Basic Navigation Course Report, February 2015
Our first UK navigation course of 2015 was held this weekend past, with the first day once again based in the hills either side of the Horseshoe Pass, between Llangollen and Llandegla. We had a small group, with only two participants, Luke and Chris, able to make it on the day. This meant we had time to really drill down into their personal skills and get the most out of the day.
However, when we arrived at the Ponderosa Cafe at the Horseshoe Pass we were met by strong winds and snow showers – were we going to have to change venue? We kept a careful eye on the weather from the safety of a table in the cafe whilst we ran through the classroom section of the course. Our fears were unfounded – by the time we were ready to head out on to the hill and start putting theory into practice the skies were clear and stunning views across the Vale of Clwyd and the Llangollen Escarpment. We climbed the few hundred metres to the east of the cafe that finish with the twin radio masts of Cyrn y Brain. Here we practised walking on bearings, relocation techniques and strategies before planning the next session on Sunday.
The plan HAD been to head for Moel Famau, but the weather forecast was pessimistic and we erred on the side of caution and planned to meet just north of Ruthin where we could head into the forests and fields to the west of the Vale of Clwyd and avoid the winds and rain. This turned out to be a wise decision, as the local Mountain Rescue team ended up rescuing a lady on the summit of Moel Famau later that day…
Building on the skills we had developed on Saturday we planned a circular route and micro-navigated between small points, swapping over regularly and measuring distances between points. After a short lunch stop we carried on and handrailed the Afon Clywedog back to our cars.
Our next North Wales navigation course is on the 14th-15th November.