The afternoon and evening of the 17th had been spent in the bothy next to Llyn Arenig Fawr, with Katy (YL) and two good friends. A cosy time was had, and a large bag of mixed hard and softwood carried up on a stick between two sets of shoulders ensured enough fuel for both evening and morning, as well as some left over for whoever may need it when they stumble in with icicles in their beards.
A leisurely waking up around 8.30 saw us begin our ascent at about 11. It was Katy’s first proper mountain walk and it was somewhat of a ‘Baptism by ice’. Weather conditions were much as they were for the VMZ/IDX expedition two days prior, whom I had the great pleasure of working from the Worcestershire Home QTH.
The summit was very icy and very windy and the activation had to be a compromise of morales - I wanted to make sure my companions were not sat around in the cold getting annoyed. So I took only the 817, RH-770 5/8 whip and a clipboard. Despite being vertically polarised (ft-817 standing on the edge of the cairn, antenna on the front panel) 14 contacts were had in roughly 1/2 hour with best DX being Don G0RQL in Devon. The operating position meant that from the waist up I was exposed to the wind, although the ‘wind shadow’ of the memorial did ease this somewhat.
A quick visit to the memorial geocache Rich and I planted close to the summit 3 Christmases ago marked the beginning of our descent. Some words of encouragement were needed to get people to move and get the blood flowing, but once this had been established a swift drop out of the cloudbase made for a very scenic stroll down the arete back to the bothy where vegetable soup and cheese sandwiches were quickly prepared.
All in all a good trip was had by all, and I particularly enjoyed the activation, my first for a long time. It was good to work so many familiar stations, particularly with the current festive flavour. I felt a great sense of pride in my YL for putting up with (and even laying claim to having enjoyed) the outing with no complaining whatsoever =)
Apologies to anyone expecting us on the 17th, it was decided that it was safer to bivi out and ascend the next day, a decision that I am very glad was taken. Many thanks to all stations worked for such a fine activation and to Roger MW0IDX for sending me a link to his video to show conditions.