Saturday, 17 November 2012

Ryedale Ramblers AGM 17 November 2012

It was the AGM of the Ryedale Group of the Ramblers today and I attended the meeting. 

Earlier in the year I had attended two committee meetings as an observer to get a feel for how the group was run and to get to know the existing committee. I've been a member of Ramblers for around ten years but until recently I have not been a particularly active member as far as their locally led walks programme is concerned, although I am leading four walks for the group in 2013. 

At the meeting I was nominated as the Ryedale Ramblers Group Chairman for 2013 and was elected unopposed - next year is undoubtedly going to be a busy one for me!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Wainwright Society 10th Anniversary Weekend

Friday 9th November 2012 - A significant date exactly 60 years to the day when A Wainwright completed writing the first page of volume one of the Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells on Dove Crag in the Eastern Fells book.

My friends Nick (Callsign G4OOE) Geoff  (M6PYG) and this writer Phil (G4OBK) enjoyed a long weekend of celebration events by first meeting up in two cars at Hartsop.  We starting our celebration of the great mans work by crossing over four Wainwright summits on the 60th anniversary day. One car was parked at Hartsop and the other transported us to the top of the Kirkstone Pass to start our walk. 

Our GPS tracklog
We endured a linear walk in inclement weather from the KIrkstone Pass Inn, leaving just after 9.00am to climb over Stony Cove Pike (Wainwright preferred to call this Caudale Moor), then down the rugged valley into Threshthwaite Mouth to climb up to Thornthwaite Crag.

With some difficulty keeping on track in the mist, we made it to High Street at 1.00pm.  The walk back to Hartsop went via The Knott, our final summit of the day.  We were all carrying VHF Ham Radio equipment as we always do in the Lake District, however today was different. My fellwalking friend Geoff, who I had walked these fells with for over three years, had taken the plunge. He had completed and OFCOM approved course and examination in Newbury (such was his determination!) and had qualified for his amateur radio licence which meant he was now M6PYG - a callsign he chose for a specific reason.

Geoff M6PYG contacting Colin G4UXH for his first ever contact on ham radio

It took around an hour to reach our position behind the dry stone wall on Caudale Moor, where Geoff made his first contact on amateur radio with our good friend Colin G4UXH, in Milnthorpe. 

With Geoff having familiarised himself with radio procedure making teens of contacts in the process, we left to undertake the rough descent to Threshthwaite Mouth before climbing up to Thornthwaite Beacon, where a fantastic view south across the Kentmere Horseshoe usually awaits - but not today.

Geoff & Phil operating behind Thornthwaite Beacon
Cowering behind the beacon at midday was the only position where we could eat and drink, so we had our feast and more contacts.  The track across to High Street was like walking down a riverbed and we took one of the tributaries and lost our bearings briefly with visibility down to around 25m, before realising and so backtracked to get on to the right heading for High Street. 
Nick logs the Chasers on High Street
We spent as little time on High Street as we could get away with, and repeated this on The Knott before descending from there towards Hayeswater dam, which we eventually saw once the mist thinned out at around 1500ft, allowing Nick to take some pictures. 

We arrived in Hartsop at  3.00pm, sodden, before heading back up Kirkstone Pass to collect Geoff's car. We then proceeded to The Glenburn Hotel in Windermere, our B&B for the weekend. 

After checking in we showered and then headed off to Penrith for KFC before attending the 10th Annual Wainwright Memorial Lecture at Rheged where we heard the Yorkshire Mountain Climber Alan Hinkes speak about his experiences climbing the eight highest peaks in the world. 

A view at last - descending to Hayeswater Dam and the track back to Hartsop

Distance walked: 7.6 miles with 2400ft ascent
 To be continued with Dove Crag (Saturday) and Pike O'Blisco (Sunday)........

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Wainwright Society 10th Anniversary Weekend continued

After our breakfast at the Glenburn Hotel in Windermere we had a busy day ahead - a walk up to Dove Crag from Ambleside, traversing Low Pike and High Pike and returning to the town via Scandale.  In the evening we were to attend the 10th Anniversary Party at Wilf's Restaurant in nearby Staveley. 
The writer at Bridge House in Ambleside prior to the walk
Over twenty members assembled at the Bridge House in Ambleside and we were led away by leader Caroline on our 9 mile walk, 60 years to the day Wainwright completed the first page on Dove Crag in Book 1 - The Eastern Fells.

The path up the ridge to Low Pike above Ambleside follows the wall

Nick sits down on the cairn on Low Pike
The Wainwright Society on a misty High Pike on 10th November 2012
It took us around 75 minutes to summit on Low Pike in damp, misty conditions. The weather was not as bad as it had been the previous day, but it was getting worse.  High Pike followed with Caroline choosing to drop back, allowing Geoff to take the lead on to the summit.  The group had a short stay here and this gave Nick, Geoff and I plenty of time to make some contacts for Wainwrights On The Air. 
Geoff M6PYG gets to grips with Ham Radio on High Pike for Wainwright On The Air
as Phil G4OBK looks on
We arrived on Dove Crag at 12.45pm for lunch, experiencing sandblasting to the face from a short hail shower, which then turned to sleet.

The Wainwright Society suffering on Dove Crag in hail and sleet with leader Caroline on left and Geoff on right
At 1310pm we left Dove Crag to cross over Scandale Head and down onto the Scandale Pass, where we had at last some visibility as the sun tried to penetrate through the cold mist,  for our return in a wet state to Ambleside and after drying off at the car returning to the sanctuary of the warm and welcoming Esquires Coffee Shop for hot drinks and cakes.  
Autumn colours near Ambleside excellently photographed by Nick
This is Scandale in its winter plumage without snow

To be continued with....10th anniversary party and around the Hardknott Pass

The Wainwright Society 10th Anniversary Party

Around 60 members of the Society gathered at Wilf's in Staveley to celebrate 10 years of the Wainwright Society and I was there with Geoff and Nick, making new acquaintances and renewing some old ones. It was good to meet up with Roy Male who had recently completed Wainwright's Pennine Journey  and we compared notes. 

We were in the company of several VIP's - in particular A Wainwrights late wife's Betty's daughters - Jane King and Annie Sellar, Presidents of The Wainwright Society, and they were sat on the next table to us. 

What were we drinking? Red wine and Thwaites Wainwright Ale of course, and Nick and I drank plenty as Geoff was teetotal as he had to drive us back to Windermere as the designated driver. 

We did of course take part in the quiz (Derek Cockell Society Press and Publicity Officer is seen below handing out the questions). We did not win but I reckon we came close, and it was fun. 

Our table at Wilf's: Arthur, Nikki, Derek (Committee Member), Nigel, Phil (Writer), Geoff 
(and thank's to Nick for taking the photo)
The hot food, served in running buffet style, was excellent (eat as much as you like) as was the live music provided by Fiona of the Lakes.  Once everyone had drank sufficient alcohol we were asked to join in a rendition of Danny Boy, with different words and re-titled Alfie Boy. I have to admit that some of the notes were hard to reach, but we sang our hearts out. 

The party finished before 11.00pm and we returned to the Glenburn Hotel at Windermere for a good nights sleep to ready ourselves for our two Sunday walks from the Hard Knott Pass. 

We had really enjoyed the party and hoped that it won't be ten years before the next one is organised! be continued with around the Hardknott Pass

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wainwright Society Anniversary Weekend around the Hard Knott Pass

GPS Track Three Shires Stone to Pike O'Blisco and return
Remembrance Sunday morning, 11th November and our last day for a while in the Lake District. We rose at 6.30 am and had opted for a packed lunch as an alternative to our hotel breakfast.  We left Windermere by car in mist but as we started to climb towards Little Langdale from Ambleside, we rose above it. After two days in rain, mist, hail and sleet no one could possibly doubt that we didn't deserve this perfect day!

A sunny day - our three shadows cast on the ground on the way up Pike O'Blisco
We were first car parked at the Three Shires Stone in the Wrynose Pass and were walking by twenty past eight, reaching the summit of Pike O'Blisco in less than 50 minutes for a fantastic view down into Langdale and over to Windermere. 

Inversion - the mist we had earlier driven out of in Windermere was still there at 10.00 am
Geoff & Nick arrive on Pike O'Blisco

The view across to the Langdale Pikes from Pike O'Blisco
Being on the summit was a privilege this day and we had it all to ourselves. The cairn was substantial, and I recalled reading in Wainwright's Pictorial Guide to the Southern Fells that the great man had found the cairn destroyed by vandals in the 1960s. Well AW, I'm pleased to say that it has now been rebuilt. 

Geoff M6PYG,  Phil G4OBK (Writer) & Nick G4OOE on Pike O'Blisco (picture taken by a passing fell walker)
This was my second visit to this summit. I had previously gone there with my wife Judy in July 2010 on our way to Crinkle Crags returning via Cold Fell. Nick and Geoff hadn't visited before. 

GPS Track - Harter Fell & Hard Knott from the Pass
Today I chose a different plan, as we were intending to climb Harter Fell and Hard Knott Fell later. This could only be done in a day by cheating a little - so we used the the car to get over to the Hard Knott Pass parking spot as it was too far to walk and also climb the fells in the daylight we had available. 

On the radio for WOTA & SOTA from Pike O'Blisco (LD-024 / LDW-086) with Crinkle Crags in the background
We all made 13 VHF radio contacts from Pike O'Blisco with stations in England, Scotland and Wales before returning to the car for a four mile drive along the pass to NY 232014 and the car parking spot for Harter Fell (and Hard Knott).  

Our view of Harter Fell (LD-028) later  in the day from Hard Knott (LD-034)
The walk from the car to Harter Fell summit took just less than an hour. As we set off we stopped to honour the two minute silence for Remembrance day. I hadn't walked to Harter Fell this way before - there were visible paths on the ground from time to time as we walked the access land to the east of Demming Crag, indeed our route was much easier than our chosen return route which turned into a scramble over Demming Crag - all so we could get a decent view and photograph of Hardknott Castle Roman Fort, at least that was my excuse for our rather rugged return to the pass! 

Nick climbing up to Harter Fell
Hardknott Castle from Demming Crags (seen on our way back to the pass)
When we reached the top of Harter Fell it was busy, unlike Blisco. The time of day had something to do with it. We stayed over an hour and had lunch. During that time at least ten people visited.  The take off on the radio is excellent on VHF from this top - we made 24 contacts and added the Isle of Man to our country totals for the day. We also made contact with the summit stations of Derek 2E0MIX on Green Gable and Richard G1JTD on Hartside. 

Returning to the car by ten past two for more refreshments, we then headed north up to Hard Knott, our final target of the weekend, and a mere 20 minute climb from the car.  There is not much to say about the summit, except it affords an excellent view of Harter Fell - it is a simple up and back route and we were back at car in just over an hour to say our goodbyes, with Geoff heading south for Malvern and Nick and I returning via the Hardknott and Wrynose Pass to Penrith for a fast food meal in McDonalds before proceeding back to Yorkshire. 

It had been another adventure for the three of us  - mission accomplished!   

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Radio Society of Great Britain 2m Activity Contest

I took part in the RSGB 144 MHz Activity Contest tonight.  The progagation of signals was fairly good with contact into the north of Scotland Wales, Northern Ireland and France. I was operating as part of the the Travelling Wave Contest Group Team. Three contacts were completed using Morse Code and fifty were completed on voice.

Here is a map of where the stations contacted were located: