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Another island summit


#1

Fresh from the excitement of Ailsa Craig GM/SS-246 (http://tomread.co.uk/AilsaCraig.htm), another island SOTA opportunity has presented itself. At last, Jimmy and myself have arranged our return to Bardsey Island and its summit Mynydd Enlli GW/NW-072.

Having been offered a weekend pass-out, I checked the weather forecast, which was stable and favourable for Snowdonia this weekend. I then 'phoned the boatman, who confirmed us a couple of places on the Sunday voyage out from Porth Meudwy on the Lleyn Peninsular.

The last time we did this one was July 2004, before Jimmy was licensed, and hence the need to return to get his unique. It was the second day of one of Roger MW0IDX’s SOTA camp and barbecue weekends. You can see the pictures, including a very young Jimmy and Liam, here: http://tomread.co.uk/mynydd1.htm

So, what to do on Saturday? No option really, other than the only one remaining SOTA summit in GW/NW that I had done as an activator, but Jimmy hadn’t - Arenig Fawr GW/NW-011. This was last done jointly with Richard G3CWI back in 2005 - http://tomread.co.uk/arenig_fawr_nw-011.htm

We will combine this with its natural partner Moel Llyfnant GW/NW-018, which will be a new unique for both of us - and a long walk! A B&B on the Lleyn has been booked for the Saturday night. Depending on how we are doing at breakfast time on Sunday, and the final confirmed sailing time of the Bardsey Island ferry, will determine whether we activate Mynydd Rhiw GW/NW-064 before the island expedition, after it, or not at all.

It should be good, and we hope to work many. Weather - please behave! Mynydd Enlli GW/NW-072 was recently ‘mass activated’ by Team CFJGP, so it will have dropped down the ‘most wanted’ list somewhat, but hopefully there will still be some demand.

After this, Jimmy will just need the five G/DC summits I have done to match my activator uniques record. We hope to do all seven DC summits and our remaining nine SC summits in a camping expedition sometime in 2010.

Tom M1EYP


#2

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom

I’ll be looking out for you if you’ve planning on doing any HF as Mynydd Enlli would be a chaser unique for me with probably only 80, 60 or possibly 40 metres getting to me in Worcestershire.

I think you would be popular on 20 metres too from the island. While there I enjoyed an (nearly) hour long mega pile-up which included as highlights; one US contact, one Canadian and two from Japan, all on ssb (81 in total on 20).

Hope the weather is a good as our trip (on the last day) and hope to catch you on the other summits too :o)

Carolyn


#3

Usual MO will be Jimmy on 2m FM and me on 40m CW. But on Bardsey, I will be doing mainly 20m CW with 40 as a back up. Jimmy will do 40m SSB as a back up if struggling on 2m FM. If you are actively chasing the summit, email me off-list for my mobile, and you can ring/text me to request band or mode changes at the time if you wish.

Tom M1EYP


#4

Hi Dad,

It was third day of the SOTA BBQ in 2005 we all went to Bardsey island, not the second day.

Jimmy M3EYP


#5

You are correct Jimmy; I had forgotten that it had started on the Friday night of the weekend. If I remember correctly, we did a bit of a mass activation of Carneddol GW/NW-068 that night, and there was another one by other BBQ participants on the Saturday night. The hill overlooked the campsite, and was very close to it.

http://tomread.co.uk/carneddol_2004.htm


#6

In reply to M1EYP and M3EYP:

Seems you’ve chosen a decent weekend weather-wise with the high centred over the UK. Have fun and enjoy the trip.

73, Gerald

Oi, and less of the uniques - how do you expect Paul and me to keep ahead of you?


#7

As for your competitive streak Gerald, Jimmy is your friend. His insistence that he activate EVERY SINGLE unique summit he had already walked up when I activated them, has seriously tempered the rate at which my own unique score progressed! I already had about 160 SOTA activator uniques to my name when Jimmy got licensed, and scattered throughout the far corners of G, GW and GI at that - and he made me go back to all of them!

Mind you, we are nearly there. After this weekend, and a trip to DC/SC next year, we will be gunning for joint new uniques every time. You and Paul will need to be looking over your shoulders!

Tom M1EYP


#8

Hi all,

me and my Dad M1EYP are having lunch on the slopes of Arienig Fawr GW/NW-011. We will be qrv in 90 mins.

Jimmy M(W)3EYP


#9

The Lake District is always lovely when I visit. Snowdonia is always wet! So I never quite allowed myself to believe the fine forecast for Snowdonia. As Jimmy and myself pulled off the driveway at 6.40am on Saturday 26th September 2009, it was grey and damp, and we didn’t feel optimistic.

The skies were starting to brighten slightly when we reached Lymm Truck Stop 30 minutes later. After a large breakfast of bacon, scrambled egg, sausage, toast, mushrooms, beans, black pudding and tea, we continued on the M56 and A494 to Bala.

MOEL LLYFNANT GW/NW-018

Beyond Bala, we parked just off-road at Nant Du. We dropped down, went through a few gates, and walked along the flat stony track to an abandoned farmhouse. Here we veered right up what appeared to be a disused quarry railway, and around onto the open fell as height was quickly gained.

The summit soon came into view, a stone cairn perched upon large rocks that poked their way through the mainly grassy hill. By now, it was hot and sunny, and it was shirt sleeve order on the summit. Jimmy operated on 2m FM and made four QSOs, while I did 23 on 40m CW. The views were fantastic, and now the only cloud in the sky was a small blob of mist sat upon Arenig Fawr GW/NW-011 on the opposite side of the valley.

TBC


#10

ARENIG FAWR GW/NW-011

This was the last summit on mainland Wales that Jimmy needed to catch up with my activator uniques. From Moel Llyfnant GW/NW-018, we made our way down the grassy slope on the eastern side of the hill, across the marshy saddle and up the ridge. This was quite steep and punishing, so once it levelled off into a pleasant amble between rock outcrops and mountain tarns, we found a spot to enjoy lunch in the glorious sunshine.

The Baxter’s asparagus soup was delicious, and the rest welcome. Another walker came down from Arenig Fawr, the only one we had seen all day. He reported the same, but expressed concern at the time he had been out and effort expended on what was described as a 4 hour walk on the Trail Magazine route card he had with him. I suggested a possible escape route back north along the lower flanks of Arenig Fawr, and he discussed navigation with Jimmy over the OS map.

Before Arenig Fawr itself, there is a false summit to walk over. Jimmy followed the main path straight over this. Following behind, I tried to be clever and work my way around to the right and saving some ascent/descent. This turned out to be a bad move, and I was forced to scramble steeply up to the false summit anyway when things got too exposed for my liking.

I could now see that Jimmy was on the summit and setting up the SOTA Beam. Shortly I joined him and set up the 40m dipole. Jimmy did nine QSOs on 2m FM, while I did 12 on 40m CW. We now left the summit at shortly after 4pm, and walked down the long grassy bank to the valley below. I was now very tired, and incredibly hungry. Perhaps it was a sign that middle age is imminent, but I spent most of the rest of this descent fantasizing wildly about a Ginsters peppered steak slice. I was glad to be reunited with Jimmy at the tumbledown farmhouse where he was waiting for me, and a Land Rover driver was waiting for two paragliders that had been floating around Arenig Fawr for the last hour or so.

A short track took us back to the other abandoned farmhouse, from where we had
branched off for Moel Llyfnant GW/NW-018 earlier. Then it was back along the track to the car at Nant Du.

Our appetites would not wait until we reached our accommodation on the Lleyn, showered and went out again. Instead, we dived in the very first chippy we found - in Penrhyn - and fish, chips and peas has never gone down so fast!

Our accommodation was B&B at Rhos y foel, Llanor, near Pwllheli. We had camped in the field here last year. Because it was quiet, the landlady gave us a free upgrade to a room each - luxury! After a shower and change, Jimmy and I headed out to the pub for a pint and pudding, before returning to settle about 10pm. Jimmy went straight to bed, while I, in the comfort of my own room, watched the first hour of Match of the Day before my eyes refused to stay open any longer!

TBC


#11

Sunday 27th September started well with a delicious full English breakfast, served early (7.15am) at Rhos y Foel. It really was superb, and the £50 I paid for the two of us to stay B&B was good value, and cheaper than everywhere else I enquired about in the area.

MYNYDD RHIW GW/NW-064

Being on the road before 8am meant that we definitely had time to activate one of the easier Lleyn summits before sailing to Bardsey. None of them were needed a new uniques for Jimmy or I, but we were in the mood for some radio.

Hence Jimmy directed me around the narrow lanes to Mynydd Rhiw GW/NW-064, which is a short and easy walk to the summit. Jimmy set up the beam up near the trig point, while I positioned myself to operate 40m a few yards down the mound. We were able to operate while enjoying panoramic views over the sea, something that we would experience even more of later. Jimmy made four QSOs on 2m FM, including S2S with Geoff 2W0BTR/P on Tarrenhendre GW/NW-036, while I made 21 QSOs on 40m CW, before finishing with the S2S for myself.

With this bonus point in the bag, it was the moment we had been waiting for - an expedition to Bardsey Island.

TBC


#12

And here it was. Sunday 27th September 2009, and after a pleasing early morning activation of Mynydd Rhiw GW/NW-064, Jimmy was directing me via Aberdaron to the car park above Porth Meudwy slipway. We walked down the quarter mile path that leads to the secluded cove with great anticipation. At the slipway was a chap perched on a metal trailer, and several couples all waiting for the sailing.

MYNYDD ENLLI GW/NW-072

Things had changed since we last did this four years ago. That time, we had to board a small dinghy to get out to the foot ferry, then clamber over the side of that. Now, the metal trailer drags the ferry onto the slipway, and then a stairway is mechanically positioned at the back of the boat. Much easier, and presumably, much more acceptable for the risk-assessment/health & safety folks.

The other main change is that the ferry is now a yellow catamaran. This zooms across the water at great speed, making the crossing only 12 minutes on a calm day like Sunday. This meant that we were ashore on Bardsey just after 11.30am, and the boatman told us he would be back at 4.30pm. Result! We would have nearly five hours ashore; we had only anticipated 3.5 to 4!

Immediately, Jimmy and I were marching up the track towards the other end of the island. As soon as we reached it, we turned right and joined the good paths that zigzag up the flanks of Mynydd Enlli. Jimmy set up his 2m beam right at the summit, while I found a suitable grassy patch for my aerials.

First, I set up both the 80m and 40m dipoles on the same pole. 40m CW was good, producing 15 QSOs in short order. 80m CW was disappointing, netting only three G stations. Signals both ways were good, but it seemed everyone was glued to the F1 Grand Prix. On 80m SSB, I was hoping to catch Carolyn G6WRW to give her the chaser unique she yearned, but only Frank G3RMD answered. Again, signals between Frank and myself were good, but he was the only contact. I monitored 3.610 SSB while sharing a lunch of Baxter’s Highlanders Broth with Jimmy, but no further calls were received.

TBC


#13

Geoff 2W0BTR/P was now on Tarren y Gesail GW/NW-033, and having worked him S2S on the other ‘Tarren’ earlier, I tail-ended Jimmy to work him again, and so record the second of two phone QSOs on this activation.

But now it was time to do what I was really looking forward to doing, and that was spend time on 20m CW using the Magic Moggy. What would the 20m DX vertical do in its optimum timeframe of late afternoon, surrounded by sea? I only had the one pole with me, so the 40m and 80m needed to be packed away first. I now had a really enjoyable 80 minutes of almost non-stop operating, while devouring the stunning views from atop the steep eastern face of Mynydd Enlli / Bardsey Island. 42 QSOs on 20m CW took my activation tally to 62 contacts, including a couple into the USA. Jimmy finished on a hard-won 11 after persevering with 2m FM throughout.

We had operated right up until the last possible moment, so a hasty pack-up and speedy descent was then required. Jimmy and I were the last to return to the catamaran, which then zoomed back over to Porth Meudwy where we landed at around 4.50pm.

The drive back over to Cheshire began with us recounting all the Lleyn Peninsular Marilyns as we passed them, and then getting the gas pedal down on the A55. Mission accomplished, and now Jimmy has the same activator uniques as me in each of GM, GI and GW. Just G/DC to catch up with, and then we can start reeling Gerald and Paul back in. And Richard. And Steve…

Thanks for reading. Photos will appear on my website sometime soon, and will appear under ‘Recent Summit Info’ when they do.

Tom M1EYP