Yesterday I activated GW/NW-047, Mwdwl-eithin, in lovely warm sunshine with a grand panorama of Snowdonian summits projecting above a broken cloud layer, a view so mesmerising that I had to position myself in the summit shelter so that I couldn’t stare at it! Mwdwl-eithin is a slightly larger summit in a sea of brown heather-clad hills much more like the Pennines than Snowdonia, it is only a few hundred feet higher than the quarry on the A543 that is the starting point. Getting to it is a 40 minute tramp avoiding as many fences as possible and dodging bogs, there is no path. So, the activation - lightweight, 2 metre FM only, and the band was pretty quiet so I felt lucky to get ten contacts.
As the last few callers went into the log the summit was suddenly covered in cloud, I thought it was nothing to worry about, just a passing drift of cumulus, so I had a cup of tea and a Penguin, packed up and started down. The cloud was deeper and more extensive than I had initially thought, it showed no sign of clearing - on the contrary, it was thickening and the glow in the direction of the sun was fading. No panic, I got out my trusty Silva compass, and started to try and follow a bearing. Naturally, that bearing kept trying to guide me into bogland, and into fences - which for some strange reason were electrified. Navigation became a running nightmare of keeping reckoning of diversions and trying to maintain an average course back to the car. All in all, I was glad to get back to the road with visibility less than 50 metres. The trouble now was, which way to go to find the car? Pauline won’t carry a mobile phone so I couldn’t ask her to cruise about until she spotted me, so it came down to pick a direction and hope - I tossed a coin! I trudged for a quarter of an hour until the road started to go downhill, which was wrong as the quarry is by the highest point of the road, so I trudged back and then trudged on the other way, and after twenty minutes the car came into sight. Panic over - my wife’s, that is!
The fog lasted almost until we reached Llangollen, odd how it descended so suddenly and completely over such a wide area, but that’s the mountains for you!