SOTA summit: The Cheviot G/SB-001
Activation Date: June 2, 2017
Portable operation: Yes
Radio: Yaesu VX-8G
Antenna: Slim Jim 2m/70cm hanging from mast
Bands used: 2m and 70cm
Furthest QSO: ~50 miles with M0TLX in Gateshead area
Hike in: Yes, ~3.5 miles roundtrip and 2,000 ft ascent
Solo operation: Yes
Its unfair to single out the sticky toffee pudding as there where others. A chocolate soufflé, bread pudding and countless other must have naughty items. The conversation was something like….”I’m traveling and this is such a unique desert that I can’t get at home, I must!” Singling out deserts is also very unfair as the beer just seemed all so drinkable. “Its been a hot day, I’ve been a diligent traveler and I need, no I deserve, that beer”
So here I am on my third attempt to reach the top of The Cheviot. First attempt long before my involvement in SOTA was one wintery and snowy morning. Second attempt which didn’t even involve getting out of the car was the previous Monday on my drive north. The rain just seemed to get worse the closer I got. Today looks far more promising!
A sheep and a lamb stare as I approach. They dart right only to become more skittish, pause, retreat and repeat this dance again. More panic stricken they race left and then bounds past me with hooves pound out a rhythm on the pavement.
The trail is quite easy to follow and essentially keeps a fence line to my right. Country stiles and gates enable me to move at will but are clearly there to corral the cows and sheep that presumably would wander off to distant locations unknown to the farmer.
I’m not sure how long a break in the rain I can count on. I had parked the car just as the rain stopped but showers and more rain had been predicated. It’s so variable here that it could be a little sprinkle or a full on downpour.
I’ve covered the 2,000 ft and 3.5 miles of ascent in 1.5 hours. The views north into Scotland are really impressive. I think I can see Berwick-upon-Tweed where I had my sticky toffee pudding encounter the night before. South from the trig point, its hard to see much as the wind, low cloud and rain are driving in and shrouding Newcastle and points south.
As luck would have it no sooner have a deployed the VHF/UHF station than it starts to rain. I’m a little concerned I’m about to become very wet. My rain gear is light weight and as a Californian I really haven’t subjected it to any serious and sustained downpours. Time is of the essence as I want off the peak. Fortunately I get four 2m contacts quickly and to my chagrin three are from the Newcastle area which given my location on the peak I thought would be hard.
I enjoyed my outing and would come again if the opportunity presented itself.