25 Nov 2010

Book review : The Natural Navigator

I came across this book after reading a review on the Skills for wild lives site.

The blurb on the back of the book says "Put away your map and look up from your GPS". Navigating without a map and compass is not really what this book is about for me.  It is about appreciate more of your surroundings. There are lots of interesting practical facts and tips about navigating using the environment around you. Where does the sunrise through the year, how the stars rotate on the celestial sphere.

This is not just a manual. The information is also combined with history and folklore. Lots of research has gone into navigation techniques used by older cultures.  I won't be giving up the map and compass, in fact I have still got a lot to learn but I will try and be a bit more observant.  I will probably reread some of the sections but this more a comment on the reader rather than the writer.

There is a link to the book on amazon on Nicks Skills for wild lives site


17 Nov 2010

Short trip around the Mynydd Du (Black Mountain)

We set off early for a much anticipated thrip to the Brecon Beacons, this meant that by the time we reached Neath we were ready for breakfast.  This was to set the tone for the rest of the trip as you will see.  The first cafe we came to was called "Nu cafe" and it was marvellous.

The camp site at Dan-yr-Ogof caves was closed for the winter but walked though to the path that leads up the Afon Haffes and then up on to the ridge which leads to Fan Hir.  The only rain shower of the day blew over us as we reached the ridge.
After lunch over looking Llyn y Fan Fawr we continued along the ridge before turning south above Llyn y Fan Fach.
Fan Foel

Llyn Fan Fach

We camped near the river Afron Twrch (SN801196). One of the ground rules for the trip was that we all had to bring our Argos Hike-lite tents. In the night we had some heavy rain for a few hours and the tents stood up very well to it. Luckily it was not very windy as I am not too confident in the poles but for £20 and 2kg it is a great buy.

For supper we had "Look what we found" Chilli con carne and Smash followed by cake and custard and mulled wine. Louis has recently bought an Eydon Kettle which he was keen to try. We had a cannister stove for the food and the kettle for drinks. The Eydon kettle boils water so quickly that we could hardly keep up with the coffee consumption.

In the night the rain stopped and the skies cleared.  A cold start was improved by cinnamon porridge and too much coffee. We followed the track through Carreg Goch, a collapsed landscape of shake holes and crags.  All too soon we were heading downhill to the road.

4 Nov 2010

Feels like -10

We have got a trip to the Brecon Beacons planned next weekend.  However I am beginning to hate metcheck.com.  It may not be entirely their fault.

Update the next day : Now it says Sunny 8 deg C.  Lesson learnt don't look at long term forecast.