An invite was accepted from Richard G3CWI, for Jimmy M3EYP and I to travel with him to the Ponderosa pair on Saturday 7th March 2009. Richard commented that Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042 and Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043 would not be nearly as popular without the famous Ponderosa (cafe, gift shop, B&B, motorcyclists’ rendezvous etc) complex between them. However, it is, and it makes a very pleasant day-out package.
So, which to do first? Well, that much was obvious. Lymm Truck Stop for a rather large cooked breakfast and mug of tea.
In the car park at the Ponderosa, my blue fleecy hat did not appear out of Richard’s car boot along with the rest of my gear. However, I was able to make an emergency purchase of one of those buff things in the Ponderosa gift shop.
In short order, the three of us were climbing the steep grassy bank towards the summit of Moel y Faen, on the first leg of our day’s expedition. Just ahead of that first subsidiary summit, I diverted left along a more minor path for a more graded descent to the saddle ahead of Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042.
We were tempted to used one of the big rolls of heather on the minor “top” ahead of the summit true for shelter while activating, as the wind was picking up. Jimmy disallowed this tactic, reporting that it could not be absolutely certain from the map that the little drop before the final climb was not more than 25m below the summit. So to the summit we went, before diverging to various semi-sheltered spots to set up.
Richard went for 40m CW, and quickly polished off around 15 QSOs. Jimmy opted for 2m FM on his handheld and did 14 QSOs. I set up the new 20m vertical and made 22 QSOs on 14.013MHz CW. It was nice to work a mix of regular SOTA chasers, and unfamiliar callsigns from places without SOTA associations. Of most interest were calls from the former USSR, including UA2, UA9, YL and LY.
We made good time on the descent, so much so that we weren’t ready for a substantial lunch at Ponderosa Cafe when we arrived back there. It certainly had been a more-than-substantial breakfast at Lymm Truck Stop that morning. However, a snack, drink and brief rest was in order, so Cornish pasties, a sausage roll and drinks of Irn Bru provided the respite.
Having got the harder climb out of the way first, it was a bit of a breeze ascending Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043 after lunch. I even dispensed with my poles for a hands-in-pockets amble for once, but Jimmy would still not be parted from his.
We each stuck to the same band/mode combinations and working conditions as we had done earlier on Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042, and all found that conditions had changed and worked respectively less contacts. We all comfortably qualified though. The wind got colder, and some rain was on its way, so Richard commenced his descent while I was wrapping things up on 20m CW. After packing away, Jimmy and I shared the flask of hot chocolate on summit, and then commenced our own descent. We stuck to a swift pace, also trying to beat the incoming rain to the Ponderosa - which we did, by seconds!
The drive home was punctuated by Thwaites Lancaster Bomber at the Moors Inn. However, we had made decent time all day, and Richard was dropping us off at home before 4.45pm. A good day, and another ten points towards Jimmy’s MG campaign.
Many thanks to all stations that called and/or spotted, and to Richard for the invitation and driving.