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A long time comin’ - G4OIG

How long does it take to carry out a planned activation? When I first started activating HuMPs in 2012, I checked through all the Central England summits and grouped them together as several days out and started to prepare itineraries. It then took me 5 years to get around to activating this group of 4. In the meantime I have been here and there up and down the country. Now I need to look again at the possibility of completing G/HCE.

This lazy day out of the office (23 June 2017) started at 05:00z when the alarm went off. A phone call from the XYL in Germany delayed my departure, but 06:17z was still early enough for me to be able to avoid the regular bottleneck at M1 junction 15. In fact there were fewer vehicles on the road than I expected and the only slow section was the A34 at Oxford. I arrived at Bathford nature reserve car park (ST797664) at 08:29z with time in hand. I had alerted for Bathford Hill G/HCE-005 at 09:30z and the summit was only 500m or so away, so this was a relaxing start to the day. As I would be driving for almost an hour to get to my second summit, I decided to ascend the hill in my trainers. Once out of the car park I took the footpath up the left side of the nature reserve to avoid the chance of getting lost on any of the other paths in the reserve.

Being inquisitive about Browne’s Folly (or should that be Brown’s Folly?) near the summit, I decided to visit that first before finding a place to operate from.

The tower was built in 1845 by Colonel Wade Browne, the squire of Monkton Farleigh Manor – obviously a man of wealth. The weather was very cloudy and there was a stiff breeze blowing up the escarpment that runs north-south on the line of the summit, but with a good strong fence alongside the footpath to fix my pole to, I was not concerned. After wandering back and forth for a while to see whether I could get out of the wind, I decided that I couldn’t, so selected a suitable stone slab where the footpath was wide enough for people to get by and set up. As I bent down to take off my backpack, a couple came around the corner and were concerned that I had fallen over. After I assured them that I was okay and had explained what I was doing, they set off wishing me all the best. Nice people (photo below - footpath activation spot).

I had been in contact with both Don G0RQL and Mike G4BLH to alert them to my planned day of HuMPs activations. Unfortunately neither could be available for my first activation, so it was a case of seeing what would happen with just 2m on board. With the city of Bath sat in the valley below I hoped for some local contacts, but it wasn’t to be – all contacts were to come from further afield. Alan 2E0WSR near Minehead was first in the log at 09:18z on 2m SSB, just 2 minutes of calling producing the contact which I considered to be a good result. We chatted for several minutes then I called CQ again and a few minutes later Paul G3SDH in Compton Martin in the Chew Valley called me. Paul turned out to be a friend of Peter G3TJE, a well known SOTA activator.

My 25 watts of SSB did not produce any further contacts, so I lowered the 5 element yagi and changed to vertical polarisation. On FM, reducing the 817 to a watt output gives me 10 watts from the linear which helps the battery life. A couple of calls produced a contact with Bob M3RNW in Shepton Mallet who then gave me a second contact with his other call 2E0EXW. A fifth contact was made a short while later with Ian G0GRI/M near Westbury. Signals were mainly 59 all round with only Ian initially having some difficulty with my signal, that was until I turned the beam (photo below - view over Bath).

It was 10:15z when I closed down and I was back at the car by 10:32z. By this time there was only one other car in the car park with two young men looking it over. It appeared that a possible sale was on the cards, but I wasn’t entirely sure of what they were doing, so rather than sticking around I decided to get on the road.

I took a leisurely lunch break at Melksham before fighting the traffic through Devizes and arriving at the car park (SU115637) for Milk Hill G/HCE-015, my second summit, spot on schedule at 11:45z. I changed into my boots and set off up the downs to see the white horse cut into the turf in 1812.

After taking a couple of photos I ascended further to the fence in the corner of the field just beyond a tumulus, disturbing several Meadow Pipits on the way.

Switching on and tuning to my usual frequency of 144.333MHz, I heard Don G0RQL announce his presence. A quick tweak of the beam to bring Don up to 59 and the first contact was in the log, to be followed immediately by Mike G4BLH/P not far from his Lancashire home QTH. Signal reports were 55 outgoing and 52 received (photo below - the activation location on Milk Hill).

George G8AOJ in Coleford in the Forest of Dean then called me with signals 59 both ways. A lengthy chat with Bill G4WJS on the Chiltern ridge then ensued and afterwards Paul G3SDH gave me a second contact to make it 5 from this summit. By that time it was 13:15z and time to make a move, so I did not operate FM from this one.

The 11 mile drive north to my next summit Hackpen Hill G/HCE-012 took just 15 minutes despite going through Avebury. This is another white horse summit, this one dating from 1838 (see photo below).

There was just one vehicle in the car park (SU129747) when I arrived at 14:05z, though several walkers passed by on The Ridgeway as I was changing the batteries in the kit before setting off. The actual summit is on private land, but The Ridgeway is only a few metres lower, so I selected a part of the fence without any nettles and set up (photo below - The Ridgeway - pick your spot)

Mike G4BLH/P was first into the log on this summit at 14:27z followed by Don G0RQL. Signals appeared to be slightly up on the previous summit. When I finished with Don, I received a call from George G8AOJ, once again 59 both ways. SSB failed to produce a fourth contact, so I moved to FM and was called by Ben M6OMR in Trowbridge. After a 10 minute chat with him, Matt 2E0MDJ in Cheltenham called me for a brief contact. For some reason I just couldn’t be bothered to put out another CQ, so chose instead to dismantle the kit and get off slightly early to my final summit for the day.

For the final summit Liddington Castle G/HCE-014 to the south of Swindon, I chose a simple approach to the hill, which is a Bronze Age / early Iron Age hill fort. I parked on the verge close to the end of a farm track where I had spotted tyre marks when looking on Google Earth (SU208804). What Google Earth didn’t show was that these were actually lorry tracks with rather deep ruts. Somehow I managed to misjudge their depth and the floor pan of the car sat down on the earth. It is in these situations that the Quattro comes into its own and it had no problem reversing out.

It was 16:10z when I set off up the farm track to the accompaniment of Corn Buntings chirping at me from the bushes – not bird song that I am very familiar with. The track was fairly steep and after it had swung gently left, I arrived at a gate where there was a sign indicating the permissive path to the summit.

Other signs further along the path confirmed its status. At the summit there is a trig point and a topograph with a timber decking surround and a fence which I used to support the pole.

Mike G4BLH/P was once again ready waiting when I came up on 144.333MHz at 16:42z. Signals were back to a mediocre 55 / 52, but that didn’t matter. It was lashing it down at Mike’s end, so I was very pleased that he had braved the weather for me. When I signed with Mike, Stewart G0LGS in Cheltenham called me for a contact and Don G0RQL followed on. A few CQ calls produced a chat with Mike 2E0OOM in Gravesend (photo below - the set up at Liddington Castle).

Moving to FM gave me another contact with Matt 2E0MDJ with a couple of others calling me at the same time. However, no-one QSY’d with Matt for a contact and not feeling disposed to call CQ again, I decided to switch off. So, another activation of just 5 contacts which certainly appealed to my OCD. I started to dismantle the kit at 17:20z and was back at the car by 17:45z. After consuming a snack, I set off for home at 18:00z and an easy relaxed drive got me there in just under an hour and a half.

So that is one less itinerary on the “pending” list. I have a few others waiting in the wings for when I have a free day. I quite enjoyed the 2m only activations and many thanks to all who came on to work me, especially Mike and Don. Qualifying them all on SSB would have been my preference, but on a weekday it would have been a near impossible task. So FM it had to be and some pleasant QSOs were made as a result. It certainly made a change from my usual SOTA activations which include rapid fire exchanges on HF CW.

73, Gerald G4OIG

(Added- 04 July 2017)

Activators Beware

This section lists events (usually fell races) that are due to take place on or near summits (or parking places used for summit access) so that potential activators can take them into account when planning their activations. A lot of fell racing activity involves summits used by SOTA (Marilyns), WOTA (Wainwrights) or HEMA (Summitsbase HuMPs). All the information below is believed to be accurate but may contain errors or may be subject to change. There may be other Fell Races taking place during the month that not listed because of insufficient information.

Saturday 1st Jul 2017 – Chevy Chase Fell Race starts at 10:30 from Wooler Youth Hostel and takes in the summit of The Cheviot G/SB-001 and Hedgehope Hill G/HSB-007.

Sunday 2nd Jul 2017 – Langdale Gala takes place with races from around 14:30 that include Silver How LDW-202.

Sunday 2nd Jul 2017 – Skiddaw Race starts at 12:30 from Keswick Football Club, Lower Fitz Park, Keswick and takes in the summit of Skiddaw G/LD-004 LDW-004.

Wednesday 5th Jul 2017 – Reston Scar Scamper starts at 19:00 from Staveley Mill Yard and is believed to take in the summit of Reston Scar LDO-088.

Thursday 6th Jul 2017 – Bull Hill Race starts at 19:30 from Red Lion pub, Hawkshaw and goes to the summit of Bull Hill G/HSP-006.

Sat 8th Jul 2017 – Tal Y Fan Race is believed to start at 14:00 from Rowen Carnival Field and takes in the summit of Tal y Fan GW/NW-040.

Saturday 8th Jul 2017 – Wasdale 'Horseshoe' Fell Race starts at 11.00 from 'Brackenclose' Wasdale and the route includes Whin Rigg LDW-156, Seatallan G/LD-025 LDW-093, Pillar G/LD-006 LDW-008, Great Gable G/LD-005 LDW-007, and Scafell Pike G/LD-001 LDW-001.

Sunday 9th Jul 2017 – Pen Y Fan race starts at 12:00 from Cwm Llwch, near Brecon and takes in the summit of the highest mountain in southern Britain Pen y Fan GW/SW-001.

Saturday 15th Jul 2017 – Ingleborough Race starts at 15:00 from the Community Centre Sports Field, Ingleton (as part of Ingleton Gala) and takes in the summit of Ingleborough G/NP-005.

Saturday 15th Jul 2017 – International Snowdon Race starts at noon from Llanberis and takes in the summit of Yr Wyddfa - Snowdon GW/NW-001.

Sunday 16th Jul 2017 – Kentmere Horseshoe Race starts at 13:00 from Kentmere Village Hall and includes the summits of Ill Bell G/HLD-035 LDW-060, High Street G/LD-011 LDW-025, and Kentmere Pike LDW-071.

Wednesday 19th Jul 2017 – Blisco Dash starts at 19:00 from the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Great Langdale and goes directly to the summit of Pike of Blisco G/LD-024 LDW-086.

Saturday 22nd Jul 2017 – Lingmell Dash starts at 14:30 from Wasdale Head Inn carpark and takes in the summit of Lingmell LDW-035.

Sunday 23rd Jul 2016 – Holme Moss Race starts at 11:00 from Cartworth Moor Cricket Club, nr Holmfirth and includes the summit of Black Hill G/SP-002.

Wednesday 26th Jul 2017 – Snaefell Race starts at 19:00 from Bungalow, TT Course, IOM and takes in the summit of Snaefell GD/GD-001.

Thursday 27th Jul 2017 – Heart Of The Lakes Rydal Round Race starts at 12:05 from Rydal Park, Ambleside. The route (if unchanged) is basically the Fairfield Horseshoe taking in (among other summits) Nab Scar LDW-193, Heron Pike LDW-128, Great Rigg LDW-054, Fairfield G/LD-007 LDW-013 and Dove Crag LDW-038.

(Added- 01 July 2017)

Activating Cat Bells, Maiden Moor and High Spy - 03 June 2017

We (myself and Alan - a non radio amateur friend) decided to climb to the ridge of Skelgill Bank which is just below Cat Bells LDW-189. I was able to park in a small quarry where there is room for about 3 vehicles (see photo below - my car is to the left out of shot)

It is quite a short way up to the ridge but we met up with some National Trust people who told us that they did not want anyone to use this path because of erosion and that we should use either Hause Gate or Hawse end both of which would have involved quite a long detour (photo below - start of ascent to Skelgill Bank).

In the end they let us ascend but we had to come back via Hause Gate. Anyone contemplating doing Catbells should be aware of this! (photo below - exit point on Skelgill Bank).

We started out at 0930 hrs local and arrived on the summit of Catbells LDW-189 at 1032 hrs after speaking to the National Trust volunteers for a while. I used a dual band collinear which I put on a roach pole at about 12 feet and made 4 contacts - G1OHH, G0TDM, 2E0MIX/M and G0UQC. (photo below - aerial on Cat Bells)

We stayed about 10mins and then headed to Maiden Moor LDW-138 where we arrived at what we thought was the summit. I made contact with M0AYB/M and G0TDM before I realised that we were not on the true summit! We got to the true summit at 1038 hrs local and re made contact with AYB and TDM. I also made contact with Sue G1OHH.

Again we stayed about 10 mins before making our way to High Spy G/HLD-034 LDW-113. On our way I worked Phil M0AYB/P on Silver How LDW-202 and also Viki MI6BWA/P who was on SOTA summit Slievenalargy GI/MM-015.

We arrived on High Spy G/HLD-034 LDW-113 at 1250 hrs local where it was very windy and cold. I could not get my aerial up high as the wind was so strong. I needed 4 contacts on High Spy (to qualify it for HEMA as it is a HuMP as well as a Wainwright). I worked G1OHH, G0TDM, G4BLH/M & G7GQM to get it qualified (photo below - cairn on High Spy)

Photo below left - looking towards Dale Head G/LD-020 from High Spy
Photo below right - looking towards Maiden Moor LDW-138 on descent from High Spy.

After spending about 15 mins on the summit we decided to go down via Hause Gate (photo below - start of descent via Hause Gate).

On my way back I worked Phil on Blea Rigg LDW-152. We arrived back at the car at 1500 hrs local. The descent via Hause Gate is quite steep and stepped part of the way. It was ok as it was dry but if it was wet the stones would be very slippery and not great for walking on.

In all it took us 5hrs 30mins to do about 7.25 miles and 2598 feet of ascent.(photo above - the finish of our walk - my car on the right but out of shot).

73’s Geoff GM4WHA

(Added- 04 June 2017)

Second NA<>EU S2S Event - Saturday 13th May 2017 - G4OIG

Muncaster Fell G/LD-059

Having suggested a date for a second North America <> Europe Summit to Summit event, it seemed appropriate to choose the amended summit of Muncaster Fell (formerley G/LD-055, which was activated by us on 25th April 2010) for the activation. This would re-complete England for Paul and myself, at least until September when Hensbarrow Beacon G/DC-004 becomes Hensbarrow Down G/DC-008.

An afternoon activation period required a late (for us) departure time and a late return home. As it was, I overslept 10 minutes and so appeared at Paul’s QTH similarly behind schedule. A quick turn around got us away from Stourbridge by 07:02z. It was my intention to do the three and a half hour drive in one stretch and despite extensive speed restrictions along the M6, we arrived at the large car park opposite Muncaster Castle at 10:26z. After a false start caused by Paul’s mobile languishing on the car dashboard, we were on our way to the summit by 10:53. Carrying 16kg+ each slowed our pace somewhat and with a bit of GPS checking time rolled in, we actually spent an hour getting to the summit. The pebble lying on a rock signifying the summit did amuse us somewhat. (photo below - the 'old' summit)

The weather forecast was for rain in the morning clearing around 12:00z. We saw little rain on the journey up to the Lakes and it remained dull, but dry right until we got to the summit. As I put my phone away after taking a picture of Paul at the summit (said pebble included - see photo below), it chose that precise moment of drop a load on us, so we scrambled off the top to set up our tarps as shelter.

Since it was my intention to run 2m in parallel with HF, I remained close to the summit outcrop while Paul moved downhill to seek a more sheltered position. Thankfully the rain was only a brief shower and in general terms it improved thereafter, though there was a breeze blowing across the summit.

My itinerary was set up for a start at 12:00z, but it was after 12:30 when I got onto 20m. The shelter took longer to erect than anticipated and I also found that I had not remembered to put a phono to 3.5mm adaptor for the key into my pack. Thankfully Paul came up with the solution – borrow his which was fitted with the correct plug for the FT-857D.

My first contact and S2S was with Pedro CT1DBS/P on 14.064MHz. After our QSO I moved up a few kHz and called CQ and enjoyed a decent run, with Matt KA1R the fifth into the log. It took a couple of goes to get Matt's call as there was a lot of "exuberant" calling over the top..... or maybe everyone calling did actually have a K in their callsign. As well as the contact with Matt, the highlights on 20m CW were contacts with Andrew K5QR, Rich N4EX, Bill W4HBK and my only trans-Atlantic S2S which was with Mike NS1TA on Streaked Mountain W1/AM-074.

When the frequency went quiet, I moved to SSB and concentrated on trying to work S2S, but having only a slow and very intermittent internet connection did not help me find activators. Only occasionally would Rucksack give me the spots. I did try a brief period on 17m, working Andy G6PJZ/P on nearby Black Combe G/LD-030 on SSB and Rich N4EX (again) and Ivo I5XX on CW. After a while I returned to 20m to find Kevin AC2KL in QSO, but affected by heavy QRM from a European close to the frequency who wasn’t going anywhere. I worked two more EU S2S and then decided to call CQ in the hope that I would be picked up by NA stations, but sadly it was not to be. I did however manage to self-spot blind using the SMS facility on Rucksack and another 3 EU S2S made the log in a total of eleven contacts on the mode.

At 15:00z I started on PSK31, but it was evident that conditions were moving east rapidly through JN, JO, KN, KO squares to LN and LO. The only recognisable chaser was Henryk SO9EWA. The datamodes kit on its first time out worked perfectly without a hitch and provided nine QSOs, though I did find the Samsung N310 screen a little hard to read, especially as I could often not find the mouse pointer!
Before the battery packs eventually expired I set up for 2m SSB and phoned Don G0RQL. Unfortunately by that time any potential contacts were probably preparing to sit down for an evening meal, so only Derek 2E0MIX was worked. It was certainly a case of too much to do and not enough time (photo below - the 'new' summit).

Paul started slightly later than me providing Muncaster Fell for the regular LF chasers. His initial enquiry on 5.3985MHz brought a response from Mark G0VOF to say the frequency was not in use, but it would now be. The eight 60m contacts were mainly G with Esther GI0AZA and Michael EI3GYB also in the log. After a period of calling without any further contacts, Paul announced a move to 80m and was spotted by Mark G0VOF, but he was not one of the four contacts made on the band. 40m was very busy and Paul found it hard going making just five contacts after a spot provided by Frank G3RMD. Mike DJ5AV was the best DX.

After a while Paul decided to come up the hill to see how I was getting on before taking his handheld up to the top where he worked Andy G6PJZ/P and Derek 2E0MIX on 2m FM. Unusually these were the only two contacts made on the band. On his way back to his operating position, Paul asked whether I would like a hot soup. This duly arrived, the water freshly boiled by the stove that Paul had brought with him. Such luxury up a hill (photo below - from the 'new' to the 'old').

After my own somewhat limited session on 2m, during which one set of batteries decided to expire, we packed up and set off back to the car. After stowing the kit, changing our footwear and a quick snack, we set off for home at 17:46z. I didn’t stop any length of time at Paul’s QTH, deciding to get off home and it was 23:05z by the time I got in, courtesy of more motorway roadworks and a diversion. Par for the course nowadays.

So, my grateful thanks go to everyone that turned out for the event. I really do appreciate the effort that everyone made and hope that everyone enjoyed the activations despite the indifferent conditions, the deep QSB experienced on all bands and the omnipresent QRN.

73, Gerald G4OIG

G4OIG/P Summary: total 47 contacts
NA Chasers (CW) - KA1R, K5QR, N4EX (20m and 17m), W4HBK

G4MD/P Summary: total 19 contacts
60m SSB – 8 contacts, G, GI, EI
80m SSB – 4 contacts, all G
40m SSB – 5 contacts, G, DL
2m FM – 2 contacts, both G

(Added- 29 May 2017)

Activators Beware

In this section we list events (usually fell races) that are due to take place on or near summits (or parking places used for summit access) so that potential activators can take them into account when planning their activations. A lot of fell racing activity involves summits used by SOTA (Marilyns), WOTA (Wainwrights) or Summitsbase (HuMPs). There may be other Fell Races taking place during the month, but they are not listed because of insufficient information.

Saturday 3rd Jun 2017 – Duddon Valley Race starts at 11:00 from Newfield Inn, Seathwaite and takes in Swirl How G/HLD-049 LDW-033 and Caw G/HLD-009 LDO-015.

Saturday 3rd Jun 2017 – Pen y Ghent Fell Race starts from Horton playing fields at 15:00 and takes in the summit of Pen y Ghent G/NP-010.

Saturday 3rd Jun 2017 – Welsh 1000m Peaks Race starts at Abergwyngregyn and finishes on the summit of Yr Wyddfa - Snowdon GW/NW-001. This race is approx 32km with approx 8000ft of ascent also passes over Carnedd Llewelyn GW/NW-002 and other 1000m+ summits.

Wednesday 7th Jun 2017 – Blencathra Race starts at 19:00 from Fellgate, Mungrisedale and includes the summits of Blencathra G/LD-008, Bowscale Fell LDW-087, Souther Fell LDW-163 and passes close to Bannerdale Crags LDW-096.

Saturday 10th Jun 2017 – Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell Race starts at 11:00 from Ennerdale Scout Camp. The route includes Great Borne G/HLD-021 LDW-127, passes by (not over) Starling Dodd, Red Pike LDW-062, High Stile G/LD-012 LDW-029, High Crag LDW-065, Haystacks? LDW-131, Green Gable LDW-034, Kirk Fell G/LD-014 LDW-032, Pillar G/LD-006 LDW-008, Scoat Fell LDW-023, Haycock LDW-036, Caw Fell LDW-094 and Crag Fell G/HLD-011 LDW-162.

Saturday 10th Jun 2017 – Lakeside - Gummer's How Race starts at 17:30 (individual) or 18:30 (team) from the Lakeside Hotel, SW end Lake Windermere (Newby Bridge) and is believed to take in the summit of Gummer's How G/LD-050 LDO-067.

Sunday 11th Jun 2017 – Passing Clouds Race starts at 11:00 from the Visitor Centre, Tittesworth reservoir, nr Leek and takes in the summit of The Roaches G/HSP-026.

Wednesday 14th Jun 2017 – The 'Hotfoot Up Famau' race starts from the car park near Moel Famau, Denbighshire (at 19:30 ?) and takes in the summit of Moel Famau GW/NW-044.

Saturday 17th Jun 2017 – Buckden Pike Race starts at 14:30 from Buckden Village Green and goes close to the summit of Buckden Pike G/NP-009.

Saturday 24th Jun 2017 – Darren Holloway Memorial Race starts at 11:00 from Loweswater Village Hall and takes in the summits of Hopegill Head LDW-053, Grasmoor G/LD-009 LDW-020, Whiteless Pike LDW-106, Dale Head G/LD-020 LDW-063, Hay Stacks LDW-131, High Crag LDW-065 and Mellbreak G/LD-036 LDW-168.

Sunday 25th Jun 2017 – Arnison Dash starts at 14:00 from King George playing fields, Patterdale, Cumbria. This event is linked with Ullswater Country Fair and takes in the summit of Arnison Crag LDW-194.

Sunday 25th Jun 2017 – Kinder Trog starts at 11:00 from the Scout Hut, Hayfield and passes near to the summit of Kinder Scout G/SP-001.

Sunday 25th Jun 2017 – Moel-y-Gamelin Race is believed to start at 11:00am from the Ponderosa Cafe and as the name implies includes the summit of Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042.

(Added- 28 May 2017)

Windlestraw Law and Whiteside Law - 11th April 2017 - G4OIG

During a week long family holiday in Northumberland, I managed one day out on the hills on my own. Taking into account the constraints of their being no early getaway and not too late a return being required, I prepared a couple of itineraries which gave me the option of activating either a couple of Northumberland HuMPs or a Scottish SOTA summit in combination with a HuMP. Opting for a longer drive, I decided upon the latter and posted an alert on SOTAwatch for Windlestraw Law GM/SS-087 for 11:15z. I posted a note in the remarks to advise that I would be activating Whiteside Law GM/HSS-287 later in the day. This was based on getting up around 07:00 local when our youngest grandson was programmed to wake the house. Unfortunately, he chose this particular day to wake up 30 minutes later than usual, so everything was put back with the alert adjusted accordingly before I left our base in Amble on the Northumbrian coast.

The journey up through Alnwick and Coldstream was pleasant enough, though the weather was generally grey and it remained so for much of the day. I reached the parking spot just to the south of Blackhopebyre Farm (NT339433) at 09:35z. The first thing I noticed was how windy it was. Keen to get going, a quick turn around saw me on my way up the hill just 10 minutes later. As I prepared for the ascent, the local farmer passed on his quad bike and we exchanged a friendly wave. One option would have been to cross the fence alongside the road and cut up to meet the track up the hill. However, I decided that it was better to walk the 300 metres up the road to the gateway that gave access to the bottom of the track, given that the farmer was in the area.

The initial part of the track is reasonably steep, but where it cuts left on the Ordnance map, there is now a new section taking a much more gentle and drier route up the hill. Here I met the farmer on his quad bike, both of us being rather surprised at the meeting. The new track eventually meets the old track which after a season of shooting resembled a quagmire. I took to the track edge to avoid the worst, though this did slow me down a little as I made my way along through the heather and grassy tussocks. I had allowed plenty of time to circumvent the wetter parts of the track and I arrived at the summit in a leisurely 1 hour 22 minutes, earlier than anticipated (photo below - Windlestraw Law summit).

It had been breezy at the parking spot, but on the summit of Windlestraw Law it was difficult to stand still because of the wind. I set up the tarp on the fence to give myself some shelter and set about rigging the HF dipole. Unfortunately the gusts were too strong for me to use the thinner sections of the pole, so the apex of the dipole was no more than 5m above ground. Even so, the pole was bending sideways over a metre at times (photo below)

I decided to start on 60m and immediately on switching to the memory channels on the 817 found Helen GD0YHB/P operating from Slieau Freoghane GD/GD-002 for my first contact. At this stage I had not trimmed the ATU and reports were not that good, but the situation was rectified once I QSY’d with the help of Don G0RQL. After a chat with Jack GM4COX, a further S2S with Rod GW0JLA/P on Beacon Hill GW/MW-009 and a couple more contacts, Carolyn GD6WRW/P called in to give me a second contact with Slieau Freoghane. In all I worked 20 on the band, having a chat part way through with my usual activating partner Paul who was on holiday further north near Ullapool (IO77JW).

A change of the links on the dipole provided a chance to stretch my legs and take a few photos as I struggled against the wind. My next band was 40m where I settled on 7.0315MHz and enjoyed a good run of 26 contacts around G, PA, F, DL, HB9 and OE. Moving onto 30m rather than to SSB (apologies to anyone that lost out), I worked another 8 stations around OH, LA, SM, OZ, DL, SP and OK.

I now had 54 contacts in the log and had been QRV for around 1 hour and 40 minutes and so was behind schedule. The descent took 54 minutes including yet another encounter with the farmer on his quad bike. As he passed he exclaimed something like it was “too bloody cold to be out doing things on the hills”. Well, I was warm enough in my Paramo kit and my new Berhaus gloves were certainly doing the business

Back at the car at 14:24z, just 9 minutes later than scheduled, I drove the few miles up the B709 to the parking spot for my second summit, Whiteside Law GM/HSS-287 (see photo below)

There are several parking spaces by a bridge at what is a disused quarry (NT357504). From here the summit is just around 800m away on the map, but there is 160m of ascent. I walked alongside the fence on the western side of the quarry and then straight up, making slow progress, taking several steps forwards in combination with a few sideways as the gusts of wind hit me. It actually took me 30 minutes to make the ascent under these conditions and I was somewhat relieved to reach the summit. (photo below - View towards Windlestraw Law from Whiteside Law).

At just 454m asl, the top of this hill is a mixture of grassy tussocks and low heather, so there is no support for a pole nor any shelter. I guyed the lowest three sections of the pole and set up the antenna, but allowing some slack for the strong gusts, the ends of the dipole were effectively ground mounted. First in the log on 60m was Mike G4BLH/P who had gone out especially to work me. Don G0RQL and Brian G4ZRP followed on, but then there were no further contacts forthcoming on the band. Therefore I decided to move to 40m CW, where after a few minutes Don G4RGV gave me my fourth contact. I managed to put a self-spot on the GMA website, but realised that it was an awkward time of day as most would be having their evening meal. So it proved to be, as after 10 minutes or so I had no further calls. It was therefore time to call it a day. After packing the kit, it took just 15 minutes to get back to the car where I had a snack before setting off back south, a pleasant two hour drive ahead of me.

Further visits to Northumberland are likely to be made this year, so I will be probably be tackling some of the GM/SS summits south of the Glasgow / Edinburgh line that I still need to activate, along with more Northumbrian HuMPs. Many thanks to everyone that came on to work me this time and special thanks to my XYL who let me “escape” with her car for the day. Thankfully no 4WD required on this outing.

73, Gerald G4OIG

(Added - 02 May 2017)

Activators Beware.

In this section we list events (usually fell races) that are due to take place on or near summits (or parking places used for summit access) so that potential activators can take them into account when planning their activations. A lot of fell racing activity involves summits used by SOTA (Marilyns), WOTA (Wainwrights) or HEMA (Summitsbase HuMPs). All the information below is believed to be accurate but may contain errors or may be subject to change. There are other Fell Races taking place during the month, but they are not listed because of insufficient information.

Saturday 6th May 2017 – Eskdale Elevation Race starts at 11:00 from Boot Village and takes in the summits of Whin Rigg LDW-156, Illgill Head G/LD-029 LDW-129 and Scafell G/HLD-044 LDW-002.

Saturday 6th May 2017 – Stuc A' Chroin 5000 Race is believed to start at 13:00 from the southern end of the village of Strathyre. This 20km race takes in the summits of Beinn Each GM/SS-034 and Stuc a'Chroin GM/SS-010.

Sunday 7th May 2017 – Great Hameldon Race starts at 12:00 from Peel Park Hotel, Turkey St, Accrington and is believed to route over Great Hameldon G/HSP-011.

Tuesday 9th May 2017 – Jack Bloor Senior Race starts at 19:15 in Ilkley and takes in the summit of Rombald's Moor G/NP-028.

Wednesday 10th May 2017 – Wrekin Streak Fell Race starts at 19:30 from Forest Glen, Wellington, Telford and takes in the summit of The Wrekin G/WB-010.

Friday 12th May 2017 – Pinhaw Moor Race starts from near Earby Cricket Club at 19:30 and takes in the summit of Pinhaw G/HSP-022.

Saturday 13th May 2017 – Fairfield Horseshoe Race starts at 12:00 from Rydal Hall, Ambleside. The route includes Nab Scar LDW-193, Great Rigg LDW-054, Fairfield G/LD-007 LDW-013, Hart Crag LDW-027 and Dove Crag LDW-038.

Wednesday 17th May 2017 – Blackstone Edge Race starts at 19:30 from Knowl Farm, Lydgate Hamlet, nr Littleborough and is believed to take in the summit of Blackstone Edge G/HSP-003.

Wednesday 17th May 2017 – Caw Race starts at 19:15 from near the Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills, Cumbria and includes the summit of Caw G/HLD-009.

Wednesday 17th May 2017 – Latrigg Race starts at 19:00 from Fitz Park, Keswick and takes in the summit of Latrigg LDW-206.

Wednesday 17th May 2017 – Shining Tor race starts at 19:15 from Errwood Sailing Club near Buxton.

Sat 20th May 2017 – Old Counties Tops Race starts at 08:00 from Great Langdale and includes the summits of Helvellyn G/LD-003 LDW-003, Scafell Pike G/LD-001 LDW-001 and Coniston Old Man G/LD-013 LDW-030.

Saturday 20th May 2017 – Charlesworth Chase (Simon's Seat) Race starts at 11:00 from outside of the Craven Arms, Appletreewick and is believed to take in the summit of Simon's Seat G/HNP-023.

Saturday 20th May 2017 – Y Gader ( Cader Idris) Race starts from near the Free Library, Eldon Square, Dolgellau and includes the summit of Cadair Idris - Penygadair GW/NW-009.

Saturday 20th May 2017 – Buttermere Sailbeck Race starts from Buttermere village at 12:00 and takes in Whiteless Pike LDW-106, Crag Hill G/HLD-012 LDW-024., Causey Pike LDW-119 and Ard Crags G/HLD-001 LDW-136.

Sunday 21st May 2017 – Glaramara Race starts at 13:00 from Glaramara Outdoor Centre, Borrowdale and takes in the summit of Glaramara LDW-044 G/HLD-019

Saturday 27th May 2017 – Hutton Roof Crags Fell Race starts at 14:15 from Hutton Roof Village Hall, nr Kirkby Lonsdale and takes in the summit of Hutton Roof Crags G/LD-052.

Sunday 28th May 2017 – Helvellyn And The Dodds Race starts from Threlkeld Cricket Club at 12:00 and takes in Clough Head G/HLD-010 LDW-074 and other summits en route to Helvellyn G/LD-003 LDW-003 and back.

Monday 29th May 2017 – Shutlingsloe Race starts at 14:45 from Crag Hall, Wildboarclough and takes in the summit of Shutlingsloe G/HSP-023 .

Wednesday 31st May 2017 – Otley Chevin Race starts at 19:30 from Station Road, Otley and takes in The Chevin G/HNP-027.

(Added - April 30th 2017)

Created by G4CPS. Last Modification: Tuesday 04 of July, 2017 15:12:11 BST by G4CPS.