Sunday 19th January 2020 - Plynlimon GW/MW-001
Gig: Open Mic
Venue: Arfon Ales, Llandrindod Wells
The weather had been nice the previous day, but we awoke to a spectacularly beautiful morning on the Sunday. Sian served breakfast for us at The New Inn at 9am as requested, and it was an exceptional feast of cereals, yoghurts, croissants, fruit juice, tea and a full cooked Welsh. Plynlimon would be a bit of a longer walk compared to the previous couple of days, but I knew that it had a very gentle gradient and was a fairly easy proposition, having only visited it (for the first time) just three weeks earlier!
We parked in the big car park at the farmhouse and paid the £5 parking charge into the honesty box. Liam and I set off up the main track that follows the curving ridge line around, all the way to the summit. The air was cold - around freezing point - but with zero wind, cloud free skies and bright sunshine, it felt much warmer than that. It truly was a glorious day for walking. Of course much of the ground was frozen meaning that there was no boggy sections to negotiate, so the walk was very easy indeed.
The views were fantastic throughout the walk, and it was a real pleasure to be out. Liam was pleased with the performance of his new wellies - he's always preferred walking to wellies to walking boots! Unsurprisingly, there were a few groups of walkers at the summit on this fine day. Also unsurprisingly, there was another SOTA activator out enjoying the lovely day - Ian GW8OGI/P was across the valley to the north on a lower adjacent summit. He was my first contact.
I'd taken quite a gamble on this activation, just walking up with a VHF handheld; I didn't even bother with a rucksack! I felt fairly confident that I should be able to rustle up four QSOs even so, and so it transpired, albeit not exactly one-after-the-other, and without any room to spare - just the four contacts were achieved.
The radio was not the priority; getting out into the fresh air with Liam for some exercise and enjoying the lovely day was what it was all about. Having said that, obviously I did want to make sure that I got the minimum four QSOs for the activator points + winter bonus, before departing. The summit of the hill was pretty snowy, and it really was a beautiful scene.
The gentle down gradient and frozen ground, followed by stony track, made for a very quick descent of less than one hour. We then drove directly into Llandrindod Wells to meet up with Martin and Steph again, for the afternoon music get-together. Suffice to say, Liam and I took our turns in the circle and ended up performing four songs. The group were a lovely bunch of people and good musicians, and we have remained in touch with them since. The beer in the Arvon Ales bar was superb as well of course - Liam had the rhubarb cider.
We returned to the New Inn in Newbridge-on-Wye for a final night's stay and evening meal. We would head home the following day, via a few summits beginning with Black Mountain GW/SW-041, and a very good restaurant!