Stickle Pike (Dunnerdale Fells)
|WOTA ID: LDO-055||Height: 375 m (1230 ft)|
|SOTA ID: n/a||Grid ref: SD212928|
|HuMP ID: G/HLD-047||QTH Locator: IO84JH|
|Book: The Outlying Fells||Lat: 54.324532 Long: -3.211733|
I initially started looking at this set of hills due to my Top 30 Oldest Activated Summits post recently. It looked possible to do several in a day, possibly the whole lot. I also noticed there was a road ‘Kiln Bank Cross’ that traversed the cull between Stickle Pike and Raven’s Crag and thought this would be a nice one to do on the new motorbike.
The road was covered in a lot of debris but mostly in the centre between car tyre tracks. Approaching from the South there is one gate but no issues with driving/riding and an easy ascent - nothing like Hard Knott or Wrynose for example. There is parking at the top for four or five cars.
Free parking in the Lake District!
In my infinite wisdom, having swapped motorbike gear for walking gear, I somehow managed to leave the handheld in the bike - and was questioning whether I brought it at all - and having got half way up the ascent to Stickle Pike I decided to press on and just do the one. It was cold and windy on the ascent but having gained around 150m of height you reach the summit with nice 360 degree views. Of particular interest was the view toward Dow Crag and the Old Man who I’ve not seen from this direction before and look completely different looking ‘up the nose’.
What I did have with me was full HF gear and static VHF - IC-705, RM Italy HLA-150V amp, 4.2AH LifePo, SOTA Beams Band Hopper IV Inverted V Antenna, a homebrew 17m/15m/12m/10m Inverted V, a SOTA Beams 10m Compact Travel Mast (I drop ‘lightweight’ from the description of the mast, because it isn’t!) and a Spectrum Communication SlimG. I noted that this particular antenna and mast combination is actually slightly heavier than my Chameleon MPAS2.0! However, these dipoles are fully resonant and have provided me with some excellent DX in the past. The Chameleon - as good (and especially convenient) as it is - can’t quite match in my opinion.
Recently on HF activations where I know I’m going to spend a couple of hours on the Summit I’ve also spotted for Parks on the Air. The whole Lake District National Park is one park in the programme: G-0165. Previously I’ve done this to try and get some transatlantic contacts, but more recently I’ve found increasing interest from UK and EU stations, and this activation was quite early for our US friends. Stickle Pike is also a HEMA G/HLD-047 and I see no reason not to give everyone points in their favourite programmes.
With regard to the bands - there was solar storm which was surpressing the lately very lively 10m band - and most of the stations I could hear were big contesters. Of surprise was 40m which was exceptionally good Inter-G, Richard 2E0XGO for example was booming in from Whitehaven and the coverage spread well into Europe, up to around 2,000km.
Stringing the Band Hopper IV on this summit proved a challenge and at the end of the activation whilst packing up I apologised to a guy having a break but that ended up in a nice chat about the surrounding fells - and advice to descend on the road the same direction I came in rather than tackle a couple of wet, gravel covered hairpins in the other direction. I’m still getting used to the weight of this new bike so was also very happy that a nice young lady held the gate open for me on the descent! I also had a nice chat to a fell runner and there was a family exploring the summit too - I was surprised it was so popular being well off the beaten tourist track.
It was lovely to get Douggie @g7cda and Sue in the log @g1ohh1, Geoff @GM4WHA was once again a most excellent chaser being one of the few I could hear on a very poor 80m band and much stronger on 40m. Esther EI6KI (normally GI0AZA) was a great WWFF contact as well as many other regulars.
I will be returning to these fells, it would make a lovely spring walk, with just the handheld to tick them all off my list.
All photos here.