November 2012 – Brecon Beacons 45km 2 day solo walk – Day 2

Day 2 saw me walking 23.6km most of which was down hill. The total elevation changes were 370 mtrs up and 964 mtrs down!

Day 2 saw me walking 23.6km most of which was down hill. The total elevation changes were 370 mtrs up and 964 mtrs down!

This entry details day two of my walk. Day two was very chilled out as it was mostly downhill. Plus I had been psyching myself up for heavy rain (the forecast) but as it turned out the rain never materialised!

Overall the walk was quite uneventful, other than a small section where I got ‘locationally displaced’ 🙂

As I describe below, when lost I mean ‘locationally displaced’, one should sit down, relax and take stock of the situation.

Why?

Simples – the chances are you remember where you came from, so in the worse case you can simply back track until you get to something you recognise. If this is not an option, then break out the map and compass and pick a nice long linear feature like a wall, road or stream – one that you know which side of it you are on. Then just set a safe compass bearing toward that feature. You won’t know which bit of it you will hit, but you will end up walking into it if you follow your compass. At that point it is simply a case of following it until you can get to a place with identifiable features on the map! As I said Simples!

‘Lost’ is a state of mind, normally a panic’d state that can lead to poor decision making – so don’t do it!

Of course I’m giving this advice out, which I do use, but I carry the ultimate safety net – a GPS receiver especially designed for hiking. I have only ever used it once to get out of a spot of bother and that was very early on in my hiking career. After my own investigation into the incident I realised that if I had kept my cool I could have easily have used my map and compass!

So nowadays, if I become locationally displaced I’m very rarely bothered by it, because one can always pinpoint oneself on a map, even if it’s a relatively large area of pinpointedness! But even with such a large area it is usually quite easy to work out safe bearings! Or to otherwise orientate oneself with the features on the map!

Despite my skills with a map and compass I do carry the GPS at all times and consider it an essential piece of kit. It primarily allows me to record and analyse my walk and it is also there to bail me out should my brain take leave of its senses. Far better to have it, than having to make a call to a rescue service!

Anyways I digress. On with the details of this walk. As usual I’ll let a selection of photos from my walking journal tell the story!

In the morning of day 2 I am confronted by a pea-souper! Looks like I won't be getting any great views from the top of Pen Y Fan.

In the morning of day 2 I am confronted by a pea-souper! Looks like I won’t be getting any great views from the top of Pen Y Fan.

Looking up towards the fog shrouded peak!

Looking up towards the fog shrouded peak!

To the South I was greeted by brilliant sunbursts as the cloud cleared just enough to let some of its light through. I was transfixed by these bursts of light during an otherwise dull morning.

To the South I was greeted by brilliant sunbursts as the cloud cleared just enough to let some of its light through. I was transfixed by these bursts of light during an otherwise dull morning.

After packing my tent up I noticed these two sheep and wondered if they had the ability to get back up given the steepness of the terrain.

After packing my tent up I noticed these two sheep and wondered if they had the ability to get back up given the steepness of the terrain.

I start the final ascent on Pen Y Fan. The route up was very steep, but aided by the fact that most of it was on this stone track.

I start the final ascent on Pen Y Fan. The route up was very steep, but aided by the fact that most of it was on this stone track.

I get to the top and after a little walking in the fog, I finally spot the cairn marking the peak! Wooot!

I get to the top and after a little walking in the fog, I finally spot the cairn marking the peak! Wooot!

And here we are at the top of Pen Y Fan at 886 mtrs! My highest climb so far!

And here we are at the top of Pen Y Fan at 886 mtrs! My highest climb so far!

I am very surprised at how flat the top of the mountain is....

I am very surprised at how flat the top of the mountain is….

Given the fact that some of the sides of the mountain are sheer drops and the exits aren't too obvious, I dig out the compass to show me the safe way off the top!

Given the fact that some of the sides of the mountain are sheer drops and the exits aren’t too obvious, I dig out the compass to show me the safe way off the top!

Headed South West toward Bwlch Duwynt's peak. I'm secretly hoping the cloud will burn off, but it doesn't happen until I reach the bottom of the mountain :/

Headed South West toward Bwlch Duwynt’s peak. I’m secretly hoping the cloud will burn off, but it doesn’t happen until I reach the bottom of the mountain :/

On the way down the visibility increases to reveal some pretty awesome terrain. This is a zoomed in shot of the Beacons Reservoir, I'll be walking around this later on! :)

On the way down the visibility increases to reveal some pretty awesome terrain. This is a zoomed in shot of the Beacons Reservoir, I’ll be walking around this later on! 🙂

On the way down I stop off to top up my water bottles, much to the bemusement of onlookers!

On the way down I stop off to top up my water bottles, much to the bemusement of onlookers!

Sat by the Blaen Taf Fawr Stream at the bottom of the mountain.

Sat by the Blaen Taf Fawr Stream at the bottom of the mountain.

Sat down waiting for breakfast!

Sat down waiting for breakfast!

Breakfast is ready consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon bits and small potato bits! I couldn't have breakfast at the top of the mountain as I didn't have much water left. However, now that I'm at the bottom with filled up bottles this is the perfect opportunity!

Breakfast is ready consisting of scrambled eggs, bacon bits and small potato bits! I couldn’t have breakfast at the top of the mountain as I didn’t have much water left. However, now that I’m at the bottom with filled up bottles this is the perfect opportunity!

Following the Pont ar Daf southwards toward the tree line up ahead.

Following the Pont ar Daf southwards toward the tree line up ahead.

The Brecons Reservoir basking in the morning sunshine!

The Brecons Reservoir basking in the morning sunshine!

Headed Southward down the valley! The country side is just stunning!

Headed Southward down the valley! The country side is just stunning!

The way South is very boggy....

The way South is very boggy….

This is a timed shot from the camera balancing on a wall. By this stage of my hiking career, I don't have any specialist clothing other than the boots. The result is that the clothes I'm wearing are relatively heavy, take an age to dry and retain sweat. It is only recently (2013) that I upgraded my kit with some 'proper' base-layer-made-for-hiking-clothing and can quite safely say it makes a big difference! Also visible is my gorp pouch, another piece of kit that I no longer carry around!

This is a timed shot from the camera balancing on a wall. By this stage of my hiking career, I don’t have any specialist clothing other than the boots. The result is that the clothes I’m wearing are relatively heavy, take an age to dry and retain sweat. It is only recently (2013) that I upgraded my kit with some ‘proper’ base-layer-made-for-hiking-clothing and can quite safely say it makes a big difference! Also visible is my gorp pouch, another piece of kit that I no longer carry around!

After a wrong turning I get 'Locationally Displaced' :) So I simply dial in a safe bearing into my compass which should guarantee me hitting a road which will be the catchment feature. Unfortunately to utilise this technique I have to go cross country through some very dense wood land...

After a wrong turning I get ‘Locationally Displaced’ 🙂 So I simply dial in a safe bearing into my compass which should guarantee me hitting a road which will be the catchment feature. Unfortunately to utilise this technique I have to go cross country through some very dense wood land…

With a sigh of relief the road puts in an appearance! I'm now not so 'locationally displaced' :) Humour aside, beginners should note that 'getting lost' is a state of mind - not the reality. Don't do it!!!! Regardless of where you are you will always be able to guess roughly where you are to a certain area size, so just pick a bearing to a linear catchment feature and follow it! Or even better, backtrack to your last known location! Just be cool and use your noggin and the map and everything will be fine! Honest!

With a sigh of relief the road puts in an appearance! I’m now not so ‘locationally displaced’ 🙂 Humour aside, beginners should note that ‘getting lost’ is a state of mind – not the reality. Don’t do it!!!! Regardless of where you are you will always be able to guess roughly where you are to a certain area size, so just pick a bearing to a linear catchment feature and follow it! Or even better, backtrack to your last known location! Just be cool and use your noggin and the map and everything will be fine! Honest!

With this view of the Dam on the Llwyn-onn Reservoir I now know exactly where I am!

With this view of the Dam on the Llwyn-onn Reservoir I now know exactly where I am!

A last look back towards the hills across the Llywn Onn Reservoir!

A last look back towards the hills across the Llywn Onn Reservoir!

I got to my bus pickup point but it looks disused. Given that the bus wasn't due for 2 hours - if it arrived at all - I instead decided to hike an additional 5 km directly into Merthyr Tydfil - at least I would be guaranteed to arrive at the train station in time. The downside is that I have to hike down the side of a pretty major road - not the most pleasant experience...

I got to my bus pickup point but it looks disused. Given that the bus wasn’t due for 2 hours – if it arrived at all – I instead decided to hike an additional 5 km directly into Merthyr Tydfil – at least I would be guaranteed to arrive at the train station in time. The downside is that I have to hike down the side of a pretty major road – not the most pleasant experience…

I make it to the railway station, but there are technical difficulties so they have laid on a replacement bus service which isn't due for a number of hours. But that's fine with me, gives me some time to chill out!

I make it to the railway station, but there are technical difficulties so they have laid on a replacement bus service which isn’t due for a number of hours. But that’s fine with me, gives me some time to chill out!

Laters
RobP

Advertisements

About RobP

Got into backpacking in the spring of 2012. I started as a couch potato then made my way through walker, hiker and now backpacker! As you can see from below I have far too many hobbies! :)
This entry was posted in Backpacking, Brecon Beacons, Camping, Hiking, Multi-Day Walk, Navigation, Pen Y Fan and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s