately did not turn out to be permanent; we vowed to have an easier day tomorrow by bagging two Wainwrights on the south side of Wastwater - Whin Rigg LDW-156 and Illgill Head LDW-129/LD-029.