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

Foel Goch 2005


This summit was activated by myself, accompanied by Jimmy and Liam on 30th January 2005.

My Foel Goch Nightmare:

There I was, sitting on a freezing cold damp summit of Foel Goch GW/NW-039.  One hour, two contacts.  Jimmy and Liam were fed up and decided to leave without me.  I had to admit failure of the activation, and pack up as quickly as I could to catch up with them.  Which I didn't.  All the way down to the car, and no sign of them.  I thought I would remove some weight from my pack before going to look for them, and found that I had left my FT-817 and digital camera on the summit.  The car looked at bit iffy on the wet mud, so I thought I'd just reposition it, only to find that like Roger MW0IDX's car recently, it was well and truly stuck.  And no Rick GW0VMW to provide a shoulder to imprint on the car, just Jimmy and Liam's if I could find them.  What a nightmare.  And indeed, that's exactly what it was, as I discovered to my relief as the alarm went off at 6.00am on Sunday morning.

Good grief, I'm even dreaming about SOTA now...  I blame Roger for the recent warning about the parking spot, and Mark for the less recent discovery of radio-related "summit debris" on NW-039 - these matters must have been playing on my subconscious mind, which saw fit to draw the threads together and scare me out of my wits.

We took the longer, but slightly faster and considerably less tedious route across Cheshire using the M56 (as opposed to the A534), then down the A483 to our regular breakfast location under the Golden Arches by the A5 junction.  Following Big Breakfast Buns, hash browns (for me and Jimmy) and Liam's usual of pancakes topped with sausage topped with maple syrup (yuck), it was east along the A5 to Corwen, and then the three successive left turns to Llangwm and up to the parking spot.  This was all accurately navigated by Jimmy.  The exact spot where I parked in October appeared to be safe, in that it was quite firm, but moreover that it was slightly higher, and angled down towards the track, so that I could roll off it if necessary. 

Liam & Tom on Foel Goch        Liam & Tom, summit of Foel Goch, 2005

I don't know where all this talk of electric fences and the like comes from (apart from the fact that there is an electric fence), since good concessionary paths lead all the way to the summit (not shown on OS maps).  I can imagine that walkers are tempted on several occasions to head upwards, keeping to the crest of the ridge, which does indeed appear to be well-trodden.  The tractor track meanders up the hill with a couple of wide zigzags, offering a better underfoot surface, and a kinder gradient (not to be confused with a Kinder gradient).  Better still, it leads one directly to a GATE which OPENS.  This then opens up a few minutes horizontal walking around the lip of Cwm-llan, which was obscured by cloud on the ascent, but clear on the descent.  Jimmy and Liam started asking me questions about the topography here, noting with interest the high U-shaped bowl that contains Cwm-llan.  I bluffed a little about glaciers and cwm being welsh for corrie or tarn or something, and tried to change the subject remembering that I failed my O-level Geography, and that it was not the most opportune moment for the teacher hat to be on.

Anyway, to the end of this path, and THE SECRET OF HOW TO GET PAST THAT NOTORIOUS ELECTRIC FENCE ON FOEL GOCH - open the gate, then turn right to climb the stile, and follow the path up to the summit.  Ingenius I know, but I don't mind sharing it on here.  On the final approach, I noted to Jimmy the point where one needs to turn right off the summit ridge, as it looks more obvious to continue ahead.  We recalled last year where the boys set off ahead of me on the descent, and I told him I had worried that they might have gone straight on.  Jimmy said that as he and Liam reached that point, he had worried that I might have missed it!  The summit was just as cold, damp and windy as my dream, so we shifted from the trig/cairn/boundary stone family and dropped off a few metres to the south-east and away from the wind.  The lack of activity was nearly as underwhelming as my dream, but a good highlight was a SSB S2S with Kev GW7OZE/P on Waun Fach GW/SW-002.  Today's posh soup in the flask was Baxter's Spicy Butternut Squash.

Wanting to collect another winter bonus while on the outer rim of my spiral, I didn't force the issue, and packed up after five contacts.  Liam, like the dream, set off ahead, but Jimmy remained to help, and Liam waited for us at the right-turn off the summit ridge.  The views opened up for a pleasant quick descent, and we returned to the car, ready for our drive across to Rhialgwm GW/NW-046.

Thanks to the following stations, all worked on 2m FM using 2.5 watts, except the first contact on 0.5 watts:

GW4BVE Pool Quay John
G0HDX/P descending Pendle Hill Roy
GW7OZE/P Waun Fach SW-002 Kev
GW4URJ Dolgellau Gervase
MW0YLS Llay Shirley