Subtitled “Rocky Mountain Way”
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.