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.

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The adventure begins!

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…)

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Heading west towards Pen-y-Fan and beyond

I’ve never simply explored these hills like this before – it was a real treat, just soaking up the views…

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Cruising past Pen-y-Fan (centre right) at base

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.

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Past the A470, looking east


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Looking south towards Ystradfellte before heading back east


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Talybont Reservoir to the left, Pentwyn Reservoir to the right

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.

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Just playing in the clouds…


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Heading back to takeoff (far left) to close the 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 🙂

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Mmmmm 🙂


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Such fun!

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.

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Passing Gilwern heading for the wooded slopes on the north side of the valley

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 🙂

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My LZ in the centre of the photo

So two and a half hours later I touched down after a wonderful 53km tour of the Brecon Beacons!

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There are worse places to wait for a retrieve than the Bridge End Inn in Crickhowell!

It might well be my last decent flight of the year, and if so it was a fitting end to a great season!

Click here for the tracklog, and here to see full-res pics on Flickr, and watch out on YouTube for the video!

Edit… and here is the video on YouTube 🙂

 

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~ by Tim Pentreath on October 7, 2016.

One Response to “A Tour of the Brecon Beacons”

  1. […] 50km Sundays in October, I wonder if this season is finally over? On Sunday 2nd I had a wonderful aerial tour of the Brecon Beacons, and just a week later I had a really lovely 5okm flight from Ubley down to near […]

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