Tom Read - click to email meBDXC ISWL WAB SOTA RSGB IOTA - see my radio page for more detailsLiam & Jimmy

Y Lliwedd NW-008


Y Lliwedd, GW/NW-008 - 898m ASL - SH 622 533 - OS Explorer OL17 - 8 SOTA points         Map & summit information from SOTAwatch     Click to return to summit index


We were up sharply with the radio alarm at 6am on Saturday 21st June 2008.  It was the longest day of the year, and we intended to use that advantage fully, by undertaking, arguably, our most challenging ever single day's walking for SOTA.  We drove from Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel, to Beddgelert and onto the A498. I parked in the large car park in Nant Gwynant at SH628507.

Starting in Nant Gwynant at 7am    Tom by the warning sign, early on the Watkin Path

Jimmy and I took our first steps onto the Watkin Path at 7.00am, with significant awe and trepidation about the day to come. Our first venture into Cwm Llan was 2003, when an aspiration to activate Yr Aran GW/NW-019 and then Snowdon GW/NW-001, with Jimmy aged 10 and Liam aged 6 was clearly ridiculous! That quickly turned into an aspiration to do just Snowdon, and then into one to do only Yr Aran. Ultimately, exhausted and progressing far too slowly, and with the main bulk of Yr Aran still to be ascended, we abandoned, turned around, and retreated back down to the Watkin Path.

Our second venture into the Cwm Llan was the following year, when we exorcised the ghost of the previous year and activated Yr Aran. This was with Liam again in the party and it took us all day; indeed we had set aside a whole day for the expedition. This time Yr Aran was to be the third, and lowest summit of a three summit day. Was it possible for us? We were acutely aware that recently Steve 2E0KPO and Dave G0AOD had attempted this trio, but had to abandon Yr Aran at the end. Also, not so recently, I recall an entertaining activation report of an attempt that ended when an intended "ten minute power nap" between Snowdon and Yr Aran ended up going a couple of hours overtime! A glance at those listed in the Database as having successfully completed this trio in a day made formidable reading: MW0FFX, MW0IDX, M3MCV, M1EYO, G1INK, MW0YLS, G4YSS. Could we possibly join that list?

The Gladstone Rock    Jimmy progressing along the Watkin Path

The gentle wide amble around between the woods near the start and the disused steep inclines is always pleasant with the white waterfalls bubbling away to the right, and the sense of anticipation of the wild, giant, remote and secret world of Cwm Llan hiding behind. Turning the corner, and that world opens out, with Yr Aran standing tall and seemingly inaccessible to the left, the terrifyingly tall and sheer cliffs beneath Snowdon's South Ridge straight ahead and the foothills of the Y Lliwedd massif close to the right, but too close to reveal any clues of the upper reaches.

We paused briefly for photos at the Gladstone Rock, before continuing on the Watkin Path as it bent around to the right and using Y Lliwedd as welcome shelter from the prevailing wind. This left us with just fine drizzle, which was OK as we had been in full waterproofs from the start, plus the cooling effect was good for our early pace and later stamina.

The Watkin Path bent around further to the right and began to climb more steeply. We then bent left and further towards Snowdon GW/NW-001 before we realised that we must have missed the path branching right for Y Lliwedd GW/NW-008. We retreated, and found it, but not before two chaps in front of us were descending towards us announcing their expedition abandonment. "We couldn't find the path up Snowdon" they explained.  "It's all just scree, you can't follow it and it was getting dangerous in this weather". They looked to be well-equipped and experienced. They probably were. It takes experience and knowledge to be able to make a decision like that sometimes.

Tom on the summit of Y Lliwedd    Jimmy on Y Lliwedd GW/NW-008

This compounded the nervousness about our own aspirations, but we struck onwards and upwards, following the indistinct lines in the scree to scramble steeply up towards Y Lliwedd's west peak. We arrived on summit just after 10.30am and got straight into a 2m FM activation, using the Yaesu VX-7R and the RSS antenna. We made 13 contacts between in 18 minutes, and then began our steep and scrambly descent back to the Watkin Path.  Many thanks to the following stations, worked on 2m FM with 5 watts:

G4BLH/M Nelson Mike T
2E0DRH/P Lyme Park David T
G1OKW Skelmersdale Peter T
M3VQB Blackburn Janice T
M3XCM Preston Brian J
G0VOF Blackburn Mark J
2E0BMO Standish Roger J
M3UHG Skelmersdale Bob J
MW0IDX Kinmel Bay Roger T, J
M0JDK Swadlincote John T
GW0DSP Connahs Quay Mike T
2E0PXW Ellesmere Port Barry T