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Photos by Stefan Grace Adams and Mark Carver Page last updated: 2023-09-22

Earlier pictures

Windermere was originally a BBC landlord site with BBC national FM radio entering service on the 7-Aug-1971. UHF TV transmissions commenced with BBC 1 during February 1972. BBC 2 followed in April 1972, ITV 13-Apr-1973 with Channel 4 from June 1984. The UHF cylinder contains an east facing cardioid. DSO was on 24th June and 22nd July 2009.

BBC FM radio was re-engineered for mixed polarisation and Radio Cumbria was added during April 1986. Radio 1 was added on 11-Mar-1994.

The Bay (102.3 MHz) launched on 1-Mar-1993. Lakeland Radio (100.8 MHz) from 27-Oct-2001.

Be prepared for a long walk! The site is just visible from the ferry port at Bowness (see photo list below). There are a number of footpaths that go towards the site but as I found they are very steep and you'll need good walking boots and an OS map to get around. Head for Heald Wood. The easiest, but longest way is to use the access road.

By car, either park in High Wray (not sure if that is possible since the roads are narrow) or use the ample parking spaces in Hawkshead. The latter will need a 2mile walk to get to High Wray.

On entering High Wray (from Hawkshead) there is a right turn sign posted for a National Trust Base Cap. Walk up this track. At the base camp you'll see a track go off to the right, complete with wooden gate and ten padlocks! There is a second gate to the left that allows you access by foot since the route is a bridle/foot path. Keep walking! At one point the track will come to a Y junction, the left appearing to go down hill and the right up hill. Take the left track (don't panic, you'll go up hill again!). At a clearing you'll just see the white dipole sticking out from the trees. Stay on the track until you reach a left hand turn. Take the left turn and follow it around to the right. You've arrived.

I did the route in reverse, so a downhill walk from site to Hawkshead will take 1hr 20mins. Expect a 2hr walk going uphill.

Going, I took a boat from Bowness to Ferry House (£2.95 return) and used steep footpaths. A word of warning though, parking in Bowness for the day costs between £5-£9 depending on the car park used. More amazing was the 30min bus ride I took from Hawkshead back to Windermere. A one-way ticket on the 505 service cost a whopping £5.55!!! No wonder the bus was empty.

The view across the lake from the Bowness ferry port. All that is visible is the glass fibre shroud

On the track towards the site

Even when close to the site the trees are still in the way!

The UHF receive trough points towards Winter Hill. The original RBL source, 88 km away. With the new ITV franchises in 1982, the ITV RBL was changed to Kendal, to provide Border ITV, instead of Granada. BBC 1 & 2 remained RBL Winter Hill until 26th November 2008, prior to DSO the following year.

The 2 six element, slant polarised Yagis on the right are the receive aerials for Radio Cumbria, pointing towards the Morecambe Bay Tx.

Close-up of tower upper-section.

Note the BBC VHF panels point N,E & S only and just below, on the right is the Sira aerial used by the 2 ILR stations. Also, just visible, is the UHF receive panel pointing towards Kendal, just underneath the BBC FM panels, on the right.

Base of mast with equipment buildings. On my visit a number of trees have been removed around the site.

The stubs in the ground are "fresh" and there is that just cut tree smell!

A new base for an equipment pod?

As some of the trees have been removed I'm wondering if another tower is to be errected soon. The current tower is cramped because of all the services trying to be above tree height, so another GSM operator will have fun trying to get their antennas in if they use the current tower.

Windermere index

Holme Moss | Kendal | Morecambe Bay | Winter Hill

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