Thanks to all those who chased me, it was good hearing you over the radio and was quite exciting to hear regular chasers amongst the pileups. I managed to activate four summits successfully, and all in all had a great day out in the hills. I thought I would put together a report on what went on during the day.
I woke up at 0400, set off at 0430 to get to the car park at SH684302, and set off on my hike at around 0645am, to my first summit, Rhinog Fawr (NW-023). It started off with firetracks and soon turned onto a boggy path through heather up to the bwlch. Once you are in between Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach, you take a path up the hill to Rhinog Fawr which in itself was also quite rough and included going through a hole in the wall which was a hands and knees job. Not brilliant, but I carried on and reached the summit at around 0815. I then setup for 40m and saw that GW4BML/P was calling CQ on GW/NW-025 so I got back to him for a S2S. I then QSY’d to a different frequency and got 7 more QSOs including TDARS member M0PLA but then went QRT as it was still quite windy at the time and there was a slight shower and I started to get cold.
Onto the next summit, Rhinog Fach (NW-078). Back down to the Bwlch and up a super steep climb, but was over very quickly. I started calling CQ at 1045 on 40m and got quite a pileup, including QSOs with TDARS members M0PNN Paul B, M0PLA Paul A and G4IRN John, thanks all! By this time it was quite warm so I hung around a little longer and QSY’d onto 20m where I got a S2S with IK2LEY/P Fabio on I/LO-215. I got 28 QSOs on this summit.
I then went for my final summit in the range, Y Llethr (NW-017) and called out on 40m at 1224, getting two S2S QSOs again with GW4BML/P on NW-055 this time, and M0PJE/P on G/SP-017. I then tried 20m. The issue with this summit is that there was a low hanging wall which I think may have impeded 20m, or band conditions may have been collapsing, but managed another 6 QSOs before heading off back to the car park, with 20 QSOs at Y Llethr in the log.
I then got back to the car, avoiding going back over Rhinog Fach via a contour path which was very rough and boggy, and headed onto my final summit for the day, Rhobell Fawr (NW-021). The drive up was quite interesting to my start point, SH797249. You go through 3 gates which require opening and closing, and then the last 800m or so is on rough forest track. Definitely felt like you are not meant to be there but is actually fine to do!
I then headed up the hill. A relatively easy climb compared to the earlier hike in terms of technicality, with a wall to follow all the way to the top that GW4BML shared with me to do, that would help with my later descent in the dark. Once at the summit I got set up ready to go on 40m, but ran into my first hurdle, there was nowhere to find a free frequency, or I was too nervous to interrupt someone. I then just decided to QSY onto 20m and got my first QSO at 1636, finishing with a steady 8 QSOs. I then quickly started to pack away and got quite cold as it started to turn dark, so put on all my layers with numb hands and then headed down under torchlight back to the car.
Overall, it was a long, tiring day out but I was really glad to make the most of the good weather. The Rhinogs are quite technically demanding but quite rewarding at 6 points each, and Rhobell Fawr is a great summit for an easy 6 points. If anyone wants any further details on my route choices, or advice on where to go etc. feel free to ask and I’ll be glad to share.
My aim for the end of the year is to do a big SOTA expedition on a good forecast day, a potential option being the Ras Pedol Peris route which I have ran a few times so I know the route quite well, but there is flexibility on other routes that could incorporate different hills still! Also need to look at a 2m handy that is reliable as an early Christmas present hihi
Thanks again for all the chasers, it was a really fun day out on the hills.