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

Snowdon 2004


This summit was activated on Sunday 29th August 2004, by myself accompanied by Jimmy.   Marianne and Liam joined us later having ascended on the train!

Jimmy & Tom on the summit of Snowdon    Tom operating as GC4BJC/P from Snowdon

We had been talking about a family day-trip to Snowdon for a while, and suddenly here we were towards the end of the summer holidays having not done it.  So off we set around 7.30am, heading to the M6, M56 and A55 (breakfast in McDonalds) before cutting down the A470 before Conwy and driving through Llanwrst, Betws-y-coed, Capel Curig and up to Pen-y-Pass.  Here, the car park was signed "Full", but that mattered not, as our plan was for Jimmy and me to alight here, and Marianne and Liam to continue down to Llanberis.  At this point the weather looked particularly grim with heavy rain and strong westerly winds, but the Snowdon paths nonetheless seemed to resemble ant-trails as usual.  Having done the Miners' Track last year, we opted for the PYG Track this time.  The first section was exposed to the west, and so we were buffetted by the cold wind and horizontal rain.  Strangely, and thankfully, this was the worst weather we were to experience all day - except for when we returned to this altitude later!

We reached the junction for Crib Goch, after which the stunning views opened up over Llyn Llydaw and the Miners' Track, set against the impressive backdrop of Y Lliwedd.   Furthermore, we were now in a kind of "bowl", sheltered on all sides, and particularly from the west    Still, those descending were reporting hostile weather conditions on the summit.  Again we enjoyed the many interesting conversations to be had with fellow walkers, who were in plentiful supply, as were the jeans+trainers+no rucksack brigade.  We were even quizzed about the two white tubes on Jimmy's back by two path wardens, but no problems.  Views remained open until just short of the 998m coll between Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon, where the PYG Track joins the Llanberis path, whereupon we reluctantly proceeded into cloud.  Business must have been booming with the Snowdon Mountain Railway Company, since trains were running seemingly every ten minutes, with 3 or 4 trains in the summit station at any one time.   Arriving shortly after 1.30pm, we first went into the cafe to warm up, have a hot pastie and a beer.  I can sympathise with those who express a (purely theoretical) desire to firebomb the cafe, as it was heaving, dirty and littered.  Furthermore, the service was poor, with staff taking ages to respond or acknowledge to anything and consequently a long queue building rapidly.  They seemed to have the attitude that they were doing you a favour, rather than being at your service!  Marianne later reported the rudeness of the staff member who sold her the ascent tickets in Llanberis.   A pretty bad all-round show, but I would concede that we thoroughly enjoyed the hot steak slices, and appreciated the opportunity to warm-up, an opportunity I partook of once again just prior to descent.

Jimmy & Tom on Snowdon    Liam descending the Llanberis Path from Snowdon

By the time we exited the cafe, the skies had cleared and we had stuuning views in all directions for the rest of the day.  Upon arrival on the summit itself, we quickly stripped off our top layers for a photo-shoot of us in our Macclesfield Town FC replica home shirts.  The "matchday magazine" ('programme' to those of a certain minimum age) is running a feature again this year to include photos of fans in Macc shirts in exotic or interesting places.  A couple of years ago this same feature carried a photo of me in a Macc shirt while on the Ross Revenge - Radio Caroline's ship!  We set up the FT-817 and SOTA Beam on the north side of the summit rock, at that point giving us best shelter from the wind, although it was not as severe as experienced 650m lower down, or indeed how it had been described to us earlier.

There was still no sign of Marianne or Liam on the summit, and it turned out that they couldn't get seats until the 2.30pm train.  This meant plenty of time to play radio - if she had reached the summit before me, it would have been four contacts, believe me!   The pile-ups were absolutely huge, and many regulars were worked, in addition to stations in the EI Counties contest.  The highlights were the summit-to-summit with Steve G1INK on Grisedale Pike G/LD-015, the ISWL club-callsign-to-club-callsign with Geoff M0BAU using MX1SWL/P, working Steve M0SGB's daughters Nicola M3DNB and Bobbie M3DNC, and speaking to George GI4SRQ for the first time in ages.  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the 41 QSOs, and was delighted to attract so much interest.   Some stations had to wait quite a time to work me such was the pile-up, and I thank those stations for their patience.  Marianne and Liam arrived around 3.30pm, and then I knew the writing was on the wall!  Somehow, I managed to operate for a further three-quarters of an hour before I got "the look", whereby I quickly established that there were no other stations waiting, and packed up.

As planned, the family descended together on the Llanberis path, as did scores of others.  We started the descent at about 4.40pm, reaching Llanberis town centre with Liam's snail-pace after 7.30pm, the last 30 minutes in very heavy rain.  Sadly, our favoured and intended Balti Raj restaurant could not offer us a table until 9.30pm, so we adjourned a few doors down to "Pete's Eats", which provided some hearty food and a bottle of wine.  I could not resist the dish entitled "Big Jim" - liver, bacon, sausage, onions, peas, tomatoes, gravy, chips and fried potatoes - and huge helpings of each when it arrived.  It was quite a unique experience to be struggling to clear my plate after a full day's walking, but with a little determination I did!  Illuminated only by moonlight, the drive back up to Conwy seemed to take an age, before I could finally get my foot down on the A55, but not too much since I was pretty tried!  We arrived back home at 0030 hours BST, and all slept rather well!

Callsign today was GC4BJC/P, club callsign of the International Short Wave League, for which there is a link on my radio page.  Many thanks to the following stations worked:

EI2WRC/P Co. Wicklow Mark 2m FM 2.5 watts
GW4EVX Mold Ron 2m FM 1 watt
M3SUD/M Heigh Adrian 2m FM 1 watt
M3HAG/M Heigh Helen 2m FM 1 watt
G0OXV Ormskirk Keith 2m FM 1 watt
G6LKB Ulverston Dave 2m FM 1 watt
G1OPV/P Accrington Phil 2m FM 1 watt
G3NGD Manchester John 2m FM 1 watt
G7ADF Wigan Ian 2m FM 1 watt
M0CRM Whitehaven Norman 2m FM 1 watt
G1INK/P Grisedale Pike LD-015 Steve 2m FM 1 watt
M0SGB Bury Steve 2m FM 1 watt
M3DNC Bury Bobbie 2m FM 1 watt
M3DNB Bury Nicola 2m FM 1 watt
GW0NTO Bangor Tom 2m FM 1 watt
M1MCW Walney Island Stuart 2m FM 1 watt
2W0CYM/P Caernarfon Alun 2m FM 1 watt
GI4SRQ Co. Armagh George 2m FM 1 watt
GW1SXN Caernarfon Patrick 2m FM 1 watt
M0FMC Skelmserdale Fred 2m FM 1 watt
G1INK/P Grisedale Pike LD-015 Steve 2m FM 1 watt
M3EDX Blackpool Ian 2m FM 1 watt
EI7IP Arklow Charlie 2m FM 1 watt
M3GZL Leyland Stuart 2m FM 1 watt
EI2JD/P IO63HS Thos 2m FM 1 watt
G8TZL/M Halifax Martin 2m FM 1 watt
M1NJP Ormskirk Alan 2m FM 1 watt
M1CVL Heywood Mike 2m FM 1 watt
MX1SWL/P Ellesmere Port Geoff 2m FM 1 watt
M0BAU Ellesmere Port Geoff 2m FM 1 watt
EI2JD/P Co. Louth Thos 2m SSB 2.5 watts
G4JZF Walsall Graham 2m SSB 2.5 watts
M0COP Hall Green Pete 2m SSB 5 watts
G0NES Wythall Don 2m SSB 5 watts
G3OEQ Freckleton David 2m SSB 2.5 watts
MW3CYU Llangybi Stephen 2m FM 0.5 watts
G0HIK Furness Nick 2m FM 0.5 watts
GW4BVE Pool Quay John 2m FM 0.5 watts
GW0VMW Conwy Rick 2m FM 0.5 watts
M3CJV Stalybridge Peter 2m FM 0.5 watts
2E0ODY Telford Bob 2m FM 0.5 watts