A Tour of the Brecon Beacons
Wow, for early October yesterday (Sunday 2nd) was pretty special – light winds, 4500’+ cloudbase, and some pretty reasonable thermals! After some initial communication confusion (mentioning no names, but not one of us :-)) five of us headed over to Wales in my car (Nick Smith, Tim Crozier-Cole, RJ Macaulay and Keiron ?) and made it to the car park at Talybont at 11 o’clock where we met up with Rich O and Annee, and Mike Humphries. Short walk, long walk, short walk, long walk? – the age old question…! The long walk won, and so the adventure began 🙂
This is where light kit is a real bonus – my Omega X-Alps plus all kit and sandwich/water etc weighs in at a modest 14kgs which really is very civilised and makes a hike like this, whilst still not exactly a walk in the park, really not too bad at all.
After a bit of a discussion about plans and declaring triangles I decided not to declare anything and just go with the flow of the day. Of course I had something in mind, but I wasn’t going to let it dominate my flight, and in hindsight I reckon it was definitely the best plan.
We took off shortly after 1pm and within 10 minutes were climbing out under a lovely sky.There was a vague plan to head south to Merthyr for the first turnpoint, however even though there was a nice line of clouds heading that way I decided to stay over the high ground and take the scenic route… (NB. It turned out to be a good decision – RJ and Rich headed south towards Merthyr but didn’t make it back…) I’ve never simply explored these hills like this before – it was a real treat, just soaking up the views… I pushed west a bit farther, past Fan Fawr and over to Ystradfellte Reservoir. I’m sure I could have gone farther, but this flight wasn’t about points or kms.
I pushed south towards Merthyr for a few kms along this line of clouds before heading north again back towards takeoff to close my circuit.
My little triangle turned out to be 28kms, then, having bagged it I decided to try to fly to Abergavenny and couldn’t resist a spot of cloud flying on the way 🙂
After getting up to 5,300′ I found one more thermal which took me all the way past Gilwern to where I landed just a few kms short of Aber. I was expecting the wooded slopes to be into wind and thought they’d work well however I arrived just below ridgetop and the wind was from the south east, blowing up the valley towards Crickhowell, which didn’t exactly help my glide 🙂 So two and a half hours later I touched down after a wonderful 53km tour of the Brecon Beacons! It might well be my last decent flight of the year, and if so it was a fitting end to a great season!
Edit… and here is the video on YouTube 🙂