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 πŸ™‚

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.

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…)

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…

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.

Past the A470, looking east

Looking south towards Ystradfellte before heading back east

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.

Just playing in the clouds…

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 πŸ™‚

Mmmmm πŸ™‚

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.

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 πŸ™‚

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!

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 πŸ™‚


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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