Watch the activation video here!
This was a SOTA outing with a difference. Fellow member of the Macclesfield &
DRS Greg M3RXX, had managed to negotiate a number of places for us on an
organised coach trip to Coniston for walking enthusiasts employed at
Macclesfield Hospital. At a tenner a head, it was cheaper than diesel, more
environmentally acceptable and afforded the possibility of doing G/LD-013 as a
day trip. This distance is beyond what I would normally consider driving in a
day either side of a significant walk, so to have the luxury of someone else
doing the driving was appealing.
The radio contigent on the coach comprised Greg M3RXX and family, Sean 2E0BAX
and family, Tom M1EYP & Jimmy M3EYP, and Richard G3CWI and daughter Mai Ling. We
left the hospital car park shortly after 8am, and maps and route descriptions
were passed around. We initially planned to break from the main group and strike
directly for the summit. However, it was soon clear that the recommended
circular route was a cracker, and we decided to go for that with a possibly
shorter break for activating on the summit.
Once at the car park, the track levelled out and the walk became very
pleasurable. Instead of turning right to ascend through the old quarry, we
continued on the Walna Scar Road before eventually turning right and up to Goats
Water. Across the water, some rock climbers were making their way up Dow Crag.
We sat on some large flat rocks by the path and had our first portion of Lentil
& Bacon soup, and a Cadbury's Brunch Bar.
Jimmy and myself then resumed the lead, and pressed on around to the summit.
The paths became less defined, and soon we were having to cut up the steep
grassy slopes to rediscover the proper path. The large summit cairn came into
view, but the Sotacache didn't - one that got away.
I started to set up on the Coniston Water side of the hill, a few metres down
from the summit and a few away from the path. I set up my SOTA Beam ready for
Sean to attach his 817 to for the 2m station to be shared by Sean, Greg and
Jimmy. For myself, I set up the 40m dipole, and was grateful to have the
expertise and practical know-how of Richard on hand when one leg of the antenna
The first evidence of the village was the Sun Hotel, which was the party's rendezvous point. There was over an hour to spare before dinner, so we relaxed in the gardens with pints of Coniston Bluebird and Hawkshead ales, while comparing notes and experiences of the walk. Somewhat amazingly, given the menacing skies and dismal forecasts, it had remained bone dry all day, and we were all pleased with our good fortune in this respect. The meal of steak & ale pie with chips and veg was very good and substantial, albeit rather pricy. The coach departed on time and dropped us off in Macclesfield bang on the advertised 10.00pm time. A well-organised outing, and we will be looking to join any future ones - that involve SOTA summits!
Many thanks to the following stations, worked as follows: