I wanted to do a summit that was a little more “out of the way” for my 50th unique activation and had noticed that Drosgol (GW/MW-008) had only had 4 previous activations (and by the way I had needed only 2 more points to get me to 250 activator points). The weather forecast at the beginning of the week for today was not looking too bad so an alert was posted because I thought quite a few people would want this hill.
The journey over was good, plenty of sunshine with only a few non threatening clouds, so it should’ve been a pleasant walk on the hills.
Checking my planned route before I went I knew there were no real footpaths to the summit but was confident I would find my way (I’m quite happy going off piste), so didn’t envisage too many problems but there had to be a reason for so few activations.
Turning off the A44 into the road towards Nant-y mock reservoir my heart sank when I saw a sign saying “Road closed ahead, no access to Tal-y-bont, access only” with no indication just where the road was closed, the first problem I came across. A diversion to come from the other side, assuming the blockage was after the point I wanted, would have added at least another 45 minutes to my planned times. I carried on along the road (with still no sign of where it was closed) till I came to the fork in the road over looking the reservoir with my goal ahead of me. From this vantage point the hill didn’t look all that daunting.
The only way I could see for a reasonably easy access to the hill was from the West side near to a place on the map that has a monument, this is where I wanted to get to, but from the South side that means crossing the road over the dam. As I was soon to find out this was where the road was closed so plan A was scuttled. Chatting to a friendly farmer later I found out that it is closed till after Christmas and was only closed a couple of weeks ago.
So plan A was out the window and at this point there was no real plan B. From studying maps of the area there seemed to be plenty of tracks and the odd path marked further East at the end of the road looking over Nant-y-mock, so off I went till the road finished near to an outdoor centre which looked as if it was closed for the winter.
The sort of plan B-ish was to either attempt Drosgol from further down this side or go up Banc Llechwedd-mawr (GW/MW-007), another one with only 5 activations.
Off I plodded looking for a way to cross the rivulet which runs down that part of the valley into the reservoir. On the map there was a foot bridge a little way above a ford so that’s where I headed. As I walked along the track and looked across the valley I wondered if it was going to be possible to safely cross all of the streams in spate that were coming off the hills because today I was walking on my own; the non SOTA friend that usually accompanies me on my more adventurous walks was unable to come along. So the thought occurred that because I had changed my plans (went a different direction) and there were no mobile phone signals to let someone know I had changed my route (or to get help if there was an accident) no one would know where to start looking for me.
I decided that the hills will be there another day (and now I’ve seen what is required I’ll be going alone with someone else) so the best course of action was to head back to my camper and think up a plan C.
After another look at my maps (and a phone call to a friend to say everything had changed) I decided that Plynlimon-Pen Pumlumon Fawr was doable (now plan C) which is where I ended up for my 50th unique.
Just before I got to the summit a big cloud decided to spoil the views and drop its cargo of rain on me. But undeterred I arrived and set up my antenna. The wind was dreadful so the aerial was compromised by being a lot lower that usual (most of it was only a couple of metres above the ground) so wasn’t expecting too much from it. The rain stopped just before I settled for the activation but knew it wasn’t going to be long before the next shower so it was going to be a quick one.
Sorry to the chasers who were waiting for a rare summit, I will do Drosgol sometime in the future when I’m better prepared.
What I would like to know is, to alert or not to alert?
Is it more disappointing to be told there is going to be an activation and then have it cancelled or not to be told and have the possibly of a missed unique?