Road Trip - Day 3 - Monday 18th February 2013
We didn’t have far to go on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path Road Trip - two stops in fact - but we had plenty of plans to keep us busy. The first stop, Tenby, was a favourite of Liam’s from our family holiday of summer 2012, so we spent a morning there. The pub we had stayed at did not do breakfast, so we partook in the Bar & Grill on Tenby’s south beach.
Out of the cold, we could enjoy the spectacular views of the sunbathed coast through the large windows of the cafe. A full traditional breakfast for me, and pancakes with bacon and maple syrup for Liam were accompanied by mocha and J20 respectively.
We took the steep walk up into the town centre and passed through the town wall. Liam soon found the amusement arcade, and I won a quick quid on the Word Soup game. This was then used to part pay for a two player race on the driving game. I was leading until the final bend, when my son took me on the inside and crossed the finishing line first. I was gutted. Liam was jubilant.
Again, chatting with Steve MW0BBU on 2m FM, we drove down to Amroth, the official end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. We took the necessary photos, and cracked on with some SOTA for the second half of the day.
The first stop was Brandy Hill GW/MW-037. After driving through Red Roses and towards Tavernspite, we took the sharp right onto the minor road across Brandy Hill towards the transmitter site. We parked on a pull in opposite an open entrance into the field adjacent the transmitter site, and walked across the short grass to the trig point.
JCBs and tractors were buzzing around the field, possibly working on the major new bypass that appeared to be being constructed in the area. We parked ourselves in the corner of the field, mainly to get a little shelter from wind, and I erected the 40m dipole. I had remembered to replace the pole, so that the thing would stay up at full height!
This turned out to be a satisfying activation. In the sunshine of the day, and sheltered spot, we were able to dispense with coats and hats. Furthermore, I made 29 QSOs in 17 manic minutes on 7.024MHz CW.
By the time we were back in the car, it had just turned 3pm. Sunset was about 5pm, and most daylight gone by 6pm, but I had plans for two more activations in the day. We couldn’t hang around!
We returned to the A477, then took the A40 to Carmarthen. A short spell on the A484, followed by an even shorter one on the B4309 took us onto the B4306. At the top of the road, we pulled into the wide area at the start of a farm track. There is plenty of parking space here, but I have heard that the farm up the track doesn’t appreciate motors going any further up that track!
I had been telling Liam about the naughty horse, attached to a stake in the field by a very long tether the last time I was here. Sadly, there was no sign of the horse, all that remained was the stake. Sounds rather familiar at the current time, does it not?
This is a very quick 5 minute walk, curling around an easy grassy route to the summit of Mynydd Llangyndeyrn GW/SW-039. Again, wind was a problem, but not after we dropped a few feet to a nice little spot sheltered by rocks. 40m CW was the business again, and 23 QSOs went into the logbook in an 11 minute operating period.
Two QRZ? calls brought nothing further, so we quickly packed up to squeeze in a third activation of the afternoon, and a fifth of the road trip.
We continued along the B4306 through Pontyberem, then took the second right up Sylen. Parking was easy in a wide, but clearly unused access drive by a locked and tied-up gate. This was right next to the transmitter access road to Mynydd Sylen GW/SW-036. Liam and I wandered up the road and plonked ourselves down on the tarmac between the transmitter masts and the trig point. No shelter was available, and it had gone 5pm, so it was getting rather chilly!
A tractor was working on the field in front of us. We were on a PROW, but that does not automatically give anyone permission to erect a temporary antenna, so I wondered if we met get approached. In the event, we didn’t, but I didn’t really want to be hanging around.
However, hang around we did. It seemed Jimmy M0HGY had not got my text requesting an alert be placed, thus enabling automatic spotting by the RBN. Spotlite seemed very slow and unreliable, although I did eventually get something through. Skip was lengthening, and the bands were noisy and congested.
After a long period of unanswered calling, it was music to my ears when DL7URB responded. That headed up a run of five QSOs in four minutes - but that was it - no further calls! The sun had set, twilight was running out, the wind had picked up and we were both very cold. Plus, we were going to try and return home that night. Time for a sharp exit!
Liam’s directions were excellent as we made our way home via Llandovery, Brecon, Leominster, Kidderminster, M5 and M6. We listened to ‘Just A Minute’ on BBC Radio 4, with Paul Merton at his brilliant best. Liam had never heard the show before, but loved it. At Leominster, we decided to take in an evening meal at just past 9pm. We went into an “OK Diner” and enjoyed buffalo wings, tower burgers with bacon, cheese and chilli con carne, chips and cookies and cream milk shakes. After three very easy summits, we were definitely in the red on the calorie count!
We reached Macclesfield at 1.15am and went straight to bed! Many thanks to all the chasers that supported the five activations. The theme to the trip had been Emeli Sande’s “Clown”.