|Competitor||Time||Adj. Time||Time Diff.||Score||Bill North|
About a week before and with the help of Graham, G8FTI, I scouted for a suitable place to hide. The banks of the Grand Union canal looked promising, but are mostly fenced off. However, on the edge of Yiewsley is a road called “Trout Lane” which becomes a track as it approaches the canal, crossing over it with a footbridge. Near the canal the track is bordered on one side by a lake and river and on the other by a steep wooded bank up to a plateau.. This afforded a good vantage point to watch down onto the footpath below and had plenty of high trees to support an aerial.
On a later trip I visited several pubs in the area, looking for one with a large garden area. The landlady of The Red Lion in Shreding Green seemed to be the most helpful, so was selected.
Leading up to the 19th, the weather became worse, with heavy rain and many thunder storms. However, Top Band D.F.ers do not let Biblical proportion storms or a few Megavolts of lighting deter them !
Stuart, M0SAR, had (foolishly ?) agreed to help so at about 17.30 we set off from Ashford. The rain had been heavy all day, but abated when we arrived and parked near the start of the pathway. After lugging all of the gear to the chosen site we had quite a difficult job getting up the embankment as it was so slippery after the rains. We were running out of time so started to erect an aerial which would get our three watt signal to “The Thickets” car park, west of Maidenhead. The trusty catapult hurled a lead weight connected with nylon fishing line over several high trees and down into a bramble bush. Replacing the weight with a reel of thin, brown wire took moments, and Stuart was able to wind back the line, pulling the aerial high into the air. We hammered eighteen inches of copper pipe into the sodden ground as an earth and connected the transmitter. At 19.30 we made the first transmission and, sheltering from intermittent rain, awaited results.
Nothing happened during the next three transmissions, but at 20.35, by now in darkness, we could see a torch, and then several torches approaching along the footpath. We had to radiate a signal at 20.40 and it was rather obvious that all of the torch holders suddenly realised that they were very close, and started scrambling up the steep slope, directly towards us. Geoffrey was the first to reach me, so receives the accolade, but Justin was right next to him so could just have easily have been first. Within less than one minute, five teams had booked in ! Less than ten minutes later, the final successful competitor had arrived. Unfortunately Dave, G8FZV (on his first solo D.F.) had a reversed sense bearing and ended up near Burnham Beeches.
Stuart and I recovered the aerial and earth, abseiled down to the footpath and made our way back to the car, then to The Red Lion. Most of the competitors had arrived. arranged a wide circle of chairs, and even bought us drinks (Thanks Justin). We had a very pleasant discussion, until the pub closed and we set off for home. Thank you Graham and Stuart for all the help, and the competitors for attending in such poor weather.