WFRA Nav Course 23/1/10

When the WFRA (Welsh Fell Running Association) had to change their date for the first navigation course (weather) . I was lucky enough to get a place due to another person not being able to make the standby date .

Glad I was too !

It was held at the village hall in Llangynidr , which is close to the Breacon Beacon National park and the Black Mountains .
The day for me started at 06:00 and a cup of coffee before the drive to make 09:00 start .
The course started with introductions followed by some "team" building exercises on map reading and navigation theory . Then the first nav ex , which was in the hall navigating round 25 chairs or so . The course instructor , Mark Saunders , put alot of emphasis on "it's a race" which put a bit more pressure on , resulting in the first errors of the day . Very light hearted and good fun .
Next we drove up to the the top of the local hills . Quite flat featureless terrain apart from the many "shake holes" scattered around . We were given detailed maps of a small area and given the task of finding various small flags hidden in the undergrowth and in some of the shake holes . Lots of short runs just to test the theory of map and compass usage as well as the concept of counting footsteps to work out approximate distance .
Then back to the hall for lunch .
The afternoon saw more theory . This time the emphasis was on attack points , route selection and contouring . Another short trip in the cars to a different point in the hills and we were paired up , given some more maps and given the task of finding more small flags in slightly more difficult places and having to use the attack point method (easy to find feature close to the hard to find flag). Then the pairs split up to navigate to the same point but using different routes to see whether direct up and over or round the hills was quicker . Different people with different strengths got different results . The final task of the day and we were split into three person teams for a relay race . Again this showed that , although we had all learnt to navigate (well a bit anyway), add the pressure of a race and mistakes were made . Fast runners loosing out to more careful navigators , slower runners running round bogs and beating faster runners trying to run through the bogs . But , like the fell races I've done , it's all about the taking part .
It was a great deal of fun and I met some more like minded nutters .
After the long drive back , I was rewarded with a few pints of ale down the local . Perfect day .

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  1. That sounds like bloody great fun. Like you say, 'perfect day'. Must book myself onto one of those this year

  2. Get your name down early Matt . They seem to fill up quickly . I was lucky on this the first WFRA nav course . The FRA one in the lakes books out months in advance . That one is over two days .