Plas Y Brenin Navigation Courses pyb

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 fossilshins 21 Jul 2021

Is pyb good?

Are the courses good?

Seems very expensive?

Anyone have recent experience?

Seen recent reviews complaining about student:staff ratio

 profitofdoom 21 Jul 2021
In reply to fossilshins:

> Is pyb good? > Are the courses good? > Seems very expensive? > Anyone have recent experience?

> Seen recent reviews complaining about student:staff ratio

New user, registered today, complaining about Plas y Brenin courses? I'm sorry but do you realise that doesn't look good, and raises suspicions?

In any case please provide a reliable reference / link for the "recent reviews complaining about student:staff ratio" which you mention. Thank you very much

In reply to fossilshins:

I've been on three two-day climbing courses in the last couple of years: learn to lead, lead climber developer, and performance climbing.  All three were well taught, with a ratio of one instructor to two students.  I learnt a lot, gained a lot of confidence, and had fun.  The instructors were very knowledgeable and were able to tailor the courses to the abilities of the students, even when students were of different abilities.

While ~£500 for a couple of days is quite a lot of money, for what you get, I think it's a fair price, and seems comparable to other providers.

 SiWood 21 Jul 2021
In reply to fossilshins:

most of multiday courses are residential including meals so cost looks OK. Student staff ratio looks fine to me for navigational courses (1:6), quite appropriate to the activity.

In reply to fossilshins:

Which aspects of navigation are you looking to improve?

 fossilshins 21 Jul 2021
In reply to profitofdoom:

Saw on Trust Pilot, Google review.

Not trustworthy sources.

Hence asking experienced hillwalking online community!

 fossilshins 21 Jul 2021
In reply to inglesp:

Thank you inglesp.

 fossilshins 21 Jul 2021
In reply to SiWood:

Thank you SiWood.

 fossilshins 21 Jul 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

Basic to advance navigation for two elderly novices with on trail hill walking experience.

In reply to fossilshins:

You could try hiring an independent ML to give you some training. There's loads of freelance instructors in North Wales and if you've got accomodation sorted already, because you live there or you're on holiday anyway, it will probably work out much cheaper than pyb. Also imo supporting independent instructors is a good thing to do.

 Bezz 21 Jul 2021
In reply to fossilshins:

PYB has been great for the climbing courses I've done, no personal experience of doing navigation courses with them but did do one day on navigation (plus winter climbing) with Huw Gilbert - drop him a line with what you're looking for and he'll suggest a plan and cost.

 brianjcooper 21 Jul 2021
In reply to fossilshins:

> Is pyb good?

> Are the courses good?

> Seems very expensive?

We've been on several courses at PYB.  All excellent.

Accommodation excellent.

Staff knowledgeable excellent

Top quality will be that bit more expensive

We Intend going again for all the above reasons

 Hex a metre 22 Jul 2021
In reply to fossilshins:

Hi Fossilshins,

No experience of PyB but can I suggest that you may not need them? My own experience of learning mountain nav was of the 'read, note, internalize' variety, followed by plenty of practice on easy ground.

If you haven't already then Eric Langmuir Mountaincraft and Leadership is good if somewhat traditional; Bill Birkett The Hillwalker's Manual is also good whilst being somewhat more readable. The only thing I can add to these two sources is a mantra: 'error West compass best; error East compass least'. Have fun looking it up! 

I've been pottering around the Scottish mountains and the Alps for nearly twenty years without getting lost or having done a course.

 jpicksley 22 Jul 2021
In reply to Hex a metre:

On this track, this is a good easy read which will be more than sufficient to get you going:

Takes about 20 minutes to read, then go out and walk with map in hand and practice a lot in good visibility (don't leave it until you suddenly need to use the skill in poor visibility). Even if you do a course you need to go out and practice a lot otherwise the course will be pointless. For example, I could explain how to pace well in about 2 minutes but to actually be really good at it takes lots of practice over different types of terrain.

Navigation is a great skill to learn and really good fun, so enjoy.

 Tringa 22 Jul 2021
In reply to jpicksley:

I have no recent experience of PyB but did a mountain leadership course there many years ago(in the mid 1980s).

In all aspects  - accommodation, food, instruction, guide/pupil ratio it was excellent.

Agree with jpicksley, Mountain Navigation by Peter Cliff's is an excellent book and then practice is the best course of action.


In reply to Hex a metre:

> No experience of PyB but can I suggest that you may not need them?

Self instruction is a perfectly good way to learn, yes; it's how I learned.

Navigation is really about following a process, using a number of techniques, paying attention, and practice. And more practice. We already use all the basic navigation approaches in our daily lives; we just need to recognise what they are, and apply them to the outdoors.

I teach DofE groups, and recently started with a direct entry Gold group. I gave them a couple of hours 'classroom' instruction on the first evening, and the next day practising what I had taught, gradually reducing my involvement over the day. The next couple of days was mostly them navigating, and me reminding them of techniques, and bringing in some tips.

The process I teach (oddly, process is rarely covered in manuals; maybe it's too obvious) is:

1. break the route into legs between decision points
2. take the correct path at the decision point
3. stay on the correct path
4. find the next decision point

The various techniques are used to help in each of these four phases.

Like most people, I teach a variation of the 'Ds' for use on each leg, in my case, 6 Ds:

Destination - where are we heading for on this leg?
Direction - what direction do we need to take?
Distance - how far is the Destination?
Duration - how long will this take?
Description - what should we see as we follow the leg?
Decision - how will we decide we have reached the Destination (or gone wrong, or gone past it)?

I have created a set of navigation lesson instructions (intended for instructors, but usable as aide memoire for learners), with supporting materials. I've posted these on the Facebook DofE Leader's group, and have had good feedback. The OP, or anyone else, is welcome to a set; just drop me an email through my profile.

The OS also do some good little instruction booklets, and some nice YouTube videos, featuring Simon King.

Post edited at 14:43

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