Thursday 11 December 2014

The South Central summits of Exmoor - Periton, Dunkery and Selworthy

With more time available the three summits of G/SC-001 Dunkery Beacon, G/SC-005 Selworthy Beacon and G/SC-006 Periton Hill could well form the basis of a moderate two day expedition from Minehead of around 17 miles, or a one day challenge of the same distance. The total ascent of a typical route would be less than 4000 feet. I say typical route, as there are so many accessible and well maintained public rights of way crossing the area, which would make this a superb itinerary. 

However, due to the lack of time we used a car to get between summits, so the total distance walked was a shade over 5 miles with 850 feet of ascent... We drove down to the area from Bristol where I was staying for a few days, with Geoff 2E0NON picking me up en-route from his home near Malvern. We met up at the Cribbs Cross Shopping Park at junction 17 just off the M5 north of Bristol at 7.15am. Leaving Geoff with a 90 minute drive to the car park serving our first summit at Periton Hill. The weather was blustery, with frequent showers and hail on and off throughout the day. Operation on HF would have proved difficult, and I was carrying my golf brolly to at least protect the small VHF mobile radio from water damage...

Equipment for the day:

Yaesu FT-1500M 145 MHz FM Transceiver with 40 watts output with two 5 AH LiPO batteries

Short 3.5m fishing pole supporting a half wave end fed vertical dipole

G/SC-006 Periton Hill  QRV 0953z - 1007z 145.300 FM

Our track taken from a Garmin GPS62s unit
The writer at the trig point on Periton Hill
All three summits from the most convenient parking areas could be deemed "easy". For Periton Hill we parked at the top of the tarmac road in an area well used by dog walkers and outdoor types SS 963447. A 30 minute walk on good tracks of less than 1.5 miles took us to the trig point which seemed the most convenient point on which to set up our 145 MHz half wave end fed dipole at 12 feet AGL. Looking north towards Wales, where we thought our likely contacts would come from, appeared to be obscured by the ridge across Selworthy Beacon (308m). This was only a shade higher than where we were set up at 295m. This distant ridge wasn't a problem however and contacts were made into Wales. Vodafone coverage from the Periton Hill area was flakey, as it was on all three summits, but somehow self spots were generated using the RRT App and we scaped by with just five contacts. 

Geoff Fielding 2E0NON marching off the summit of Periton Hill G/SC-006
We returned by car to the A39 and turned left to head for our second summit of Dunkery Beacon to collect our first winter bonus points of the 2014/2015 winter...

G/SC-001 Dunkery Beacon (Somerset County Top) QRV 1152z - 1201z

Topographic trig pillar (also antenna support)
From the roadside parking spot at SS 904420 we could see the large permanent feature of a concreted cairn (built in 1935) on the summit of Dunkery Beacon, just short of one mile away. We used the Macmillan Way LDP to get there in less than 20 minutes. The rain was holding off when we arrived and we snuggled behind the topographic trig point for shelter. The panorama over Exmoor and to the Bristol Channel and all around was superb and we could watch the weather coming in, which indeed it did towards the end of our short activation.

The writer at Dunkery Beacon, Marilyn Summit and Somerset County Top
Don G0RQL (Holsworthy) was the first station worked of six, Don is a good friend and regular SOTA enthusiast who I often hear and indeed work on HF SSB from my home station in North Yorkshire. We were soon back at the car for a bite to eat before heading down into Minehead on our way to the third summit of the day Selworthy Beacon. 

G/SC-005 Selworthy Beacon QRV 1328z - 1343z

Geoff parked his Subaru by the track leading up to Selworthy Beacon
The appropriately named Hill Road took us over North Hill west of Minehead to the parking place for Selworthy Beacon. We pulled up at SS 92304788 and parked alongside the track. The walk to the summit took less than five minutes, and we set up behind some thick gorse bushes deploying the golf brolly, which was guyed down. This provided sufficent protection for the radio from the rain and hailstones...

Geoff 2E0NON working Phil GW0IRT in Ebbw Vale - the only station we worked on all 3 summits!
New Look Eatery

With another five stations logged we left the summit and made our way back to the M5 at Bridgwater. On the way there we stopped off at Blackmore Farm Shop Cafe just before Cannington for this.. a cream can't get cream like this in Yorkshire, fantastic, thick, and produced by hand - recommended!

The day's "catch" worked by G4OBK and 2E0NON
So that is it for me in 2014, no SOTA Activating now for me until January when we head for South Wales to conquer a few more Marilyns for Summits On The Air... I've had a good year in SOTA with portable operation from 10 Countries with 77 SOTA Completes done and 350 Activator Points earned.

1 comment:

  1. This was useful information for my recent visit to the two Beacons. Thanks Phil