Friday, 27 March 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Stiperstones

22.03.15  Brow Hill (SO 363 956) and Linley Hill (SO 358 943)   

Brow Hill (SO 363 956)
Having visited Corndon, Lan Fawr and Stapeley Hill I drove on the narrow lane over the southern shoulder of the Stiperstones and parked at SO 362 962 on the grass verge next to a tee-junction close to Cold Hill Farm.  As the ground conditions were fairly dry this parking spot was ideal but I wouldn’t recommend it if wet and muddy.

The tee-junction was one of three options for the position of the critical col for Linley Hill; I had a quick look at how the valley to valley and hill to hill traverses met as I set off up the road toward the footpath that led up toward Brow Hill.  The traverses seemed to meet adjacent to a road sign that was set back from the lane and was almost in the hedge row.  I decided to leave this survey until I had finished the walk as the Trimble could be left gathering data whilst I sorted my gear out back at the car.

Once on the footpath I walked down to another option for Linley Hill’s critical col, this was positioned in a closely cropped field where sheep and young lambs were happily lazing in the sun.  After five minutes of data were collected I set my sights on the summit of Brow Hill and headed toward a gate that gave access to the higher part of the hill.

A sign of spring - lambs lazing in the sunshine
As I approached the summit of Brow Hill I set the Trimble down on a small embedded rock which looked like the high point of the hill from the direction that I had approached from, I then assessed the lay of land from three other directions and decided that where I had placed the Trimble was higher than all other point.  Another five minutes of data were collected, during this I looked out toward land to my south-east where a large c 400m ring contour on the map peered back at me, crouching on my knees and trying to line my eyesight with the position of the Trimble to the c 400m point showed that the small embedded rock was significantly higher, but I made a note that if time permitted I’d wander over to this other point and get data from its summit.

Gathering data at the summit of Brow Hill
By now the afternoon’s sun was succulently delicious, there’s always a thrill when the first warmth’s of spring arrive, this can be rather dramatic in its subtle intensity with new growth and shedding of winter mountain gear.  Today as I left the summit of Brow Hill I faced direct into the afternoon’s sun and savoured having these hill’s to myself which was in contrast to the groups of people around Corndon, Mitchell’s Fold Stone Circle and Stapeley Hill.  It seemed as if the world was asleep, luxuriating in the knowledge that winter’s chill had finally been overcome.

The footpath between Brow Hill and the summit of Linley Hill passes next to a magnificent avenue of beech trees; these are the Linley Beeches that Michelle Heap had mentioned when I met her and Dave at the summit of Stapeley Hill earlier in the day.  This avenue marches toward the south-west with one stunningly shaped and mature beech tree after another, all lined up resembling an extra in a wind-blown moorland scene from Wuthering Heights, where one would expect a horse drawn carriage to make an appearance on the green track beside the trees.  Today they proudly stood upward glistening against the blue of sky, with their branches accentuating in shape and form, many of the lower trunks had engravings of dates and initials, although I did not scrutinise these in any detail I did notice one that had ‘1917’ carved into the bark, a date during what is described as the Great War, I wonder who carved this and what they thought of the preceding years of calamity when a world lost so many lives to conflict.

Two of the Linley Beech's
Between the two hill’s was the critical col of Brow Hill, walking down to it gave a good inkling toward where the spot for the Trimble placement was positioned, as it lay in the grass almost hidden from view I stood and looked west toward the domed shape of Black Rhadley Hill.

The col between Brow Hill and Linley Hill
As I walked toward the summit of Linley Hill the avenue of beech trees continued southward, I stopped beside many and tried to frame a number of photographs to do their beauty justice, some silhouetted against the sky with others looking up to their sun drenched branches.  I made a note to re-visit in autumn when their leaves would be ablaze in bronze.

Magnificent against the spring sunshine
The Linley Beech's form a wonderful avenue between Brow Hill and Linley Hill
I had fun judging the high point of Linley Hill and chose a spot after rummaging around on my knees looking at the green plateaued land from a number of directions.  Behind to the north lay the rocky crests of the Stiperstones and the small butted rock outcrop of Nipstone Rock, my forays to the Shropshire hills were making progress as every hill to my west had now been surveyed. 

Gathering data at the summit of Linley Hill
The view of some of the Linley Beech's from the summit of Linley Hill
Just one of the beautifully shaped Linley Beech's
Once data were collected I retraced my steps beyond the connecting col and headed across to the c 400m summit that connects itself to the top of Brow Hill.  As the Trimble collected data from its high point I looked out on the high land of the Long Mynd as it stretched ever onward.

Last summit survey of the day with the Long Mynd in the background
I followed a footpath over the boggy col between this point and its higher adjacent summit and contoured around the eastern bulk of Brow Hill to then retrace my steps back toward the car.  As I left the green Shropshire fields and their beautiful hills I walked over the high point of the narrow lane close to Cold Hill Farm, this was another option for the position of Linley Hill’s critical col, it was obviously higher than beside the road sign, next to the car, so I visually dismissed it and set the Trimble up next to the sign and waited for it to slowly ebb its way down to the required 0.1m accuracy before data can be logged.  As it was overshadowed by a hedge and had a tractor parked next to it I expected this to take quite some time, my expectations were not wrong.  During this time I sorted my gear out at the car and got changed, happy in the knowledge that no one would disturb its progress down to the magical 0.1m figure.  After 10-15 minutes of waiting it had attained the required accuracy and I pressed ‘Log’ and waited beside the car for the next five minutes.

Gathering data at the critical col of Linley Hill
Which way is home?
There is still a number of Shropshire hills that I would like to visit and Trimble, some remain just to the east of the Long Mynd whilst others are situated around the Bishop’s Castle and Clun area.  So far, all have proved very enjoyable and accessible, I’m sure there’ll be one embedded in a conifer plantation soon though.    

Survey Result:

Summit Height:  408.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 36328 95615

Col Height:  375.0m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 35917 95053

Drop:  33.9m (Four status confirmed)

Dominance:  8.28%

Summit Height:  411.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 35873 94366

Col Height:  340.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 36319 96292

Drop:  70.5m

Dominance:  17.14%

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

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