|Seatoller-Honister-Grey Knotts-Brandreth-Great Gable-Green Gable-Seatoller|
The weather forecast for the Lake District (supplied by our landlady, Christine, at Seatoller) was much better than on Saturday, so we went with our original plan to walk from the farmhouse up to Honister Slate Mine via the road (using the old sections where we could) and then shoot straight up Grey Knotts LDW-091 by following AW's route along the fence. We set off at 0800z and at around 0900z at the 1900ft level we hit the mist and drizzle and this stayed with us until mid afternoon. So much for that weather forecast.....
With visibility of around 50 feet that fence was a useful navigation tool. Grey Knotts was cleared with three stations in the log: 2E0XSD Colin in Frizington, GM4WHA Geoff in Annan and John G0TDM in Penrith. It took a full 12 minutes to reach Brandreth LDW-079 along that same fence. Six contacts were completed on Brandreth (G4ILO/P helped supplement the previous 3 - Julian was on his way to the summit of Barf LDW-185) and then just as I packed up I logged M0ZIF and G4UME on Hutton Roof Crags for a SOTA point. In my excitement I dropped my one and only pencil inside a pile of banded fencing posts on which I was sitting on top of Brandreth. Judicious poking and prodding and we got it out...phew!
I'd got today's route from Stuart Marshall's "Walking the Wainwright's" book. I know from my walk with Judy up Troutbeck Tongue (the east side - NOT recommended) which we did in March that whenever possible, Stuart never goes up a fell to return off it via the same route, even if it makes life more difficult for the fellwalker. He also suggested this for Great Gable LDW-007, so once again I went by his suggested route to avoid going up and coming down the same way.
Geoff - happy to be on Great Gable LDW-007
So after ascending Gillercombe Head we veered off in the mist to join Moses Trod. When we got to Stone Cove we went west to Beck Head and then doubled back to climb up Gable via the north western route. Just before we started the steep section Julian appeared from Barf and we exchanged reports - a new one for me. As we were scrambling up I had the VX-170 on squelch and heard Robin GM7PKT/P call CQ on GM/CS-015 Meall nan Tarmachan followed by Ian M3WJZ/P on NP-027 Dufton Pike, finally Jack GM4COX/P came in from Dungavel Hill GM/SS-165. These contacts disrupted the climb somewhat and we were still around 10 minutes from the summit. Fortunately my pal Geoff is quite patient and was not too concerned.
Operating from Great Gable LDW-007 - LD-005We moved off the top of Gable and got it seriously wrong, finishing up heading south east rather than north west. I picked up the error after 300m and redressed it, not by retracing our steps but by heading north east down scree to join the path up Aaron Slack near the top of Windy Gap. After the boyish excitement of sliding down the scree (I am 57, Geoff is 65!) we reached the crossroads in the path at the saddle of Windy Gap to go up to Green Gable LDW-034 (picture right). The mist was clearing fast now and we had marvellous views. Another 8 contacts were made from Green Gable. The first QSO was with Chris 2E0FSR/P who was coming in from NP-028 Rombald's Moor in West Yorkshire. I was also glad of a contact with my namesake G1OPV/P on NP-007 Wild Boar Fell.
We continued to Great Gable summit which was reached at 1125z, lunchtime, and we stayed sat down for 45 minutes and completed twenty QSOs which included six S2S QSOs - Julian by this time had topped Lord's Seat LDW-147. Although walking and operating in the Lake District at weekends has one big drawback in that the fells are quite busy, the positive spin off is that more S2S contacts are possible. The route up to Gable wasn't too difficult but there was one section that was quite hairy to climb on wet rock. If I was to do this walk again in wet conditions I would opt to go up via Windy Gap and come off Gable by the same path...if I could find it in the murk that is!
This gave us just one more fell - the lesser known Base Brown LDW-117 which was 30 minutes away from Green Gable and en-route back to Seathwaite and Seatoller Farm, where the car was parked. Our walk across there (in clear conditions now, thankfully) was slowed by some "on the hoof" QSOs from outside any activation zone at my end. I picked up Bob M3XJV on NP-010 Pen-y-Ghent and Simon M1AVV on LDW-049/LD-017 before Base Brown was topped. On Base Brown five QSOs were completed. We could see Grey Knotts, Brandreth and Green Gable now in the clear, however Great Gable and Scafell Pike were still in the murk.
Grey Knotts LDW-091 as seen from Base Brown LDW-117
It was on the steep descent from LDW-117 that Geoff broke his Leki alloy walking pole. To prevent a tumble he used the single pole to arrest his fall - and it snapped, clean in two, just below the bottom adjusting ferrule. No damage to Geoff - but it doesn't say a lot for Leki poles as this one was almost new - metal fatigue could not be blamed. Shortly after this we saw some activity down in the valley near Seathwaite Farm. The Mountain Rescue were out and the Air Ambulance also attended. We were later told by a walker from Preston & District Walking Club that the man had fallen and dislocated his shoulder. We reached Seatoller Farm at 1545z for a change of clothes and then made off for the KFC at Penrith for a feast, before returning home to Pickering after a damp, misty but very enjoyable weekend.