North Wales, and on to EI

Thanks everyone for the QSOs over the last couple of days!

With a few weeks off work, and a slightly tantalising 168 points to go to Mountain Goat (thanks, Cambridge, for being so flat…), the start of a plan formed.

After driving over on Sunday afternoon to the lovely Dolgam campsite, I had the full day on Monday to play with.

Starting up Devil’s Kitchen towards Glyder Fawr, I found what seemed to be a slightly better track than I’ve managed previously - going up from Llyn y Cwn felt easier, and I only managed one slip, and zero broken toenails on the way back down - I think a personal best. It was a touch windy on top, but the cloud cleared while I was up there for a view down the valley. 30m did nicely, but no dice on 2m - I suspect I was sheltered the wrong side of the very top for most usable VHF paths.

Heading over to Y Garn next, the clouds stayed away giving their usual lovely views, and the wind abated. Both 30m and 2m did well, and it was nice to have the space to set up in relative comfort.

Completing the triple with Elider Fawr, the wind returned, and the rocky ridge isn’t the most conducive to HF dipoles - lots of clambering around as the wire gets hooked under every rock except the ones you want it to! But again, a decent number of QSOs, with only one 2m one interrupted by the fibreglass pole deciding to telescope down mid-over!

Of course, if you park at Idwal Cottage, you end up having to summit Y Garn again on the way back, but I did take the more western route (Pinnacle Crag?) back to Llyn Idwal - it’s not one I’d tried before, but despite some slippery early seconds (slip number two of the day…), it soon turns into a well-engineered set of steps.

Tuesday was looking like another bright day, and the Daear Ddu ridge up Moel Siabod was too good an opportunity to pass up. My navigation wasn’t entirely perfect, and I joined a little higher up the ridge than planned, but still enjoyed some gentle scrambling that’s just right for my taste. At the top, the QSOs didn’t seem to stop, with 50 minutes between the first and the last, but all very pleasant.

I’d intended to pop to the outdoor shops before leaving early tomorrow morning, so getting back to the car, I hurridly looked for something small I could squeeze in and still get back in time. A 1.5km, 228m of ascent track up GW/NW-056 looked ideal! Up in about an hour, quick activation, 45 minutes back to the car, and I’d be in time!

Except… rookie error. In my haste, I didn’t read the description or actually check the track before sending it to my watch, beyond a quick sense check of the starting position. As I approached the checkered flag, feeling slightly smug about my timing estimate, it became increasingly clear that the summit… wasn’t there, but another 1.2km and 190m of ascent further on. Whoops.

Deciding that a new waterproof was less exciting than a new summit, I carried on, finding a sniff of 4G to update my activation time. Without the deadline, it was a more relaxed walk, and activation. Just as well, as 30m was in poor shape, with only 5 QSOs in the log. Nonetheless, a pleasant summit, and a new one for me, to round off the day.

35 points down, 133 to go.

So, tomorrow morning, it’s on the ferry from Holyhead, and over to EI land. I’m planning a day-ish in the Wicklow Mountains, before heading further west to Tralee for a couple of days around the Dingle peninsula.

And then… somewhere else? I should probably book a ferry home at some point, but that can wait, for now…


Hi Rob,

enjoy your time in Wicklow and if you need any local info happy to help. I’m now located in the Slieve Bloom mountains in the midlands so if you passing through and need a break or a place to stay for a night or two you are more than welcome. Pop me an email, address on for my phone number



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I was on DM/NS-125 just a bit earlier, and the propagation on 30 metres seemed pretty good. However, the frequent random thunderstorm static crashes made life quite difficult. Sometimes I’d only hear a character or three between one crash and the next, which made copying complete callsigns a mite tricky. I managed 9 QSOs on the band but there were a few other calls I didn’t get.

On 17 metres the static crashes were pretty much as bad as on 30, but the propagation was worse, with very deep slow fades. I only managed 3 QSOs on that band.

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Well, EI has been fun!

I started with a couple of days in the Wicklow Mountains. Great Sugar Loaf was pretty much on my route out of Dublin, and a quick start. I followed that with Djouce, which I’ve done before in 2018, but this time I could actually see things from the top.

After camping near Roundwood (aesthetically lovely campsite, but concentrated on form rather than function…), cursing a leaking air mattress, it was time for Scarr followed by Tonelagee. I’ve activated the latter before, but from the south. The approach from the north is longer, but starts from the same car park as Scarr, and offers better views. You do have to cross a small river without falling in, though…

Driving west to Tralee, Friday bought three new summits: Slievanea (EI/IS-067) and An Scraig (EI/IS-040), both 8-pointers, starting from the top of Conor’s Pass - neither unduly difficult, and the former in particular offers stunning views on a clear day. A quick trip up Cruach Mharthain (EI/IS-074) finished the day. With a little more time, you could combine this nicely with EI/IS-053, but shopping for a new air mattress was required…

Today, I started with Carrauntoohil (EI/IS-001), Ireland’s tallest peak. There’s a number of routes; conventionally, the most popular has been the Devils’ Ladder, but severe erosion means this is no longer recommended. I opted for an approach from the west, starting with the Hydro Track, then heading over the three peaks of Caher - and can definitely recommend that. It’s a bunch of ascent (my watch reckoned 1,182m over the round trip), but nothing too technical or scary, at least in good visibility - you’d need to be a lot more careful not to walk off the edges in poor weather!

Finally, on my way to this evening’s campsite, I spotted EI/IS-067 had never been activated. Arriving at the bottom of the wind farm access track, there was a bit of mixed messaging - the “National Loop Walk” to the source of the Blackwater was “closed due to missing waymarks”. I wasn’t planning to use those anyway. Other signs advised keeping out of the wind turbines and substation (well, yes), so I decided to press on up the track. Meeting a couple of dog walkers on the way put me more at ease that I wasn’t going to be shouted at.

After using the track to get as close to the summit as possible, and (crucially) not in the middle of the dense forest, I then made for the summit. This was hard going: there’s no track that I found, and it’s through knee-to-waist deep grass/heather/scrub. Given that, I decided to make use of the activation zone rather than setting up at the true summit. Getting to both GPS and DEM-indicated altitude of >440m (vs summit height of 451m), I decided I was safely there, and set up on 30m CW.

With hindsight, there’s better summits than IS-067, and I wouldn’t bother doing it again - but at least now it’s no longer in the never-activated list!

So, that (probably) wraps up EI. Tomorrow, it’s a fair drive north to GI, and finding some more hills in another association…