Tuesday 12 May 2015. I had an exhausting drive to Llanrwst yesterday. I’d only gone 30 miles or so when the traffic was brought to a grinding halt on the A605 just outside Thrapston while a broken down lorry was cleared from the road. Although I wasn’t in a hurry, this added at least 30 minutes to my journey. I used the M6 toll road to avoid any congestion on the old part of the M6. It was worth paying the £5.50 toll and the caravan went free, courtesy of my caravan club membership. I was about 40 miles from Llanrwst when my phone rang. I couldn’t answer it immediately and had to wait until the next lay-by. It was my brother but he didn’t leave a message. I soon found out why when I read a text from Tracker. My caravan has a GPS tracking system fitted in case it is stolen and the police can easily find it by using this system. I must have activated this by mistake and without knowing when I made a stop for a toilet break just after leaving the M6 toll. When the alarm is activated Tracker ring my home to check that it isn’t a false alarm. As I wasn’t there, they sent me a text but I was busy driving to Wales. When Tracker can’t contact me they call another nominated number which in this case is my brother. Again, he couldn’t contact me. The phone signal where I was on my way to Llanrwst wasn’t great but I managed to contact both Tracker and my brother to let them know that it was a false alarm. It took me nearly 6 hours to do the 210 mile drive.
There was heavy rain first thing this morning and the forecast looked unsettled so I opted for a short walk directly from the caravan to Betws-y-Coed with the option of a bus ride back. The tablet that I use to track my walks was playing up and malfunctioning last week so I bought a new one on the way home last Friday and this walk was its first serious outing. As I left Llanrwst I walked alongside the River Conwy but the GPS showed me as being on the opposite bank – very odd!
Leaving the riverside I made my way into an area of woodland to follow forest tracks. The GPS was still showing the wrong position so I switched it off and then back on again. A message popped up asking if I wanted to let Google’s location service help apps find my location? I answered no and this seemed to temporarily improve the accuracy of the GPS but this was short lived and it was jumping around all over the place as can be seen from the differences between the GPS and plotted routes below. I think that the denseness of the trees must have been obscuring the GPS satellites as it seemed to work perfectly well on the bus ride back to Llanrwst. It was more than a little worrying that I didn’t really know where I was for quite some time but my concerns were relieved by the sighting of Llyn-y-Parc and a well signposted route to Betws-y-Coed.
My faith in the new Tablet and its GPS was knocked a little on this 5 mile walk with 900ft of ascent but I hope that this will be restored tomorrow when I plan to tackle Cadair Idris.