Friday 22 July 2011

Walk 58
9.4m / 3350' ascent
Phil G4OBK, Nick G4OOE & friend Geoff
Time Taken 8 hrs 23 mins

212. LDW-006 Bow Fell
213. LDW-011 Esk Pike
214. LDW-115 Rossett Pike

The route taken by Phil G4OBK, Nick G4OOE and friend Geoff on 22nd July 2011
This was the day I completed my last three Wainwright summits from the 214 fells listed in the great man's seven pictorial guides. 
It had been a good dry previous day on Blencathra I reflected, when we awoke to a showery day at our Bed and Breakfast Robinson Place Farm in Great Langdale.  After a good feed we were ready to start walking from the nearby Old Dungeon Ghyll Car NT Car Park at 9:20am. 
Our route can be found in the large format book "Walking with Wainwright" but I only realised that when Nick G4OOE told me about it when we returned home. I have that book (pictured right).
The route leaves the car park and follows a flat tarmac farm road to Stool End, from which we passed through a farm gate to start the climb up The Band, the actual path deviating somewhat from the public right of way shown on the OS map, nothing unusual in that in these parts! There was Geoff ahead, myself taking my time and Nick G4OOE bringing up the rear, all members of the Wainwright Society and Nick and I keen radio amateurs and WOTA activators. This really was a special day for me and the sun soon came out to celebrate allowing us to pack away our rain jackets for the climb on to Bow Fell.
The fingerpost points the way from Old Dungeon Ghyll Car Park
After walking 1 Km or so I called on S20 to see if Geoff G4WHA (who was with Mark M1MPB) had arrived in Langdale yet, and they had. They were just leaving the New Dungeon Ghyll Car Park on their way up to Pavey Ark.  Geoff was hoping for a QSO with me when I arrived on my final summit of Rossett Pike LDW-115.  Providing Geoff had a contact with Colin G4UXH who was expected to arrive on Black Fell LDW-212 long before I got to Rossett Pike this would be Geoff's last Wainwright as a Chaser - which would mean that he was the first ham radio operator to make contact with every single Wainwright summit via radio.  Doing a high level walk on the same day as this walk guaranteed success.  Contact back to Geoff's home in Annan may have proved difficult as the signals would need to pass through Glaramara and the High Spy Ridge to reach Annan - an unlikely prospect! 

This is Nick G4OOE the previous day on Blencathra LDW-014
I got slightly ahead of Nick on what was a steady walk up to the Three Tarns where we had a short break before we all proceeded together to the summit of the 2959' Bow Fell - LDW-006.  We were on the air before midday and the first contacts made were summit to summit with Geoff G4WHA and Mark M1MPB across the valley on Pavey Ark LDW-089.  Our next contact was with Colin G4UXH on Black Fell who had just provided G4WHA with his 213th Wainwright as a Chaser.  The best DX was to Alan M1EYO/P on SB-005 Sighty Crag and it was a pleasant surprise to hear Terry G0VWP/P come back, not from his home town of York but from TW-004 Bishop Wilton Wold in East Yorkshire, a good distance on 2m FM with 5 watts and a vertical antenna. Terry's directional beam obviously making all the difference and ensuring we made contact.  Brian G4ZRP who is on The Wirral called in and completed the contact with perfect readability using a minimal 20 milliwatts. Mike G4BLH was the last of our 17 contacts before we moved off the short distance to Esk Pike (35 mins).
Activating Esk Pike LDW-011 for WOTA
On arrival at Esk Pike it was lunchtime so we set up camp for the best part of an hour.  In between taking in  the views, eating and chatting to the occasional fellwalker we each made 22 contacts with more S2S QSOs with the stations previously mentioned, although Geoff and Mark were of course now on different summits giving Nick and I valuable bonus chaser points from my 213th Wainwright fell of Esk Pike. 
So it was on to my last unique Wainwright, Rossett Pike LDW-115. A summit which had never been activated on amateur radio for WOTA. Somehow the summit had passed under the radar of other activators. I'm not sure why as AW devoted 8 pages to the summit in Book Four, The Southern Fells.  We walked down towards Esk Hause, cutting off the corner off as the going was good,  before doubling back down the valley to Angle Tarn, with Rossett Pike prominent in front of us.

Phil G4OBK and friend Geoff reaching the top of Rossett Pike (Photo:G4OOE)
Nick G4OOE stayed back to capture this picture of us reaching the summit of my 214th Wainwright for our hour long stay, so we waited for Nick before we cracked open the champagne, it was the least we could do!  

Cheers! A celebration on Rossett Pike
It made my day when I called CQ and Geoff G4WHA who was now on the summit of Thunacar Knott LDW-076 came back. Not only was this my 214th Wainwright activator point, it was also Geoff's 214th chaser point. I worked Mark M1MPB who was with Geoff also on LDW-076.  Nick G4OOE took the radio to make his contacts and that left my hands free to crack upen the champagne. The sound of the cork popping was broadcast and was heard across the airwaves, so the happy moment was shared.  Colin G4UXH was still occupying Black Fell LDW-212 to hear it and complete another S2S contact.  We then worked 2E0VCO on Hutton Roof Crags LD-052 and M1EYO who had left the Scottish Borders and arrived on LDW-173 Little Mell Fell.  The final S2S contact was across to Harrison Stickle LDW-068 when G4WHA and M1MPB arrived there prior to us leaving Rossett PIke.  The champagne went down well, only a half bottle was carried so we managed just one glass each.  We finished with 15 contacts on my final Wainwright to bring our total contacts for the day to 54 QSOs each.
The walk back down Mickleden returned us to the Old Dungeon Ghyll where we decided to return to later for our meal, the menu appearing more varied that at the New Dungeon Ghyll where we ate the previous night. However, this was the place where we planned to meet Geoff G4WHA and Mark MM1MPB, so we jumped into the car and drove the short distance back to the NDG.  This is what we drank:

Two pints of Wainwright landlord.....
So how did it feel, now I had finished - no different at the time but it left me wondering now what I can do next apart from revisiting some of the 214 fells which were visited in bad weather, or the ones which I enjoyed the most and wanted to do again.  As I write this report two weeks on I am still reflecting on my experiences and I am wanting to return to the district whenever I can afford to, hopefully to climb and activate from Wainwright's Outlying Fells where it should be possible to pick up some more chaser points from the 214.
It has been an expensive business climbing all the Wainwrights, but the expense has been much reduced thankfully by my wife Judy who also enjoys fellwalking sharing the costs (but not all of the extreme fellwalking in bad weather!) and my friend Geoff who has gone halves on travelling expenses and sharing accommodation costs.  So here are a few statistics from my 28 months spent climbing all 214 Wainwrights, all recorded on GPS:

Date Started:  23rd March 2009  (WOTA Scheme by G4ILO commenced on 21st March 2009)
Date finished all 214 Fells: 22nd July 2011
Number of walk days: 58 
Distance walked (Measured by GPS): 499.85 miles
Total ascent: 165,515 feet
Average number of unique summits per walk day: 3.7
Average distance walked per day: 8.6 miles
Average ascent per day: 2850 feet
Number of WOTA activator contacts I made over period: 1882 
Toughest Walk: Kirk Fell/Pillar/Scoat Fell/Steeple/Red Pike (Wasdale)/Yewbarrow: 10m 5250' ascent
Easiest Walk: Little Mell Fell: 0.7 mile 400' ascent 

It was difficult for me to reach a decision on which was the toughest walk, but taking into account the severe weather conditions experienced in Wasdale on 1st April 2011 the walk above is what I decided was the toughest of the lot. We started our walk from Burnthwaite in Wasdale at 9.32am on that day and we finished it at Overbeck Bridge, Wasdale at 7.42pm.  During the walk I fell and suffered a knee injury which took five months to heal, but thankfully this was not sore enough to stop me walking.

Anyway, back to New Dungeon Ghyll and after chatting on and off on 2m FM for most of the day the gang met up:

Geoff, Phil (G4OBK), Geoff (GM4WHA) Mark (MM1MPB) thanks to Nick G4OOE who took the picture
It was around 7.30pm when we split, the three of us heading back to the ODG for that better menu and to discuss our plans for our last day when we decided to visit Muncaster Fell, Black Combe and Kirkby Moor for SOTA before heading home.  

Our best meal of the trip - Barnsley Chop with real chips at the ODG

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