Brecon Beacons Navigation Trip

Navigation Trip

Date: 17th-19th February 2017

Accommodation: Ynysmarchog Bunkhouse, Trecastle near Brecon, Wales

Attendees: Maggie (organiser), Alan, Claire, Andy M, Steve, Andreea, Belinda, Darren

All arrived fairly early on Friday evening (an advantage of not having a long car journey) and settled into the recently refurbished bunkhouse relaxing around the warmth of the log burner.

On Saturday morning we met our instructor for the day, Mark Hendry who had a wealth of skill and knowledge to share with us. After looking at various maps we headed outside to work out our individual paces for 100m and estimated distances we could see around us. We then set off in the cars heading south east, and eventually walked up to Fan Frynych, practicing comparing the map to the ground, learning how to measure distances, setting the map and using our compasses to take magnetic bearings.  Luckily it didn’t rain but we had a lot of low cloud which was good practice for navigating in. We finally finished the day by searching for an unusual contour feature in the dark and arrived back at the cars at 7.30pm.

Dashing back to the bunkhouse we just about made it to the pub before they stopped serving food.

On Sunday Claire planned a navigation exercise for us to follow, we started by using grid references to mark the sites on our maps. The search was on to find World War 2 airplane crash sites in an area of sink holes in the Swansea Valley. Starting from Glyntawe we headed up the Cwn Haffes gorge in the rain, which was challenging as it was not marked as a path on the map. Having to abandon the planned river crossing due to the large amount of rain that had fallen, we used pacing to navigate to a sink hole where we sheltered from the wind to have lunch. Most of the group decided to head back to the cars spotting various features on the way, whilst Alan, Claire and Steve battled on in the wind and rain to successfully navigate to several other small physical features shown on the map, which in poor visibility, put all the skills learnt into practice!

It was great weekend and a lot was learnt, all thanks to the excellent training we had from Mark.

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