A train, two blokes, two pubs, two summits and two points

The idea was hatched after an activation of GW/SW-034, Garth Hill - Mynydd y Garth walking from my home in Cardiff last year, Activation of a Welsh summit with a nod to German style, and a subsequent activation of GW/SW-037, Craig yr Allt when I cycled from home. These two summits are reasonably close together, with a railway station in the valley between them, presenting an opportunity for a car free activation with a circular walk of about 10 miles plus a mile each way from my home in Cardiff to Cardiff Queen Street Station.

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I have enjoyed several joint activations with Matt, @MW0KAX, and we had promised ourselves that we would do a joint activation with nice weather one day. The weather forecast for this trip looked great right up until a couple of days before our alert!

There was no need for an early start as The Gwaleod-y-Garth Inn does not serve food until midday. I left home at around quarter to eleven, strolled to Cardiff Queen’s Street Station and jumped on the 11:15 train to Taff’s Well. The train follows the river Taff through a wooded valley with fine views of Castell Coch. From Taff’s Well station station, a footbridge leads over the river Taff to a pleasant riverside path following the track bed of a disused railway line.

Matt sent a message that he would meet me in the pub as he was running late having made a 4:30am start to undertake some emergency repairs on a large industrial diesel engine. All in a day’s work for Matt.

Our excuse for not meeting out alert time was an unexpected visit from Tim, @G5OLD delivering a 3D printed key for Matt.

The track from The Gwaleod y Garth Inn is quite a steep pull after sausage mash and gravy, but we reached the summit in good time and good spirits. Everything had gone to plan, we were a little later than our alert time but there was no need to rush. I have learnt that rushing to get on the air never saves time. Our plan was to put up my tarp shelter, make ourselves comfortable and post a spot. It was at this point that a message came in that Ben, @GW4BML, was waiting for a summit to summit with us. Our plans went out of the window. I rushed to throw up an antenna. Matt said “Sarah bought me a tarp as a present, I haven’t used it, … I’ll give it a go”. And this is how we ended up with a tiny and ineffective shelter, and a poorly erected antenna. Ben was swiftly followed by calls to Allan, @GW4VPX, and Gerald, @MW0WML on GU/GU-002, Guernsey Airport. By this time the antenna had collapsed several times, the shelter had torn, and it was raining and blowing a gale. Matt is a good guy to have with you in situations like this, he steadily worked away in the rain fixing and making good while I worked the pile up. By the time that I had finished the antenna pole was re-rigged and I was in a totally different shelter. Conditions on 40m were pretty good with a decent pile up on SSB and CW. After an hour we were both cold and wet, and decided not to work 2m FM from this summit. It seems that we only took pictures in the sunshine!

In no time we were packed up and making our way off the hill. Matt has a great sense of direction and a natural intuition for a likely path. The perilously steep, slippery direct decent is not marked on the map but shaved half a mile off our route.

A quiet road takes you back to the pub and concrete steps that descend to a foot bridge and a short walk though housing before joining the Taff Trail and another disused railway track bed which is crossed to start the ascent of Craig yr Allt with pleasant view back to The Garth with the village of Gwaleod y Garth nestled under the hill.

We had learnt our lesson on The Garth and made ourselves comfortable on Craig yr Allt.

We spent a very pleasant hour and half on the summit, working 2m FM, 40m CW and 40m SSB. There is a very supportive SOTA community in Wales and I am always keen to call on 2m FM and work the locals. Many stations have shown great patience while I have been learning CW, not least Gerald, @G0OIG. It was a great pleasure to be able to return the favour giving him a long awaited complete, nearly 16 years after his activation. Our activation ended on a high with CW contacts to Mark, @MW7TEW, and Ros, @MW7LTD who started chasing CW a couple of week’s ago.

The footpath descends to a quiet road leading to the road to The Black Cock Inn.

After a well deserved couple of drinks we made our way down to Taff’s Well station following the sculpture trail through Fforest fawr in the fading light.

These are lovely hills, they have good paths, and fine views over Cardiff, and the Bristol Channel to North Devon.

Thanks are due to Matt for another fantastic day, and of course thanks to all the chasers who made it such a wonderful day.

73, Kevin & Matt


Great little adventure!


Hi Kevin & Matt, thanks for a great report with photos. A great read. :+1:

Geoff vk3sq


Thank you for a fine day on the hills Kev @MW0KXN, hard to beat a day on the hills with a friend let alone a day on the hills with a friend and 2 pubs​:rofl::rofl: look forward to the next adventure.


Thanks for an excellent report and photos of what looked like an enjoyable day out for the two of you. Thanks also for digging me out of the noise and working me from GW/SW-034 on 40m. It was a very noisy band at my end, but as it was a complete for me I was determined to get the QSO! Thanks Kevin!

73, Matthew


A great read and pictures accompanying the mini Pub Crawl in Walking Boots.
Thanks for the contacts from both summits.
73, Robert



Brilliant report and photos Kev. So good to get you both for an s2s…thank you both.

73 Allan.


What a great adventure and day out, loved reading the report and thanks for the contact :ok_hand::+1:


Fantastic report and images @MW0KXN Kevin … @MW0KAX Matt - it looks like you had a proper day out, and a lot of fun! :slight_smile: it was great to make the S2S contact with you on SSB and CW. Looking forward to your next adventure!

73, Ben


Activated the same pair of summits on 31st May - great fun. Completely alone on Craig Yr Allt and inundated with runners, cyclists and walkers on Garth Hill!
Managed to leave the 2m handy in the car for Craig Yr Allt and found 40m SSB a struggle. Many local and Cornwall coast stations on 2m from Garth.
Every day is a school day as far as SOTA is concerned!