SOTA Activation Reports 2006 (6)

SOTA Activation Reports 2006
Activation reports previously submitted  to the Summits On The Air Reflector

26th August 2006 Cold Fell NP-020

Three summits in three days - Day 1

Someone once told me "Be careful SOTA can be addictive", well there must be something in it as my chaser points might indicate, but my activating was never going to on the same sort of level, so last weekend came as a bit of a surprise. August Bank holidays have, for the last few years been spent caravanning with friends and we had planned to do the same this year, however I came home from work to find the XYL Helen (GW7AAU) looking at cottages in the Lake District
and surrounding areas. Eventually she found a place at Farlam, which is near Brampton and about 10 miles from Carlisle and about 1½ miles from Cold Fell NP-020. I could have fallen of my chair when she suggested activating it and I was even more surprised when she suggested I find another couple of summits we could do at the same time. The next nearest summits were a bit higher than I wanted to attempt with three of my children, particularly as Stuart is registered disabled and has problems walking, so after long deliberation and hours spent on the Internet, rightly we plumped (rightly or wrongly) for Binsey LD-041 and Dufton Pike NP-027 both nice little 1 pointers.

Saturday started overcast with looming rain clouds and I would have not been surprised if Helen had decided not to attempt the activation of Cold Fell, but she had made the packed lunches and we were going. Following the tip from G3CWI we parked at the end of the private track and walked down it, following the footpath signs to Howgill Cottages. Immediately you pass through the gate there is another gate on the left, we took this and then crossed the small
stream on the right, which as G3CWI says is an easy one to miss and hen followed the track. As we got near to the summit all signs of a track disappeared and we picked our way carefully through the heather trying to avoid the potholes and boggy bits. Almost in sight of our target it started to spit with rain and at the summit we sheltered in the cairn and donned waterproofs. By the time we had done this mist had closed in and we could not see more than twenty feet away and Helen was in a hurry to get back down again so I attempted to do a quick activation on two metres. I got nothing on the rubber duck so I tied the antenna to the stone pillar and tried again. Tony M0CFB in Newcastle upon Tyne came back to the call and then I got a near summit to summit with Guy M5GUY who was walking his dog on Red Screes, just outside the activation area and in warm sunshine, then nothing and nothing on 70cm. Where were the pile ups I had experienced before both as an activator and a chaser? I would have to try HF. For the sake of speed I cable tied the dipole centre
to the two-metre antenna and ran the ends out. Calling on 5.3985 I was relieved to hear the usual suspects. Paul G0HNW was first and then John GW4BVE, John persuaded Helen to come to the mike and this seemed to take her mind off the weather as we worked the rest of those on 5mHz the rain stopped and the mist started to lift, it was as if the weather was improving with my wife's mood. We had both qualified the summit and we were still unsure of what the weather was going to do so we called it a day and packed up. By the time we had our rucksacks on again the rain had completely stopped, the mist had disappeared and the sun had come out, a sharp reminder of how the fast the weather can change in the mountains and how easy it would be to get caught out. Our decent was made in brilliant sunshine and the children romped on ahead while Helen and I took time to appreciate the wonderful views. Coming down seemed to take no time at all and we were soon back in the car enjoying a cold

12:05zM0CFB144MHzFMNewcastle upon Tyne IO94dx
12:09zM5GUY144MHzFMWalking dog on Red Screes