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Moel y Gamelin 2006


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Richard G3CWI and his son Lewis challenged me to a little race.  Richard, inspired by a high-performance sports car vs private jet race he had seen on Top Gear, decided that him on a mountain bike and activating on 40 CW should be compared with me walking and using 2 FM.  The race track was to be the Ponderosa Pair, with Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042 up first. Jimmy and Liam inexplicably elected to prefer clothes shopping with mum rather than SOTAing with dad (they'll get wise to it and grow out of it soon enough), so for once I was childless and able to take advantage of a nice early start. 

I "awoke" after a dreadful night's sleep at 5.30am, made myself a flask full of Baxter's Lobster Bisque, and remembering that Richard mentioned about being back in Macc by early afternoon, assumed we wouldn't be breakfasting out and partook in two thick slices of toast. I was wrong.  Richard, after picking me up at 6.30am, made a beeline for the Lymm truck stop, and to be polite I joined in with hash browns, sausages and beans, with a mug of tea. The edge of the fog coincided with the edge of Cheshire, so it looked optimistically clear as we drove through Eastern North Wales. 

As we parked up at Ponderosa, Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043 was in the clag, so this sealed my stated preference to attack Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042 first - for the first time. Within ten minutes, I was wishing I had followed Jimmy and Liam's wise lead, and gone clothes shopping with the wife. Even if they had gone to the awful Trafford Centre.  Richard and Lewis disappeared along one of the many tracks on their mountain bikes, as I trudged increasingly despondently up towards the heaps of gravel that seem to mainly function as a playground for trials bikes.  I was exhausted, having had no more than two hours decent kip.  I had a screaming headache.  I had tummy ache and stomach acid and felt as sick as a dog.  I got more and more behind the pace through repeatedly glancing back at the Ponderosa and giving genuine consideration to the idea of retreating back there and curling up and feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the day. But, as much as that might relieve the discomfort in my body, I knew full well that it would not improve my mood, so I didn't dare turn back.  I continued my plod, and to my surprise was met by Richard and Lewis.  They had headed out on a track that wouldn't take them to our target summit and had to turn back, plus it transpired that even my pace of walking was faster than anything they could achieve while pushing their bikes up the hill!  So although they shot off ahead of me again from the summit of Moel y Fan, I soon caught them up on the long drag up to Moel y Gamelin, and actually summited a few seconds ahead of Richard (who was, to be fair, restricting himself to his son's pace).

I worked only using Jimmy's VX-110 handheld, borrowed for the day, and made ten contacts.  In the best interests of resource levelling, I then commenced my descent.  Lewis decided to follow me instead of waiting for his dad to finish activating and pack up, so he was soon ahead of me. Bikes definitely hold a clear advantage on downhill sections!  20 minutes later, Richard passed me on the final slope down to Ponderosa, where we stopped by for a hot chocolate.  I was feeling much better by now, so imagine my disappointment when Richard offered to carry my rucksack the rest of the way because "you look awful".  Cheered me up no end that.  

Many thanks to the following stations, all worked on 2m FM with 2.5 watts:

M3KPO/P Shining Tor SP-004 Steve
GW4BLH/M Ruthin Mike
MW0IDX/P St Asaph Roger
2E0NHM Warton Nigel
GW7AAV/M Moel Famau Country Park Steve
G4ERP/M near Shrewsbury Richard
M0SGB/M ascending Stony Cove Pike Steve
2E0HJD/M ascending Stony Cove Pike Mick
M0DFA Shrewsbury Dave
G4JZF Walsall Graham


Liam at the summit of Moel y Gamelin        Jimmy MW3EYP/P activating on Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042

Sunday 5th November 2006 saw a repeat activation for myself, in order to facilitate a first annual activation for Jimmy, who had not accompanied me on my January activation above.  An early drive up to the Ponderosa from the Travel Inn was followed by making good
time walking to the summit of Moel y Gamelin, arriving about 9.30am. It had to be handheld operation only due to the non-appearance
of the SOTA Beam, but this was not a problem with plenty of contacts still to be had.

It was a cool and crisp morning, and the views all around the Horseshoe Pass area were stunning.  It really was a pleasure to be out walking in these beautiful hills.

Tom MW1EYP/P activating on Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042        Jimmy at the summit

Even though I wasn't scoring points, I still had the instinct to make at least four. The plan was to have lunch at Ponderosa, but we were there at 10.45am, some 45 minutes before the lunch items were available. So breakfast mode it was, and a delicious sausage and bacon bap for me,
egg and bacon for Jimmy, and an unusual egg and hash brown bap for Liam, washed down with hot chocolate all round.  This set us up nicely for the ascent of Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043 before driving home.

Many thanks to the following stations, all worked on 2m FM with 2.5 watts:

GW4BVE Pool Quay John J
G4JZF Walsall Graham J
M3NVJ South Liverpool Colin T, J
G1KDU 8m North of Coventry Andre J
2E0EDX Blackpool Ian T
MW3EYP/M col with Moel y Faen Jimmy T
G3ZHE Penketh Albert T
G3JIR Rainford Jack T