Struggled for 4 on Snowdon?!

Subtitled “Rocky Mountain Way”

HI All,

Activation Report 10/04/2009 on GW/NW-001 Snowdon

We had originally decided to take train from LLanberis to summit and then walk down via Miners path to Pen-Y-Pass, this was changed when we booked advance tickets and they told us the train only goes to Clogwyn before May.So decision was taken there and then to reach Trig from Clogwyn by foot.

Google had informed us Route from Home QTH was approx 1 & 1/2 Hours and train at llanberis was 9am, so in my usual “we have to leave in plenty of time to avoid missing it” we left at 6.45 from Helsby. following A55 till just after Menai Bridge then taking the road to Llanberis which was quicker than I thought. Arrived early and parked in Large Manned car park on Left opposite summit train station (£5.50 all day). Getting there early had the advantage of a Hot Brew in station cafe and toilet break, could not see most of Snowdon as Clouds had descended on it like a blanket.

Train left promptly at 9 with no empty seat ,we were surprsisee at the amount of people wishing to go up. We found out later that most of them were tourists just taking train up to Clogwyn staying there and coming back down on train. Only elaine and myself and one other couple heahded for the Trig on what lloked like quite a steep path up. we struggled for a few hundred yards until it slightly levelled off and our legs had decided to wake up. we paused for a water break at the point where the Miners path met our path from the left with a large stonehenge type rock marked the crossroads. we could actually see some of the way down the miners path which was quite steep going down, I told Elaine this would be our route down after Trig and activation.

The final section to the Trig was steeper and very rocky in places,with plenty of loose boulders to trick you into hobbling slightly as they moved below your feet. by this time we had met a few people on their way back down and commented on the fact that some of them were actually running down. We would find out later that these had also ran up from base ( A big well done from us to them!! as we had found some difficult spots to walk up). Reaching Trig in plenty of time for SOTA Alert,we used the back of the Visitors Centre for shelter and had our early Lunch with a surprisingly still hot tea from the flask.

I had to stick with HH and my Whip for 2m as: 1) no where to put up J pole and 2) by now the Summit was full of walkers like ants on an anthill, with a constant stream of bodies going up to Trig and down. we were overwhelmed by the amount of people who had braved what was strong winds,sideways snow at times and colder than we had anticipated.
Then the struggle really began, as I had anticiapated a pile up being on a 10 pointer, it was disappointing to not get a call back on .500FM? CQ CQ then a local guy MW0AQZ from Holyhead came back to me and at least I knew the Alinco was working with 5-9 report both ways. It took another 25 mins to get the other three calls to activate and I was at one point getting concerned it wouldnt happen until Alun (2W0CYM) from Anglesey came back to me at 11.12 UTC. Thanks very much for making it 4 PHEW!!! numerous calls later I gave up and because I only had Rubber duck on the Wouxun with nowhere to put my dipole up for it,I abandoned all hope with 4M.

Starting our descent down in thick cloud but no snow, we reached the Stone marking path for Miners route down, but we could not see more than two steps down below us and I put my Health & Safety head on and decided to continue down via the path that intermingled with the railway. Arrived at Clogwyn and sunshine had begun to break through although looking back at summit ,it was still covered in cloud. had a final brew from flask here and finshed off two custard tarts that were supposed to be our picnic desert.

Heading underneath the railway we statred down towards Llanberis in Brilliant Sunshine,with lovely views all around. This path down was becoming a struggle as once again there were a lot of loose small boulders and rocks that moved constantly under our feet. we had decided by then to not rush down and keep our Health & safety heads on! Even with us both having Brashers Boots on , in places we gingerly hobbled to the Halfway Cafe which we were surprised to see was open. So toilet break and a Welcome Brew with a 10 min sit before heading final descent.

The path contines to cross under and over the railway line and in places was quite steep, with our knees now having a moan about having to hold us back from running. a welcome sight as you come over the last ridge is Llanberis and the lake beyond it. Close to the town on the path is “A Licensed Coffee Shop” who lets you eat your own food free of charge but charges 50p for the use of the W.C. unless you buy something in there.

Finally arriving back at Car Park, at 5pm we set off on return Journey ,with Mobile contacts most of way home. Elaine ordered our Takeaway Indian when we were 20 mins from home which we then munched on with a well deserved glass of Red after a welcome shower and while Elaine soaked her feet.

Overall The challenge of Snowdon was one we feel was very personal to us, as we used to love walking small hills and dales before Xmas 2007 when Elaine was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. This had left her very weak for a time after they had removed a Rugby ball size growth from her stomach area. She was given the all clear last March and yesterday was the anniversary of us conquring Moel Famau from the loggerheads route. so 12 months on this was important to do our best to conquer the highest Summit in Wales. so even though we got the train to Clogwyn it was a great achievement for us to reach Snowdon trig. And as I have only been Activating SOTA for a short time I feel it was an achievement for me to do it on NW-001.

Thanks again for the calls to help me get my points and they have been logged in database as usual and some pics are on flicker.



Congratulations on the activation, the expedition, and an interesting report Tony. For some reason I always thought that the visitor centre and summit station was slightly outside of the activation zone, but I am wrong, they are just inside. Is the new summit building fully open yet?



In reply to 2E0LAE:
I was listening out for you on 2m and was surprised that I didn’t hear you. But if you were sheltering around the back of the Visitors Centre that would explain it.

Glad to hear you both got down OK.

Roger MW0IDX

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom, wasnt sure myself,but I was actually sitting on the mound at the back of the Centre that the Trig is mounted on which looks about 10 metres below Trig??

no room next to trig with all the ants! Hi Hi

I was hoping I did not get too personal but as I said I couldnt be more proud of Elaine at the moment and decided to let the forum know.

I am lucky also to have an XYL who supports me totally with Radio and is considering doing her Foundation (although at present it is Only Considering)!!

Yes Centre is open but only in summer ,I believe it opens in May at the same time as the trains go all the way up.??



In reply to MW0IDX:

Hi Roger, sorry I missed you and possibly a few more, but as I said HH is not the best idea when activating. I sat on the mound just as much to get as close to Trig but also to get as much distance between antenna and all that metal in the Centre building.

I am sorry if any chasers were after 10 points but conditions were weird up there yesterday.



Can be a strange place up there. Last time I was up (mid week a couple of years ago) I had no problem getting four contacts, using an FT817 with the rubber duck, but the chasers (all semi local) soon dried up. I have however been up there twice before with a handie, quite a few years ago though, and had absolutely no response to any calls on S20 - even after half an hour of intermittent calls. I have my doubts about how good the take off back into G land is from there.


In reply to G8HXE:

I’ve heard tell the 817 has a rather good rubber duck (as rubber ducks go). I had to use it when I activated Snowdon because the pegs wouldn’t hold in the ground for guying the SOTA pole :frowning:
I’m a bit surprised at having trouble getting four there though. It’s the highest place for hundreds of miles. Though if you weren’t right at the top that won’t have helped, especially if you were next to a whacking great steel building.
Also, just a note - if Tony had taken the train right to the summit and then activated I wouldn’t have considered that a valid activation - Summit Station is already within the activation zone, yet the final ascent must be under human power! From Clogwyn is OK though.

Oh, btw, if you want good take-off into England, try Moel Siabod. It’s the easternmost major mountain in Snowdonia, so there’s nothing between you and the cities of England. I worked loads of stations from there on 2m FM, going as far as Yorkshire I think.

In reply to G8HXE:


It can’t be too bad as a site. I qualified it reasonably easily on 10GHz with just a simple horn antenna. I heard a station in Essex on 10G from there (well over 300km).

That being said, it is easy to forget that it is quite a remote hill and the distances to major population centres are long (over 130km from Macclesfield). Just being high doesn’t necessarily make it a good site though. Locals here know that our highest hill (Kinder Scout) is not the best VHF site in the area by a long way!

If you were using just a handheld radio, your precise location on the hill could be important. The visitor centre is perhaps on the wrong side to give a clear takeoff to most SOTA chasers.



In reply to G8HXE:

Cheers for the reply Keith,

It makes me feel better that someone else had a struggle, I was getting a bit anxious that I had done something wrong.



In reply to M0FFX:

“Also, just a note - if Tony had taken the train right to the summit and then activated I wouldn’t have considered that a valid activation - Summit Station is already within the activation zone, yet the final ascent must be under human power! From Clogwyn is OK though.”

There’s some very important information for anyone planning to activate in the future, losing 10 points for a mistake like that would have had me a bit upset. As my original plan was to take train to summit and walk all the way back down.

Maybe this should be put on the “tips section” for NW-001 to assist other activators who are not aware. in fact I will put it on there today myself.

Thanks for the “Heads up”

I have also just checked with log book & database and NW-001 was my 13th Summit so could have been worse!! Hi Hi



In reply to 2E0LAE:

In fact the railway doesn’t go to the summit, it terminates at the summit station which is on the edge of the AZ (on my old map just outside it but I don’t know if it has been repositioned during the rebuild) and approximately 100 metres away from the summit trig point. Its actually quite a stiff little pull up to the summit from the station, particularly if you can’t be bothered with the steps. It seems to me that using the train would not invalidate an activation, but if somebody is a stickler they can always disembark from the train, walk a few metres down the track to be sure that they are outside the AZ, then re-ascend and activate.

Personally, I’m rather pleased that there is a 10-pointer that can be activated by the unfit, handicapped and those rich in years!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

I agree with that Brian, and thinking about it,while I was up there it certainly looked like the Station was well below the Trig. As to whether it is on the edge ,just in or just out of AZ would I think be difficult to measure?

But if the MT agrees that you can do what you suggest by walking outside the AZ and then walking back in then that sounds like good advice for future activations.

But as a self policer, I would still like the MT to agree to it?? (I admit I am a Stickler)



In reply to G8ADD:


Looking at the 1:25000 on Anquet going by the line in teh station area and not the red blob. If you are east of the line you are definitely in the activation zone.
See blow up here

Roger G4OWG

In reply to G4OWG:

I looked at your blow-up and then referred to Get-a-map on the OS website, and it makes me glad I never got an updated map, Roger, being too stingy! Mine was bought in 1977 and is still in imperial units, there is no big red blob just a small black outline of the building. You can see on this map that the end of the railway line is right on the fourth contour from the trig point, making it a nominal 84 feet below the summit. I say nominal because the contours are, I believe, drawn in by hand but tied in to whatever levelling traverses were made! This means that unless you know just where the traverses were made and they are conveniently placed, the contours are not reliable.

Tony, I think the MT are unlikely to give a definitive ruling on this, partly because of the approximate quality of the contours but mostly because there are many hills with road access within a very extensive AZ. The rules do not require the AZ to be accessed on foot, only the summit (actually the operating point within the AZ, the rules do not specify that the actual summit be reached though pretty well all activators would prefer to do so.) If this leads to some summits only having a small height gain from the roadhead, they will be balanced by others where there is a 10-mile walk and 1000 metres height gain from the roadhead. The relevant rule is 3.5.4: “Summits that are accessible by road can still be included in the programme, although operation from vehicles is not permitted.” For our purpose the railway can be regarded as a road. I hope this helps clarify the issue.


Brian G8ADD