Providing you with the skills and confidence to be able to fully enjoy the hills and moorlands of the UK – that’s our business.

A Cautionary Tale

It was just after 2 p.m. on a beautiful, warm, sunny August day, 11years ago, when a fit and healthy couple set off from the car park in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. It was the beginning of a life changing walk although neither realised it at the time. There was no hurry; their youngest daughter was staying with friends and they were both looking forward to enjoying a country pub meal on the long drive back home after the walk. He was particularly keen to try out his new GPS and had loaded a route that morning. She wasn’t really interested in the route but was looking forward to topping up her sun tan. Off they went without a care in the world: what could go wrong…

5 hours later, soaked to the skin, exhausted and with her showing signs of mild hypothermia they staggered back to the car and drove straight home.

So what went wrong, why did it all end in tears and what did they learn?

Hi, my name’s Ian Pattinson and that couple were my wife, Carol and me. When I look back to my early walking days I sometimes shudder with horror at my stupidity and irresponsibility. Yes, I had a state of the art GPS with a route loaded in so why did I need a map? I never thought the batteries might run out or reception would fail in heavy woodland or the route might be blocked at any point and I would have to re-plan. It was a lovely day so why look at the weather forecast? It was warm so why bother to carry a fleece and waterproofs around? And the promise of the pub later meant that we didn’t need to take water or food. I physically manhandled and marched my wife off the hill that day that day, barking orders at her to keep her going as I knew the consequences of her stopping with nothing to keep her warm (at the time 26 years in the Royal Navy exercising leadership in often difficult circumstances had at least taught me something). I was furious with myself at the time and I am still embarrassed about my irresponsibility now, when I think back to that day. But more importantly, it took a long time for me to regain her total confidence in my ability to keep her safe – and that hurt.

Reflecting on my actions I realised what an idiot I had been and that I bore sole responsibility for putting my wife in an avoidable and dangerous situation and I vowed that would never happen again – that was my life-changing experience. (It was not the last time I would got lost(!) but that is another story which I hope we might be able to share one day while sitting in the Preseli Hills together enjoying the view!)

But every cloud has a silver lining and, unbeknown to me at the time, something in my mind set me on a course to move to the country and offer others an opportunity to learn the necessary basic skills to avoid finding themselves in a similar, totally avoidable, position. And if you do join us for a time at Tregynon Cottages you will appreciate, as we do, what a beautiful and enchanting location we have chosen, from which to help you.

If you recognise any of your own similar experiences and mistakes in the above tale, you will, hopefully, have also taken steps not to repeat them. I’d love to hear from you about what happened and what you did about it – perhaps you could send me a few lines on our enquiry form and I can share your lessons with others for their benefit.

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Landline Telephone: 01239 821631 Mobile: 07717571780 (Ian) or 07727197280 (Carol)

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Tregynon Cottages Pontfaen Pembrokeshire SA65 9TU