Long Knoll 2019

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G/SC-007, Long Knoll – 288m, 1 Point

One of my local summits, only one point so I would normally wait until summer to do this one, but after three weekends in the Brecons this was a little lilght releif before we headed off to North Wales the following weekend, or so I thought!

The parking for this summit is very restricted, ordinarily you would say room for one car only but when we arrived there was already one there.  We did manage to just squeeze our car in front but it was tight.

The forecast for the day was fairly good but windy.  It’s not a long or steep climb up to the summit but as we gained altitude the wind increased accordingly.  By the time we got to the top it was probably blowing better than fifty mph.  We set up on the top of the trig point but had great difficulty keeping the radio on there, we had to find some large stones to weight it down.

We soon made six contacts and were on our way back down for a well earned lunch.

G/SC-007, Log

G/SC-007, Journey Details

Date – 20th January 2019

Postcode – BA12 7HN

Parking – ST 801 378

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA 

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 6

SOTA points – 1

Group – Myself + Peter

G/SC-007, Walking Route Summary

G/SC-007, Altitude Profile

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Cefn yr Ystrad, Waun Rydd & Tor-y-Foel 2019

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GW/SW-008, Cefn yr Ystrad – 619m, 4 Points

We arrived at Pontsticill on the Sunday for the final three bonused summits in the SW region, Cefn yr Ystrad.  Don’t underestimate this one.  It looks easy enough on paper but there is no good track to the summit.  A lot of the time you are off track micro navigating to find the next waypoint, especially if the visibility is poor.

After a short steep section at the start it’s onto the access land and out with the map and compass.  Make whatever best use you can of the various tracks but none of them go where you want them to.  Fortunately there is a trig point to mark the summit so you will know when (if?) you get there but the activation zone is pretty big if you don’t.

Arriving at the top, we set up on the trig point.  It was a bit of a struggle but we did eventually manage to make four contacts to qualify it before setting off on the long walk back to the car.

GW/SW-008, Log

GW/SW-008, Journey Details

Date – 20th January 2019

Postcode – CF48 2UP

Parking – SO 060 114

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 4(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

GW/SW-008, Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-008, Altitude Profile

GW/SW-004, Waun Rydd – 769m, 6 Points

It’s a short drive North to the car park for Waun Rydd.

Leaving the car it’s straight into a steep ascent to gain the ridge of Craig y Fan Ddu.  Once on the top though it’s a very pleasant walk North for a few Km to reach the path down to the memorial site.  There is no path up to the summit so the last section will require a bit of navigational skill to find the actual summit.  There is a small rock cairn marking the spot about 50m North of the SOTA maps mark.  We set up the station on the summit and despite the greater altitude we again struggled to get the contacts but did eventually manage the four required.

GW/SW-004, Log

GW/SW-004, Journey Details

Date – 20th January 2019

Postcode – CF48 2UT

Parking – SO 056 176

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 4

SOTA points – 6(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

GW/SW-004, Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-004, Altitude Profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

GW/SW-013, Tor y Foel – 551m, 2 Points

The last of the Brecons winter bonus summits for this year, Tor y Foel.  This is a quick dash up the hill from the car, short but sweet.  After the two long walks this day of 008 and 004 this would be a fitting finale.

Richard decided to sit this one out so I was off up the hill on my own.  It didn’t take long to reach the top and set up the station.  There is a good clear path straight to the top. Having expected this one to be difficult as it was the lowest of the day, it turned out to be the best one yet with seven contacts soon in the log.

GW/SW-013, Log

On the way down from Waun Rydd I had chased GW7HEM on the summit of Pen Y Fan, he told me he was heading over here as well.  As I returned to the car he turned up in the car park, it’s always nice to meet another SOTA activator for real.  Altogether a good end to another winter season in the Brecon Beacons.

GW/SW-013, Journey Details

Date – 20th January 2019

Postcode – LD3 7YP

Parking – SO 109 187

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 7

SOTA points – 2(+3)

Group – Myself

GW/SW-013, Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-013, Altitude Profile

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Craig Y Llyn, Mynydd Carn-y-cefn & Coity Mountain 2019

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GW/SW-010, Craig y Llyn – 600m, 4 Points

We started the final weekend of our Brecons odyssey at Craig y Llyn.  Parking is available either at the view point car park or there is plenty of room in the entrance to Cefn Glas which is a bit less exposed.

Having learnt the lesson last year, we avoided the footpath marked on the map and followed the road North to the corner where we picked up the track heading West to the hill.  It is an easy route to find and this year due to the better weather it was not too muddy either.

There was about fifty cm of snow lying on the top path in places but not enough to cause any problems. The trig point is still hidden deep in the woods so we set up on the highest bit of ground we could find on the edge of the track with a clear(ish) takeoff.

Having seen how well Richards MFJ Long Ranger aerial had performed previously, I have bought myself one, this was the first time I tried it out on a SOTA activation.

GW/SW-010, Log

The aerial worked well and we soon had six entries in the log so with a long weekend ahead packed up and returned to the car by the same route.

GW/SW-010, Journey Details

Date – 19th January 2019

Postcode – CF44 9UE

Parking – SN 923 027

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 6

SOTA points – 4(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

GW/SW-010, Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-010, Altitude Profile

GW/SW-014, Mynydd Carn-y-cefn – 550m, 2 Points

Onto Cefn yr Ystrad.  Having struggled last year to find easy access to the mountain and then found it on the way back down, I thought it would not be a problem this year.  Unfortunately I got it wrong again and ended up hacking up through the same scrubby wasteland behind the houses once again.  At least this time I was able to avoid the steep grassy slope marked as a path on the map and instead found the footpath zig zagging it’s way up to the North of the marked path.  The top was in thick cloud so finding the trig point was a best guess but it soon appeared out of the mist and we were able to set up on the trig point inside the moat.  Once again I used the MFJ and soon had seven contacts in the log.

GW/SW-014, Log

The return was uneventful and once again we found the easy route back to the car.  Perhaps next year I will get it right?

GW/SW-014, Journey Details

Date – 19th January 2019

Postcode – NP13 3DD

Parking – SO 196 083

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 7

SOTA points – 2(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

GW/SW-014, Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-014, Altitude Profile

GW/SW-012, Coity Mountain – 578m, 2 Points

Just across the road from Cefn yr Ystrad is Coity Mountain.

There is plenty of parking iat the picnic area car park on the North edge of Cwmtillery but I knew from last year that there is also room in a lay-by about another Km up the road to the North.  We headed up there and found the lay-by empty so that saved us about 2Km of flat boring walking on tarmac.  Again from experience last year I also knew that there was a path up on the North side of the valley which is much better than the one marked on the map up the centre.  Once on top we were again in thick cloud.  We followed the track as far as the bend then set off accross country to try and find the summit.  There is a spot that is less than a metre higher than the surroundings which is the summit.  It’s aboput 70m East of the point marked on the SOTA maps.

We set up on the summit and soon had nine entries in the log.

GW/SW-012, Log

The return to the car didn’t take long, all together a good day out SOTAing.

GW/SW-012, Journey Details

Date – 19th January 2019

Postcode – NP13 1LR

Parking – SO 221 067

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ 1714 LongRanger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 9

SOTA points – 2(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

GW/SW-012, Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-012, Altitude Profile

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Black Mountain & Sugarloaf 2019

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GW/SW-041, Black Mountain – 703m, 6 Points

We arrived at the car park below Hay Bluff, as always it was blowing a gale over the pass but hey, ho.  A quick ascent up the face soon had us skipping between England and Wales along the top border path.  It is tempting to set up at the big cairn marking the top of Hay Bluff but this is still a metre below the activation zone.  It’s such an easy path along the top that it would be a shame not to head on up the the true summit.  There is a small pile of rocks marking the spot, not really what you could call a cairn but maybe one day.

It was still fairly windy on top but I knew there were some of our locals listening out for us from Swindon so I set up the beam for a proper activation.  It was worth it with a large pile up following.  I soon had sixteen entries in the log in not many more minutes, including G8VVY from Wiltshire.

GW/SW-041 Log

We packed up and were soon back at the car for the drive over to Sugarloaf

Journey Details

Date – 13th January 2019

Postcode – HR3 5RJ

Parking – SO 239 373

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – 2 Ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 16

SOTA points – 6(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

Walking Route Summary

GW/SW-011, Sugar Loaf – 596m, 2 Points

Arriving at the Sugar Loaf car park we were surprised by how full it was.  We managed to find a space though and were soon heading up the hill.  It pretty soon became apparent that we had parked in the lower car park but never mind, the upper one was full as well and only about 40m higher.

The area is a dog walkers paradise and there are many paths criss crossing the approach so unless there is visibility of the summit regular checking of the map is wise.  The approach is quite flat but the final section up to the trig point does get a bit steeper.

As it was so busy, we had passed numerous groups on the way up and there was a constant stream of visitors whilst we were on the summit, we decided to operate from the built in WT antenna again.

GW/SW-011 Log

We soon had eight contacts in the log so packed up and set off for home.

Journey Details

Date – 13th January 2019

Postcode – NP7 7LA

Parking – SO 268 167

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 8

SOTA points – 2(+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

Walking Route Summary

 

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Fan Gyhirych & Fan Nedd 2019

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GW/SW-006, Fan Gyhirych – 725m, 6 Points

Starting from the caving club there is a long walk in, most of it over fairly good tracks.  This year they have resurfaced the track from the forest through to the turn for Fan Nedd which is not very comfortable to walk on.

The ascent was uneventful, weather was kind although the summit was in cloud so not much view.  We operated straight from the handheld and soon had six contacts in the log.

We didn’t hang around, this is not the most exciting summit in the Brecons, so we were soon back down on the old military road heading towards Fan Nedd.

GW/SW-006 Log

GW/SW-007, Fan Nedd – 663m, 4 Points

The ascent of Fan Nedd is a bit more interesting.  By the time we reached the turning point off the track we had a good clear view of the whole mountain which made a nice change.  The track up was in good condition so we soon made it to the top and set up in the old shelter next to the trig point.  The wind was steady and cold so again we decided to just operate from the HT rubber duck antenna which was a bit of a struggle.  We eventually got our four contacts before setting of on the long trek back to the car park.

GW/SW-007 Log

Overall it was a good day out in the hills, albeit a long one.

Journey Details

Date – 12th January 2019

Postcode – SA9 1GQ

Parking – SN 855 155

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 6 + 4

SOTA points – 6(+3) + 4 (+3)

Group – Myself + Richard

Walking Route Summary

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Waun Fach, Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse 2019

Previous

An early start for a longer day completing the Black Mountain three peaks challenge.

Note this route includes the drive between Waun Fach and the col between the two Mynydds

GW/SW-002, Waun Fach – 811m, 8 Points

The walk up Waun Fach was going well until our navigator decided to take a short cut straight up the side of Pen Trumau, which was rather hard going.  We reached the top just in time for a summit to summit contact with Vicki, MW6BWA and Rod MW0JLA, both on SW-014.  This was quickly followed by another summit to summit with David on NW-043, a busy day out on the hills.

GW/SW-002 Log

GW/SW-009, Mynydd Troed – 609m, 4 Points

Back down from Waun Fach it was a quick drive around to the col between Troed and Langorse for the second assault of the day.  This time I tried the route anticlockwise around the mountain which I think was a bit shorter than the usual clockwise and also missed out the infamous gate.

It didn’t take long to reach the top.  The steps in the mud seem to be getting more pronounced and as the weather had been fairly dry recently they made the climb up much easier.  This time I set up the beam on top and soon had 9 contacts in the log including Vicki and Rod again for a second summit to summit over to SW-012.

GW/SW-009 Log

GW/SW-015, Mynydd Llangorse – 515m, 2 Points

We were soon back at the col, didn’t stop though and pressed on straight up Langorse.  An easy two point walk to finish the day although more of a challenge radio wise.  This is well known as a difficult summit to work VHF as it is largely surrounded by taller peaks.  We set up short of the true summit as that is another 600m walk and back to gain only about another 5m height.

I set up the beam and soon worked Vicki and Rod once more, they were still on SW-012.  I also managed Emyr on SW-006 and then just as I was leaving the summit I caught Roger over in England on WB-016, luckily I was only just out of the activation zone so I quickly ran back up into the zone for a nice final bonus S2S contact.

GW/SW-015 Log

Altogether another fine day out on the hills and 23 extra SOTA points earned.

Journey Details

Date – 6th January 2019

Postcode – LD3 0EU &  LD3 7UL

Parking – SO 186 290 & SO 160 283

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m

Antenna – 2 ele dipole & Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 5 + 9 + 8

SOTA points – 8 (+3) + 4 (+3) + 82(+3) = 23

Group – Myself, Peter & Richard

Walking Route Summary

Note, this includes some driving time & distance

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Fan Brycheiniog 2019

Previous

GW/SW-003, Fan Brycheiniog – 803m, 8 Points

The weather for the weekend was forecast to be good for a change so a chance to bag Fan Brycheiniog.

We started from the NW car park and took the long route back over Pic Du.  Visibility was good so all in all an uneventful but pleasant walk.  There was some wind blowing over the ridge at the top which made it quite cold from the wind chill but the shelter was free so we set up there and soon made the required contacts.  We shared the first few contacts to make sure we bolth qualified it and then I left Richard to clear the pile up.

GW/SW-003 Log

The return back to the car was again a pleasant walk back along clearly defined paths.  Altogether a very pleasant day out in the hills.

Journey Details

Date – 5th January 2019

Postcode – SA19 9UN

Parking – SN 799 238

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 5

SOTA points – 8+3

Group – Myself & Richard

Walking Route Summary

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Fan Fawr & Pen Y Fan 2019

Previous

A new year and a new allocation of SOTA points so started the year with a couple of easy ones in the Brecon Beacons.

GW/SW-005, Fan Fawr – 734m, 6 Points

The forecast for New Year’s day was looking good so we were hoping for a nice clear run up Fan Fawr, but as usual in the Brecons the cloud was sitting on the tops so it wasn’t to be.  At least it was not raining and the wind was low.

The walk to the top was uneventful and even though the car parks were overflowing everyone was heading up Pen-Y-Fan.  We didn’t see another walker until we were at the top and operating the station.

We soon made four contacts which we shared between the two of us and then I went on to work the rest of the pile up.  Once done it was an easy walk back down to the Storey Arms and the car for lunch.

GW/SW-005 Log

GW/SW-001, Pen y Fan – 886m, 8 Points

Pen-Y-Fan summit in the cloud

Pen-Y-Fan was a bit busier than Fan Fawr.  We started by queuing to get through the gate out of the car park!  The long trudge up the tourist path was mostly just dodging around the New Year day trippers, we were into cloud by about 600m so not even a view to enjoy.  The top was predictably busy but we 

The station

managed to find enough space to set up the station.  This time I worked the first four and then left Richard to work the pile up.

Once finished we packed up and returned to the car via the Storey Arms path for a change.  This path has been completely reworked and is now fully pathed all the way to the top of Corn Du which made for an easy decent.

GW/SW-001 Log

Journey Details

Date – 1st January 2019

Postcode – LD3 8NL

Parking – SN 986 200

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771 & 2 ele yagi

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – x+y

SOTA points – 14 + 6 bonus

Group – Myself & Richard

Walking Route Summary

 

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Great Gable and Kirk Fell 2018

Previous

After the tribulations of Saturday on Pillar I decided to complete the original plan on the Sunday to activate Great Gable and Kirk Fell. The weather couldn’t have been more different just one day later.  The wind had dropped to more normal levels and the temperature had risen.  There was even sunshine at times and visibility was great.

G/LD-005, Great Gable – 899m, 8 Points

Great Gable in the distance

The walk in and up to beck head is pleasant.  There is a good path up over easy ground. At Beck Head turn right up much steeper and broken ground.  The path is not so easy to find here, try and keep more to the right.  The top of Great Gable was in cloud when I arrived and above about 800m the rock was all covered in a thin layer of verglas making passage tricky at times.

Great Gable summit plateau

The summit plateau was quite surreal with extensive frosting and poor visibility, it was more like a moonscape.

Once again I managed to make the contacts without setting up the beam.  I stood on top of the summit cairn and soon had  six contacts in the log.

G/LD-005 Log

Dropping off the summit back down to Beck Head I managed to find an easier route down and was soon back at the col.

G/LD-014, Kirk Fell – 802m, 8 Points

Beckhead Tarn frozen solid

From Beck Head it is an easy route West up onto Kirk Fell.  The ground gets steep in places but nothing of any difficulty.  The summit plateau was in the clouds when I arrived so visibility was poor.  Note there is a small false summit before reaching the main summit proper.  As I arrived at the summit I heard Mark M0NOM calling from the summit of G/LD-050 Gummer’s How so I grabbed the mic and managed to quickly get a summit to summit contact in the log.

Kirk Fell summit shelter

There is a nice summit shelter at the top so I set up here to make another six contacts, once again all using just the Nagoya antenna with 5w from the HT.  With the successful activation in the bag it was time to head back down.  There is a path on the map South West straight down the nose of Kirk Fell.

The path down the nose of Kirk Fell

I had seen is from below on the walk in and knew it was going to be steep, but as the weather was not too bad I decided to try it anyway.  It was steep but perfectly passable.  I am not sure I would like to come up that way though as there is a lot of loose scree to cross.

G/LD-014 Log

Journey Details

Date – 16th December 2018

Postcode – CA20 1EX

Parking – NY 186 085

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 6+7

SOTA points – 16 + 6 bonus

Group – Myself

Walking Route Summary

 

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Pillar 2018

Previous

G/LD-006, Pillar – 892m, 8 Points

Pillar in the background

This was originally meant to be a big day out, bagging three peaks in a circular walk.  The original plan was starting from Wasdale Head, up Pillar, across to Kirk Fell and then back over Great Gable and down to Wasdale Head.  As the weekend drew closer it was becoming apparent that the weather gods had decided they didn’t agree.  Storm Deirdre was heading in from the Atlantic and due to meet a big patch of cold air sitting over Northern England.  Most forecasts were showing heavy snow across the upper half of England and up into Scotland along with strong winds as Deirdre blew herself out.

Green Crags just below Wind Gap with Little Scoat Fell behind

In the event it didn’t work out that way.  The snow landed further North which was a big help with the driving, but the winds certainly turned up.  Forecast for the tops was 60 – 70 mph which I think was fairly conservative.

The walk up Mosedale was pleasant enough, there is not much of a path to be seen on the ground once you pass the fork but it is easy navigating in a straight line.

Looking towards Kirk Fell
Pillar summit shelter

Passing up between Green Crags and Elliptical Crag the ground gets fairly steep and rocky but it is easy enough to pass.  As I put my head above the col at Wind Gap it became clear why it was named so.  From that point on it was constant wind making walking very difficult.  I was knocked over a few times by gusts.  The temperature was well below freezing and the wind chill must have been at least 20 deg below.  The ridge path was a welcome relief from the broken rocky ascent.  On a good day the final ascent up to the summit would be a pleasant walk.   There is a small shelter on the summit which was facing the wrong way and catching all the wind so I set up on the other side in what little shelter I could find.

It was so windy I didn’t attempt to set up the beam, I just operated from the Nagoya on top of the radio. I soon made six contacts and was on my way.  By this time visibility was down so about 20m and the winds were getting stronger.  I headed down towards the path over Black Sail Pass but it was a real challenge.  It took me an hour to get back down to the pass, a walk that should have taken no more than 30 mins.

A last rare glimpse back up at Piller from Black Sail Pass

By the time I got to the pass it was clear that continuing on up Kirk Fell would be an issue.  The wind chill was starting to affect my vision and the constant buffeting was really exhausting.  At his point I decided to drop off down Black Sail and call it a day.  The other two would still be there tomorrow, I wanted to be sure that I would be there as well.

G/LD-006 Log

Journey Details

Date – 15th December 2018

Postcode – CA20 1EX

Parking – NY 186 085

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – Nagoya NA771

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 6

SOTA points – 8 + 3 bonus

Group – Myself

Walking Route Summary

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