GW/SW-006 & GW/SW-007- A bit of a challenge
Friday was a glorious sunny day so the weather boded well for the planned activation on Saturday, but as always with our British weather things can change rapidly, especially in South Wales. I was hoping to activate two summits this time so planned for a long day and an early start. As it happened I managed to be on the road for 7am so not too bad. The motorway was clear at that time of day so a fairly pleasant journey but the weather had clearly deteriorated since Friday.
There are a few approach options available for these two summits, the eastern approach is popular but parking is very limited. There is also an option from the North West but this is a very steep route without a clear path and again parking is not great. The route I chose for the day started from the South Wales Caving Club car park (satnav SA9 1GQ) at SN 855 155. This route is slightly longer but there is a very good and obvious path leading past Fan Gyhirych and onward towards Fan Nedd. There is plenty of parking available in the old quarry in front of the clubhouse.
Arriving at the car park at at about 9:30am I was soon kitted up and on the path. By this time the cloud had descended and there was a slight drizzle in the air so full waterproofs were the order of the day.
The path leaves from the left side of the road just in front of the entrance to the clubhouse. Initially head East through a stile and onto the old tramway. Here the path splits, there is a higher route, part of the Beacons Way which is more scenic but bears off towards the South West after a couple of Km. If you use this route you should leave the path by the large swallow hole and head North to pick up the tramway again. As it was already a long day I took the lower route via the tramway which leads directs to the summit. This is an easy climb and is easy to find being slightly raised across the more waterlogged regions and later made up for vehicular use by the forestry. Follow this track until you reach the small stream at SN 882 186. Just past the stream about 20 metres there is a fairly obvious path leading up to the summit about 500m to the North.
I set up the station on the summit next to the trig point. There is really no shelter on this summit, just the trig point and a flat expanse of typical Brecon’s summit. The wind was blowing steadily at about 20mph and gusting to nearer 30mph, bringing with it a steady drizzle, not the most pleasant of activation’s. The gusts were converting the vertical aerial to horizontal at times. Once the aerial was up I pulled out the emergency shelter and set to operating from inside that. The wind on the fabric made listening difficult but still I managed to record sixteen contacts so definitely a successful activation including a S2S with M3TMX/M on G/WB-016.
Packing away in the wind and the wet was a bit of a challenge but once done I headed back down the hill using the well worn path. There is an option to head down on a more northerly bearing skirting the edge, but for what it saves in distance it’s easier to stick with the path.
Once back on the track continue along to the East until you reach the gate that marks the turning point towards Fan Nedd. Follow the path along the fence line down into the valley and through the big gap in the wall. The path up the flank of Fan Nedd is pretty clear if a bit muddy and slippery in places.
At the top of the path is a large cairn, this is not the summit though so continue on from here to the South another 500m to find the summit trig point. Just before you reach the trig point you will see a small shelter which will make a great place to set up the shack.
The wind on Fan Nedd was similar and the rain had intensified so I quickly set up and retired to the shelter below the wall. Whoever built this certainly knew which way the wind would come from as it was pointed directly into the worst of it.
I soon had the required contacts in the log so took the opportunity to enjoy lunch. With this out of the way I put out another call and made one last contact before packing away.
Once I was ready to leave I tuned the radio back to GB3TD repeater in Swindon and heard G4LDL talking to someone on the M4 motorway. I managed to quickly say hello before heading down the hill to try and get out of the weather.
It was then just the long march back along the track returning along the same route I came in on. I arrived back at the car park just after sunset, wet but happy with two summits successfully logged.
Date – 18th November 2017
Postcode – SA9 1GQ
Parking – SN 855 155
Radio – Kenwood TH-D74 + 50W PA on 2m
Antenna – 2 ele dipole
Band – 144 FM
Contacts – 16 + 6
SOTA points – 6 + 4
Group – Myself