Amusing update with a serious message

Facebook post from Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Association. Said in an amusing way, but with a serious message for those who are coming to the end of Daylight Saving in the Northern hemisphere.

Note that at present Wales (GW) has significant movement restrictions associated with COVID-19 measures.

"The global pandemic may have cancelled many sporting fixtures but not not the International Hide and Seek Championships. Round 1 kicks off tomorrow following tonight’s changing of the clocks that allows nighttime to arrive earlier than planned, this causes that well known syndrome “Caught out by darkness”. Many local matches will be played across the hillsides of the UK, professionals are going torch free and those at amateur level will be relying on phone lights to evade the umpires and their pesky torches.
Obviously current lockdown rules mean that matches must be played from your doorstep, only with your immediate household and we will have to see if full matches can be resumed in 2 weeks.

Walking in the dark can be great if you are prepared for it, plan your day out, carry a charged torch and phone and be #adventuresmart"


If you must participate in non essential adventure practice adventure distancing at all times.

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My Petzl Actik with Core battery has been in use for a few weeks already!

Even in summer time I carry a Petzl E+ in my first aid kit.

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Many a time I finished a winter’s day climb in the dark, it held no terrors for me, I was prepared. One time, though, I was caught out descending Tryfan, my headtorch failed on me and the descent was completed by the “braille” method, that was a little hairy!


Ouch, Tryfan is not a mountain you’d want that to happen to you! Good to hear you got down in one piece.

We use to go there all the time on winter, but start the ascent in the dark to have a better chance of coming down while it was still light. Always had a spare headtorch, just in case.

I have had a variety of very cheap head-torches over the years. None were weatherproof and all lacked finesse. They were in the £1 or £3 price range. Fed up with their limitations and usability etc. I invested the princely sum of £9.99 on a Decathlon head-torch

Rechargeable with a normal phone charger it had a red mode (useful for not zapping any accumulated night vision) and lower brightness endurance mode and bright mode. It feels solid, the elastic strap fits and stays fitted and it’s reasonably waterproof. Neat touch is a charge state led near the charge port that is red when it needs charging and green when well charged.

Is this the best £10 head torch? I don’t know. But it’s orders of magnitude better than the cheap-as-chips Chinese torches. For when I need a head torch this more than meets my requirements.

Nice message from the MR guys. The humour and message will be lost on many sadly.


Going back fifty years there was not a great deal of choice, you either had a miner’s headtorch with a massive lead acid battery, or just one brand which may have been called “Wonder”, I don’t remember. This used a flat 4.5v dry cell in a tinplate flashlight that clipped to your belt with a plug in head torch. Old tech with small incandescent bulbs prone to failure - but the one on your belt was a spare - and you got little more than an hour out of the battery so it was prudent to carry spares. The plug for the headlamp was prone to failure but the fashlight mode would bail you out. My trouble was that the switch failed! After that I carried a spare torch - and do to this day with my house key clipped to it.

I used to get a real kick out of winter snow and ice climbing, start in the dark, aim to be at the foot of the climb at sunrise, about six hours to complete the climb before the short Scottish day ended, and descend in the dark. The good thing was that the glimmer of the snow on a well known route made use of the headlamp minimal, you saved it for lower down where the route was harder to pick out amongst the rocks and vegetation.


I’m also using a Petzl Actik headtorch. It’s not an emergency item; as most will be aware, I do a lot of SOTA activating after dark.

I use the Core rechargeable battery pack with it, although the case also accepts 3 x AAA cells alternatively.

The only downside to the system is that when using the rechargeable pack, it doesn’t give a warning flash when the capacity is running down. Nonetheless, capacity is still good for a two night backpacking trip, so I just make sure it’s been recharged ahead of each outing.

Another thing to be aware if using the pack is that the battery will deplete over time, moreso than would be the case if you left alkaline cells in it. On our recent activation of Foel Cedig GW/NW-034, we realised there was a possibility of descending in the dark (as it was we made it in the last of the twilight).

I asked Jimmy @M0HGY if he’d remembered to recharge his battery pack. He replied that there was plenty in it last time he used it - some months ago! I suggested he’d better check - and sure enough, it was dead!

So I dug out a Powerpole Y-cable, a cigar lighter adaptor socket and a cigar plug USB socket - and USB to micro USB (Android) cable. With this, I was able to recharge Jimmy’s torch battery from my Tracer LifePO4 battery as I activated on 30m.

I carry those bits and pieces usually for emergency recharging of iPhone (yes with another cable!) or Windows tablet (WSJT) - but they came in handy here!


Ah, dry cell nostalgia. That would be an EverReady 1289. One of my favourites as a budding child electronics builder as I could use paper clips to attach the power cables from my latest electronic extravangza. 2 in series for 9V. Other favourites were the 126 battery with screw terminals 4.5V so 2 in series. I recall a chandlers/bicycle (not bike in those days) shop selling of some PP11 batteries cheap, likely to be well towards the end of their shelf life. These were 2x4.5V in the same pack with a 4 pin plug. They were used to power some experiments with 1W or so audio amplifiers using a 4.5 - 0 - 4.5 rail.

I’m off to look in the old and odd transistors box for some Germanium stuff, AC128, AF117 and OC35 should satisfy my craving for nostalgia.


I’ve got a few of those hanging around, too, including my first ever transistor, a humble “red spot”! In batteries I remember in my teens building a one valve regenerative radio kit based on a 1T4 valve, run off a dual 90V and 1.5V battery that usually lasted about two weeks. The MW on that rig went down to 160m and I thus heard my first ever hams! To make you wince, that first radio was build with a plumbers soldering iron heated on a gas stove, adding the smell of melting insulation to the smell of flux!


I had one of those flat 4.5v cell head torches. Just about everyone did - I’m not sure we had any other choices of head torch did we?

The only alternative for a long time was the headlamp favoured by the cavers, they were expensive and too heavy for a burdened climber! I seem to remember a plastic headtorch eventually appeared but it was too fragile and unreliable. I think the modern LED headtorches are a terrific step forwards!

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I found out the other day that my car LED headlamps have cooling fans. Apparently the hot air is used to dry out the inside of the headlamp and also to melt ice/snow etc. which is why it doesn’t have washers. There again the washers on the last car lost pressure with age (hmm, that seems familiar) and could barely hit the glass but just made a big puddle on the floor.

Car dealer says to his mate as Andy enters the car showroom: “This ones mine, here comes Top of the Range Sinclair”…

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I think a new replacement complete headlamp assembly (glass housing, LEDS, electronics) comes to about £1500 per side ! And mine are the basic LED lamps, the adaptive ones that follow your steering wheel input are much more expensive. :frowning:

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Harumphh Andy!

I need to stop moaning about the new rear discs and pads that were replaced at the 4th year old cars MOT point earlier this month, which added about £300 to my total bill for the 43K miles service and MOT! The Labour cost more than the parts. May your headlamp assembly be everlasting and that you avoid bird strikes. In the past two to three years a crow flew into my Skoda’s windscreen on the A170 at 50 mph and cracked it - as it has a lane assist camera built into it could not be done easily, it had to be a specialist with the alignment equipment. Just before that driving XYLs Suzuki a pheasant came out of the side on the A170 (again) at 60 mph and cracked the front panel and headlamp assembly mounting. The headlamp assembly again was an expensive part, around £700 of the total £1400 bill. Both jobs done through the insurances. Animals and birds can do a lot of damage to vehicles, yet the driver is seen to be at fault by the insurance companies!

73 Phil

Sounds very low-tech.

Last year I think there was something about a car that had an associated drone. It would fly ahead of you to light the road.

Something else to fly into Phil’s car :grin:


I know they are fast but more “Jumbo Jet” than “Typhoon” - at least you should have got a meal out of it :joy: