Thursday 24 March 2011

Walk 43
8m / 2650ft ascent
Time taken 290 minutes

161. Bakestall LDW-100 2208'
162. Great Calva LDW-095 2264'

Route to Bakestall and Great Calva by Phil G4OBK, XYL Judy and friend Geoff on 24th March 2011
Parking area at Dash Farm track end
Our monthly trips to Lakeland had continued through the winter and now as we entered spring we secured another good value half board three night deal at The Keswick Country House Hotel. On this trip Geoff and I were fortunate enough to meet Derek 2E0MIX when we activated the fells around Grasmoor on the same day. More on that in a later blog.

We thought this walk would be easier than it actually was after starting out quite late in the day. The weather was dry and pleasant after leaving Keswick where we had left our bags, prior to parking my car near to the Peter House Farm parking area. I had tried to establish whether it was possible to drive along the gated tarmac road towards Skiddaw House, which is part of the Cumbria Way and didn't find out if this was permissable so we walked the full length of it, leaving the car at 1240pm. We reached grid reference 261319 one mile and 20 minutes later to discover several cars parked up where the tarmac came to an end at the track leads up to Dash Farm and Cow Wath. Oh well, such is life. We continued on the now unsurfaced track up towards Whitewater Dash waterfall and then turned up right before the fence to climb to Bakestall. The climb is on grass up Birkett Edge.
A good view down the valley of Dash Beck from Whitewater Dash to Binsey LDW-190 (SOTA LD-041)
It is steep in places but not unrelenting, with a few easy sections in it. We were running late so I went on ahead to start the WOTA activation, reaching the top at 2.45pm before the other two arrived.

G4OBK/P on Bakestall
Take off was poor to the south with Bakestall lying right behind Skiddaw. As a result several regular chasers were missing from my log of ten stations. I had given plenty of notice though and this brought out two other activators.

The first contact from Bakestall was with Derek 2E0MIX/P on Base Brown LDW-100 and then I later worked Julian G4ILO/P who was a mere 2.5 miles away from me on Great Sca Fell, LDW-114. In less than half an hour we were on our way back down Birkett Edge and back to the Whitewater Dash area. We then followed the Cumbrian Way down to Dead Beck at 283304 where we found a good clear path (surprisingly) up the moorland to the cairn on top of Great Calva LDW-095 where we enjoyed the spring sunshine. It was a pleasure to be out on the fells in just our T shirts in March. I knew Julian G4ILO would be waiting for me on his next summit so we tried to push on as best we could, reaching the summit at 3.30pm.

The take off from Great Calva away from the bulk of Skiddaw was much better and the rucksack special reached out to the south and into Northern Ireland. The first contact was summit to summit though with Julian G4ILO having reached his destination onto Brae Fell LDW-134. All the regulars were worked, except Sue G1OHH, who was in Portugal I believe at the time. I've worked into Ireland before from the Northern Fells on 2m FM and made it again today into the station of David GI4SNA - a man I know is a VHF specialist with efficient antennas, hence our DX QSO. Contact was also made with GW0WTT in Flint and regular chaser Mark MM1MPB in Annan to give me 4 countries from the 14 stations logged on Great Calva.

On Great Calva with Judy XYL working G4ILO/P Julian on the nearby summit of Brae Fell LDW-134

Dash Farm with the Uldale Fells from where Julian G4ILO was operating, behind it
The route back to Peter House was easy to follow - we followed the fence down to Dry Gill (which it was) although towards Whitewater Dash it got tricky as it involved some scrambling down the gully. We arrived back at my car at 5.30pm to return to Keswick and check in at the hotel.  

Geoff and I had planned a challenging walk for the next day and we were grateful for the good MWIS weather forecast which was pinned up in reception when we got to the Country House Hotel. Meanwhile Judy planned to undertake a leisurely walk around Derwentwater in the morning and be back in Keswick for lunchtime.

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