Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion

It is an honour to be able to announce that I have been chosen by the Ordnance Survey to be one of their GetOutside Champions. For me this is a dream role being given the opportunity to help inspire more people to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer.

In the words of the Ordnance Survey

“we believe that an active outdoor lifestyle helps you to live longer, stay younger and enjoy life more. But it is a sad fact that research tells us fewer and fewer people are regularly getting outside, either on foot, on bike or by any other means….. The results suggested a quarter of the British public won’t walk anywhere that takes over 15 minutes. Three quarters won’t walk to work. Almost 70% never walk to the shops, while only a third would ever do the school run on foot, with only around a third of us admitting to enjoying a weekend walk for pleasure”.

The Ordnance Survey launched the GetOutside initiative to change this, by showing people of all ages and abilities just how amazing Great Britain is, and how easy it is to #GetOutside and enjoy it, which is where the GetOutside champions come in. It is our job to inspire and encourage more people to GetOutside.


So what does this mean for me. Well two things –

  1. Promoting the linking of another hobby with hill-walking such as Summits On The Air, Geo Caching or ‘Summit-Bagging’ thereby increasing the motivation to GetOutside through challenge.
  2. Encouraging and inspiring over 60’s to get out and enjoy the hills rather than thinking that they have reached the ‘carpet slipper’ stage of life and are ‘Over the hill and not On the hill’.

How this will be achieved will be revealed over the next few weeks but suffice to say what I write on my two blog sites;

plus the Ordnance Survey GetOutside website:

will have a major impact on the outcome.


High Points in Devon & Somerset


High Willhays from Yes Tor (library pic)

This was my first outing of 2017 and the first during this seasons Winter Bonus.  I have several trips lined up between now and the 15 March each of them taking in at least two summits for max point return per mile driven (bear in mind it usually takes me at least 3 hours drive each way and I do these trips  in one day).  Todays targets were the highest points of Devon – High Willhays within the Okehampton Army Firing Range and Somerset – Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor.  I had done both these hills before but never as a single expedition.  This trip would entail 8 hours driving for approximately 5 hours on the hills!  So with sunrise scheduled at High Willhays for 0817 I departed home at 0500.


FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.

High Willhays G/DC-001

The start point for todays walk is within the bounds of the Army Firing Range and is accessed via the Army Camp just south of Okehampton.  Access to the range is permissive depending on firing activities – check out MOD website for open access details.  Do not be tempted to go at any other time and if the red flag is flying go elsewhere!

Parking at SX 590912 at the end of a metalled road.  The route is fairly straight forward – follow the track until a fork, take the right fork over a ford and climb up towards the cull between Yes Tor and High Willhays.  Today I decided to take in Yes Tor first so I turned right at the end of the good track and headed directly to the trig point on the rocky outcrop.

After a quick break and a chat to a passing walker, I headed south along the ridge to High Willhays.  Setting up just below the summit I self spotted for 7-cw and almost immediately started getting a response.  Within 15 minutes I had 17 stations in the log from 9 Countries so was well happy with the result.  A quick check of 2-fm resulting in very strong data burst interference which I assumed came from the aerial on Yes Tor.
logThe cloud had started to descend by now so I packed up and headed off back along the ridge to the top of the track then reversed my outbound track back to the car.  Walk up to High Willhays via Yes Tor including chat 1 hour 30 minutes, time on summit 30 minutes, time back to the car 50 minutes.

Dunkery Beacon G/SC-001

A 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Okehampton brought me to the lay-by opposite the track to Dunkery Beacon SS 904420.  This is an easy walk to the summit along a well maintained path and this is the umpteenth time I have made the journey never to see the fantastic views from the summit.  I am told there are good views across to Wales – I will have to accept that as true because every time I come here it rains or is in low claggy cloud.  Well today was no exception – it was absolutely chucking it down!

After a somewhat brisk yomp to the summit I called on 2-fm and managed a pleasant QSO with Peter G3TJE but had no other takers.  So set-up for HF to find I had left the aerial in the boot of the car after sorting out the Ruck Sack at the end of High Willhays!!!   Fortunately the summit was void of human ears because the air turned very blue very quickly.  There was nothing for but to stash my Ruck Sack by the cairn and run/walk back down to the car and collect said aerial.

Arriving back at the summit 30 minutes later I finally set up and self spotted on 7-cw to find the bands had changed completely from this morning.  In 10 minutes I only managed 4 contacts but the bonus was that the first contact was with Juerg HB9BIN/p on the summit of Monte Boglia in the Ticino region of Switzerland.  Becoming concerned about rain getting into the radio gear I packed up and headed back to the car and the prospect of a nice 3.5 hour journey home.

Overall a good day out which can be divided into a day of two distinct halves.  A great walk on Dartmoor with some excellent radio conditions followed by a duel ascent on Exmoor in pouring rain and lousy radio conditions (as I climbed Dunkery twice can I claim the points twice???).