Out of the blue came a last minute invitation for Jimmy and I to join Richard
G3CWI and daughter Mai Ling on a two day SOTA trip and campover in the western
Lake District. This was received enthusiastically, and preparations were soon
underway. Domestic priorities meant that we embarked at the 'luxurious'
time of 10.30am on Friday 29th May 2009. With breakfast already a distant
memory, and a long drive ahead, it meant that lunch was taken at the roadside in
the Lakes, somewhat unusually before any walking had been done! G3CWI and
daughter were on posh Marks & Spencers sandwiches, while M1EYP and M3EYP were
quoffing broccoli and stilton soup.
The first target of the expedition was Whitfell G/LD-032. As we headed into the
vicinity on the country lanes, we noticed a large gathering outside a pub, all
in white shirts and black ties. Parking looked difficult, so we first tried the
end of the cul-de-sac and closest point to the path start, Bigert Mire SD178926.
The cluster of cottages here were all deserted, and there was no-one around to
ask at all. We decided to retreat and find something back on the lanes.
The first part of the walk was easy going on a solid track, but this faded away
into rough pasture after five minutes. The distance to cover was short, and
Whitfell loomed up in front of us, and slightly to the left. At the stile, we
regrouped, redistributed some weight from Jimmy's pack to mine, and refuelled on
some Eccles cakes. It was also time to apply some suncream, as the sun was
blazing down in oppressive fashion. Except I had forgotten mine. Richard had
plenty - Richard to the Rescue!
Richard operated on 40m CW, me on 20m CW, and Jimmy on 2m FM. After having a
look at the spots, I QSY'd to 20m SSB and worked a summit-to-summit to a TK
Corsica activation, which was very pleasing. Jimmy then tail-ended this to
repeat the feat, although QSB kicked in and caused some difficulty. He got
it though - just!
The descent was reasonably quick and easy, especially by following Mai Ling's
steep grassy route back down to the bridleway. We drove up to the Old Post
Office campsite in Eskdale, and pitched our two 2-man tents right by a stream.
It was a lovely little spot, albeit a little crowded on this very busy site.
Thankfully, and perhaps unusually, it was completely midge free.
Jimmy and I slept in our new cheap £17 tent from Sainsburys. It was single skin, no flysheet, and I wouldn't really want to put it to the test in lesser weather. But it was warm and dry, and it did the job of giving us a night's sleep without the considerable time implication of putting our deluxe four-man tent up. We retired to our tents after hot chocolate, looking forward to our main expedition the following day. Thanks to all stations that called in today: