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EYP's outing


#1

Marianne wants to sort things out in the house and has kicked all the men out for a couple of days. Some alerts have been posted, but please take the ETAs and even the summits with a pinch of salt. The order could change, we could do NW-046, NW-047, NW-048 instead, the times are probably nowhere near knowing me (can’t offer the OIG accuracy here I’m afraid).

We do hope to do NW-073 though, as it’s a rare one and possibly a tricky one on 2m. To make up for the ambiguity in the alerts, we will be self-spotting on arrival to summits. Hope to speak to you over the next two days.


#2

In reply to M1EYP:

… the OIG accuracy…

Well, of course I don’t have two youngsters in tow and I do try to pack in as much as I can in a day since at least 6 hours are lost in a day just travelling. Having said that my 26 year old and 5 month expectant daughter led us off Peel Fell SB-004 last Friday at a cracking pace and we were back at the car in an hour - my estimate was 1 hour 30 minutes! Am I going wrong somewhere or just getting old?

73, Gerald G4OIG


#3

What an excellent two days me and the lads have just enjoyed.

Without checking back against my original alerts, I couldn’t be sure how accurate or otherwise I was, but I think it wasn’t far out, and we managed a bonus summit too, ending with six activated summits - we had alerted for five.

We set off from Macc around 7am on Wednesday 11th April 2007, and made straight for Lymm Truck Stop for a full English breakfast (2 sausage, 2 bacon, fried egg, fried bread, tomatoes, 2 hash browns, mushrooms and a mug of tea for less than a fiver - it’s a favourite!). Getting into the car after breakfast I realised that we had left the overnight clothes bag on the landing at home, also containing the toothbrushes and Liam’s inhalers. Drove back to Macc to get it, and back out to the M56 junction again - one hour lost already!

The first objective was the lesser-spotted GW/NW-073 - Mynydd Rhyd Ddu. I had fully intended to follow BVE’s described route, but Jimmy had been studying the map and wanted to “just check out” the line from the highest point in the road to the south. Surprisingly, there was a convenient parking spot right at this point, and the gate into the field was open. A fairly well trodden route ran from here to the summit, albeit with several fences and gates to be climbed. At the summit we were joined by several farm workers in tractors, JCBs and 4WDs. They had witnessed our approach to the summit and our radio gear, but come to talk to us. One of them did give us a wave goodbye as we made our way off the summit though! I was concerned that this hill would be difficult on 2m FM, but it proved not to be so. This was a unique for us.

The sun was now beating down with a ferocity normally associated with August - in Spain. Stupidly, I had not brought any sunblock or sunhats, so a second irritating but necessary detour of the day was required. Down to Corwen. The best I could find was a bottle of factor 15, but it did a decent job when reapplied every two hours over the next couple of days.

We then took the very short drive to Llangwm, and beyond to the parking spot ahead of Foel Goch GW/NW-039. This, like the remainder of summits on the trip, was one that I had activated 2 or 3 times before, and that Jimmy had ascended 2 or 3 times before, but all before he attained hi amateur radio licence. So they all needed to be revisited so he could get the points!

The walk up was painfully slow, with Liam in reluctant and unenergetic mood. I tried to cheer myself up by reasoning that it was improving my fitness having an extra 11 stones of dead weight to shove up each hill! Extra to the 17 of my own. He’s his father’s son alright!

Jimmy on the other hand, one has to wonder. Nearly as tall as his father, but a stone lighter than his little brother, he skipped away from us and up to the summit. No problem though, this routine was utilised for the rest of the trip, and he would use his early summit time to send a SOTAwatch Spot using Spotlite on his mobile 'phone, and then have the SOTA Beam set up and ready for me to add the guys and feeder upon my arrival.

In fact Jimmy also made his first contact - Ron GW4EVX - with his handheld while waiting for us, but then even with the FT817 and SOTA Beam, neither of us could elicit another response for 20 minutes. Then the remaining 3 contacts each required presented themselves suddenly in an 8 minute spell!

Down at the car, it was nearly five o’clock local, and would normally have seen an end of the day’s activities. But we were booked in a local Travelodge, and the time was our own. Jimmy was allowed to navigate to get us across to Moelfre Hall, our preferred start point for Gyrn Moelfre GW/NW-049. The route was tortuous, high, winding, poorly signed, seemed to go on forever, bore no resemblence to the map, mileages all wrong etc. “This road seems to be going a lot further and in different directions to the map” remarked Jimmy. “Welcome to Wales son” I replied.

I rand the doorbell at Moelfre Hall to ask permission to leave my car in the large yard while we walked up to the summit and back. “About two hours” I estimated. The lady was agreeable, so I thanked her and commenced this early evening walk. We were now able to recall that it was indeed April. The early afternoon heatwave had plummeted and it was now very cool, demanding full deployment of fleeces, jackets and hats.

The walk up the steep channel was again sluggish with Liam, but not as bad as Foel Goch earlier. Again, Jimmy had skipped off ahead. To save time messing with guys, we mounted the upside-down walking pole in the wire fence, and then added the WASP and SOTA Beam on top of it for a quick and easy set-up. “There’ll probably be no-one around with it being so late” remarked Jimmy. “The opposite” I replied, “There will be evening nets all over the place, and we have the best take-off towards Merseyside, Manchester and Cheshire we have had all day”. It was indeed an easy activation, 9 contacts in 17 minutes, with at least 8 from known SOTA chasers.

I was now very tired, as were the boys. Every time I planted my foot down on the descent, my entire leg shuddered in exhaustion, making this a rather unpleasant descent. On the lower reaches, the light began to fade quickly. Use of headtorches was avoided, but full darkness did fall as we finished packing rucksacks away into the car boot at 9pm local.

At least with a Travelodge you can turn up however late you want, so we left that for now and drove into Oswestry and the first Indian restaurant we could find. I think it was called the “Shimla” or something similar, but it was outstanding, with all three of us enjoying one of their speciality Bengal fish dishes at some stage in our meal. We eventually made the Travelodge, at Oswestry Mile End service area, at about 11.15pm. Liam had the pull-out floor bed, Jimmy had the settee-bed, while I had the big double bed. It is important to teach children about the importance of hierachy. We all slept soundly and deeply.

To be continued…


#4

Upon waking up, rather late at nearly 8am (combination of previous day exhaustion and Travelodge black-out curtains), we all agreed to be still fairly full from last night’s curry. For breakfast then, we just used some of the stash of Tracker bars, Mars bars, peanut bars and Nutri-grains I had put in rucksacks for mid-walk energy boosts. I rinsed out and refilled the bladders while Jimmy made a brew for his father and himself.

We were awy at around 8.15am BST and heading south towards Welshpool. From the town we turned westwards onto the A458 and past our usual parking spot for Y Golfa GW/NW-061. We were going to try the public footpath through Welshpool Golf Course from the higher start point of the clubhouse. But would we be able to park there?

As it turned out, this was fine, and the golfers we met along the walk were friendly and helpful, indicating the route - there was a serious lack of waymarks through the course. The views out over the course from the trig point were good, although much beyond was obscured by considerable haze. The sun was just starting to burn all this away when we completed a quick and easy activation at 18 minutes to 11 local time.

Now we headed for Allt y Main GW/NW-059, and for the GW4BVE recommended parking spot at the end of the high narrow country lane due East of the summit. But we had forgotten something! The walk up the grass bank and along the first ridge, in warm sunshine and with superb views was delightful, but then we looked ahead at the forest - which had been felled, but not cleared. Disaster - our route was impassably blocked.

Looking back and upwards, I spotted a public footpath waymarker post. We clambered up the undergrowth remains of an area that had been cleared of the timber, and struggled across the twigs, holes and brambles with difficulty. We reached the post and realised that we could have taken another footpath to it, by earlier forking right from out previous path. We followed this path as the waymarks zigzagged us down a bank and over a stream. Then we realised that this simply connected up with the first path we had followed, save for the considerable blockage of felled trees between this and the first point we had reacher.

However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and with Jimmy in the party, the ‘will’ is there by default. He spotted a well trodden route up by the side of the northern extremity of the felling operations. This coincided with the southern extremity of a felled and cleared area. This was steep, but we were able to make rapid progress. Within ten minutes, we were reunited with the proper surafced summit path, and able to progress unimpeded to the trig point. We sat backwards on the bench to avoid looking into the sun and enjoyed another easy activation with ten contacts coming in little over twenty minutes. The descent seemed incredibly quick.

We were getting hungry, and we were out of energy bars from the supply. We stopped by at a bakery in Llanfilin and bought a savoury pastry each, plus a flapjack each to stuff in rucksacks for snacks on our final hill of the campaign - Rhialgwm GW/NW-046. This was a bonus summit, as we had by now successfully activated all five that I had alerted for.

Jimmy completed another successful navigation exercise and brought me to a suitable parking spot adjacent to where the path curls off from the byway south of the summit. This is a very short ascet distance wise, but it is very steep, loose and punishing on tired legs. I bribed Liam with small fragments of his flapjack to motivate him to each successive new mini-objective in the ascent. This worked rather well. When Liam and I climbed on the final approach, the trig point came into view on the horizon, as did a tall lanky silouhette with a SOTA Beam. Good old Jimmy, getting on with the important jobs!

Beautiful afternoon, shirt-sleeve order on the summit, and all activated and qualified no problem. Those steep loose and badly eroded sections were even worse going down as comping up, but we were in the car and heading home by a quarter to six. Two great days of activating, six summits, one unique (6 uniques for Jimmy as an amateur), great views, beautiful warm and sunny with blue sky weather, good food, beer (the Cobra in the restaurant) and accommodation. Many thanks to all stations that worked and/or spotted us.

Tom & Jimmy (& Liam)


#5

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

Excellent reports - sorry to hear to the trials en route. Unfortunately too busy earning a few pounds to spend on petrol to get me over to Wales in the near future.

It would appear that the routes to Allt Y Main will be a bit haphazard for a while due to the forestry operations. The western approach wasn’t brilliant last year.

Thanks (to Jimmy) for the new route up Mynydd Rhyd Ddu. I’ll give that a try - pleased that the farm workers did not turn out to be GOML’s. Always a concern when the summit is not on OA land.

73, Gerald G4OIG


#6

From our experience, I would have thought that GW4BVE’s route was the better one to go for, even if it involves more vertical ascent.


#7

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

Presumably you prefer John’s route due to the lack of gates / fences.

Did you bungee your mast to the fence? I always wonder whether farmers get concerned about such a use.

73, Gerald G4OIG


#8

I haven’t used BVE’s route, but it does sound like there are fewer obstacles. I used the guying kit as supplied with the WASP accessory for the SOTA Beam, so there was nothing attached to any fence. When I do use a fence, I don’t use bungees, just thread my inverted walking pole (the bottom half of the mast when using the WASP version) through three sections of the fence.