Wednesday 14 September 2016
The last time I had been out on a serious walk was the 6 June 16 and that was when I injured my ankle that has kept me off the hill for over 3 months. I have had a couple of very short walks since then but nothing to really talk about. I was starting to get very edgy and needed a trip away to the hills. My ankle is not 100% yet but getting there and I knew that the lay off had seriously affected my fitness levels, so today walk had to be a fairly easy return. I needed Dundry Down to complete the G/SC region and this is a virtual ‘drive-on’ summit so whilst I was over that part of the country I added the two easy summits of Beacon Batch and Long Knoll. The forecast was very good with temperatures in the mid 20’s and the promise to remain dry, so I left home at 0630 and headed for the M4 and Bristol.
FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 60m/40m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.
Dundry Downs G/SC-010
Got my timings slightly wrong and arrived at Dundry Village in time for the school run, never seen so many ‘Chelsea tractors’ in one place before. Parked up in the village car park (ST 556668) I set off along the footpath heading towards the transmitter towers. Once around a slight left hand bend I set up the station using the fence running along side the path to support the aerial. Distance 0.2 miles, Ascent 20 feet, Time taken 5 minutes.
Self spotting for 7-ssb I called on 7.118Mhz for about 5 minutes before the first response from a very weak Terry G0VWP, after several repeats I managed to get my report and continued calling. Band conditions were obviously very poor with a K index of 3 but eventually there was a slight lift and managed to get EA2CKX and DF5WA into the log. Changing to 7-cw I managed to add 3 more stations to the log before deciding to pack up and move on to the next location. Put several calls out on 2-fm but got no response at all. There was limited interference from the transmitters but nothing too severe. Overall in 20 minutes of calling only managed 6 contacts but at least the hill was qualified and I had completed G/SC region.
Beacon Batch G/SC-003
Just 15 minutes after leaving Dundry I was parked up in the layby next to the Black Down sign (ST 490580). I have been here before and knew the route very well, it is a fairly straight forward matter of following the footpaths to the summit trig. Distance 0.7 miles, Ascent 380 feet, Time Taken 25 minutes. This was my first real outing for 3 months and found that I had lost a lot of my fitness so had to stop a couple of times to ease the legs.
Setting up in the same place I had last time I was here, I self spotted for 7-ssb and really struggled to make any contacts. In fact the only station I managed to raise was EA2CKX again how is always there no matter what the conditions! Pedro must have an amazing set-up. Changing to 7-cw I managed 3 stations in fairly quick succession, including a summit to summit with Martin OE3BVU/7 on OE/TL-042, but then called into thin air for the next 10 minutes. With the prerequisite 4 contacts in the log I packed up and headed back to the car.
The plan had been to have moved on to Long Knoll on the way home however, after driving for 30 minutes I stopped for lunch and realised how stiff my legs had become. Todays excursion was all about getting back to the hills after a 3.5 month lay up and seeing how well my foot would stand-up to the exercise, it was not about pushing myself too hard. I therefore made the decision to have lunch and head for home. Surprisingly and very pleasingly my foot caused me absolutely no problems whatsoever, it seems that all is going well on that front without the intervention of the NHS. This had been a great day out with a new summit ‘ticked’ off the list but more importantly it gave me the chance to get out for a refreshing walk on the Mendips, an area much-loved since my teenage years. I now have about 2 months to get back to fitness again before the start of the winter walking season.