Hardown Hill (G/SC-011) is another local hill, with fantastic views over to Golden Cap and across the sea. However, that was not what greeted me… but more of that later.
There is ample space for parking just outside Ryall… and I do mean “just outside”. Where I parked, I could see the village sign about 25m in front of me! You can reach this spot by driving along the A35 towards Morcombelake; I came in from the eastern side (from Bridport) and it’s easy to keep an eye out for Felicity’s Farm Shop. Almost opposite this is a turning (which was on my right) – head up this road towards Ryall and park up when you see the sign.
The low clouds rolled across the surrounding landscape, obliterating the view of the countryside around here. Hopeful that this was just a passing phase, that would clear up by the time I got to the top of the hill, I headed along the road through Ryall village.
Continue along the road until you reach Hillside Cottages; walk past these and you’ll see a track leading up to the left. Take this one, continuing along until you reach the National Trust’s Hardown Hill sign. You’ll need to bear off the left here.
The photo above shows the track where you will bear off to the left. Although hard to see, you’ll find the Hardown Hill sign at this point. The track is good, wide and shouldn’t present any issues. It should take around 15-20 minutes to get to this point from the parking spot.
Walking along the track you’ll see the phone mast… well, normally you can see the mast but this is all I could see of it…
I chose to walk past this and continue straight along the path, eventually coming to a little wooded area. This has views across Golden Cap and the sea… on this day, I just had to imagine it.
A tree stump allowed me to set up the 1/4-wave vertical aerial on the 6m fishing pole; strapping the pole to the stump. Setting out the six counterpoise wires and the ATU at the base of the pole, and running the coax into the wood, I had a sheltered little spot.
I spotted myself on the SOTA website and instantly worked a few stations in Spain, France and Germany. I’d worked eight stations within five minutes, easily activating the hill, on 20m. I stayed up there for a couple of hours, eventually calling it a day after working 39 stations across Scandinavia, Europe and the Canary Islands… all with approximately 3W from the uSDX+ transceiver.
I also managed to work a couple of summit-to-summit stations located in Germany (DM/NS-117) and Italy (I/AA-211), increasing my S2S scores.
Here’s where I managed to make contact with during the activation; the best DX was to the Canary Islands at 2,757km.