Monday, 17 February 2014

UBES Nav Training Report

Sunday February 16th 2014

Sunday this week was a long day for the 20 UBESters who took part in Nav training. The day is sructured to teach sixteen  people in groups of four, going through from the basics of mountain navigation to technical micronav in poor visibility.

The day kicked off at 8am with a classroom session in Bristol, highlighting some points about route planning and weather. After that, the group headed across the Bristol Channel to Craig y Nos to do some practical navigation on the hills aroung Castell y Geifr. In a brief respite from the howling storms of this winter , it was a beautiful clear sunny day, and on the well drained limestone hills not even especially wet underfoot.

 Group members spent the day practising taking and walking on bearings, relocation, triangulation, distance estimation and a little bit of group management in the complex pitted terrain of shake-holes, little crags and lakes of the Black Mountain.  It is a wide open landscape full of interesting features and perfect for practising micronav and search techniques. We found rivers flowing in to the hills in several places, feeding the national showcaves of Wales at Dan yr Ogof, and even stumbled across the remains of Wellington Bomber that crashed on Carreg Goch on a training exercise in 1944.

After making dinner at the absolute-adventure self catering bunkhouse at Rhongyr Isaf, we had a further discussion of leadership responsibilities and headed out for some night-nav on the hills above Penwyllt quarry, doing some relocation as a big group and then splitting up again to do some further practice of the skills learned during the day. We were finally down off the hill by about 2320 and headed back to Bristol.