On t’fells

Whilst the weather may not have been as warm as last year at this time it has been a very dry few weeks so I have taken the time to get out on the fells and do a few SOTA activations. Nothing too demanding but the local ones around Wasdale and a visit to Keswick.

Keswick can offer a few things. Skiddaw and Blencathra are the two in the frame today. It also offers swarms of people in expensive technical clothing wandering round the town and people on the fells in flip flops. Skiddaw is popular as you can walk from the town. Both of these walks were up and back the same way. A bit dull I know but they can both be very busy if you leave it past about 9am

Both of these walks I had Angus (the dog by the way) with me to keep me company / attempt to pinch other peoples sandwiches. They are nice enough walks but can be a bit busy so if it is solitude you’re after avoid these. There were kids playing in the remains of the snow on the steep slopes in bare feet!

Next up was a trip to Wasdale. Well to be specific it was Mosedale in Wasdale to start with but Pillar and Kirk Fell were the targets. The route take you up black sail and is quiet. You can go up the very steep slope to the left to Pillar but it’s hard going and not as quick as you might think. Pillar is a lovely spot, great views across Ennerdale and Wasdale and on a good day over to Keswick and out towards Penrith. We had a small refusal from Angus at the top of Kirk Fell, where the red splodge is. There is a steep slippery section with some 2+m bits of scramble. He couldn’t get up so we turned round and went round Boat How. Much gentler and less likely to involve Mountain Rescue.

Lastly in this section was Great Gable and Scafell Pike. I’ve not been up Great Gable for a couple of years and it was nice to go up via Sty Head tarn and then up to the war memorial on the summit. It started to snow on the top and was still snow just a few hundred meters from the tarn. Carry straight on and that takes you along the corridor route up Scafell Pike. Quieter and less eroded. There are alwways a few odd sights up on the summit, from people who look like they are going to collaspe through to runners bagging the summit. Best to use the small remains of the hut just below the summit on the south side for activations.

The summits were cold that day and the valley reasonably warm and free from wind, there were some very cold looking people on the summit and at least one dipstick who forgot a patch lead, so no hf activation for me!

I’ve not been over to Helvellyn so that might be next on the list list for this year. Plenty of time to get out and about if the weather stays like this. There were a few dried up tarns and I wonder if this is a result of last summer when it was nearly 30c in Wasdale.

The total so far for SOTA is 198 points. A long way off mountain goat but enjoying the time on the fells all the same.

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].

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