Friday, 25 October 2013

Wales & Borders - October 2013 Trip - Day Three: 4. Caer Caradoc Hill WB-006

Our route from the car to the top of Caer Caradoc (38 mins)
After leaving Heath Mynd we headed for Church Stretton where I was later to catch a train back to Yorkshire. We bypassed the town and turned right off the A49 a little to the north. A footpath leaves the lane at lower Botvyle but there was no parking here so we drove back almost to the the A49 where there is. Walking back we left the road to walk through a yard - the path is waymarked but the helpful and friendly lady who lives at the last house at Lower Botvyle was happy to point the way. It's certainly a unusual entrance to the public right of way through the yard. After a couple of stiles the path soon heads smartly uphill. The story is told by the contours on the 1:25000 OS Map.... It has been said by some that Corndon Hill is steep, I disagree with this, but Caer Caradoc certainly is, with 900 feet of ascent over a relatively short distance, compared with the nearby Corndon Hill which has less than 500 feet of climbing.   

We reached the top to see that the weather was changing with a storm coming in rapidly from the south. After surveying the whole top, which was most interesting, we hunkered down below some rocks, managing to truss our fishing pole and antenna with the help of some rope.

Geoff's looking happy before the storm as he stays the antenna behind some rocks on Caer Caradoc WB-006
The 15 minute long SOTA operation commenced and we completed 10 contacts with best DX up the Milnthorpe and our friend Colin G4UXH, a distance of 185 Km / 115 miles. Towards our final contacts the hailstorm started, so we hurriedly packed up our comms gear and headed off back down to the hill with too much speed - it would have been fine in the dry but after slipping twice on the lying hailstones I favoured discretion to valour and slowed right down. The hail turn to torrential rain for the last mile back to the car. It was worth the soaking though - this was the last of 23 Welsh Borders Marilyns I had now climbed - the first few were climbed and activated in 2006 when Judy (XYL) and I walked the Mortimer Trail long distance walk from Kington to Ludlow.

The three day operation now complete we headed for Church Stretton where we found a pub.  The barman told us not to sit in the upholstered seats as we looked like a pair of drowned rats! After a swift half pint at 5.00pm the nearby fish and chip cafe opened so we gave them our business, before Geoff drove me to the railway station in time to catch the crowded 17.40pm Cardiff to Manchester Piccadilly train. The connecting train at Manchester to Scarborough was cancelled due to a suicide on the line earlier in the day. This meant when I finally reached York Station at 22.45pm.  It was too late to continue my journey to Malton by train as the last one to Scarborough departed 15 minutes earlier. So along with four other passengers (who were all ladies) a taxi was provided by the rail company to take us to our final wasn't such a bad journey after all as the ladies were very chatty and good company.  After getting back home within a few days I was already thinking about a further trip into Wales to climb more Marilyns for Summits On The Air. 

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