Ponderosa Pleasure

Hi All,

Activation Report for GW/NW-043, Cyrn-Y-Brain 27/03/2009:

Being slightly disappointed at having to cancel the previous days double activation of SP-009 & SP-011, (I got the job by the way) I was looking forward to getting up in the clouds today.

Had an appointment in the morning in Chester, otherwise we would of considered doing both NW-043 & NW042, left Chester in plenty of time so decided to take the scenic route via Penyffordd & Pantyffordd along the A5104. Taking in the atmosphere of a nice quiet gentle road until we reached the junction with A542 towards the Horseshoe Pass.

Arrived at the Ponderosa with lots of time we decided to go in and have a Brew and slice of toast to sit and plan for later. From the window we could see the pathway up Moel-Y- Gamelin,with a lone walker about halfway up the first section. While in there we had the usual four seasons of weather including a small hailstorm. We were determined however to walk the hill anyway and struggle if need be to activate.

Set off from the back of the Ponderosa, first obstacle was a very wobbly handhold to get over the stile,bit off balance but made it unscaithed! Nice gentle path led to a road that is obviously used by the engineers to gain access to the Transmitting Towers on the summit. we found out there were three when we reached the plataeu. The road was winding but not too severe to get up fairly easily.

Getting to the plateau we could see the Ruins of St Watkins Tower in the distance, as we always make for the Trig area to ensure touching the Trig and therefore conquring the summit we headed in that direction. Once you pass the third tower the road disappears and we were left with a boggy path ,with me sinking to ankle level in various places along it. Reaching a stile on our left which leads to the Trig and Ruins,the path continued onwards to descend . Crossing the Stile the heather had overgrown the path slightly but it was clear to follow.

Touched Trig decided to set up here as weather was favourable and I could use the Signpost to attach the Perch rod to. Beam only went up Horizontal for SSB use and off I went, contacting Roger in Tamworth (G0TRB) on 300 and QSY’d to 320. Roger said he would spot me and I thanked him. after Roger came a Nice 5-9 both ways contact with a fellow M6,David (M6WOW) in Wolverhampton. Mike GW0DSP made it No4: 8 more contact followed on 2m ssb including my usual long distance with Don(G0RQL) in Devon. Elaine was helping today by turning the beam a couple of times to get a better report.
All quiet so decided to go QRT on 2m and try 4m FM but using my Wouxun with the whip on the way between Trig and transmitter tower at the other end of plataeu. only got one and that was very poor signal with audio breaking up something Orrible! Very Grateful for MW1FGQ for percivering and getting at least a contact on 4m. I think the whip works well on TX but not so good on RX, more testing will be needed to determine this though.

Descending is obviously quicker and we reached The Ponderosa with freezing Hail and stronger winds than the ascent and on top hitting us for a good while on way down. Decide to have Lunch in Ponderosa albeit after 2.30pm. I have to say I have never come across such brilliant customer service from anywhere else like in here. All the staff were brilliant in there especially the lady on the hot food section who took pity on Elaine as her face was bright red with the hail lashing she had got from descending. I got extra chips and the food was piping hot with the Hot Tea the most welcome of Beverages.

Finally ,before I get accused of waffling overall we had decided that this was one of the best summits to date regardless of the weather, I felt strong enough to have a go at Moel-y-Gamelin but did not have enough time. Once again bright sunshine all the way home.

Thanks to all who gave me a call while up there, all calls in Database as usual and photo on flicker taken by Elaine.

Anyone not been up this summit ,you will find it a pleasure hopefully as we did.



Great stuff Tony, on several levels.

Firstly, congratulations on getting the job.

Secondly, great report on the activation. It is brilliant to read the experiences of a “first-timer” on hills that I have now done many times for SOTA. It takes me back to that excitement of my own first-time activations of these hills - keep them coming.

In fact, I never tire of NW-043 / NW-042 - it always ends up being a great day out.

BTW, to get to the trig on Cyrn-y-Brain, you will have walked about 1km past the summit! When you get to the first set of buildings and transmitters along the road, to your left is a large cairn/shelter - that is the exact summit. The trig point is 1m lower, although still well within the activation zone, so your activation was absolutely fine. And I’m sure you both enjoyed the extra exercise!

Ponderosa Cafe is a great place isn’t it? I agree that the staff there are excellent and really take care of you, even when they are incredibly busy, as is usually the case when I go. Food is wholesome, home-cooked and good quality.

I usually do the both of them (NW-042 and NW-043) together in a day, with lunch at the Ponderosa in-between, but I have done them separately as well. I find about 9am is the time to be at Ponderosa by if I am going to do both (but one of my sons is a slow walker).

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Thanks for that Tom,

As I always say Our first love is hill walking, but before I got involved in SOTA the hills were relatively small in height and we only ever did circular walks, but the idea for us is: 1) Walk the hill 2) activation and 3) but just as important is the exercise.

I have found also that going it alone is harder than being accompanied so thats why we now combine hillwalking with SOTA together and Elaine will be a regular walker with me on most of my activations. she has agreed to discuss the possibility of doing her Foundation ,but only if I pass my Intermediate so she may also become an activator in the not too distant future?

There have been better summits with views and vegetation to beat Cyrn-Y-Brain but I just felt so good about it yesterday and its the first time I have not been tired afterwards so I must be getting fit as my weight comes down.

many more to come and we have already planned for a nice 8 pointer for the International SOTA Sunday, along with Snowdon on Good Friday.