Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Hill Reclassifications – The 500-Metre Tops of Ireland


Pigeon Rock Mountain North Top (J 261 250)

There has been a reclassification to The 500-Metre Tops of Ireland list due to a re-assessment of information on Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland maps.  This is the second reclassification to this list since its data were re-evaluated for publication on the Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH).  The hill is situated in the central western part of the Mourne Mountains in the north-east of Ireland, and is positioned between the small communities of Hilltown to its north-west and Attical to its south.

Access to the hill can be gained from its easterly side where car parking near to the high point of the B27 road gives relatively easy access up its easterly flank; otherwise a more challenging walk can take in this hill whilst visiting a number of adjacent peaks following the course of the Mourne wall.

The hill is named Pigeon Rock Mountain North Top and its summit is positioned at J 261 250.  The south top of this hill is currently listed as Pigeon Rock Mountain with a 534m high summit at J 264 244 with 141m of drop.  Pigeon Rock Mountain North Top was not included in the Sub list that accompanied the main list when published on D0BIH as debate on its prominence favoured c 19m, however this has been re-assessed and detail from a number of Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland maps have been examined, the details appear below:


OS historic map:  1749ft (530m converted to current datum) for north top and 1755ft (532m converted to current datum) for south top

Map 29:  534m for north top, no spot height for south top.

Harvey map:  534m for north top and 534m for south top.

Mourne Country Outdoor Pursuits map (OS of NI publication 1990):  533m for north top and 534m for south top.

Mournes Activity map (OS of NI publication [update from the Outdoor Pursuits map] 2009):  534m for north top and 534m for south top.


After re-assessment of the above data we have decided to include Pigeon Rock Mountain North Top as a new Sub adjoined to the main 500-Metre Irish list.

This now brings the overall total for The 500-Metre Tops of Ireland to 201 and the Subs have increased by two compared to when the list was published on DoBIH.

Thanks to Jim Bloomer for supplying historical map information and suggesting this hill’s re-assessment.



The full details for the hill are:

Cardinal Hill:  Slieve Donard

Summit Height:  534m

Name:  Pigeon Rock Mountain North Top

OS of NI 1:50,000 map:  29

Summit Grid Reference:  J 261 250

Drop:  c 20m



Michael Dewey and Myrddyn Phillips (August 2016)






Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 100m Twmpau


Gravel Pit Field (SJ 225 167)

This is the twenty ninth post under the heading of Significant Name Changes, and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 8th August 2015.

The hill is part of the Carnedd Wen range, which is an extensive group of hills situated in the southern part of north Wales.  It is positioned between the small communities of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain to the north, Four Crosses to the east north-east and Ardd-lin (Arddleen) to the east south-east.

The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data at the summit of Gravel Pit Field

The hill appeared in the 100m list on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website under an invented name of The Mount, with an accompanying note stating; Name from buildings to the South-East.  The listing this hill is now a part of is named Twmpau (thirty welsh metre prominences and upward) and its summit height was confirmed by the survey with the Trimble. 


The Mount
   154m
   SJ225166
 126
 240
  Name from buildings to the South-East. Trig pillar.


During my early hill listing I thought it appropriate to either invent a name for a hill, or use a name that appeared near to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  My preference was to use farm names and put Pen, Bryn or Moel in front of them, or as in this instance, use the name of a near house.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with a little research either conducted locally or historically an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.

The name this hill is now listed by is Gravel Pit Field, and this was derived from the Tithe map.  The term Tithe map is generally given to a map of a Welsh or English parish or township and which was prepared after the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act.  This act allowed tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods.  The Tithe maps gave names of owners and occupiers of land in each parish and importantly for place-name research they also included the name of enclosed land.  This enclosed land is usually based on a field system, however not every field is given a name, but many are and especially so in Wales.

Accessing information on the Tithe map is simplified by the use of a split screen enabling the lay of land as it is today on the map on the right to be compared against the lay of land as it was during the time of the Tithe map

With the aid of an overlay the two sets of information can be directly compared

The enclosed land where the summit of Gravel Pit Field is situated is given the number 288 on the Tithe map, this can be cross referenced against the apportionments; it is these apportionments that give the name of the owner or occupier of the land as well as the name of the land.  The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Gravel Pit Field; it appears in the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Meifod. 

When cross referenced in the apportionments the enclosed land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Gravel Pit Field

It is important when studying these apportionments to compare the number given on the Tithe map with the information given in the apportionments, as in this instance there are at least three other references to the number 288, by doing so it is relatively easy to ascertain which number applies to the land where the summit of the hill is situated, with this hill there are a number of clues, including the number 330 and its description as Mount House Buildings, this reference applies to the house that gave its name to this hill in the original P30 lists on Geoff’s v-g.me website.


The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Carnedd Wen

Name:  Gravel Pit Field

Previously Listed Name:  The Mount 

Summit Height:  154.9m

OS 1:50,000 map:  126

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 22598 16703 
 
Drop:  c 47m




Myrddyn Phillips (August 2016)






Monday, 22 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Pembrokeshire Islands


24.07.16  Green Scar (SM 796 226)    

Green Scar (SM 796 226)

Another island adventure organised by Adrian Rayner off the Pembrokeshire coast in the capable hands of Venture Jet, we met just before 9.00am at St Justinian’s which is situated west of St David’s and is the departure point for boats visiting Ynys Dewi (Ramsey) and where the RNLI Lifeboat Station is situated.  The weather was not ideal with coastal drizzle and grey murk predominating, however it was good enough to set off and with three islands scheduled to visit we skimmed across the water toward the first; Emsger (South Bishop).

Leaving St Justinian's aboard the Venture Jet RIB with (L-R) Tony, Alex, Adrian, George and Alan

I’d visited Emsger (South Bishop) once before in mid-May of this year when the sea was calmer and the blue sky and sun gave us a window of opportunity for an unrushed visit.  Today as the RIB headed off in to the bleakness and the lighthouse atop the island came in to view the waves chopped against the steep lower rock of the island and the swell did not look inviting.

As we neared the landing place the RIB was maneuvered in to place and three people stood up; Alex, Doug and Tony, with Alan and George deciding to sit this one out as the landing looked a little unwelcome due to the swell.  Also on board were Adrian, Rob, Jon and myself and as we’d all visited the island in May we also decided to remain on board.

As the boat neared the landing place and instruction given for Alex, Doug and Tony to each in turn make the step ashore, the boat reared up as the swell hit the island, all three made it and the RIB was then positioned away from the rock and remained relatively sheltered from the waves hitting the west of the island.

We couldn’t linger as there were another two islands to attempt a landing on, and so within a few minutes of being dropped off Alex, Doug and Tony were back down waiting to be plucked off the rock and make the step from solid ground back on to the RIB.  The RIB was again maneuvered in to place as the swell reared up necessitating  it to back off and try again, this happened a few times before instruction was given to come aboard.  As Alex made the step from relatively dry land toward the RIB the swell took the boat away from the landing spot and although Alex made it safely on board, he only just did so.  This proved a foreteller of what was to happen next as the RIB again approached the rock and Doug waited, as he made his move the swell took the RIB away from the rock and Doug stepped out in to thin air and disappeared in to the sea.

As it was raining I was protecting my camera and didn’t turn round to see where Doug was, but he was definitely sea bound.  I sat and hoped that he was OK.  The RIB was quickly driven away from the rock protecting Doug from being squashed between both and turned round to be beside him, the life jacket worked perfectly and had inflated on impact.  Within a minute or so Doug had been brought on board and he quickly stripped off two outer layers and put on a dry fleece and outer water proof jacket that were stored on board.  Thankfully he was all right, dampened by the experience we continued east toward our next island; Green Scar.

Doug after his dunking back on board and in dry clothes

Green Scar lies off the southern coast of St Brides Bay and is adjacent to the harbour feeding south from the small community of Solfach (Solva).  Today it was a forlorn place, devoid of sunshine it reared up out of a grey landscape where sky and sea met.

We were brought around to the eastern part of the island seeking shelter from the westerly bash of sea upon rock.  The island was another impressive bastion of lower rock crowned by greenery with a multitude of Gannets circling overhead, and the occasional Cormorant resting on the rock.

The eastern part of Green Scar

There weren’t many places to land safely but eventually a spot was singled out that was relatively sheltered and where the rock would not bottom out the RIB when nestled against it for our landing.  The main problem was our onward route beyond the landing spot as there wasn’t much to cling on to when dropped off, but soon Jon and Rob were on the island and finding hand and foot holds and by the time I joined them they were above the main difficulty and on slanting rock which gave relatively safe passage toward the summit of the island.

Much of the ascent required a steadying hand on rock, and these were covered in bird goo, as indeed was much of the island, it seemed to ooze out of every crevice and added some unwelcome interest to the ascent.  The high pint has the remains of a small cairn on it and soon the Trimble was positioned in place gathering its customary five minutes of data.

Gathering data from the summit of Green Scar

During Trimbling time the others investigated the westerly arm of the island which was connected to its higher easterly bulk by what looked like a slender land bridge.  As they neared its high point the last of the 300 data points were stored and I switched the equipment off. 

Looking toward the westerly point of the island

Although the ground beyond the westerly arm looked easier for us to get back on to the RIB, the others slowly made their way back across the slender land bridge and we descended through the bird goo to the waiting RIB.  The slither down the final rock and the last landlocked point where just one foot was resting before that final step out in to the void wasn’t as bad as I had expected and we all made it safely on board.

Only Gewni remained to visit, this is a tidal island to the north of Green Scar and Rob and a few others had previously investigated its connection to the mainland and thought it precarious.  By the time we arrived beside the island and investigated the landing opportunities the grey conditions pervaded all around, we remained on this side of the island and went back and forth looking for a safe place to land but it was decided that the day’s conditions weren’t conducive and the island and its summit would have to wait for another day.

Gewni (SM 797 236)

To the right of the arch is where Gewni is connected to the mainland at low tide

Going through the arch

Therefore we skimmed back to St Justinian’s with two out of three islands visited, one person a little wetter than planned and another part of this beautiful coastline investigated.

(L-R) Tony, Alex, Adrian, George, Alan, the skipper, Jon, Doug and Rob
 
Survey Result:

Green Scar 

Summit Height:  36.5m

Summit Grid Reference:  SM 79641 22648

Bwlch Height:  N/A

Bwlch Grid Reference:  N/A

Drop:  36.5m

Dominance:  100.00%








Sunday, 21 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – 200m Twmpau


Flat Field (SJ 198 136)

This is the twenty eighth post under the heading of Significant Name Changes, and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 8th August 2015.

The hill is part of the Carnedd Wen range, which is an extensive group of hills situated in the southern part of north Wales.  It is positioned between the small community of Meifod to its west and the village of Cegidfa (Guilsfield) to its south-east and is part of the area known as Pentre’r beirdd.

The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data at the summit of Flat Field

The hill appeared in the 200m list on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website under an invented name of Bryn Pentre’r-beirdd, with an accompanying note stating; Name from buildings to the West.  The listing this hill is now a part of is named Twmpau (thirty welsh metre prominences and upward) and its summit height was confirmed by the survey with the Trimble. 


Bryn Pentre'r-beirdd
   234m
    SJ198136
    125
  239
    Name from buildings to the West


During my early hill listing I thought it appropriate to either invent a name for a hill, or use a name that appeared near to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  My preference was to use farm names and put Pen, Bryn or Moel in front of them.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with a little research either conducted locally or historically an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.

The name this hill is now listed by is Flat Field, and this was derived from the Tithe map.  The term Tithe map is generally given to a map of a Welsh or English parish or township and which was prepared after the 1836 Tithe Commutation Act.  This act allowed tithes to be paid in cash rather than goods.  The Tithe maps gave names of owners and occupiers of land in each parish and importantly for place-name research they also included the name of enclosed land.  This enclosed land is usually based on a field system, however not every field is given a name, but many are and especially so in Wales.

Accessing information on the Tithe map is simplified by the use of a split screen enabling the bounded land as it appears today on the map on the right to be compared to how it was enclosed during the time of the Tithe map on the left

The enclosed land where the summit of Flat Field is situated is given the number 563 on the Tithe map, this can be cross referenced against the apportionments; it is these apportionments that give the name of the owner or occupier of the land as well as the name of the land.  The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Flat Field and is described as Arable; it appears in the county named as Montgomery and in the parish of Guilsfield, with the adjacent bounded land to the west which now forms part of the same field given the number 562 on the Tithe map and the name Coppice Field in the apportionments.  Importantly it is the land of Flat Field that takes in the summit of this hill and not that of Coppice Field.

The land where the summit of this hill is situated is named as Flat Field on the Tithe map


The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Carnedd Wen

Name:  Flat Field

Previously Listed Name:  Bryn Pentre’r-beirdd 

Summit Height:  234.0m

OS 1:50,000 map:  125

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 19845 13602
  
Drop:  41m




Myrddyn Phillips (August 2016)







Saturday, 20 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Cymoedd


23.07.16  Pt. 523m (SS 928 951)    

Pt. 523m (SS 928 951)

This hill is positioned beside the A 4107 as it makes its way from the junction with the A 4061 above Hirwaun, westward toward the confines of Abergwynfi and Cwm Afan.  Because of this it is no more than a few minutes stroll to its grassed top.  It is rather forgotten, as many hills are that have higher and more prominent neighbours, but according to a basic levelling survey conducted in August 2005 it is close to meeting the requirements for Uchaf qualification, these are the Welsh hills at or over 500m in height that have a minimum of 15m of drop, and is a list that Aled and I plan on publishing in the future.

Toward the end of the time that I was wandering the Welsh hills surveying for drop with my rudimentary staff I was also making place-name enquiries, and this hill has a locally known name, however the point (Pt. 523m) notation is currently being used for this hill as its locally known name will be given when the list known tentatively as Yr Uchafion is published.

The bwlch connecting this hill to its higher neighbour is positioned north-westward of its summit and the A 4107 runs across it in roughly a hill to hill direction.  The road is elevated above its surrounding land with prominent ditches below and earthen embankments on either side.  When I first surveyed this hill I noted the roads elevation and the ditches below it and measured from the low point of the road to the summit of the hill.  Eleven years later and I now wanted to take a series of readings from the area of the bwlch.

The elevated road passing over the area of the bwlch

I parked just off the road where a motorcycle track veers up to the hill and proceeded to walk the short distance down the road and on to the natural ground to its south.  Immediately I dropped down in to the ditch and then walked up the other side on to what can be viewed as a part of the remaining natural ground of the hill.  I took one data set from where I judged the low point of this ground on the hill to hill traverse to be situated and then headed back to the road.

The Trimble set-up position on the south side of the road

Above the road on either side of it is also an embankment, I stood on top on this on its southern side and assessed the road for its low point as I wanted to take a data set from this point to compare its elevation to the remaining natural ground on its northern and southern sides.  The assessment of the roads low point was made easier by the placement of two manhole covers directly opposite one another, these are good indicators where water run off goes and are usually placed at the low point of a road.

The next data set was taken at what I judged to be the low point of the hill to hill traverse on the ground to the north of the road, it is this position that I think to be the point where the natural critical bwlch still exists as cotton grass and a small bog laden grassy channel crept upward to the luxuriant greened summer grasslands of the bwlch.  Once another five minute data set had been gathered I packed the equipment away and headed up to the hill’s summit.

The Trimble set-up position on the north side of the road

The summit area has two tops with the further westerly one the higher, I placed the Trimble on top of my rucksack to give it elevation above the long grass, measured a 0.42m offset between the equipment’s internal antenna and the ground at the base of the rucksack and set it to collect data.  All that remained was to take a data set from the low point of the road.

Gathering data at the summit of Pt. 523m

As I headed down the hill to where my car was parked a westerly cloud bank edged ever eastward, this heralded rain which was predicted in this part of the country by late afternoon.  I moved my car down the road and positioned it next to the manhole cover signifying where I judged the low point of the road to be situated and positioned the Trimble on top of the car’s roof, measured a 1.44m offset and set the equipment to gather the last of the day’s five minute data sets.

The afternoon's blue sky and beautiful high cloud was about to be replaced by a westerly cloud front

The last data set of the day atop my car at the low point of the road

Once five minutes of data were gathered I packed the Trimble away, drove to a lay-by, changed and sorted my gear and headed down to the M4 for my onward journey to St David’s and tomorrow’s island adventure organised by Adrian Rayner.



Friday, 19 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – Y Pedwarau


Y Graig Wen (SJ 240 371)

This is the twenty seventh post under the heading of Significant Name Changes, and the following details are in respect of a hill that was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the 17th July 2015.

The hill is part of Y Berwyn, which is an extensive group of hills situated in the south-eastern part of north Wales.  The hill is positioned between the small communities of Llwynmawr to the west, Craignant and Selattyn to the south-east and Bronygarth to the east.

The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data at the summit of Y Graig Wen

The hill appeared in the 400m P30 list on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website under the invented name Pen Llwynmawr, with an accompanying note stating; Name from village to the West.  This listing of hills is now co-authored with Aled Williams and known as Y Pedwarau.  
  

Pen Llwynmawr
    407m
    SJ241371
    126
  240/255/256
    Name from village to the West


During my early hill listing I thought it appropriate to either invent a name for a hill, or use a name that appeared near to the summit of the hill on Ordnance Survey maps of the day.  My preference was to use farm names and put Pen, Bryn or Moel in front of them, or as in this instance, use the name of a near village.  This is not a practice that I now advocate as with a little research either conducted locally or historically an appropriate name for the hill can usually be found.  

Since publication of these P30 lists on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website there have been a number of Ordnance Survey maps made available online, some of these are historical such as the series of Six-Inch maps on the National Library of Scotland website, whilst others are current and digitally updated such as the enlarged map on the Geograph website.  One of the historical maps now available is the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map which formed the basis for the first publicly available Ordnance Survey One-Inch ‘Old Series’ map. 

The name this hill is now listed by in Y Pedwarau (Europeaklist and Haroldstreet 2013) is Y Graig Wen, and this was derived from the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map.

Extract from the Ordnance Survey Draft Surveyors map naming the hill as Y Graig Wen


The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Y Berwyn

Name:  Y Graig Wen

Previously Listed Name:  Pen Llwynmawr 

Summit Height:  406.9m

OS 1:50,000 map:  126

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 24068 37100  

Drop:  53.5m




Myrddyn Phillips and Aled Williams (August 2016)









Thursday, 18 August 2016

Mapping Mountains – Summit Relocations – Yr Uchafion and 500m Twmpau


This is the twenty eighth post under the heading of Summit Relocations, with the Trimble survey that resulted in this summit relocation being conducted on the 23rd July 2016 in good, clear and sheltered conditions.

The twenty eighth summit relocation initiated from a survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 was conducted in the range of hills known as the Cymoedd, these are the hills associated with the south Wales valleys.  The hill is situated between Cwm Ogwr Fawr to its west and the Rhondda Fawr valley to its east and is positioned above the towns of Treorci (Treorchy) and Treherbert to its north and Nant-y-moel, Price Town and Ogmore Vale to its south-west.

Access to the hill is relatively easy as a track leaves the A 4061 near to its high point and continues south-eastward to the north-western edge of a large conifer plantation, a path continues south-eastward adjacent to the forest boundary gaining the access point to a wide forest break which is relatively near the summit of the hill.

The name of the hill is Mynydd Ton and prior to the survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 the height of the hill was listed as 539m at SS 94796 93958 which is beside an ancient cairn.  This height was based on a 1,769.3ft surface height given on the Ordnance Survey Six-Inch map published in 1885.  The 539m height was a relatively new addition to this hill’s listed height as its summit position was originally listed as ground beside its map heighted 535m triangulation pillar situated at SS 94931 94058.

The highest ground at the base of and beside the ancient cairn was surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 as being 534.2m high.  The processed data gave Estimated Accuracies of 5-15cm: 99.41%, with the Standard Deviation being 0.0m, and the margin of uncertainty given for the height placement of the Trimble was 0.1m.  All of the above signify that the data set was good and accurate to within the parameters of the equipment.

I had previously visited this hill in February 2003 and judged ground approximately one minute away from the trig pillar to be slightly higher than where the trig pillar is situated, and as the flush bracket adjoined to the trig pillar is given a height of 535.335m in the OS Trig Database it means that ground at its base is approximately 535m high.  This figure is dependent upon the accuracy of the flush bracket height which is given as 3rd order.   Therefore the ground at the base of or near to the triangulation pillar is likely to be higher than that beside the ancient cairn; this is dependent upon the accuracy of the flush bracket height and the Trimble survey.

Therefore the position of the relocated summit is at SS 94931 94058 and consists of ground at the base of, or near to the triangulation pillar.  This re-located summit position is at the hill’s originally listed summit and is given a 535m height on current Ordnance Survey maps and it is approximately 175 metres north-eastward from the previously listed summit position.


The full details for the hill are:

Cardinal Hill:  Werfa

Summit Height:  535m

Name:  Mynydd Ton

OS 1:50,000 map:  170

Summit Grid Reference (New Position):  SS 94931 94058 
      
Drop:  92m



The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data beside the ancient cairn on Mynydd Ton, with the relocated position of the summit approximately 175 metres to the north-east and to the right of the forest break in the centre background of this photograph



Myrddyn Phillips and Aled Williams (August 2016)