Sunday, 18 January 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Pen Llŷn

17.01.15  Moel Bronmiod (SH 412 455), Gurn Goch (SH 407 475), Gurn Ddu (SH 405 466) and Gurn Ddu (SH 401 467)   

The potential new 400m Sub-Pedwar (SH 405 466)
As we opened the car doors a freshening wind hit us, a few minutes later with boots on and all necessary gear sorted and we were off, heading up toward the summit of Moel Bronmiod, an outlying Pedwar adjacent to Gurn Ddu.

The circuit of hills had been suggested by Mark, as Andy wanted to increase his Welsh Marilyn count with a visit to the highest hill of the day; Gurn Ddu.  We parked toward the end of a narrow lane at SH 407 449 where a couple of cars can be left on an earthen track that is adjacent to, but below, the narrow lane.  This parking place is only recommended for four wheel drive vehicles as you could get into difficulty trying to get back onto the lane if the ground was muddy and wet.

Looking out toward Garn Ganol with Garnfor prominent on the right
A gate led onto a track that headed up on the western side of Moel Bronmiod, our first hill of the day.  As the track bisected a stone wall we headed up beside it toward the summit.  Toward the west the shapely profile of Garn Ganol and Garnfor stood out with highlighted dappled greens of walled fields as foreground to an ancient landscape of cultivation.

Nearing the summit of Moel Bronmiod
Bounded by walls - an ancient land
The summit of Moel Bronmiod consists of a number of large bounders, I placed the Trimble on the highest point and we all then sat sheltering from the wind as the Trimble gathered its five minutes of allotted data.  I kept glancing toward it hoping that it was still attached to the rock as the wind whistled past, thankfully it stood steadfast.

Gathering data at the summit of Moel Bronmiod
As we left the summit I took a few photos as patches of cloud gave shadowed perspective onto field and hill, this remained with us for a number of hours with dramatic winter colour, quite stark in nature, with the profile of hills being cast as black shadowed silhouettes and their lower slopes highlighted in bleached moor grass colour.  This light only happens in the winter months, when it does it should be savoured.

The dark silhouette of Gurn Ddu
Two points for the position of the critical bwlch of Moel Bronmiod were surveyed, the first was quite a distance from where the critical bwlch lay, the second was in a bog and as the Trimble gathered its data, Mark, Andy and Alex sauntered off to a fence and stone wall where they patiently waited.  This point of the hill was a flat land of bleached winter grass, dulled beige in colour; it stood stark and naked against a backdrop of steep sloped hills, quite a wonderful place.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Moel Bronmiod
Stark winter colour, Gurn Goch from the critical bwlch of Moel Bronmiod
We now had a choice, either head for a potential new Sub-Pedwar on the way to Gurn Ddu, or gain height contouring northward toward Gurn Goch, we decided on the latter.  Arriving at the bwlch between Gurn Ddu and Gurn Goch I set the Trimble up and watched as Mark and Andy headed up to the next summit, Alex soon followed and I was left to my own surveying devices. 

Heading toward Gurn Goch
The critical bwlch of Gurn Goch
As I gathered the Trimble up and packed it safely away in its case I plodded up in pursuit and joined them at the summit, this again was rocky with large erratic boulders strewn around the summit area.  The Trimble was placed on what looked to be the highest of these boulders and we sat and chatted.

Gathering data at the summit of Gurn Goch
Once the data set was complete we headed back down to the connecting bwlch and walked up to the easterly top of Gurn Ddu, this is rather overshadowed by its higher and more dramatic neighbour, but it has an interesting summit with a number of ancient cairns on it, as well as a bisecting solid stone wall marching up and over the hill.  This hill is given a 491m summit spot height on Ordnance Survey maps with a 472m spot height appearing on the enlarged Geograph map at the area of the bwlch, that’s 19m of prominence according to current maps, with 20m of prominence this hill would enter the ranks of 400m Sub-Pedwar hills, we’ll have to await the result of the survey to find out if it does enter the ranks of subs.  Both summit and bwlch were Trimbled.

As the Trimbling was being done Mark and Andy made their way upto the summit of Gurn Ddu whilst I walked up with Alex once the Trimble had done its stuff and it had been packed away.

By now the sun was low in the western sky giving dramatic effects on the land with dark profiles of hills against lowering light being accentuated with flashes of green.

Winter light
The ascent from the potential 400m Sub-Pedwar to the summit of Gurn Ddu is mainly on jumbles of boulders; all positioned in a variety of ways with flat and sharp edges, gaps just wide enough to hop and ones that required weaving down and around toward the summit.  This consists of a large cairn with a number of large boulders strewn nearby.

Once the Trimble was gathering data we sat, chatted and looked out as the sun played tricks on the land.  Gurn Ddu is a fine hill looking out west to steely descending land which is butted against the great sweep of the sea.

Looking out from the summit of Gurn Ddu
Gathering data at the summit of Gurn Ddu
Leaving the summit of Gurn Ddu we made our way delicately down a steep boulder field until the relative safety of its flatbed was reached.  As we descended the steep grass of the hill’s south-western broad ridge the hills of Yr Eifl and the sweep of coast made a striking scene.

Mark illuminated by a sun burst
Homeward bound
The steep grass led down to fields and a track, which in time joined the narrow lane and eventually the car.  On the way we came across a herd of friendly cows and the world’s largest pasty sandwich, the latter was being manhandled by Alex.  Great day out on the hill, with beautiful light on wonderful hills and good company.

The world's largest sandwich
Survey Result:

Moel Bronmiod

Summit Height:  417.6m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 41216 45549

Bwlch Height:  355.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 41260 46303

Drop:  62.1m

Dominance:  14.88%

Gurn Goch

Summit Height:  490.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 40754 47558

Bwlch Height:  428.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 40699 47074

Drop:  62.0m

Dominance:  12.64% 


Gurn Ddu

Summit Height:  490.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 40588 46689

Bwlch Height:  471.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 40454 46695

Drop:  18.7m (non 400m Sub-Pedwar status confirmed)

Dominance:  3.81%

Gurn Ddu

Summit Height:  522.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 40114 46783

Drop:  c 386m

Dominance:  73.93% 

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

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