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Way back in time before the onset of adulthood I enjoyed countless days heading into the hills of Yorkshire with nothing more than a squashed sandwich & youthful sense for adventure! Despite long past youthful and work commitments keeping me in the city, the sense of adventure and love for the outdoors never left me. After digging my boots out and returning to the hills I attended a number of courses to improve my hill knowledge and skill base, during one of these courses it was suggested I join the Mountain Leader Training scheme and was delighted go on to gain the MOUNTAIN LEADER Award in April 2012. As well as spending time on the hills and mountains of the UK I have also enjoyed trips to the Nepalese Himalaya, Swiss & French Alps, Mallorca’s Tramuntana, Andorran & French Pyrenees, Morocco’s High Atlas, Tanzania’s Mt Meru & Kilimanjaro, Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia and winter expeditions to Norway’s Hardangervidda. Since gaining the ML I have also gained the SINGLE PITCH AWARD, INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD and the WINTER MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD. I am now enjoying working in a freelance role whilst trying to get out climbing as much as possible.

Friday, 16 September 2016

On The Dragons Back

Tuesday 13th & Wednesday 14th September.

Earlier this week I spent a couple of days with expedition roomie Simon Small looking at some navigation techniques for an upcoming race he has entered.
I can only assume Simon has taken a bang on the head at some point as he has gained a liking for multi day ultra marathon races, some of these have been in extreme environments such as the Arctic Circle and the Amazon rain forest.
May 2017 he will be participating in the 'Dragon Back', a 5 day race covering near on 300km on the mountains of Wales. Beginning in North Wales the route also includes around 16000m of ascent as the competitors head South down the spine of Wales from Snowdonia, into the Cambrian mountains and finishing 5 days later on the Brecon Beacons.  

The two days were a chance for Simon to refresh his existing navigational skills, look at using tick off and back stop features, using contour lines to interpret the landscape and also have brief recce of areas he hadn't previously visited.
Using tick off features on the route Simon will be able to keep a track of where he is on the course rather than having to take a map and compass out too often and lose precious time. The use of back stop features help as a warning that a change of direction or navigation point may have been missed and the interpretation of contour lines can be invaluable as man made features can change since the map was printed. 

Tuesday we spent on the Moelwyns and the area around Cnicht, the 'Welsh Matterhorn'.
The day started extremely misty which was perfect for practising following a bearing and pacing distance, we also looked at recognising distant features (when the mist had cleared).

My Mountain Leader Assessment had been held around this area and it is a good venue to practise navigation as the terrain is quite undulating rather than having massive features to navigate from.

Wednesday and we headed further South in Snowdonia and were fortunate enough to have some exceptional summer weather on Cadair Idris.
With the fine weather making visibility no problem we looked at using back stop features as well as the use of a number of features in the landscape to be able to confirm our position.

Summary - that running game isn't for me but I'm more than happy get out with a good mate on the mountains anytime, if I can help Simon in his preparation for this (mad!) event and it doesn't involve me doing any running then the jobs a good 'un!

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