SOTA with a walk to the SEA!

The hot weather (think 26 - 30C) continues in the Welsh borders and I am thinking that a visit to the seaside would be enjoyable but we are a long way away from the coast here. However when we were staying in North Wales a fortnight ago I had a chance to activate a SOTA summit (GW/NW-067 Moel y Gest) and walk down to the clearly visible seaside and have a paddle.

I was dropped at the llama trekking centre (didn’t see them this time, unfortunately so couldn’t hitch a lift) on the road west from Porthmadog to Morfa Bychan. Rod (M0JLA) was on his way up the valley towards Beddgelert to activate GW/NW-056 Moel y Dyniewyd so that I could get a S2S - plus he wanted to try a new route up (and I don’t like the steep ascent near the top). Having used this route up Moel y Gest before, I followed the footpath through access land and fields and, this time, remembered to wait until the wide path which led over the wall and to the steep ascent, appeared rather than trying to take a ‘short cut’ and force my way through the high bracken … All went well and the 262m elevation meant that I had got a cooling breeze which was very welcome as there was no shade from the sun.

Looking over to Snowdon and M0JLA
After the promised 2m fm S2S with GW/NW-056 (10Km) and a very unexpected one with G/DC-002 Brown Willy (261Km!! there was a bit of a lift on…) but I missed Merrick (GM/SS-028) as I had taken my mast down (that isn’t quite true as I removed a guy and remembered I hadn’t phographed the mast so took the above picture… walked round for a better angle and… it took itself down!)

and he couldn’t hear me on the stick aerial from the VX7 although I could hear him!

From my lofty perch I could see the sea and the large sandy beach which was busy on Black Rock Sands but almost empty to the east towards Borth-y-Gest (where I was being picked up) and Porthmadog. I could have retraced my steps to the road and then taken a footpath down or walked down the road about 2Km to the beach but I preferred to take a rather winding set of footpaths through the (well-walked - or so I thought) access land, across the golf course and down to the dunes. I think it best if I don’t go into details about the next 90 minutes that I spent on the public footpaths (and off them when I lost them) edging through the high bracken desperately trying to lose height and attain the promised land (or sea). I eventually found the house in the middle of the bracken - so I knew where I was but then ended up looking down a steep scarp with fields below but no paraglider in my every incresingly heavyand hot sack. At last light dawned, I retraced my steps to the house and trudged along its access track and trudged and trudged … and joined my route up, went past the (still absent) llamas, got to the road, funked the narrow footpath (more high bracken) and followed the road (with wide footpath/cycle track) down to the golf course (where the notices clearly said that it was the duty of the pedestrians on the public footpath to avoid any balls hit in their direction …on their own heads be it, literally!) and, at last towards that water.

By this time it had started to cloud over, the crowds were leaving, my lift was already parked and wondering where I was (I was VERY late) and… I didn’t get my paddle but I did feel the water which seemed fairly warm as it came over the hot sand.

If you’ve got this far then the real reason for the post - how many SOTA summits are there where the walk (say within 3 hours) can be finished by a dip in the sea? Certainly some of the Isle of Arran summits (eg Holy Island!!) would qualify and also some memorable Outer Hebridean hills. Perhaps summits on islands should be banned but how do we define an island?? From dim memory, long before SOTA, I remember visiting Brandon Mt in SW Ireland and then going for a swim but it is possible a car was used. I realise that landlocked countries are at a disadvantage so we could try including large lakes - Lake Geneva etc?? Any thoughts? Extra marks for those who actually DID make the trip down to the sea and the sand rather than thinking it ought to be possible.

Viki M6BWA


Offhand, Great Orme, Selworthy Beacon, Watch Croft, Muncaster Fell, Hardown Hill, but I would insist on the five summits surrounding the lovely beach at Glen Brittle on Skye!

Berneraird, Knockdolian, Grey Hill, Brown Carrick Hill, Ben Hutig, Meall nan Clach Ruadha, Ben Stack plus many more in GM.

Glad to hear there are lots - but have you actually gone from the summit to the sea?? Please note that when adding the photographs I added the suggestion that it would be helpful to know if this had been done - rather than just in theory and this was after 2 replies had been received. Certainly on Holy Island we were too worried that we would miss our ferry back to Arran and it was raining so hard by then that a wet rocky paddle didn’t appeal.

Yes. Carn Breugach GM/SS-279.

VK3/VC-022 and even walked up from the sea :slight_smile: (no contacts however)

Yes, in the case of Glen Brittle it was pre-SOTA, beautiful but pretty cold! I still have to get round to Muncaster Fell and Hardown Hill, perhaps next year virus permitting…

ZL1/WK-151 starts off on the beach…


Great work Viki, looks like a nice SOTA summit. Exiting via the beach in this heat was a sound plan!