You have all the fun Tom!
Not quite Marc. I missed it. I was walking with Liam. Jimmy had shot off ahead as usual, and before the Crib Goch turning, Marianne had gone off ahead as well. They both witnessed the summit concert by Mike, but it had all finished by the time Liam and I got there, although Mike and his party of hundreds were still swarming the summit.
We had driven over from Macc when I got home from work on the Friday teatime, and checked into the Dol Peris Hotel. This, by the Thursday, was just about the last room available in Llanberis, but it turned out to be comfortable and pleasant. Llanberis was heaving, so we thought ahead and booked our table at the Spice of Llanberis Indian restaurant for the following night. After a couple of drinks and relieving the “Word Up” game machine of a few quid at The Heights Hotel public bar, we returned over the road and retired to bed.
After breakfast on the Saturday morning, we queued at the bus stop opposite and caught the 0945 local bus up to Pen-y-Pass. It was good we did it that way, for the car park was fenced off, marked “Full”. Jimmy led the way along the Pyg Track and soon disappeared as he progressed rapidly through the ant trail leading its way to Snowdon summit. Marianne was next to break away from the pack, leaving myself and Liam to slowly plod together for the next two and a half hours.
Despite the forecast for isolated heavy showers, it remained dry and calm with excellent views for the ascent. As we passed the junction where the Miners’ Track joined and progress became slightly steeper with a few semi-scrambles, we could see the summit, covered in hundreds and hundreds of people. By this stage, Jimmy was activating, and I was listening in with interest. He reported to me that his mother had arrived on the summit, and that Mike Peters from the 80s band The Alarm was performing acoustically! Hence the mass of people on the summit, all part of the charity ascent and now an appreciative audience as Mike belted out “68 Guns” and other old favourites. As Liam and I climbed up the wall to the ridge, we heard frequent loud cheering from the masses on the summit.
We reached the railway track, and followed it up to the building site for the new summit complex, due to open Summer 2008. The arrangement of the steel girders reminded me of the new bus station in Macclesfield. We soon found Jimmy and Marianne on the summit, and set up the SOTA Beam. It was difficult to find suitable space with all those hundreds of people milling about, and an HF antenna would have been out of the question. Mike Peters had finished his concert, but was now posing for photos at the trig point.
I made 15 QSOs, 14 on 2m FM and just one on the 2m CW. I made the one nominal contact on CW to ensure I couldn’t be accused of just using one band/mode. 15 contacts was sufficient immunity against the “four and off” charge while use of a SLAB, 5 watts and a beam ensured my short-term popularity. Remarkably, 7 contacts were with radio amateurs from my home town of Macclesfield, some at home, some on other summits and one on holiday - in a caravan in Llanberis! Jimmy had earlier made 16 contacts on 2m FM just with his handie dandie and rubber duck.
Jimmy led Liam and Marianne off the summit while I was still operating. Just as I was packing up, the weather closed in rapidly, and suddenly it was bitterly cold in strong wind and heavy rain, with very poor visability. I maintained radio contact with Jimmy who gave me frequent updates as to progress. I managed to catch them up halfway down to the first lake, and Jimmy was soon shooting off ahead, realising that he could ditch group leader responsibilities onto his father.
It rained pretty hard and consistently during the descent. Even after 5pm, there were others still ascending and asking “How far to the top?”. We reached Pen-y-Pass at 6.50pm, which meant a 55 minute wait 'til the next bus down to Llanberis. We stripped off what dripping wet stuff we could in the waiting room. Another party was dropped off with their driver promising to be back in four hours, so possibly a Three Peaks attempt. The bus was on time, and after a welcome shower at the hotel, we arrived at the Spice of Llanberis right on our 9pm table booking time. The food was brilliant, and I recommend this establishment - but try to book - I have only ever seen it full. Marianne and I were in good spirits and downed a few pints of Cobra beer between us. She had been pleased with her own abilities on the walk, and proud of Liam who made it all the way there and back on foot for the first time.
With our coats, hats, overtrousers and boots still wet from the day before, we decide to forego any possible walking on the Sunday. Instead, we visited Elidir Fawr GW/NW-005, but from the inside! We went on the Electric Mountain tour, which was very interesting, and a nice way to spend half the day.
Jimmy did his first ever 10 point activation, and I am now into the 900s, so the MG really is on the horizon!