With the prospect of Winter Bonus season approaching I had no intention of returning to South Wales until after 1st December. A quick look at my colour coded map of Southern England Marilyn’s showed that I had 2 summits left in G/SE to complete the region. Both of these were one pointers and in the opposite direction to any other hills that I would be likely to ascend. Both were ‘drive-on’ summits so this was more of an exercise in ticking boxes rather than a day out walking. There would be plenty of that over the next few months as I work my way through South Wales. Departing at 06:00 the route took me via the A3, M25 and M20 to Folkestone and then to Paddlesworth arriving at 09:00 thanks to a crash and half hour delay on the A3.
FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-170 plus RSS 2M dipole
Cheriton Hill G/SE-015
I pulled up at the end of the lane leading to the Water Board compound containing the trig point on the top of Cheriton Hill just as the rain and wind decided to pick up. I had already been delayed by over half an hour due to an accident en-route so I parked on the left hand side of the road opposite the house drive-way where I blocked no entrances (TR 199395). I could see the trig from the car so slinging my rucksack over my shoulder I walked the 30 metres into the compound hoping to be able to use the fencing to support my SOTA Pole. In the end, due to some on going ground works I secured the pole to the trip point and operated from its flat top. Distance walked 30m, ascent 10 feet time taken 2 minutes.
Standing with my back to the wind I used myself to protect the rig from the driving rain, so thankful for a full set of Goretex! My original plan had been to operate 7-ssb and 7-cw but given the current conditions I decided to try and activate the summit with just 7-ssb. Self-spotting I opened the log with G6TUH exchanging 58/59 reports so at least the band was playing ball today. Over the next 15 minutes 15 stations got into the log predominantly G’s with a few F’s and ON’s. and an EA. As the pile-up ended the rain increased in intensity so any thoughts of trying 7-cw went completely out of my mind and a rapid pack ensued and a return to the car to check-in with the XYL and a warming cup of coffee.
From here I had a 35 minute drive back up the M20 to Detling Hill.
Detling Hill G/SE-013
Having read the activation reports and comments of a few activators I decided to go for the southern approach to the hill. This was the most direct route as I was coming from the south and also the cheapest as there was no car park fees to pay! My original plan had been to drive to the top of Castle Hill and park there (TR 808585). However, as I ascended Castle Hill I noted the laybys on the right were empty so opted to park here and take the southern path onto the summit. (TR 808582). 5 minute walk and I was at the trig point and millennium viewing stage and this time the rain had cleared, the wind dropped and the views to the south were excellent. Distance 0.2 miles, ascent 21 feet time 5 minutes.
To the south of the trig point is a field accessed via the kissing gate a short distance from the trig. Positioning myself by the field fence close to the trig I set-up and self spotted on 7-ssb. This time the pile-up lasted for about 20 minutes with 23 stations getting themselves into the log. Again conditions on 40m were very good with 58/59 reported being exchanged with the majority of stations. The skip was predominantly UK with a handful of HB9, EA2, PA & DK getting through. This activation had been far more pleasant than Cheriton Hill because of the weather conditions however, as the ssb pile-up ended the rain started again so packing I headed off the hill and back to the car.
At one stage during the activation I am not sure if I was passed a compliment or insult! I was asked if my callsign was rejuvenated or original, when I explained that I was the original holder of the licence the response was “oh – well done old man”. All I can think is that because my call was issued in 1972 he must have thought I was hill walking in my 70/80’s. Little did he realise I got that callsign at 16 having held G8FHU from the age of 14.
I was glad to have this hill under the belt is this was my activator complete for G/SE with just a couple of hills to chase to make it a full complete.
As I stated earlier this was a tick the box activation in order to complete G/SE. Living in central south England there is little reason for returning to Cheriton Hill again though I may go back to Detling Hill as my step daughters partner lives in Sittingbourne just up the road so may call in when doing the duty visit.
As always I wish to thank the chasers for keeping me company again on a very wet and windy day in Kent