Sunday, 22 June 2014

2014 EU Tour Day One - A visit to Botley Hill G/SE-005

Our short walk up Botley Hill
Two of us that's me, Phil G4OBK (Navigator & Co-Driver) and Nick G4OOE (Driver), were heading for the Dover to Dunkirk Ferry on a road trip down to Austria, with a plan to activate SOTA summits in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany...  ....
After leaving North Yorkshire early morning we allowed enough time to reach the parking area for Botley Hill G/SE-005 and activate it on HF.  The TomTom was set to Oxted and took us around the west side of London on the M25.

A short walk with a small ascent from the car park up the Vanguard Way long distance path, brought us to an unusual water tower and a commercial radio mast on the summit. We both set up our individual stations in a field on the top and operated for around 30 minutes - time was short as we had a boat to catch from Dover. 

Nick leaves the designated car park close to Botley Hill - a path goes through some bushes adjacent to the road and comes out at the crossroads where you walk up The Pilgrim Way
The writer at the water tower and mast on Botley Hill G/SE-005
Whilst we were there a couple arrived. It turned out they were members of the RHB Group (Relative Hills of Britain Group) and after surveying the exact location of the highest point they came over for a chat. They seemed impressed that we we were aware we were on a Marilyn summit and that we knew about the 150m prominence that all Marilyns have... We told them a bit about SOTA and what we do before they departed. 

RHB Members surveying the summit of Botley Hill
With 38 contacts completed between us on 20m, 30m and 40m in CW/SSB we packed up and made off to Dover for the boat. By 7.30pm (EU time - one hour later than BST) we were motoring through Belgium on our way to a Bed & Breakfast place called Gastenkamers Offermans in Bierbeek near Leuven - the other side of Brussels. 

Unpacking at our Bed & Breakfast in Bierbeek - recommended
A walk into the village brought us to a fast food Friterie - the Belgian equivalent of a fish and chip shop. We'd had a meal on the DFDS Ferry, however the temptation was too great to resist and we had a "small portion" of chips which turned out to be very large... A short walk then took us into a local pub, serving small beers. Pints were not available, so we had a small one before heading back to the B&B. By this time it was around 11.00 pm so time for bed.
Next day we had planned to activate three Belgian summits, meet up with two Belgian SOTA friends for lunch, and then travel to the highest point in Luxembourg to activate there. 

Link to Day 2 - Belgium & Luxembourg

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