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G4AFI Wales Hol - Part 3

It was the last day of the Wales hol and rather than go straight home we decided to do another activation, GW/NW-023 Rhinog Fawr was chosen. We drove down the single track road to Cwm Bychan and parked in the car park at the end of this road. There is an honesty box with the formula £2 per car plus £1 per passenger. Two Portaloos were provided, which were surprisingly clean.

Ascent
We were basically following the route described by Roger, MW0IDX in the summit page tips. You do need a 1:25,000 map to follow this route as the summit paths aren’t marked on the 1:50,000. It starts by going up the Roman Steps, which are fairly easy. The next bit involves finding the path off the Roman Steps towards Rhinog Fawr at SH660299. This is not easy to find and we initially overshot. We crossed a very boggy field and then had to scramble up a steep rocky path with a stream running down it. At the top of this scramble the path becomes more obvious as it heads upwards towards Llyn Du lake at SH656294. The map shows a single path navigating the east side of the lake. In reality there are lots of paths at this point and it is not obvious which one to follow. Unfortunately we followed the wrong one and then had to navigate our own way up to the summit. It was tricky and we arrived at the summit a lot later than I had anticipated.

Activation
The summit was in low cloud and fairly windy. Just below the trig point a semi circle of stones has been built that provides excellent shelter from the prevailing wind. This is where I chose to operate from. I just went for 40M SSB because, having left the headphones on Cadair Idris, I find it hard to work a CW pile-up without headphones. The reports were good and we achieved 33 QSOs. At the end of the run I decided to QRT because of the much longer ascent time.

Descent
We decided on a different route back to make navigation easier. We navigated to the stone wall at a point around SH652291 and then simply followed the wall back to the Roman Steps and thence the car. This was still difficult going until we reached the Roman Steps at SH656300, which was quite a relief when we arrived there. The descent was much quicker but still long.

Summary
The Roman Steps section is relatively easy and there are excellent views to be had. Once you leave the Roman Steps it becomes much more difficult. I wouldn’t attempt this summit unless your navigation skills are good and/or you have a good GPS with lots of waypoints entered in for the route. I would imagine the views from the summit are superb on a clear day but sadly we had poor visibility, which seems to be a common theme for my activations!

73s Andrew G4AFI