Castle Crag LDW-214 Sat 4th Nov 2023

Castle Crag Sat 4th Nov 2023.

I needed Castle Crag to complete my activations of the Northwestern fells, so I arranged with Reg 2E0LDF to do it on Sat 4th Nov. We arranged this quite a while ago and we were going to do it regardless of weather conditions.

I left home at 0715hrs and having to divert through Eastriggs and Gretna to pick the motorway up as the A75 was closed due to roadworks at Gretna I made good time to Borrowdale. I went via Penrith as it is a better road than going to Bothel and then taking the Keswick Road. At least I think it is.

As I was leaving Keswick to go onto the Borrowdale road I made contact with Reg on 2m who was already parked up. The layby he was in was about ½ mile past the Borrowdale hotel. I arrived at about 0845hrs. There is parking for 4 to 5 cars, and we were the only ones there although another came as we were kitting up.

Parking place.

We crossed the bridge into Grange and then followed the bridleway past Hollow farm camp site. The walk in was excellent although the last ascent to the summit is fairly steep but not that bad. It took us just over 1 hour to reach the summit from the car.

Bridge into Grange.

Castle Crag LDW-214 from Grange Bridge.

Old slate workings i think on way to summit.

Unusual bridge.

Looking back to the path.

Plenty of slate.

Looking back.

Mini stone circle.

Reg 2E0LDF/P making contact with Richard 2E0XGO/P on Latrigg.

G4WHA with the blow up aerial!

Reg setting up ICOM PMR with my J-POLE

Looking towards Skiddaw.

Blow up aerial on my FT-60

Looking towards Rostwaite.

Autumn colours.

Path on our way back.

Looking back to Castle Crag from Grange bridge.

For a change the weather was great. It was fairly cool but there was no wind and reasonably clear.

As soon as we were on the summit, we heard Richard 2E0XGO/P calling from Latrigg and we both made contact with Richard. That qualified the summit for me. Many thanks Richard for coming out.

As we had plenty of time we set up with my roach pole and a Spectrum Communications J-POLE at about 15 feet. This fed Reg’s Icom PMR radio which gave us 30 watts. I also wanted to try a different aerial which was given to me to try earlier on in the week. It is a blow up aerial. The whole package comes in a plastic box and a pump is included. I blew it up and fitted it to my FT-60 and worked Phil M0AYB/P who was on Sale Fell. I gave him 52 and got 55 in return.

A bit later on I exchanged 59 each way with Peter GM3VMB who lives near Eaglesfield and when I described the aerial he was most intrigued. Castle Crag was not the best summit to try it out on but it seemed to work very well. I will try it again. It does look strange as can be seen in the photos.

We made 7 contacts from Castle Crag which was a lot more than we anticipated!

They were as follows:-

2E0XGO/P on Latrigg

M0AYB/P on Sale Fell.






The views from the summit were fantastic made all the better with the changing colours of the leaves and trees. We spent about an hour on the summit. Our return journey was a different way, going through High Hows Woods and Low Hows Woods before rejoing the path back to Grange.

It was an excellent walk with excellent company. Many thanks to Reg for coming with me on the walk and also to Richard 2E0XGO for going up Latrigg.

73’s Geoff


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Another great write-up Geoff. Love the green caterpillar antenna. Good to contact you both S2S from Sale Fell. I was using a tiny Jin Ma Tong 3 watt handheld with little rubber duck antenna, used to belong to Julian G4ILO. There was a mountain mass between us! The idea was that from Sale I might be able to get signals to bounce off the side of Skiddaw (maybe) and thence to you fellows in the innner recesses of Borrowdale. And vice versa. It worked! RF never ceases to amaze me.

Later on I switched to using my Yaesu handheld with short loaded whip for a chat with Peter VMB. After that I kept the rig on as I descended, listening to you two calling final CQs. Reception of your signals deteriorated as expected once I got more closed in by rising land close-to. Funny thing was that at that stage I had to hold the rig (and attached antenna) horizontally to pick up your signals. Reception was also better with the rig held about 1/2 metre above the ground, non-existent with the rig held high. The wonders of 2m propagation.

Happy birthday Reg!

73, Phil

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Hi Phil,

Like you it never ceases to amaze me how radio signals travel in the Lake District. When i think of the number of chaser contacts i have made with activators over the years and i wonder how they heard me and vice versa.

I can imagine signals were probably bouncing off Skiddaw. I was amazed with the Caterpillar aerial (good name) working you on Sale Fell. Also worked Dennis G0ORO in Wigton as well as Peter GM3VMB.

Will experiment more with that antennae. I wonder if i should call the aerial Colin?

73’s Geoff


Antenna naming? Colin’s good - named after the cake - I get it. Some retailers used: Clyde, Cecil, Charlie, Curlie, Cuthbert; so take your pick.

Here’s an idea online for a folding copper tape felltop yagi: Youtube ‘Ultra-Portable 2M Yagi’. I guess it works (but not in a breeze!). But our WOTA and SOTA 2m FM contacts from felltops using various vertical antennas can already manage over 100 miles / 150km.

I suspect that the best performing practical all-rounder for felltop 2m FM is a j-pole (like yours, Geoff) or slim jim, if one is OK taking a telescopic mast along. But lots of options work well, and my experience yesterday with the little Jin Ma Tong and its ducky shows that activating with second hand, low cost, pocketable, minimal gear is perfectly feasible.

73, Phil

congratulations on completing the North Western fell. It’s been a pleasure walking the last 9 or so with you, we have had zero visibility-heat wave-poring rain you name it we’ve had it but we had a great adventure
I think Castle Crag ldw-214 the lowest is best saved to last, I only managed 2 contacts when i did it so the extra power was well worth the weight

Hi Reg,

Thank you. It has also been a pleasure walking with you also. As you say we have had a mixed variety of weather but each walk has been superb. Many thanks for your company.

Hopefully the Far Eastern Fells i can complete in the next year or so with yourself.

Again many thanks for your company and also to all the chasers to.

73’s Geoff


Great photos Geoff and congratulations on finishing the Northwestern fells :clap: :checkered_flag: sorry to miss everyone that was out. I wonder what you have planned next ?

Hi Mike,

Thank you. I am hoping to try and complete the far eastern fells as i have 8 to do but also would like to get some done in Wasdale. Will wait till next year now. What are you planning on doing?

73’s Geoff