Tuesday morning, 12th August 2014, nearly became Tuesday afternoon. All four of us were absolutely whacked after the previous day and ended up dozing around in the tent until gone 10am. Eventually, Nutri-Grain breakfasts were consumed and we were on the road back through Llandovery, following Jimmy's directions. The target this time was Fan Brycheiniog GW/SW-003, one of the iconic summits in the Brecon Beacons. We parked in the small off-road area at SN852217, from where a PROW was not indicated on the OS Explorer map we had, but was advised to Jimmy M0HGY by Mal GW6OVD. Sure enough, this path does appear on the online OS Get-a-map facility.
Anyway, the path was definitely there, albeit faint and easy to mislay in places. The line was obvious though, as we headed for the lowest point of the ridge ahead - Bwlch Giedd, with the distinctive summit of Fan Brycheiniog rising to its right.
A sudden and heavy shower slowed our progress as we neared the climb onto the ridge, beside the beautiful water of Llyn y Fan Fawr. Our trousers all got completely soaked, but the shower was short lived and the wind soon got to work on drying us out just as swiftly. I even managed to enjoy watching the rain helplessly and harmlessly beading on the surface of my lovely new Berghaus jacket. Nothing penetrated my new boots either, a budget £45 pair of Hi-Gear boots which are almost weirdly light and very comfortable. How long they will last is another matter!
Jimmy handed round the Kendal Mint Cake ahead of the steeper climb onto the ridge. This was relatively easy though, for almost out of nothing, a well-made path now appeared beneath our feet. I had to admit to being a little unnerved by the very steep drop down to the lake, lurking uncomfortably close to the edge of the path. I pressed on and tried not to think about it! The final amble to the summit was easy on a well-established path, but the summit itself was hostile and unpleasant, being battered by gale force wind. There would be no chance of setting up proper VHF or HF antennas in such conditions. First priority though was to hunker down in the substantial shelter on the summit, and have our sandwiches for lunch.
Although all the gear had been carried up, we unanimously decided to attempt to qualify using just the 2m handheld transceivers. This wasn't trivial, and took about half-an-hour for all three of us to get the requisite four QSOs. We descended by reversing our ascent route, and Liam tore off ahead, showing the best energy of the four of us, something that he would repeat on these South Wales activations. How times have changed! After reaching the car, we started to think about food and drink ahead of our intended evening activation of Mynydd Eppynt GW/SW-018.