Friday 10th December 2021
Gig: Christmas Live!
Venue: Doncaster Racecourse
I was up around 0730 and went down to join the stable staff for a cooked breakfast in the lodge. It was a raceday at Doncaster but I wasnít hanging around.
I set the satnav for the usual lay-by in Rylstone, and made the 90 minute drive north. Iíve always done this circuit anti-clockwise previously, but at the last moment I decided to reverse that. I walked the Chapel Lane track from Rylstone to Cracoe village before turning right onto the Fell Lane track towards the hillside.
I started to pick up the pace as the ascent became steeper, conscious that Friday afternoon traffic back through Bradford might not be as optimistic as my satnav prediction. Little did I know what I was in for!
I managed to get my four contacts to qualify on 2m FM on the handheld, but I clearly wasnít hearing everything. One of my callers suggested I might be suffering some local desense. I heard Nick G4OOE/P calling CQ SOTA so called back for the S2S - only to find he (and Dave G3TQQ/P) were also on Cracoe Fell - just a few yards from me! I hadnít spotted the vertical poking up from behind the drystone wall!
I completed the descent (working Dave and Nick for the chaser points as I did so?) and set off back to Doncaster with plenty of slack time in the bank ahead of the 5pm soundcheck. Or so I thought. Nobody had told me about the three hours it takes to drive a couple of miles down the A1 at Pontefract, where roadworks funnel four lanes down to one. That was pretty stressful, and I eventually pulled into the racecourse at 1705. Fortunately, the bandleader was still outside smoking a fag and hadnít summoned the start of the bandís soundcheck - so I made it by the skin of my teeth!