GW4OBK/P GW/MW-012 Carnedd Wen 29-05-21

GW/MW-012 Carnedd Wen 29 May 2021

I took a day out from a family visit in Cardiff to try to activate the last two of forty Marilyn Summits in Mid-Wales that I need for Summits On The Air (SOTA). Only one summit was completed, due to injury leaving GW/MW-020 Esgair Ddu for another day in 2-3 weeks time, when I am resident for a longer period near to Dolgellau.

I left Cardiff at 0715 a.m. on an almost three hour, 125 mile drive that took me along the now familiar and excellent roads through the Brecon Beacons, Builth Wells, Rhayader and Llanidloes. Then from Mallwyd roundabout (A470) I drove six miles eastwards on the A458 to the parking place, a wide gateway which leads to the summit of GW/MW-012 Carnedd Wen (523m, 2 points).

The locked metal gate at the parking spot, was one of three or four climbed that day, taking the walker on to a 3.5 mile track to the summit activation zone. The first real and immediate obstacle being a concreted sill ford - water depth was about half way up the tongues of my Scarpa’s, so the feet remained dry. After a rainy spell this torrent could well overtop your boots I reckon:

The graded track took me up across open fell and then into the forest. The navigation was straightforward, and the climb gradual and as easy as you could imagine. Within 90 minutes after 3.5 miles I was within the activation zone where a caravan had been parked:

Some environmental land management was taking place as I came across packs of plantings stored on the track containing moss and suchlike, so I can only surmise that the caravan is there to act as either a crewroom or sleeping accommodation for the workers. It was a Bank Holiday weekend and I never saw a soul all day… By the time I reached the summit area my left leg achilles tendon was very sore and the final 200m spent locating the deliberately hidden trig point, involved dragging my hungry body and sore ankle over a peat bog making it worse. Rule for the future: “DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST”.

The dull grey trig point had been masked by ploughing back the land - to create an ad-hoc quarry with pond, for forest roadstone within 6 feet of the trig and at least 10 feet higher. This higher terrain became the tieing off point for one end of my link dipole:

After climbing up and tieing off on top of the spoil heap I felt decidedly dizzy, so I sat down for 5 minutes to regain full conciousness (Don’t tell the XYL!). I put this down to the pain from my achilles and lack of breakfast… The small pork pie and water I had at the start was insufficient to nourish the effort needed to reach the “summit” I thought. I knew at this point that one summit was all I could manage that day… Completion of the GW/MW with MW-020 activated and chased would have to come on another day…

Time for some Radio then…

With time to spare having decided on this being a one summit day I switched on my recently purchased (Chinese made) Yaesu FT-65E. I bought this relatively cheap radio as it has a bigger battery pack than my other FT-4X (Also Chinese made). Both radio’s also operate on 70cm which is a band I am unaccustomed to using. As I was setting up on HF I used the handheld with long dual band RH771 whip to work Dylan M7DST/P on Long Mynd G/WB-005. Then I heard Vicky MW6BWA/P and Rod MW0JLA/P call CQ from GW/MW-002 also on 2m. Two more lovely S2S QSOs with the added bonus of 59 reports both ways on 70cms as well!

Time for HF action now and Victor, GI4ONL (Bushmills) was waiting at home for me to come on 60m CW, followed by another good mate, Nick G4OOE (Scarborough). A move to SSB and I worked another mate, Terry G0VWP (York) and continued to work my way through the bands on CW and SSB working UK and EU stations,avoiding 20m CW due to the CQ WPX Contest congestion. I finished with a good handful of welcome S2S QSOs. As I was packing up and monitoring S20 Jordan MW3TMX/P came on the air from nearby GW/MW-014 to finish off my nice spell of SOTA activity with 45 QSOs. Jordan being on his 3rd summit of the day with another one later.

The way back down was painful walking with a limp and stiff leg and then when nearing the car I made matters worse, by slipping off a metal gate and slamming my sore left leg hard down on the ground. This meant the air turned blue with profanity but there was only I to hear it! A golfing friend has suggested some exercises to repair and strengthen my achilles as well as rest and ice packs. I am hoping that this will be enough to allow me to resume activating in Wales when we return in June.

My drive back with a meal stop at the recently refurbished and much improved Burger King in Builth Wells was enjoyed, and I was back in Cardiff by around 7.45pm.


Hi Phil,
Sorry to read about your Achilles tendon problems. That’s a very big problem for SOTA. I hope you will recover soon.
Take it easy in the mean time and forget solo activations until you get fully recovered.


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nice report. Also the pictures. And good to hear you are into SOTA again.
Thanks for the contact. I was at PAFF-0149 with my QCX 3 Watt 30 meter kit. My alternative while waiting to go abroad and do some SOTA in DL/ON/F or perhaps G/GM/GW.

Good luck and recover soon. CU
73 Tonnie - PA9CW.

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As someone who has a self-inflicted, well self-exacerbated chronic illness I can only stress that missing breakfast is a seriously bad move. No it’s not a bad move, it’s stupid and dangerous. Low blood sugar can cause confusion, profuse sweating, palpitations, dizziness and in extreme cases loss of consciousness. You’re lucky that it was the exercise that pushed you over the edge because it could have happened whilst you were driving with all sorts of consequences.

Don’t do it again.

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Phil, I sympathise with your achilles problems. I snapped my left achilles in 2017 while playing badminton. Non-op happily, but I was in a cast and a wheelchair for 2 1/2 months, followed by months of physio. It took almost a year for me to get back to normal. Some of the advice I received emphasized keeping my calf muscles in good shape, as a tight calf puts additional tension on the achilles. I also found that using a roller ( I actually used a rolling pin) on my achilles and calf worked wonders, even though it was sore to do it initially - Youtube has videos that demo this. All I can say is, take care of that tendon, as a snapped achilles is just horrible. All the best, Simon

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I often activate without eating breakfast beforehand. Having said that, it’s Gun G/SP-013 (10 minutes walk) or The Cloud G/SP-015 (8 minutes walk) - or both - and in the full knowledge that filled Staffordshire oatcakes will be encountered by 8am after the activations!

As a hearty cooked breakfast is all part of the fun of enjoying a hill day, I really can’t fathom what you were thinking of Phil! Anyway, hope the injury sorts itself out soon for you.

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Hi Phil

Thanks for the report, photos and contact. I’m following in your footsteps tomorrow and with all the dry weather the river should be a mere trickle I hope, nevertheless waterproof socks tomorrow😁

Look after yourself.

73 Allan


Hello Phil,
Nice report which I read right through. I like the way you put your photos in relevant positions unlike my afterthought which is easier but not as effective. That slag heap would move some summits into the next points band if it counted but I can’t see anybody doing that on Great Gable, to name just one.

Right decision to keep to one summit and extend summit time - something I enjoy doing outside winter. The hardest thing to bear about summits like that one, and there are many, is that you have to activate overlooking a perfectly good road that could have got you somewhat nearer had it been public. Walking up roads/ even good tracks, is a grit your teeth and get on with it pastime but at least it’s low on drama.

You made good time especially with gates that needed climbing and the heel problem but you made it and had what seems like an enjoyable activation. I was surprised at how far you had to drive to get there. Wales must be a lot bigger than I thought!

I too am a devil for the no breakfast routine. The only time I ever have it is on Holiday (if there’s time) because I’m a Yorkshireman and I’ve paid for it! HI. I have long been incapable of enjoying food before noon. In fact I have in the past performed SOTA better without it. Same with work. However in recent years I have started to push down a couple of sarnies before the ascent. I now find I need that to combat cold extremities if not for the energy. The energy must come from the day before? I have been told a time or two that Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

FT65E. I’ll look it up. A dual bander from what you say. Always on the lookout for a H/H with good RX filters. Single band being best I would think but my trusty VX150 is a bit heavy and has Ni-Mh batteries. I know you have a VX170. I sold mine and kept the 150 but it’s no longer used.

Well done. Now to getting yourself right before your next one. Only you can decide when you’re good to go and I hope it’s in time for your future planning. Enjoy the rest of the visit.
73, John

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Hi Phil, thanks for your great report and photos.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Fair play Phil. that KX3 does look handy!

Good luck with the ankle.


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Just a few thoughts.
I always have a carb based breakfast before Sota and often a second breakfast when I have put my boots on (potholing experience). I carry fruited loaf in the car for this purpose (it keeps for a couple of weeks).

I have spent a number of breakfasts with Ultra runners in the FRCC climbing huts. In prep these guys will each eat half a box of muesli or a portion of porridge that would feed 5 normal humans. Both are sources of slow release carbs. Try porridge with salt and ground nutmeg topping! This keeps your salt levels up as well.

I had an interesting experience walking with a ex soldier, whenever we stopped moving, he would eat. Not much, just a few oatmeal biscuits or a banana.

In the car I carry 2 tins of soup and a small gas stove. That sets me up for the drive home.

Lastly do not forget the water, 6L per 24hr period is the recommendation. We can sweat just as much in winter so the quantities are the same. Monitor your water needs, not by what goes in, but by what comes out. One saying is, “pee white once a nite”.