Wednesday 25 March 2009

Walk 2

2. St Sunday Crag LDW-022 (2759')
3. Seat Sandal LDW-069 (2417')
4. Fairfield LDW-013 (2864')

Phil (Judy up to Deepdale Hause only) walked 11.8 miles with 4150 ft of ascent
(Hart Crag and Hartsop Above Howe also traversed but not activated for WOTA)

I hadn't considered activating Wainwright's when we set out on this walk. That interest came later in the year once I acquired a taste for the Lakeland Fells and this walk help to cement that flavour. It was not the best of days - 50 mph winds that were close to blowing us off our feet, and St Sunday Crag is not the place to experience that when the sheer drop into Grisedale is the greatest in the whole of the Lake District.  
We left the Patterdale Hotel at 9.10am via the path that goes out of the back of the hotel and takes you to the steep climb of Thornhow End.  We took the path below Birks (LDW-125) and reached St Sunday Crag at 11.25am to seek shelter from the wind behind the cairn.  John, G0TDM was the first of fifteen stations logged, including Geoff G6MZX/P who was on SOTA NP-029 Sharp Haw just north of Skipton.  
G4OBK/P on St Sunday Crag LDW-022 25th March 2009
We had lunch and made for Deepdale Hause, this was when the wind really got scary and Judy decided she had had enough.  Once we dropped down towards Grisedale Tarn she headed back to Patterdale via the lower path and Ruthwaite Lodge. I decided to continue to Seat Sandal LDW-069 and activate that.  I used the path not shown on the OS map that follows a contour line around 50m above the Tarn.  
Grisedale Tarn and Seat Sandal from near St Sunday Crag on 25th March 2009
After Seat Sandal the plan was to climb up to Fairfield from Hause Gap. This avoided Cofa Pike, which had some snow on it and in the strong winds was dangerous.  The top of LDW-069 Seat Sandal was reached just after 2.00pm and nine contacts were completed before I returned back to Hause Gap to start the hard loose climb up to LDW-013 Fairfield (3.00pm-3.45pm). Twenty contacts using the rucksack special vertical antenna resulted and the Yaesu VX-170 handheld. 
A Chinook overflies Helvellyn - seen from Seat Sandal
I hadn't contemplated WOTA before doing this walk so I simply passed across the tops of Hart Crag LDW-027 and Hartsop above How LDW-137 on my way back to Patterdale to complete this popular circuit.  I reached the Patterdale Hotel at 6.15pm quite tired after a long day.  I did activate the two missed summits later in the year when I revisited this walk (less Seat Sandal) on a better day with other members of Ryedale Walking Group (See Walk 8). 

Monday 23 March 2009

Walk 1

1. Little Mell Fell LDW-173 (1657')

The Patterdale Hotel
Phil walked 0.7 mile with
 400 feet of ascent

This blog starts with Little Mell Fell, which also qualifies for Summits On The Air (SOTA). We were staying at our favourite haunt The Patterdale Hotel which lies on the border line of Wainwright's Eastern and Far Eastern Fells. The purpose of our stay was to recce a series of walks we had planned for members of Ryedale Walking Group for September 2009. 

Little Mell Fell

Late afternoon on the 23rd March Judy and I returned early from a recce of another walk. This gave me time to drive solo to the foot of Little Mell Fell, known locally as "little pudding basin hill".  I parked at "The Hause" GR NY423235

A strong wind was blowing as I climbed the grassy slope in less than 15 minutes to bag my first Wainwright for WOTA. This hill is notoriously difficult to propagate signals from on VHF FM with basic equipment due to the surrounding mountains, however I did complete six quick contacts in less than ten minutes with:

G6SMW (Penrith) G6LSO/M (M6) GM6LJE/P (Dumfries & Galloway)

The equipment used was a Yaesu VX-170 handheld radio running 5 watts coupled to an external half wave vertical "rucksack special" antenna. This basic, lightweight, low environmental impact setup has so far proved effective for WOTA operation where only one contact is needed to qualify the activation for the WOTA  Award scheme.