AstroCamp 15 - Encouraging Others
1 - A good old catch up.
2 - Sharing.
3 - Ride the bike.Having turned up to camp a day early, I had a chance on Saturday to get off site, and do something a bit different. Fellow AstroCamp attendee, Mark, brought his bike to camp with him, and we arranged to get up and going on Saturday morning. After the brilliant weather on Friday night provided us with some superb observing opportunities, the favourable weather stayed with us all Saturday.
Cwmdu is positioned on the edge of the Black Mountains, with the Brecon Beacons a short distance away. On days of clear blue sky, there is no where better down this end of the world. We chose a route which would take us away from Cwmdu, over into the next valley and past Llanthony Priory before climbing up to Gospel Pass. This was the highest point of the ride, and provides awesome views of the Wye valley and the northern edges of the Black Mountains. Our route continues down the side of the mountains into the famous town of Hay On Wye where it was time for a spot of lunch.
Continuing on from there, we made our way over to Talgarth before being detoured off our intended route which should have taken us back to Cwmdu. Instead, we headed for the village of Llangors, enjoying further incredible views of Pen y Fan (the highest peak in South Wales) and Llangors lake. Eventually, we made it to Bwlch before getting back into Cwmdu. We had cycled around 47 miles in stunning weather, through mountain passes and country lanes. It was an absolute pleasure to share it with Mark.
|Me, and "King Of The Mountain", Mark taking a quick selfie opportunity after dropping down out of Gospel Pass.|
Heading from Llangors to Bwlch, the view across Llangors lake with Pen Y Fan in the background. Photo Credit: Mark Gatehouse.
4 - Winning and losing.Always something that features on the highlights reel of camp is the quiz at The Spiral Arms, which is the pop up pub in the local village hall. This year, I joined forces with Mark and Karen to form a team for the quiz. Around 35 questions make up the astronomy themed quiz. The prizes for the quiz are always quite serious, supported by Tring Astronomy. In previous years, prizes have included gift vouchers, binoculars, eyepieces, telescopes and a whole list of other astronomy accessories.
We started hopeful, but faded fast! As the questions flowed, so it became apparent once again that the gaps in my astro knowledge are about as vast as the universe. With Mark and Karen chipping in with answers, providing most of the right ones to our sum total we remained hopeful, although mid table obscurity was always going to be the expected outcome.
At the end of the quiz, answer sheets are swapped and the answers are read out, papers marked. When we got our sheet back, it turns out we hadn't even made it out of single figures! It looked like even mid table obscurity was perhaps too big a target to hope for. Starting from the top scorers, prizes started being handed out.
|Quiz masters Ralph and Paul at The Spiral Arms.|
So, why is this such a highlight of camp for me this year? The whole ethos of AstroCamp is down to it's friendliness, the opportunity to learn, to share knowledge and to encourage. Our score of not even double figures meant we were well out the running of either of the top prizes. But there was one more prize to hand out. The so called
|Aston getting to grips with his new telescope. Photo credit - Steve Davey|
5 - @pilliarscreatio does Apollo
Gavin taking the stage at AstroCamp.