Friday 23rd February 2018 - North-East Wales
The late start was mainly as a result of needing to drop Liam off at the hospital for his Friday volunteering he does every week with the dementia patients. He’s certainly giving lots of himself to community stuff while he’s out of work - Sunday night at 10pm he has his radio programme on Upload Radio (online and on DAB in NW England) - https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/uploadradio/video/940e29f0-17f6-11e8-915c-3b20bb587e44.mp4 - then on Monday at 11pm, he begins his weekly “Late Night Liam” show on Canalside Community Radio (Macclesfield & Bollington) 102.8MHz FM.
Then I had to chase up why the mechanic instructed by the 3rd party insurers to fix the damage done to me car in Shropshire three days ago - was not actually doing anything. So at least five hours later than I would normally choose to commence a SOTA day out by the time I got going!
I could make the time back with the correctly programmed satnav, familiar hills and a host of other shortcuts. These were:
- Walking in trainers - not bothering to change into boots.
- Not carrying a rucksack - eat and drink in the car between summits.
- Just use handheld & rubber duck - so no radio equipment or antenna to “set up”.
To be honest, all this was fine throughout the day. It made me think that I’ve been making this SOTA business harder and more complicated than it need be over the past 16 years!
Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051
I parked my £1.50 to park at Bwlch Penbarrass then set off up Foel Fenlli. I’m sure it gets steeper every year! Not bothering to take my trekking poles was a mistake and hampered my rhythm going uphill, but the descent was fine, surprisingly. Mind you, it was absolutely bone dry with no slippery sections.
The weather was bright and dry, but deathly cold. At the summit I made just five QSOs, 4 on 2m FM and one on 2m C4FM (Fusion). The it was back down to the car for a warm-up and some Royal Game soup.
Moel Famau GW/NW-044
I saw a chap in motorcycle leathers approaching the car. It was Roger MW0IDX, who I hadn’t seen for ages. What a fantastic surprise. We had a good natter for a while before Roger had to go.
I began my walk up Moel Famau, but soon got that feeling that I’d “hit the wall”. It became a real effort to keep moving forward - I was shattered! This took me a bit by surprise, but I put it down to not having that much sleep the previous night.
Upon reaching the summit of Moel Famau, I made straight for the top level of the Jubilee Tower ruins, in order to achieve the optimum take-off for my FT70-DE handheld. This activation was more productive, attracting 21 QSOs - 5 on C4FM and 16 on FM (analogue).
On the way down I wrestled with the thought of squeezing in a third activation for the day. I didn’t have the energy for Moel Gyw GW/NW-053 or Penycloddiau GW/NW-054, plus the sun was starting to go down. Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076 would have been an option but I opted for something back in the direction of home.
Hope Mountain GW/NW-062
My satnav didn’t land me anywhere near to the summit or adjacent farm, but at least in some roads I recognised, so I was able to find my way easily enough. I drove into the farmyard and waited for one of the inhabitants to notice me and come and ask what I was up to. David wandered across after seeing to his milk herd, and thankfully recognised me. Permission to access the trig point (in a private field) was granted immediately, and he even suggested that I drive up to it across the fields!
I declined this for several obvious reasons, but took him up on his invitation to park in one of his fields. I now had a fairly easy five minute ascent on foot - apart from the bit where I need to roll under an electric fence. Seven stations were worked from the summit - six on 2m FM and one on 2m C4FM. My hands were numb from cold by the end of operating though!