Cadair Idris GW/NW-009 and the Hog Roast

As this has become rather lengthy I have done this as a separate post rather than tagged it on to the Hog Roast thread…. The use of caffeine is advised….

Friday 7th June

Moel Famau GW/NW-044 & Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051

When I said that I was tempting fate by posting my plans a few days before the Welsh weekend the gods (or at least the DfE) were listening as within 24 hours my executive headteacher wife had one of those phone calls. No not the deep breathing ones, but the dreaded interrogation by (The Stasi) Ofsted which arrives 18 hours prior to their visit. Thankfully , and after 2 14 hour days all went well so I still had the required pass!

I parked in the large car park at the top of Bwlch Penbarass. As we have a largish camper (6.4m long) I tend to research parking and roads a bit before an activations as I don’t fancy getting stuck. I can confirm the road up from Tafarn-Y-Gelyn isn’t a problem, and the car park (I paid £2-00) is big and easy to park in… I have never been to the Clwydian hills before and had not realised how popular they were, and a dog seemed a compulsory part of the walking equipment, so dutifully armed with Woody and Jet I set off for the first hill, Moel Famau. As I approached the summit three things occurred to be 1-It was windy, 2- It was very popular and 3 I couldn’t see anywhere that combined being sheltered with the possibility of putting the mast up properly and doing HF, so in the end the activation was completed sitting on the bottom edge of the Jubilee tower with a 6m mast tucked between my legs and supported in one hand with ladder line J Pole about 5m up in the air. It worked well with 19 stations in the log, including 2 S2S and some nice dx to Derek 2E0MIX up in Whitehaven

Back to the van, a cup of tea then straight up the other side to Foel Fenelli (Well 1hr 20 including a cup of tea from one summit to the next) and another windy activation with 9 in the log including 1 S2S.

Saturday 8th June

Cadair Idris GW/NW-009

Last year I was very impressed by Ben’s early morning ascent, but to be honest less impressed with the 5-30 AM start he had to pack the truck. Given both my driving and walking speed I decided this would probably equate to a 4AM start for yours truly, but a solution was found by staying in the small campsite Doleinion by the side of the main car park for the Minffordd path. The site was lovely, but basic and reminded me of the campsites I had stayed at as a kid, one tap, two toilets and one lightbulb in the loo and a big field. The big field also turned out to be the base for a Welsh Three Peaks Challenge ( so it was going to be a busy day.

I started walking at 7AM, the two dogs enthusiastically propelling me to the top. I have the dogs attached via a waist belt. I may well get away with Jet being off lead, but Woody is rather less reliable, and is fully aware that his human will always wait for him whilst he goes to investigate the area. The weather was better than the forecast drizzle and was hot by the time I was decending. It took me 2hrs 40 min to get to the top, but I wasn’t really pushing myself, the first of the runners who had already climbed Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) summiting just after me. Ben mentioned using the shelter, but that, along with the rest of the summit was rather busy. In the end I strapped the mast to one of the roof supports on the outside of the shelter and set up my office on the outside of the shelter.

Last Year on the Lakes weekend I thought I would be a challenge to qualify on 70cm, so without thinking the FT270 went out the bag and the FT5DR went in, unfortunately my glasses did not. Having assembled the antenna (which is always a challenge with Spaniel helpers) I made a start, or at least I tried to. I could tell there was activity on 2m but nothing was coming out of the rig. Somehow (Possibly the large red WiresX button on the front) it seemed to be in a digital mode and navigating the myriad menus, without glasses was a challenge. It occurs to me now that having a rig that tries to do everything isn’t always an advantage. I went back to basic IT skills and tried turning it off and on again, and when that failed I went for the advanced approach of removing the battery and counting to 10, which also had little effect. A bit like the monkey typewriting the works of Shakespeare eventually I managed to get it behaving like a simple, analogue radio again. There were loads of S2S stations, and as I started to work them I almost needed a dupes log to try and keep track of which ones I had worked. Almost every 25khz frequency was occupied! In the end I worked 10 S2S stations. I then tried 40m which was working well. Esther’s (GI0AZA) came booming across the Irish Sea, so I quickly worked her before the weaker portable station, which turned out to be her better half Ian (GI0AZB/P) who was on a summit so another S2S in the log. In the end I spent an hour on the summit, which by the time I had packed up had gone from quite busy to packed as the bulk of the Three Peakk Challengers reached the summit.

The way down was fairly easy, although trying to plan a route for 2 feet and 8 paws is sometimes a bit challenging. There were a few confused walkers as I descended the hill, with the unusual dog instructions not sit or down but “BEHIND ME!” or “STOP!”. The biggest challenge was the stile. One dog, one walker, easy. Two walkers one dog, easy. One walker two dogs ends up being a bit like the challenge of trying to cross the river in a boat with chickens and fox and who is left on which side! At the bottom the dogs enjoyed a quick swim in the river by the campsite and I enjoyed a shower and an Ice Cream, the camper being considerably more luxurious than the tents of my youth.

The drive to the Hog Roast was uneventful even if the A roads seemed rather narrower that their English counterparts. The food was brilliant (Thanks Ben) and once again I was a winner in the raffle with two mystery Icom boxes. I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect, but a pack of Icom playing cards and a USB memory stick will be useful, if rather unexpected. I’m afraid I didn’t stay late as I was using the camper as a kennel, and had to drive a short distance to the camp site.

Sunday 9th June

Cyrn-Y-Brian GW/NW-043

The next camp site, just around the corner from Ben’s Field was more civilised than the one at the foot of Cadair Idris, if lacking some of the character. I had another reasonably early start the following morning as Cyrn-Y-Brian was the next target. Driving 4.25 T of Fiat Van up the Horseshoe Pass with a swarm of bikers patiently waiting behind me despite probably having as much horsepower as the van was interesting, thankfully they were driving a lot more considerately than many of the ones I meet in Teesdale. Parking wasn’t particularly easy as the Cafe car park had large 2 hours max signs, and I wasn’t convinced I could do the activation and get back in 2 hours, but I managed to park just outside the cafe car park. With hindsight I should have done this hill first of the four as it was definitely the least appealing of the weekend hills and although it was nice to get the points and make a few contacts the combination of the damp weather and slightly bleak semi industrial landscape was not as appealing. At the summit I put the mast up using the fool proof FT270 (Perhaps there is a message for me in that) and Elecraft KX2 on 40m making 11 contacts in total. I was probably a bit early for the other activators. I did call at the Ponderosa cafe for a coffee and a sausage bun, which the dogs enjoyed more that I did (and I think I make a better coffee too….).

So no MG yet, but I’m 14 points closer and have now got four more complete hills. Thanks to all the chasers who are very tolerant of my inability to keep a log efficiently. I know the chasers are very aware that Woody likes to join in the QSO’s (he is quiet when I’m walking or at home) but they probably are not aware of Jet’s antics. Jet uses a different technique to get attention usually trying to get a cuddle by appearing under my arm. This isn’t easy when holding a rig in one hand, a pencil in the other hand and the logbook in the other one…. Still life would be boring without a challenge!


Yaesu Man may well know the sub menus on a FT5DR by memory but it seems I don’t! Next time if I take that rig I’ll spend an hour in a warm room with a coffee and a pair of glasses reminding myself how to drive it…

Camping at the bottom of a big hill worked really well and made a very easy start in the morning.

The new, lighter rucksack combined with a more rigorous approach to what was being carried helped. I still took 2l of fluid, and tried adding a sports “Hydration Tablet” which seemed to be effective in making it easier to stay hydrated with no sign of cramp. As there were reasonable streams on the way up this time I didn’t need water for the dogs.

Thanks Ben for once again managing an excellent event!

  1. (To anyone still conscious). Paul

Go in The Ponderosa cafe, talk to the nice girls/ladies selling food/drinks and ask if it’s OK for you to park for more than 2hrs whilst you climb the hill and say you’ll come back and buy some bacon rolls / chips / cake / tea etc. They were more than happy to say sure that’s fine and you don’t need to buy anything. I did buy tea and biscuits however.


… In my volunteer role for Citizens Advice I failed to get a client out of a £240 fine for overstaying in a car park and then ignoring the £60 ticket. Unfortunately this side of the border a parking charge is usually enforceable and expensive… hence my reluctance…


Always good to hear a bit of WOTA (Woody on the air).

Good to catch you on Moel Famau from home while i was packing for the saturday. Even better the s2s from G/WB-005 on said saturday. Missed Foel Fenlli sice all the rigs were packed away by then.

And the get together was the highlight of the weekend.



I’ve considered those, but having a damaged kidney and rearranged cardiac plumbing, I’ve resisted trying them. I think 7 varieties of medication are sufficient bombardment for my body. so I will just have to continue to carry and consume the wet stuff and maintain my skill for finding suitably private locations to… err, well you know what. :grinning:

Well done on getting another 4 under your belt. I think you ought to be awarded extra points for taking two dogs. I have enough dealing with myself!

73, Gerald

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