Friday, 7 November 2014

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Stiperstones

05.11.14  The Cold Piece (SO 338 996)  

The Cold Piece (SO 338 996)
As the early morning traffic passed through Lydham on the A489 I was standing in a field with my back to a large tree as the last of the morning’s grey showers scattered rain across the land.  I looked toward the A road and the narrow lane on the opposite side of the field that makes its way into More and wondered what the passengers in the cars and farm vehicles would make of a lone figure standing in a field in the early hours of the morning.  Hill baggers and surveyors do seem to have some unusual habits!

The survey in the field was to determine the height of the critical col for Stiperstones (SO 367 986) which I’ll detail in a later blog post, with the first hill survey of the day being to the rather well named The Cold Piece (SO 338 996).

The Cold Piece is situated overlooking the Hope Valley and the A488 as it makes its way between Bishop’s Castle and Minsterley and is positioned on the land between Corndon to its south-west and the Stiperstones to its east.

The hill has no name adjoined to it on Ordnance Survey maps but through research conducted by Aled for The Fours it is listed under its locally known name of The Cold Piece.  The hill also has an interesting uppermost height as it is included in The Fours publication as current Ordnance Survey maps give it a tiny uppermost c 400m ring contour.  However, the old Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 map gives it a height of 1,311ft (399.6m).  We decided to include the hill in The Fours but would it now be relegated to the ranks of Sub-Fours?  Only time and a Trimble survey would tell.

I parked to the south of the summit in the small community of Shelve next to a picket fence having asked at a house and instructed where to do so.  As I got all my clobber together a friendly young cat wandered up and followed me part of the way up the lane as I headed east toward the hill’s critical col.

The critical col for The Cold Piece is positioned on or immediately adjacent to the narrow lane just a few hundred metres outside of Shelve.  I chose a spot on the grass verge on the north side of the road as it makes a swinging corner and heads off toward The Bog.  Two cars and a roofed quad bike passed during data collection, with the latter doing a circular loop and heading back the way it had come.

Gathering data at the critical col of The Cold Piece
A footpath sign pointed me in the direction of the summit and once across a couple of foot stiles and wooden fences the small path led up over closely cropped grassy fields toward the higher part of the hill.

This way to the hill
The morning’s showers had been replaced by brightening skies, away to the east the castellated ridgeback of the Stiperstones stood out with Nipstone Rock (SO 356 969) which I hoped to visit and survey later in the day just visible as a pointy uppy thing on the horizon.

The upper part of The Cold Piece is moor and heath, a welcome addition from its reclaimed lower ground of grazing field.  The high point of the hill is interesting as it has what to my eye looked like an ancient stone circle with an upright stone on its northern periphery that contested as the high point of the hill.  Its upper section is conical in shape with a number of rocks / stones easily discernible, but I cannot find any mention of an ancient structure on the summit of this hill on any Ordnance Survey map that I’ve looked at.

I decided that the upright stone was probably lower than the centrally positioned small embedded rock that to my eye is the high point of the hill.  Before placing the Trimble on it I gave it a good kick, it did not move and therefore constituted being a part of the hill.

Gathering data at the summit of The Cold Piece
As the Trimble gathered its data I looked out to the high lands of Shropshire, this part of the country really should be a part of Wales, its landscape is an extension of its westerly neighbours and is made up of some excellent hills.

Once five minutes of data were gathered I headed down on a footpath that brought me out to the minor road just to the west of Shelve and wandered back to the car wondering if The Cold Piece would remain in the Fours or be relegated to the Sub-List.  Next stop; Walker’s Bank (S) 389 984).

Survey Result:

The Cold Piece (significant name change) 

Summit Height:  399.5m (converted to OSGM15) (Four reclassified to 390m Sub-Four)
Summit Grid Reference:  SO 33849 99695

Col Height:  342.0m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 34234 99109

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