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G4AFI Wales Hol - Part 2

It was 3 days after activating GW/NW-009, the muscles had recovered from the descent of Cadair Idris and so time for another activation. It was raining in the morning so we did some non-SOTA activities and decided to activate GW/NW-074 Craig y Castell in the afternoon. We drove to Gellilwyd Fawr and parked up in the one car slot immediately adjacent to the footpath. The rain had just stopped and the forecast was good for the remainder of the day.

After passing through the farm gate we took a sharp right up the steep grassy slope. Once at the top of the slope the main path becomes very obvious. Soon afterwards very heavy driving rain started, so much for the forecast. We continued to a ladder stile at SH700165. What we should have done at this point is taken a sharp left and followed the stone wall (more of this later). However, we continued along the path, which was heavily water logged in parts. We left the main path and followed another path that headed towards the west side of the summit. This path was tough in places, especially with the driving rain. Eventually we made it to the summit, where there is no visible cairn or trig point. Then a magical moment occurred when suddenly, as if a switch had been clicked, the rain and wind stopped. The clouds disappeared and the sun came out. Now we could enjoy the absolutely marvelous views, which are breathtaking.

With the weather now beautiful, setting up the inverted V and FT857 took no time at all. I self spotted for 7.127 and called CQ. There was a slow start and then a massive pile-up ensued, which last over 45 mins. Later I counted 50 contacts, not bad at all! The condx must have been just perfect on 40M because the signal reports on my 10W were incredible – a lot of UK stations were giving me 5,9+20 ! Even in Eu I had lots of 5,9s. When the run came to an end Nickie felt it was time to go and I didn’t argue. We were soon packed up and then we looked for a descent route. From the summit, and with good visibility, the descent route was obvious.

We descended off the east side of the summit following a path down through the heather, heading towards the stone wall that marks the boundary of the forest. We then followed a path that bordered the stone wall all the way back to the ladder stile at SH700165. Then the main path back to car. It only took just over 30 minutes from summit to car.

Apart from the heavy rain bit I really enjoyed activating GW/NW-074. With good visibility there are some excellent views from the summit 360 degrees. There is plenty of room to set up a 60M dipole.

Part 3 to follow - GW/NW-023 Rhinog Fawr

73s Andrew G4AFI

In reply to G4AFI:
Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the activation report .Its always interesting to read how others have got on on the same hill.
I was on GW/NW-074 the week before.
SOTA activations are a bit like buses , none for a while and then 2 come along close together !
It was quite windy the day I was there and I lost a guy peg in the heather whilst struggling to get the antenna up and secure.
I missed the easier path by the wall both ways and found it difficult to find the exact same route down as we had taken up. Both ways we left and joined the big broad path just after the flooded section. I am told that this was a path built by the Romans.tut tut.
If you don’t have your own photos you might like to view a couple I posted on www.flickr.com/groups/sota_pics/
David G3RDQ

In reply to G3RDQ:
Hi David,
Yes it is nice to share different experiences of the same summit. I had a look at your pics of GW/NW-074 and you took a good clear shot of Cadair Idris in all its glory. Nickie took our pics whilst I was operating but not uploaded from the camera yet. I do remember the summit of Cadair was in cloud though.

Hopefully you will find my descent route if you return to GW/NW-074.

Andrew, G4AFI