Wednesday, 1 May 2013

SOTA - Pen Y Fan - GW/SW-001

Pen y Fan - 886m, 8 points

Association: Wales  Region: South Wales  
Latitude: 51 53 2 N, Longitude: 3 26 12 W
Grid Reference: SO 012216, QTH Locator: IO81GV

The start of the "ant trail"
The beginning of a new month, May Day, and a good weather forecast prompted an early start for the trip to South Wales. Pen y Fan was the first of today's activations being  the highest peak in South Wales and southern Britain,  it is also the highest peak in Britain south of the Snowdonia mountain range. It's a very popular spot and even on weekdays the place gets very busy. I arrived at the car park at around 0930L and found it was still not to busy and easily found a spot to park. The sky was clear blue with some bubbly cumulus drifting along in the light breeze. Overnight temperatures had been down to freezing point and although there was still a nip in the air, I was in short sleeves as I started the climb. This may be the highest summit but it's not at all a challenging climb.

Corn Du (L) and Pen Y Fan (R)

There is a well maintained path all the way to the summit to cater for the thousands of visitors that make this pilgrimage every year. The path splits towards the top, heading left it ascends to Corn Du at 873 metres, or a lower path contours around this to the right and eventually up to Pen Y Fan. It was relatively quiet on the top of Corn Du only a dozen or so people enjoying the extensive views in the fine weather.
Corn Du
Pen Y fan in the distance from Corn Du
Needless to say on arrival at Pen Y Fan the place was pretty busy. Apart form the leisure walkers this area is also used for military training, and there was a steady stream of army personnel which never abated during my stay at the summit.

Pen Y Fan Summit 886m
The summit is adorned with many memorials to fallen service men, mostly those who have lost their lives in the conflict in Afghanistan. Although the  summit is busy there is a lot of open space and it was not difficult to set up on the NE corner. HF conditions were far from inspiring, 14Mhz being the band of choice. I spent a time chasing for S2S and was duly rewarded with five S2S contacts. Conscious of the time I packed up for the descent as I wanted to also activate Fan Fawr on the other side of the valley.

I joined the ant trail and made a quick descent down what was now a busy "motorway" of people ascending and descending. Back at the car I had some luch and then planned on an attack of Fan Fawr.

Llyn Cwm Llwch

Fan Fawr in the distance
Beacons Reservoir

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