Last time I walked up Black Mountain it was the day after Storm Henry had battered the UK and it was a wild ride to the top. I remember having to drop to my knees each time a gust came through otherwise I would be blown over! As a result I didn’t enjoy the trip and spent very little time on the summit. So I wanted to return in decent weather and have a more enjoyable journey. My second target of the day, Coity Mountain, was also visited last year. On that occasion I went up from the Big Pit side which is an awful route through the remain of the more working. So this time I approached from start point.
FT-817 5 Watts, 4.2Ah LiFePO4, 40m/30m/20m linked dipole, 7m sotapole and a palm paddle, VX-8 plus RSS 2M dipole.
Black Mountain GW/SW-041
I opted for the more leisurely departure time of 6am which got me to the parking area at the top of Gospel Pass for 9am. The sun was trying to break through the thin vail of cloud and there was very little breeze. The walk up to the trig point at Hay Bluff is fairly easy but you spend a lot of time trying to avoid the areas destroyed by the bikers and quads. I reached the trig in about 30 minutes and from here is was a reasonably gentle ridge walk along the English/Welsh border with a slight climb towards the summit. The ridge walk is featureless so rather than go all the way to the summit this time I stopped when safely inside the AZ.
I noticed that there was a few menacing black clouds heading my way from the west so I self-spotted on 2-fm and quickly had several callers including VPX Allan for a summit to summit contact from Mynydd Troed, the subject of my walk last week. After 10 minutes I had 6 stations in the log and it had started to rain heavily. Having qualified the hill I opted to skip the 7-cw activation and headed off the ridge via Hay Bluff and back to the car.
An excellent walk with some good, but curtailed, radio. The visibility and wind strength this time was much more pleasant than last time. The only disappointment was that I realised that there is very little on this hill to write about!
Coity Mountain GW/SW-009
Parking up at the grass verge just past the pub car park (SO 228100) the track leads to a pathway which takes a gentle climb up onto the ridge between Cefn Coch and the main summit of Coity Mountain. Follow the ridge to the left towards the highest point.
I tried a couple of calls on 2-fm but received no response probably because of the height. Setting up for HF, I self-spotted on 7-cw and almost immediately got my first contact. Over the next 18 minutes I made 10 contacts across Europe including a further Summit to Summit with HB9CBR/P on HB/SG-033. It was just unfortunate that I had to QSY part way through because of what appeared to be deliberate jamming followed by heavy QRM just off frequency. Still I was happy with the activation and quickly backed and made my way back to the car for a 2.5 hour journey home.