High Street, G/LD-011 - 828m ASL - NY 440 110 - OS Explorer OL5 - 8 SOTA
This was Liam's last year at primary school. Now what has that got to do with
the price of cheese? Well, it meant it would be the last year that Jimmy and I
would break up for summer a week earlier than Liam. It was our last chance to
use this as an excuse to clear off to some 'proper' mountains and do some
'proper' hiking. And Marianne kindly agreed. Already, Jimmy was demanding that
Stony Cove Pike G/LD-018, Scafell Pike G/LD-001 and
Gummer's How G/LD-050 were
inserted into the schedule. Why? Because I'd activated them and he hadn't. With
those, his LD unique record would catch up with mine.
I rarely read Trail magazine, but it is a good read, so I tend to pick one up at
the airport when we go on holiday, so I do get to read it once every two years
or so! The last such occasion was February half-term when we went to
Fuerteventura, and I bought the March issue of Trail from the WHS in the
departure lounge area of Manchester Airport.
"Look at this" I called to Jimmy in the first half-hour of the flight. There was
a featured route in Trail. It was a three day circuit starting at Haweswater,
and taking in five SOTA summits - High Street G/LD-011,
Stony Cove Pike G/LD-018, Red Screes
G/LD-017, Fairfield G/LD-007 and
St Sunday Crag G/LD-010. I initially
thought it was six, because the third day, beginning with a ride on the
Ullswater Steamer from Patterdale to Howtown, then passed over "High Raise" en
route back towards High Street. However, this was not the SOTA High Raise as
Jimmy pointed out. Nonetheless, I still figured we could reasonably bag
Hallin Fell G/LD-043 near to Howtown to
avoid a SOTA-less day.
I discussed the route with G/LD region manager John G3WGV, who seemed to think
that the walk from Howtown to Haweswater was a "darned long way"! He suggested
to me an alternative route direct from Patterdale, which gave the option to 'nip
up' and activate Place Fell G/LD-027 early
on that day. Hence the plot was hatched, and up went the alerts for those first
three days. 2m FM it would be; no way was I carting the FT-817 and SLAB around
with me - this looked a serious proposition.
The fourth day had to be Scafell Pike G/LD-001; we
were supposed to be doing it last year on a long route from Honister Hause, but
we were magnetised to the pair of Great Gable
G/LD-005 and Kirk Fell G/LD-014 instead!
That left the fifth day to allocated. The closing summit of the trip had to be
Gummer's How G/LD-050 - an easy 'wind-down' summit,
and the last of Jimmy's "catch-ups". I quite fancied doing Loughrigg Fell
G/LD-047 ahead of that, as it is the one and only SOTA summit left that I have
climbed in my life, but not since I started participating in SOTA. Nearer to the
time, we also added in Great Mell Fell
G/LD-035 as an early morning plan. This one needed to be "sorted". We had
activated it before - but only got one contact each on there due to static rain!
The pass-outs were not stamped and signed by Marianne until Monday 21st July
2008, but as soon as they were, I was on the blower. The first night away
absolutely had to be at the Kirkstone Pass Inn. Fortunately, they had a room,
which I booked. Patterdale Youth Hostel was full - booked out by a private group
- for the second night, so I looked up some B&Bs. The first one I rang was the
Old Water View, and we booked in there. For the other nights, I was just
going to ring around the youth hostels at teatime each day. Excellent, the plan
was coming together. We prepared our gear and rucksacks on the Monday evening,
and eagerly anticipated Tuesday morning.
We didn't get up too early on the Tuesday morning. We weren't taking soup, so
there wasn't that little job to do, but we were taking Liam - to school - that
was part of the deal with Marianne. I wanted to be up there a bit earlier than
that, so I booked Liam into the before-school breakfast club, which meant I
could drop him off at 7.30am!
Jimmy wasn't ready for his breakfast as we passed Lymm Truck Stop, so we headed
onto the M6 and aimed for the Westmorland Farm Shops (Tebay) services much
further north. Here we enjoyed a bumper breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs,
beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, hash browns, black pudding, haggis, toast and tea.
We exited the motorway at the next junction, and Jimmy called out the directions
to Haweswater. We arrived at the remote cul-de-sac at around 10.45am, and
baggsed the last slot in the car park. Soon, we were walking by Haweswater, with
slightly heavier rucksacks, necessarily containing spare socks, shorts and
shirts - we wouldn't be reunited with our car or suitcases for 54 hours!
Several groups of people were looking upwards at Swine Crag, where England's
last golden eagle was gliding around. We got a better view as we ascended the
ridge towards Racecourse Hill. This was a good ridge with great views back over
Haweswater. It became increasingly narrow and steep, but never exposed. Soon the
fell opened out, and I was about to do some compass work as recommended by Julia
Bradbury herself. we were now in cloud, the cloudbase being at around 700m, but
the trig point was near, and we could see it easily.
On-air we went with Jimmy's Yaesu VX-110 and the RSS, making 8 contacts in 3
DXCCs. Everything went quiet, there were no other callers, so we packed up and
continued along the ridge towards Thornthwaite Beacon and onto
Stony Cove Pike G/LD-018. Many thanks to the
following stations, all worked on 2m FM with 0.5 watts: