Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Pen Llŷn

28.12.14  Mynydd Mawr (SH 140 258) and Mynydd y Gwyddel (SH 141 251)   

Mynydd Mawr (SH 140 258)
At the end of Wales the Pen Llŷn (Lleyn Peninsula) butts down steeply to the sea and looks out toward Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island) which in medieval times was a major centre of pilgrimage.  The land at the north-western tip of Wales is dotted with small hills, many excellent in nature and with coastal views it reminds one of the Dingle peninsula in Ireland, albeit slightly less dramatic.  However, there is a feeling of gentle solitude to these hills where land and sea meet.

Having visited Clip y Gylfinhir in the morning and relaxed with a panini in one of the pubs in Aberdaron we headed toward the western fringes of the Llŷn and the car park at the base of Mynydd Mawr.

The summit of Mynydd Mawr was used as a lookout station during the 2nd World War and the access road to the building that remains positioned on the summit is maintained and contours its way up the hill.  As Mark got his boots on I slowly plodded up this road as I wanted to get two data sets, one from beside the small building and another on a high point a hundred metres or so away.

The first of these two points has an embedded boulder at its highest point, as the Trimble gathered its allotted five minutes of data Mark and Aled joined me.  Soon it was placed on a point close to the building for its second data set.

Gathering data at the summit of Mynydd Mawr
Once the second data set had been collected we found a spot on the opposite side of a wall, overlooking the steep drop into the sea and did an interview with the digi-camera with Mark filming whilst Aled and I gave details to a forthcoming Europeaklist booklet that is due for publication in January / February 2015.

As the filming wrapped up we headed south-east away from the road and down to the connecting bwlch with Mynydd y Gwyddel.  During the descent Ynys Enlli was always there, in vision, a darkened silhouette against the lowering western sun, aloof in bulk it stood out to sea, a haven for pilgrimage from past religious to modern Marilyn bagger.

Heading toward the bwlch of Mynydd y Gwyddel
Although small in area the connecting bwlch between Mynydd Mawr and Mynydd y Gwyddel proved difficult to pinpoint as it had a high stone wall positioned in an earthen embankment cutting the valley to valley traverse.  We each assessed where we thought the critical bwlch lay and as Mark and Aled made their way up Mynydd y Gwyddel I climbed up the embankment and over a fence into a close cropped field where we had judged the critical bwlch to be situated.  I chose a spot a few metres from a caravan and waited for the five minutes of data to be collected before joining Mark and Aled on the summit.

Gathering data at the bwlch of Mynydd y Gwyddel
As I approached the summit I spotted Mark and Aled sitting about 50 metres from the high point looking out to sea as the sun shone bright.  Next to the high point sat a couple who were soaking in the view and who looked as if they were their long term until the sun set.  I said ‘Hi’ and apologetically explained what I wanted to do, they very kindly moved lower down the hill and I had the summit to myself to set the Trimble up and gather the all-important data.

Gathering data at the summit of Mynydd y Gwyddel
Just as the last of the 300 points of data were collected Aled stood up and put his rucksack on and walked toward me, Mark soon joined and we stood beside the high point of the hill and looked out to Ynys Enlli as the sun sank lower radiating its stream of golden colour across the sea.  Although this was a beautiful image and one that held our attention for the next forty minutes, it was the view farther west that caught us, as a slender line of hills were on show; the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.

Between cloud and sea - the Wicklow Mountains
We’d seen the Isle of Man from the summit of Mynydd Mawr and squinting across the sea we thought that some shape of land could just be discerned, but as the sun sank lower the becalmed conditions of light now gave us a cascade of hills lined up south of Dublin.  I hadn’t seen the Wicklow Mountains from Wales for a number of years and this brought back memories of when I was on Bera Mawr in the Carneddau with Ed and we looked out from a snow bound hill across the Irish Sea to Ireland.  This was at a time when I was visiting Ireland regularly and I had just completed a 28 day trip taking in 101 of the 2,000ft hills.  At that time I knew the Wicklow Mountains quite well and as I stood on top of Bera Mawr with Ed, the clarity of visibility was so good that I could pick out individual hills and name them.  Today the outline of these hills were not as vivid as when I saw them with Ed, but Mark, Aled and I stood for a number of minutes looking toward their outline.

The Wicklow Mountains on the western horizon
We were on the verge of departing to head toward the next hill when up sauntered Asha Pond and Clare Richards, both originated from Australia and are now living in London.  By the time we had introduced ourselves and chatted the sun had sank lower and was casting magical light on the land.  Soon we were joined by Guto Thomas, a local farmer who works the land close to Mynydd Rhiw and who is a member of the Bardsey Island Trust.

We were joined on the summit by Asha Pond and Clare Richards
By now the light had dimmed and a chill heralding night had started to ebb onto proceedings, but the sun kept its captivation as it slowly sank ever seaward.  We all stood chattering away and looking west as the sun crept into a thin strip of layered cloud with light emanating out.

Slowly sinking seaward as the chill of the night set in

Sun setting beyond Ynys Enlli
To be here, at the end of Wales, on such a lovely day, with an unexpected chance encounter and watching the sun set next to Ynys Enlli was quite a magical experience. 

I’ll leave you with a few uncaptioned images as the light faded and the sun disappeared.

Survey Result:

Mynydd Mawr

Summit Height:  160.0m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 14021 25869

Drop:  96m (Subhump status confirmed)

Dominance:  60.00%

Mynydd y Gwyddel

Summit Height:  97.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 14183 25164

Bwlch Height:  74.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 14238 25454

Drop:  23.0m (30–99m Sub-Twmpau status confirmed)

Dominance:  23.63% 


For further details please consult the Trimble survey spreadsheet click {here}

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