Gwaunceste Hill 2019

Previous

GW/MW-010, Gwaunceste Hill – 542m, 2 Points

A few miles South of Great Rhos is Gwaunceste Hill.

It was not clear if there would be room to park on the farm track down to Rhewey so I parked in the lay-by on the main road at SO 150 575.  Walking along the track I could see it should be possible to park on the verge at SO 149 573 without causing an obstruction.  The farm at Rhewey is not terribly welcoming with dogs chained up in the yard and signs on every fence stating the private nature of the land.  Hold your nerve though and walk straight through as is your right.  Once beyong the gate at the end of the farm yard it is a pleasant stroll up a good track.  South of the gate at SO 155 565 the land is signed as a SSI.  Stay on the good track here rather than taking a bearing for the summit as the going is very tough once off the track.  Make your own decision how far to follow the track before turning cross county for the final push up to the trig point.

GW/MW-010 Log

Journey Details

Date – 23rd February 2019

Postcode – LD1 5RR

Parking – SO 149 573

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ Longranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 8

SOTA points – 2 (+3)

Group – Myself

Walking Route Summary

Route Profile

Next

Great Rhos 2019

Previous

GW/MW-002, Great Rhos – 660m, 4 Points

This year I decided to try the approach to Great Rhos from the North.  There have been reports that the danger area to the South and West of the summit has ben expanded and although access should be still possible from that direction the route may be extended to avoid the expanded area.

There is room for a couple of cars to park at the end of the track at SO 156 655.  It’s fairly obvious with an old railway truck dumped beside the road.

From the parking spot it’s a pleasant walk gently climbing to an obvious left turn that leads up towards the summit.  When the track meets the fence line continue North and then North East following the fence until you find the gate at SO 178 641.  From here you will need to take a bearing and head South East out over the heather until you spot the trig point marking the summit.

GW/MW-002 Log

Journey Details

Date – 23rd February 2019

Postcode – LD1 5TD

Parking – SO 156 655

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ Longranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 8

SOTA points – 4 (+3)

Group – Myself

Walking Route Summary

Route Profile

Next

Tryfan 2019

Previous

GW/NW-006, Tryfan – 918m, 8 Points

Sunday started out wet and continued so right up until we got back to the car.  The plan was for a shorter day activating Tryfan then leaving to get home at a reasonable time.

We managed to park right next to the gate, probably the bad weather put off the crowds.

MW1CJE on the Cannon Stone

The route up is well known and documented on many youtube videos so I won’t go into detail here.  Just try and follow the ridge line as much as possible and don’t forget to stop at the cannon stone for the photo opportunity.

There were a few others around on the top, a number seemed to have come up via the South Ridge and one or two seemed to be there by accident, we were asked a couple of times if this was Tryfan and one person asked if it was the Glyders.

Stood between Adam and Eve, no jump today

We found a little shelter between a few big rocks and soon set up the station.  Conditions were good and I logged 23 contacts all over Northern England.  The temperature was well below zero so we were soon getting very cold and had to pack up to leave.  We dropped down the South Ridge and then SW down towards Cwm Tryfan and some welcome shelter from the winds.  By this time we were very cold and very wet so were pleased to see the sun put in a showing as we arrived back at the car!  Not a long day but a great adventure.

GW/NW-006 Log

Journey Details

Date – 17th February 2019

Postcode – LL24 0EU

Parking – SH 663 602

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ Longranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 23

SOTA points – 8 (+3)

Group – Myself & Richard

Walking Route Summary

Route Profile

Next

Carnedd Llewelyn & Pen Llithrig y Wrach 2019

Previous

The weather looked promising for this activation of two new summits for me.  This is a route that is overshadowed by it’s more illustrious neighbours to the South but it is well worth doing, offering a mix of just about everything Snowdonia has to offer terrain wise and 22 SOTA points as well.Parking is easy at the Gwern Gof Isaf campsite at SH 685 601.  Pop in and pay the farmer his £2 and for your money you will receive a days parking and some great local advice on conditions and the route.

GW/NW-002, Carnedd Llewelyn – 1064m, 10 Points

Cross the road to the obvious track heading NE.  Follow this to the bend where you will see the remains of a building on the right.  Turn here. Initially there is not much sign of the path but you should soon pick it up, it becomes more obvious as you approach the reservoir.  The final push up to Bwalch Ery Farchog is a bit steep in places but nothing too difficult.  Once on the ridge, follow it to the left, NW along a fairly clear path.  There is a short section at SH 692 635 that will require scrambling skills.  It’s not too difficult, approach it to the right then traverse along a small ledge to the left and up.  Just after this section there is a fork in the path, take the right fork, although  it looks steeper it’s an easier path.  From the crags of Craig yr Ysfa it’s an easy stroll across Penywaun-wen and up onto the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn.

We set up the station in the shelter of the summit cairn.  By this time the wind was up around 30 – 40 mph and the temperature was well below freezing.  I soon had seven contacts in the log.

GW/NW-002 Log

Once we had packed up we headed back down to the ridge and on towards Pen Llithrig y Wrach.  The down scramble at the crags was no more difficult than coming up but care does need to be taken.

GW/NW-013, Pen Llithrig y Wrach – 799m, 6 Points

Pen yr Helgi Du

From the bwlch continue SE to gain the height of Pen yr Helgi Du.  This is a quite imposing ascent that looks far more dramatic than it is.  Keep your nerve and stick to the path up and you will soon reach the top where it opens out onto the flatter summit plateau.  Stick with the path and drop back down into Bwalch y Tri Marchog and then climb the final ascent up onto Pen Llithrig y Wrach.

Pen Llithrig y Wrach summit

Once we arrived at the summit we quickly set up the station and soon had four contacts in the log including a summit to summit contact with GW7HEM/P on Mynd Langorse which I was very pleased to get as SW-015 is well known as a difficult summit to activate on VHF.

GW/NW-013 Log

By this time the weather was coming in and the wind was still ferocious so we didn’t hang around on the summit but headed back down to calmer conditions.  There is the option to just take a bearing down the side of the hill but the fence marked on the map was fairly substantial where we crossed it at the bwalch so I was not sure we wouldn’t end up following it back North to the stile in the bwalch, rather we opted to follow the path back down and take a bearing from there.  There is no obvious path ondown from here  but the dyke running West to East is very obvious and impossible to miss.  There is a good path along the South side of the dyke leading back to the access road and down to the A5.

Journey Details

Date – 16th Feburary 2019

Postcode – LL24 0EU

Parking – SH 685 601.

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – MFJ Longranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 7 + 4

SOTA points – 10 (+3) + 6 (+3) = 22

Group – Myself & Richard

Walking Route Summary

Route Profile

Next

Y Garn and Glyder Fawr 2019

Previous

Sunday and another early start, this time planning to ascend the Devils Kitchen and up onto Y Garn.

GW/NW-004, Y Garn – 947m, 8 Points

On the Devils Kitchen

Normally this is a long but quite easy paved route, today though the path was barely discernible under deep  snow and ice.  Eventually reaching Llyn Cwn we turned North in conditions approaching white out at times.  We eventually summit-ed and found room in the small shelter on the top.  It was fairly busy on top even given the poor conditions.

GW/NW-004 Log

After making twenty QSOs from Y Garn we were all pretty cold and pleased to head back down to the col. Conditions were deteriorating for the afternoon with rain forecast lower down but blowing blizzard conditions on the tops.

GW/NW-003, Glyder Fawr – 1001m, 10 Points

We reached Glyder Fawr a couple of hours later where we found shelter beside a few large rocks marking the summit. By this time the other two were fairly cold and wet so they weren’t over pleased when I put another seventeen contacts into the log, including  couple of summit to summit contacts

It was still a long walk out but as we started to lose height the wind dropped and the weather improved. We finally got back to the car just as we lost the daylight.

GW/NW-003 Log

In total over the weekend we activated four SOTA summits worth 48 points and made 53 QSOs over much of the North West and Midlands regions.  We climbed nearly 3000 metres of mountain and spent 17½ hours out walking.

Journey Details

Date – 3rd Feburary 2019

Postcode – LL24 0EU

Parking – SH 650 603

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – 2 Ele Yagi + MFJ Longranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 20 + 17

SOTA points – 8 (+3) & 10 (+3)

Group – Myself, Peter & Richard

Walking Route Summary

Route Profile

Next

Snowdon & Y Lliwedd 2019

Previous

Saturday morning we were up for an early start, planning to complete the Snowdon horseshoe, a classic Welsh route including a traverse of the infamous Crib Goch, a knife edge ridge. Unfortunately the crowds beat us to it and the main Snowdon car park was already full when we arrived at 8:30am. A quick re-plan and we headed down to do the Watkins path instead.

GW/NW-008, Y Lliwedd – 898m, 8 Points

The Gladstone rock on the Watkins

A few hours later we arrived at the summit of Y Lliwedd at 898 metres. With temperatures well below freezing and an additional ten degrees of windchill, we didn’t want to stay there for too long. We set up the radios and worked stations from the Wirral through to Eire, a few in Anglesey and over to Manchester and Bolton.  There is no shelter at the top of Y Lliwedd so after nine QSOs we were all ready to leave.

GW/NW-008 Log

GW/NW-001, Snowdon – Yr Wyddfa – 1085m, 10 Points

From Y Lliwedd, it’s just over 150 metres of decent back to the Bwlch Ciliau and then the long climb up to Snowdon summit. The snow was fairly deep in places; on some of the steeper sections we were cutting steps to make the ascent.

MW1CJE on Snowdon summit

Once we reached the ridge at the top of the Watkins path though we were greeted by the masses that had come up via the Pyg track from the main car park.

The wind on Snowdon summit was stronger and the temperatures even lower but we found a little shelter beside the summit cairn and soon logged contacts into Dublin, Telford, Anglesey and around the North West of England.

GW/NW-001 Log

By the time we left the summit we had all lost contact with our PTT fingers which were now frozen solid.  Our return route was back down Bwlch Main, over Alt Maenderyn and down to the lake at Bwlch Cwm Llan where we turned East to regain the Watkins path and back home.

Journey Details

Date – 2nd Feburary 2019

Postcode – LL55 4NR

Parking – SH 628 507

Radio – Kenwood TH-D74

Antenna – 2 Ele Yagi + MFJ Longranger

Band – 144 FM

Contacts – 9 + 7

SOTA points – 8 (+3) & 10 (+3)

Group – Myself, Peter & Richard

Walking Route Summary

Route Profile

Next

Long Knoll 2019

Previous

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

Next

 

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

Previous

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

Next

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

Previous

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

Next

Black Mountain & Sugarloaf 2019

Previous

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

 

Next