Wing News

Romsey Cadets Brave Bad Weather to Scale Brecons

 (Click to enlarge)

The phrase ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad equipment’ really struck home to Cadets of 1391 (Romsey) Squadron last weekend, when they went to the Brecon Beacons for an Adventure Training weekend. They were safe & dry on the mountain, and trained to know where they were all the time, but they were soon to see evidence that there were some not so lucky.

Their first task was to locate a crashed jet fighter aircraft on top of Mynydd Ddu, the Black Mountain. Very high winds, bad visibility, and horizontal hail determined a slight change of plan when on top, but a nearer alternative aircraft was located (a WW2 Wellington Bomber, with Barnes Wallis’ unique geodesic structure still very evident), despite the conditions. Returning down the mountain, cadets were able to see (just – it was still extremely bad visibility) at close hand a Sea King Search & Rescue Aircraft looking for a couple of lost walkers who presumably were not as well equipped as the cadets were. Everyone returned safe & dry, and despite high winds that night, the tents proved secure. The only problem was cooking dinner & breakfast in the prevailing conditions. Cadet Dodds wryly commented “Flt Lt Bastow (their group leader) told us it would be impossible to use a stove on the mountain for lunch because of the wind – he didn’t mention it would be impossible down here in the campsite too!“

Bad weather prevailed on the next day as well, and the they chose a fairly short trek to look for a US Navy Liberator PB4Y that had crashed on Moel Feity, a mountain just to the North of Mynydd Ddu.

There is no recognisable wreck here, but lots of small debris over perhaps a square kilometre, indicating perhaps the force of the impact. Several pieces were spotted by cadets in a search line, and then finally Cadet Benson spotted about 20 or 30 small pieces in a pile, with a very small cairn adjacent. Cadets were surprised to see the colour of the aircraft bits, but this PB4Y was a maritime patrol and anti-submarine aircraft and hence painted bluey green.
As it was still early afternoon, cadets came down the mountain and drove to Merthyr Tydfil, to visit parts of the Trevithick Trail, where they were amazed to see railway tunnels over 200 years old. The CO, Flt Lt Bertie Green, told them that although George Stevenson & the ‘Rocket’ seemed to get most of the credit for the world’s first railway, in fact it was down here in Wales, 25 years previously, that Trevithicks train had successfully run of rails, from Merthyr Tydfil to Abercynon.

So, after a weekend of challenging both the mountains and the elements, with an unusual bit of transport history thrown in too, it was back on the bus for Romsey!