Friday 31st August 2018 - The Cheviot G/SB-001 & Ros Castle G/SB-009
No gig - day off!
I hadn’t really thought of activating The Cheviot until an online chat with Steve 2E0EFP where a possible joint expedition was mentioned. As it turned out, a mutually convenient time was not going to be possible, but with the idea festering in my head, I decided to go for it anyway. I had only ever done this summit once, and that was on the Pennine Way, so this would involve a completely new route for me. I parked on the grass close to the furthest place you are allowed to drive to on the road from Langleeford, then set about walking down the lane towards the border ridge. Part way down this road, I spotted a footpath sign marked “Cheviot 2.25km” pointing up the hill. I originally intended walking right up to the saddle between The Cheviot and the very short-lived former SOTA summit Hedgehope Law, before doubling back on the Pennine Way to the summit of The Cheviot. A group of three girls and a lad that I was trying (but failing) to keep up with seemed to be heading that way and went off ahead.
The climb up this section was mostly along a defined path, but the last section up to the ridge was rough and undefined. Firebreaks in the heather, and the unusually dry ground, made progress easy enough however. It was a good feeling to be walking on flagstones on flatter ground; I knew I must be close to the summit. The tall trig point soon came into view, and it did look like the hill was trying to sink beneath it!
I put out a call on 2m FM with the handheld, and my good friend Jim G0CQK came straight back. I was keen to get away with just a handie activation again, and try to squeeze a second summit into the day. There was a bit of a gap and I was starting to look for patches of ground firm enough to erect the 20m GP. But then a couple more stations from the Tyneside area came back, followed by Lesa M0BQD and George G2ARY who I’d not heard for years! M3RNO made it a sixth contact for the activation, as the group of four seen earlier arrived at the trig. They were faster than me on the lower ascent, so it really must have been a longer way round via the saddle for them to arrive half-an-hour later than me. Indeed Jim G0CQK advised me not to descent that way, which I was considering.
To start the descent, I went back down the way I had approached the summit, but instead cutting right down to the track, I remained on the ridge and went over Scale Hill, passing many significantly engineered grouse shooting hides. This path dropped me down right at the car park, and was probably the way Jim G0CQK assumed I had ascended.
The next target was the very easy Ros Castle G/SB-009.