SOTA: Garth Hill GW/SW-034

Daughter, mast, cows, sky.

To be honest, we had hoped to visit the Dr. Who Experience while in Cardiff, but the only way I could make the travel schedule work put us there on a Tuesday, the one day of the week when the exhibition is closed. We had some time on our hands later that day because the next stop in Bristol was not that far away, so after steeping ourselves in a bit more Cardiff culture, we headed for the hills.

Garth Hill is the high point near Cardiff, and is accepted to be the subject of the movie “The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain“. Colm Meaney was in the movie, so even though we missed a Dr. Who connection, we managed to have a Star Trek connection. [Okay, for purposes of full geek disclosure, in fact, the movie does have a Doctor Who connection in the sense that it starred Hugh Grant, who played Dr. Who (briefly) in a parody sketch, the Curse of Fatal Death].

Getting to Garth Hill was not too difficult with google maps providing GPS directions along the way. There is a drive way marked as a public way that continues as a dirt path right up to the summit. I found plenty of parking on the verge just beyond that driveway.

The driveway and trail continuation are highlighted. To find parking, continue forward from the bottom point on the right fork of the road.
The driveway and trail continuation are highlighted. Parking is marked with an arrow. A convenient landmark is the Pinecroft Cattery, marked with a map pin.

The walk up is not too steep. The trig point for the summit itself is on top of a barrow and there are smaller barrows around the hill, which has a broad, relatively flat activation zone. We found a good number of black cows roaming the hill top, but aside from them, a historical marker, and some scrub, there isn’t all that much up there.


There are a few trail posts, and one served as a support for the travel mast. Guying was essential due to wind. I set up and operated as I had on North Berrick Law, but had to cut the effort short when I saw an almost literal wall of water approaching the hill from the direction of Cardiff. A cold, driving rain arrived just as I had packed everything up and nearly gotten back to the car. But not quite.


Unfortunately, due to the hasty retreat, I did not manage to get on VHF as I had planned, but I was pleased to have worked VE1WT and AC1Z in North America on 20m.

The trig point
The trig point

As was the case on North Berrick Law, after having lived in a high noise urban area for the last year, I really appreciated the low background that allowed me to pick out weak signals with the FT817.

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