SOTA by public transport

Hi All,

I don’t own a car and as such I can’t drive to any summits. There’s public transport to some summits but not others which makes for an interesting issue where it’s easier for me to get to some more distance summits than closer ones.

With that in mind I thought I’d start documenting public transport routes to various summits, obviously starting with the collection I’m most interested in.

The question for folks here is are you interested, what additional information should I put in there (closest public conveniences) and should I investigate making it open access so people can add to it themselves and extend it beyond my can-activate-from-home-in-one-day travel horizon?




Sounds like a good idea to me. It might be worth including relevant bus timetables too.
The proof of the pudding may well be in the number of likes you get, or , more to the point how many other activators reports state they too travelled by public transport.

Alas there are very few convenient buses passing near to my 3 G/TW summits.



Searching for “public transport” on here brings up all the previous discussions most of which will still be relevant.


I did have a search before posting and I saw plenty of people mentioning that they used public transport or asking about it as and option when they were going places. Also one suggestion that it could be baked into the scheme to encourage it on environmental grounds which was met with robust objections.

But I didn’t see anyone trying to catalogue public transport options in a systematic way. If my search-fu has failed me then I’d appreciate a link, but it appears to me that this might be a new idea.


Ah! Thinking back it was someone cataloguing summits that were suitable for less able bodied people to attempt i.e. wheel chair accessible etc.


Richard @G3CWI has expertise in this matter and has done several SOTA outings using only public transport.

Phil @G1OPV used to do SOTA via public transport.

I found myself with a few hours to spare between jobs on the Isle of Wight last year - without a car - and managed to activate both summits there using buses.


Thank you for the GoGreen link, that is an excellent addition.

I’ve got some code that’s cross referencing summit locations with stop data and producing results that aren’t obviously wrong.

My next question is is there a license on the Summit dataset? I would like to post my results to github for people who don’t have Python installed but datasets and derivative works and licensing spring to mind.

If I’m free to use that data as I like, I’d be very pleased. @MM0FMF I see you are the DB guy. Do you know?

On the summit page in the database I have started adding information on public transport where I have used it to do the activation.

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If anyone is moderately handy with python, I’ve got a first draft here: GitHub - iron-bun/SOTAFilter: Filter Summits On The Air summits for proximity to a public transport stop

I realise it is not pretty, but it has directed me to a summit I hadn’t considered before and could have overlooked. It’s GB only data for now, but if anyone has an interest and can provide me with links to open data for public transport stops anywhere in the world, I should be able to extend fairly easily.

There are plans afoot to make running it nicer, to support more countries, and to produce a more readable output.


For people who aren’t handy around python, I’ve baked static data into a webpage you can download and have a look at to see the kind of thing I’m doing.

Download, open in your browser, click on things that look likely. It’s centred around Edinburgh. A proper version will centre around wherever you point the map.

Feedback would be appreciated if anyone has any comments.

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Too stupid to do anything with the examples, but I think this is a great idea! More info about how people can access summits using different transport methods has to be a good thing!

Whilst I’m a car owner, I’d like to do more summits by public transport. Particularly those further away from me here in Gloucestershire. eg one day I’d like to take the sleeper train to Scotland and get around summits with a combination of feet and public transport for a few days.


I made an obvious leap regarding actually making this a sensible thing to talk to people about. It’s hosted properly here:

It’s centred on Edinburgh Waverly Station and only searches out 100km within the UK.

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Possible public transport activations of multiple peaks on Scottish Islands. Train and ferry. There is also accommodation available on all of the islands so possible to avoid camping.



I did Ben of Howth EI/IE-072 by train from Dublin. It was an easy walk from Howth station to the summit and because I was on the train I could stop for a drink at the nice harbour bars/restaurants on the way back to Dublin.


GW/SW-001 Pen y Fan and GW/SW-005 Fan Fawr by bus

We were staying at the Caravan and Motorhome club site on the outskirts of Brecon town, just off the A470. We had planned the Pen y Fan activation for some time as part a short holiday, but as we didn’t know what the parking would be like for a motorhome at the Pen y Fan carpark, we opted to take the bus. As it turns out, on June weekday at least, there would have been plenty of parking for our motorhome in the National Trust carpark. This is also free to National Trust members.

There is a bus stop right outside the campsite served by the X43 bus service, this is a seven minute journey to Brecon bus interchange. From here you can catch the T4 bus service for the 15 minute journey to Storey Arms bus stop. The Storey Arms is about ½ kilometre from the main Pen y Fan National Trust carpark, and there is a pedestrian path connecting the bus stop and the main carpark. I also realised afterwards that the Storey Arms bust stop, is actually the start for one of the routes up GW/SW-005 Fan Fawr

The T4 provides a very useful service for Pen y Fan as it runs from Newtown to Cardiff and so offers lots of potential for activation by bus. The T4 runs every 2 hours in each direction on a weekday.

You can get full details of the bus times on Traveline Cymru website


I ended up making a website that cross references public transit data with SOTA summits. It’s still a work in progress with only a couple of countries supported, but it does all of the UK and it includes these summits and the bus stops you recommend.

The summits are the blue pins and when you click on one it should load in the nearest transit stops in every direction as green pins. Clicking on a stop will offer a link to Google Maps directions from wherever Goggle thinks you are to that stop.

Ideally it would be smarter, but that would require more data and lots of processing. On the other hand it’s been really helpful for me working out ways to get to summits without needing to hire a car.


An obvious question with this data set is “How close can I get to a summit by public transit?”

Wonder no more! For all the regions it supports:

DM/SR-012, 23m
LA/SF-514, 37m
GW/NW-001, 75m
G/WB-021, 83m
GJ/JE-001, 182m
GM/SS-280, 379m
EI/IN-095, 540m
GI/SM-017, 547m


This looks like a very useful resource - thank you.

I just tried it for G/SP-015, and it gives “8 Weathercock Lane” as the nearest public transport stop. However, when then clicking for directions to that point, always the last leg of the journey is a significant walk. So it looks like the site is including all listed reference points including those that are not served by public transport. Could this be filtered?

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It looks to me like that stop doesn’t have any active buses, unfortunately it is still listed as an active bus stop in the UK open dataset.

Deleting that particular stop manually would be easy enough, but would leave lots of other orphaned stops in the dataset. Automating it would be better but that relies on timetable data I don’t have. Scheduling is still a capital H-Hard problem which is why I unloaded it onto Google.

Maybe something for V2.