On Sunday 13th August 2017, our only objective was Black Combe, followed by the 150 mile drive home. It was a beautiful day, and already very warm and sunny as we were parking up by St Mary's Church in Whicham.
The walk commenced by passing through a narrow alleyway and onto a quiet lane. We then followed the lane towards the hill and past a farmhouse. We were then onto the main footpath proper, and a fairly long, but fairly easy walk. Jimmy M0HGY was soon well ahead of me, so I found myself using my VHF handheld radio for company, chatting to SOTA activators in North Wales, and to my friend Rob G4RQJ on nearby Walney Island.
This was a very enjoyable walk, and made up for the first time we did it - in thick mist! So that time, we did not have any views whatsoever, whereas this time everything was clear as a bell, and over the sea the Isle of Man was clearly visible. The footpath was fairly busy with other walkers, some of whom were in large groups. It was a beautiful morning though, so this was entirely to be expected.
I found myself walking with an elderly chap who was struggling. He was considering turning back, but then asked if he could walk with me. We walked and chatted for a while before he took the decision that he was definitely going to play it safe and descend.
When the trig point came into view, so did Jimmy's MFD. He was already deep into his activation - which I knew, as I had been monitoring his frequency on my handheld for the last few minutes. As usual, he did 2m FM, but I fancied a change and put my 15m groundplane antenna up.
I kicked off with some CW, but while the band was just about open, conditions weren't exactly great, and after seven QSOs, I decided to try something different. I connected my phone to the FT-817 and tried some JT65. I was glad I did because it worked really well and I enjoyed a steady stream of callers on that mode. Many of them were German stations, which indicates there may have been a Sporadic E event taking place.
Enthused by this, I then went onto PSK31, and had five QSOs on this datamode to go with the six on JT65. Finally, I called again on CW, adding just two more QSOs to the logbook. Jimmy had made 25 QSOs, all on 2m FM. This did include a S2S with 2E0TUE/P over on Lambrigg Fell G/LD-046. I legged it over to Jimmy's operating position in order to tail-end his QSO and grab the S2S and chaser points for myself as well.
Fairly early into an uneventful drive home, we decided to stop for something to eat. A pub on the roadside - the Farmers Arms in Lowick Green - was doing Sunday roast dinners, so we both partook, with a pint of ale of course. The drive home was accompanied, as per most of the last 36 hours, by the sounds of Radio Caroline being relayed by Manx Radio 1368kHz MW. Many thanks to the following stations that worked us on this activation: