Saturday, 20 April 2013

SOTA - Waun Fach - GW/SW-002

Waun Fach - 811m, 8 points

Association: Wales  Region: South Wales  
Latitude: 51 57 46 N, Longitude: 3 8 38 W
Grid Reference: SO 215300, QTH Locator: IO81KX

With the forecast set fair for a fine spring day, I set off home early for the activation of Waun Fach. When I arrived at the car park on the road to Grwyne Fawr reservoir there was only one other car there. The sun was shinning brightly and it was relatively mild.
Following the stream uphill
I hiked along the road to the second foot bridge crossing the river and then skirted the northern bank to the end of the forestry enclosure. At this juncture I headed upwards along the fence line. With a sharp drop to my right and muddy and slippery underfoot this was a careful and technical walk. after the forest gave way to open moorland things became even more difficult. The gradient increased sharply, the conditions underfoot difficult and I resorted to scrambling on all fours several times. This was a long hard climb! Eventually the summit of PenY Gadair Fawr appeared ahead and I was awarded with some great views from the summit at 800 metres, only 11 metres lower than Waun Fach over a mile away.
PenY Gadair Fawr
The hike to Waun Fach can only be described as interesting. This was a walk of about a mile and a half through gloopy wet bog land. More than once I was up to my knees in the bog, gaiters not really helping the ingress of water to my boots. After 1:50 minutes I arrived at the barren boggy summit of Waun Fach. The sun was shinning and I'd seen only three other people. I quickly set up and launched straight onto 14Mhz. Once spotted I had a good run of contacts before moving onto 10Mhz. One thing to note was that the mobile signal was very patchy. One minute my phone would say "No Service" and shortly after it would momentarily pop up. This was good news as I was running the iPhone app SOTAgoat. When I got a signal, the push notifications came rolling in, and I was able to spot potential S2S contacts. I therefore became activator and chaser at the same time, and although a few got away, I managed 10 S2S contacts which was pleasing in it's own right, but the cream was working Bill, W4ZV/p for a transatlantic S2S on W4C/WP-012. He writes about his own activation on his blog.
Summit to Summits

My plans to pack up and move on early to activate a couple more summits on the way home seemed to be evaporating. Every time I said "that's it" another spot would appear, or one of the many hikers would come across and engage me in conversation. This turned out to be a very busy hill top! Eventually I pulled the plug, packed up and made ready for the descent. Not wishing to trudge back across the bog, or tackle what would be a difficult descent, I instead made a direct beeline for the reservoir in the valley below. The descent was very straight forward and as an ascent option I'd also highly recommend it. I passed dozens of people ascending this route and it certainly seems popular.


Ready to roll

The shack

The easy descent route to the reservoir

Grwyne Fawr reservoir

Looking back at the dam

Eventually I arrived back at the start point having walked a total of eight tough miles. It now looked like I'd only manage one more activation, so packed the car and departed for Bryn Awr, GW/SW-026.

Back to the valley floor

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