Upper Park GW/MW-032

The most difficult summit to activate in Wales.


Many UK activators will know how difficult it has been over the years to obtain permission from the Powis Estate to gain access to the summit of Upper Park near Welshpool. From a personal perspective, along with my regular activating partner Paul G4MD, we have approached the Estate on a regular basis since we completed all the other Welsh SOTA summits in March 2010. A variety of responses were received, but effectively all said that access to Upper Park would not be granted.

In more recent times, a number of individuals have been able to gain access with permission, so it was renewed hope that I wrote to the Estate Manager in March last year. I was particularly keen to try to get consent for access as soon as possible as Paul was due to undergo major surgery in a few months. Unfortunately, despite providing reassurances in respect of our intentions and our professional background, the answer was disappointingly that access still would not be granted. However, following a further exchange of letters, an olive branch was offered to the effect that if I could organise a group event of between 10 and 20 people, with everyone paying £20 for a charitable cause selected by the Estate, then that could be accommodated. In July, I replied advising that I would be happy to undertake this and noted that I would be back in touch once I had progressed matters.

Unknown to me, Ben GW4BML was also in discussions with the Estate Manager to the same end, since he had become aware that there were a number of activators that were on the cusp of completing all the Welsh summits, with others not far behind. In every case, Upper Park was the sticking point preventing completion. In September Ben contacted me to inform me of the progress that he had made with negotiations with the Estate and we agreed that since he was local to the summit, he would take matters forward, with Paul and myself becoming part of the group. In due course the event was arranged for 2nd April, with Allan GW4VPX coming on board to assist Ben with the arrangements.

The Activation

Ben asked the group to meet up at the designated parking area at 09:00 BST and everyone was present in advance of that time, keen to get up onto the hill. After introductions, we all set off along the route that had been prescribed by the Estate, each at our own speed. The route was on a track all the way to the summit, a distance of around 2.8km with a well graded ascent of some 200 metres. Once everyone had reached the summit area, a little after10:00BST, Ben organised a group of four to descend to a predetermined position out of the activation zone to act as chasers so everyone could qualify the summit on 2m FM. To enable those making the descent to qualify the summit, others descended and the original group moved back up to the summit. We then had an hour or so to make further contacts on our preferred bands without the pressure of needing to qualify the summit.

With 15 of us on the summit, there was a bit of negotiation on bands, but everyone was able to make further contacts on their chosen bands. I recognised a joint interest in 30m CW with Mike G0HIO, so I contacted Mike and advised that I would start on 17m CW. 17m was also the band of choice of Carolyn G6WRW, so she made a start on the band as soon as she was able, leaving it free for me by the time I had set up. Everything was very relaxed. I later moved to 30m CW once Mike had carried out his activation. Between us, with the exception of 6m, we covered all the bands between 80m and 70cm. The level of co­operation was excellent keeping interference to a minimum.

The summit has a large activation zone of open grassed areas interspersed with woods which enabled us all to spread out. Paul G4MD produced a map of the AZ based on the Ordnance Survey which was shared with the group so we could decide where to set up. Thankfully the weather was kind to us throughout, cloudy and fairly mild. The sun did not appear until later in the day.

The Activators

Viki M6BWA operating on 2m and 70cm FM

Rod M0JLA operating 15m SSB

Shane G6WBS operating 20m SSB

Robert M0RWX chatting to Kevin MW0KXN with Shane G6WBS in the background

Neil G0WPO in relaxed style on 40m SSB

Carolyn G6WRW in even more relaxed style on 17m SSB

Gillian M0OVW and Jordan M3TMX setting up; more candidates for 40m and 20m SSB

Kevin MW0KXN and Ben GW4BML

Mike G0HIO and Linda

Paul G4MD set up for 80m and 60m along a convenient fence line

Gerald G4OIG working 17m and 30m CW

Mr Brown, who kept us all in order

On the descent

Group photo at the parking spot (some had already departed to activate more summits)

The Future

Discussions with the Estate revealed that requests for access come from many individuals and groups, more or less on a daily basis. Responding to all these requests takes time. Anything that can be done to reduce the amount of requests is naturally going to be much appreciated by the Estate. To this end, it is suggested that any future activations should be arranged on a similar basis to this event and I understand that Ben is willing to advise on this and assist wherever possible. Individual requests are unlikely to be granted. It is appreciated that this is unusual for SOTA, the majority of summits being easily accessed on established footpaths, with many on Open Access Land. This is definitely not the case for Upper Park which is entirely on Estate land and in this instance, the Estate set the rules for access. I would ask activators to note that this is a working Estate and the timing of any events will need to fit in with the normal activities of the Estate. There is a wide variety of wildllfe also to consider, not least in respect of breeding times.

As previously noted, the £300 raised will be going to the charity chosen by the Estate. In real terms the £20 donation was a small price to pay, given the cost of fuel to actually get to the area. Naturally those of us that have now achieved completion of all the Welsh summit are extremely pleased, which given the 13 year wait for Paul and myself is somewhat of an understatement!

73, Gerald G4OIG


Congratulations to all those that have now activated all GW SOTA summits following their recent activation of Upper Park GW/MW-032.

Jimmy M0HGY

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Well done. In ZL4 - with 55 of the 71 Central Otago summits activated, and all of those remaining require landowner permssion - the art of negotiation becomes a key part of the SOTA skillset, whether we like it or not. So good progress by yourselves setting the groundwork for future activators in GW.


Thanks for a great write-up and photos of quite a different style of SOTA activation! Looks like you all had a great time, and congratulations to you and all others which have now completed all the GW SOTA summits. If I ever get close to ticking off all the GW summits, I’ll know who to contact! :wink:

73, and well done to you all.
Matthew M0JSB

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Great write up Gerald, thank you. I caught Viki while she was activating on 2m FM while I was out for a walk on G/WB-005 Pole Bank and I managed a contact on there and on 70cm, which was great. She explained it was an organised trip to this elusive summit and i wondered if anyone would do a write up, and now i have the explanation! This is the second time i’ve chased Upper Park, having managed to get Ben GW4BML a couple of years ago too. Well done all.


Congratulations and what a fantastic relief for you and Paul… plus others.

I am SO PLEASED for you all!

The Relative Hills Society https://www.rhsoc.uk/ did a similar “mass organised ascent” last year, mostly with a group who were just “short of one” summit for all an all Wales Marilyn completion.

It is indeed the future for this diminiutive, but very tricky to access, hill - maybe an annual or every two years event?

Note: I have no issue with the Estate and their rules - it’s their land and while it remains without a Public Right of Way or Access Land, then it’s entirely up to them.


Welcome to the “Activated All GW” club Gerald @G4OIG - what kept you…?

It’s great news that there is hope for future organised events. It is interesting that the way forward is coordinated group activations with money raised for charity - as is exactly the way I always thought might be how to crack the “Upper Park Enigma”. However, as many of you will know, my attempts to achieve this over a period of 17 years, came to nought!

One thing (possibly) that came out of the pandemic, was that my latest enquiry was received, read and replied to by Lord Powis himself, rather than intercepted at the office stage. However, the (slight) mellowing of attitude could also be down to the new Estate Manager.

It doesn’t look like this group operation had any band-mode restrictions placed upon them. Part of the (numerous) conditions for mine and Jimmy’s activation was no VHF and no voice modes! That was fine for me being an HF CW activator, but forced a 2m FM man like Jimmy to do something different!

I can see from the photos that one of the other conditions we were told to comply with was also in operation for this group visit!

Anyway, congratulations to all, and great to see all the long-time SOTA activators that were one short of All GW involved. Especially Gerald and Paul who I think hold the record for being in that position for the longest amount of time!

From this position (the best that the SOTA activating community has ever been in with regard to GW/MW-032), it is important we do not compromise it. If you are interested in activating this summit, please register that interest with Ben @GW4BML and DO NOT make direct contact with the Estate Office. Ben can than advise if and when access could be arranged for another group visit.


Tom, I think the limitations on the activation carried out by Jimmy and yourself were designed so as not to advertise the fact you had gained permission to access the summit. Unfortunately the subsequent report (later removed from the reflector) resulted in an increase in the number of enquiries which upset the Estate Manager. It was made very clear to me that the constant flow of enquiries is annoying. Permitting group activities to such as SOTA and the Relative Hills group is designed to reduce the flow of enquiries, so as you advise, individuals should not approach the Estate.

As per the agreement with the estate that owns the Myarth GW/SW-035, the route was prescribed. At the very least it would be unacceptable to have people wandering around disturbing the wildlife. The workers on the estate were aware of our presence and with the prescribed route would know where we could be located if necessary.

I will add a note to the summit page regarding the arrangements for the benefit of those interested in activating the summit in the future.

73, Gerald


It’s the estate’s fault that that happens.


I was astounded when I moved to Scotland that with only a few exceptions I can WANDER ANYWHERE I LIKE on other people’s land. It takes some serious contemplation to believe this is true. It’s now written in the law up here. Sure I can’t wander through somebody’s garden close to their house but I can wander over the rest. Yes, I have responsibilities about not causing damage etc. But the freedom to roam is enshrined in law. Apart from some cases of Perthshire landowners being awkward with what is known as a Perthshire Welcome. e.g. Deuchary Hill estate owners blocking off the car park they built for logging when people started using it, the long running North Chesthill Estate’s actions disrupting access to The Glen Lyon Horeshoe or Ann Gloag (multimillionare owner of Stagecoach) who used her huge financial resources to outspend Perthshire Council when the council tried to enforce access to her estate, most of the time you can just walk where you want.

The estates which have famous mountains, wild tracks on their land etc. are well aware that people will come irrespective of whether they are made welcome or not. Which is why many estates work with the walkers etc. by providing car parks with honesty boxes, facilities like toilets etc. The people are going to come, so work with them to minimise access issues. That way the walkers will respect your requests to keep to certain paths etc. when there’s hunting etc. Sure they’ll be selfish people who will ignore the polite requests, there always are. Just like the hams who ignore directed calls and call anyway.

This estate can reduce all the daily requests by accepting they have something people want to visit and accept that many people will visit it without permission. (SOTA people would not do this, maybe it’s time to remove all the obvious illegal activations?) Any sensible estate manager should be trying to extract as many shekels as they can from people wanting to visit. Charge for car parking and let the car parking ticket get you a 10% discount in your cafe/tea room. All those facilities already exist for when you visit the castle on the estate! Give 1 day a month access to the hill and charge for it. None of this charity lark either, the money goes into the estate’s funds.

But… But… But… This is giving in to the “crowds”. Yes it is. But most estate owners in Scotland have lived with this for a very long time. The estate can reduce their email inbox size, reduce people actually trespassing, reduce disturbances to the estate wildlife and make a few bob. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

But hey, what do I know.


Even before the right to roam was enshrined in law, the existing trespass law was a civil and not a criminal one and the onus was on land owners to prove that damage had been done or disruption caused. So, we have really had the right to roam in Scotland for a long time.


Absolutely. But it’s definitive now. For people like you and me Fraser, it’s just wonderful that the law is as it is here compared with other countries where many have to struggle with access issues.


This looks and feels like a thinly-veiled (or maybe not-at-all veiled) criticism Gerald, so I will exercise the right to reply.

Obviously, I knew that my activation would attract attention as soon as logged in the SOTA Database, or maybe even before then having, given keen chasers a “rare one”. And I was definitely going to do that (log on the DB) - otherwise, what would be the point of activating GW/MW-032 at all?

I did not post an activation report, but Richard @G3CWI posted “congratulations” on the Reflector. The inevitable discussion ensued. Therefore, I made the considered choice to post a brief comment on the Reflector, omitting most of the details I would normally naturally include - but including a specific request to fellow activators to leave a suitable amount of time before trying for themselves and not referencing my access at all. This was based on my conversations with the estate office and my assessment of the situation. Having for what I believed to be the first time ever established written permission for SOTA from GW/MW-032, I wanted to keep the opportunity open for others, even though they would have to be patient.

Despite this, some people (I know not who) did make contact almost immediately, AND made reference to me in that communication.

Anyway, the good news is we now have a well-respected SOTA enthusiast who resides in that area and has good communications within that community. As a result of that, we finally have a potential way forward for others. It’s the same way that I tried for many years to convince the estate would virtually eliminate the stream of requests from radio amateurs - but having one of own own within that community has certainly tipped the balance in our favour - thank you Ben @GW4BML.

I do recall Gerald @G4OIG that you expressed that you were, understandably, “really displeased” at the possibility potential future access may be harmed. I assumed at the time that your displeasure was towards those that ignored my advice and made a request - but your remarks today make me think it was me you were displeased with. I hope that isn’t the case.


Nothing personal intended Tom. Apologies if you see it that way. It was what resulted from raising the profile of the activation that I was understandably annoyed about as it could have scuppered access, not just for those of us looking to complere the Welsh summits, but also for activators in the future.

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Thanks Gerald. As I said, no activation report was ever posted by me on the reflector. Inevitably, other participants started discussing the activation. I fully expected that. At that point I had no choice but to join the discussion, but did so primarily to advise of the situation as I perceived it and the best way to keep the door open for permission to be granted again.

It was always my intention (and yours) to activate Upper Park. Attention would be inevitable. My own annoyance is exclusively reserved for the person or persons that contacted the estate office in the subsequent days saying “M1EYP has done it, can I do it?” despite the advice to leave it a few months and not link it back to me.

Anyway, thanks to Ben @gw4bml the situation is much healthier going forward. I’m delighted you finally activated it Gerald, as I know just how much it meant to you.


Sad I missed out on this. @GW4BML if you know of another similar event taking place next year etc. please let me know :slight_smile:

Same here Richard, we’d have liked to have joined this one but Nic was running an ultra in S.Wales and I’d been roped into acting as support crew over that weekend.

@GW4BML Ben, please could you add me and Nic M7NDC to the next event list? Happy to fund any charity donations etc, whatever is required, as Nic’s priority is generally uniques (and MG of course). Thanks & 73, Simon.

I am looking at the mentioned activators on the initial post compared to the photos on the initial post and the logged activations as well. I can see from this that Helen @M0YHB also activated Upper Park GW/MW-032, but not mentioned on the initial post. I also noticed that Gillian @M0OVW activated Upper Park GW/MW-032, but cannot see any evidence of her XYM Phil @G4HQB activating this summit. It seems to be a missed opportunity for Phil G4HQB if his XYL Gillian M0OVW activated Upper Park GW/MW-032, but not himself and hope he gets an opportunity to activate this summit in the future.

Jimmy M0HGY

Indeed Jimmy… Helen is on the group photo, but I didn’t list who was present. She somehow avoided the roving camera up on the summit. Ben passed the photos to me after the event. Allan GW4VPX took some, if not all of them.

As for those present / not present, there much be a good reason for Phil not being there.

When I discussed the arrangements with Ben, it was appreciated that further events would be required to accommodate everyone that would like to activate the summit. Indeed, there is likely to be continued interest. This initial outing was very much a test event. Although the Estate suggested to me that up to 20 persons might attend, there is of course a pay-off between the number of people on the hill and the likelihood of interference. There are only so many bands to go around and some bands may not produce contacts, as indeed Paul found with 80m. Thankfully he was able to make contacts on 60m SSB with others on CW.


I am informed that Phil had committed to teaching a Foundation course at HARS.


Hi @G4OIG Gerald,

I’d like to start off by thanking you for a great write up from our SOTA activation on the very famous and well mentioned ‘Upper Park’ GW/MW-032. The day certainly went to plan and we executed it in style!

GOOD JOB ALL :+1::ok_hand::tada:

Moving on…… there was 15 activators in total that activated and qualified the summit on this day, despite being in photos or not. I saw them with my own eyes :grinning:

For all the activators who have commented on this post wanting to activate UP - I will certainly liaise with the ‘Estate Manager’ and organise another group activation. Please note: we were very limited to the amount of people that could attend the day - I personally had to sign my life away for this day to take part! A good friend and myself worked out the numbers by picking activators who needed this summit to complete GW…… were very close to completing GW…… or is there aim to complete GW, so please do not take it personally that you weren’t asked!

It’s not easy arranging a day like this, especially when the summit is on strictly private ground with NO access what so ever. The Estate Manager informed me that no one has been allowed on this estate for years - I know the area very well, it’s 5 minutes up the road from me!

I will look to organise another group activation again in the near future, for 15 SOTA colleagues, that is the max I can sort. A few people have spoken about Philip G4HQB, there was a reason Philip couldn’t come and I was informed of that weeks before, so Philip will be top of the next list!

If anyone is interested, please PM me and I’ll put your name on my sheet. Please DO NOT write it on this reflector post, that’s how people get missed.

73, Ben