Saturday, 28 March 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Stiperstones

25.03.15  Caer Caradoc (SO 477 953) and The Lawley (SO 494 974)   

The Lawley (SO 494 974)
Caer Caradoc stands steeply sided overlooking the fertile Shropshire plain with the town of Church Stretton expanding across the valley as it butts up against the sides of the Long Mynd.  This part of the valley is known as the Stretton Gap and the hills that rise on the east are aligned north-east – south-west and form a line of similarly shaped hills from Ragleth Hill in the south all the way to The Wrekin in the north.

I’d wanted to re-visit Caer Caradoc for a number of years as my only previous visit was in 1988 and my memories were of a hill that was steep from all sides and gave expansive views.  The opportunity to re-visit presented itself as the weather forecast was good with breaking cloud in the afternoon and a day without rain, which was then predicted to sweep in from the west over the next four days.

Visiting Caer Caradoc had been previously planned with Charlie Leventon who has extensive knowledge of the Shropshire hills, we decided on a two car walk and to also take in The Lawley which is another finely shaped hill and a natural extensive from Caer Caradoc.

As we set off from the high point of the B4371 between Church Stretton and the hamlet of Hope Bowdler a group of about 20 walkers were heading up Hope Bowdler Hill, which is another Four I hope to visit with Charlie later in the year.  We soon joined a good path as it gained height and made its way to the east of the wooded top of Helmeth Hill, ahead lay Caer Caradoc with its small rock outcrops prominent on the horizon.

Caer Caradoc from the path to the east of Helmeth Hill
We chose a slanting path up the hill’s eastern face; the alternative tackles this face straight on and looked a little steep for a late morning’s enjoyment.  Once on the upper ridge on the hill the view’s opened up with Church Stretton nestled in the valley below and the extended bulk of the Long Mynd dominating the western view.

Charlie on the lower section of Caer Cardaoc
The upper section of Caer Caradoc has impressive earthen ramparts and this is where the hill gets its name from; Caradog’s fort being named after Caractacus, who according to local legend made his last stand on this hill against the Roman legion’s during the Roman conquest of Britain.

Looking past the earthen ramparts to The Lawley
The summit of the hill is crowned by a small rock outcrop, as I set the Trimble up with its front and rear end straddling a gap and delicately balanced with its internal antenna aligned to the highest part of rock, Charlie admired the view and then walked part of the ramparts as the Trimble gathered its allotted five minutes of data.

Gathering data at the summit of Caer Caradoc
Charlie walking part of the ramparts
The Trimble GeoXH 6000 on the summit of Caer Caradoc with the Long Mynd in the background
We had a butty break after the Trimble was packed away and chatted, by now the temperature was fluctuating from being slightly chilly as cloud shielded the sun to being pleasant when in sunshine, by the time we were ready to move the cloud had increased and it was time to get warm again with a steep descent of the hill’s northern ridge.  This ridge led down to a few houses at Cromley and gave excellent views of The Lawley.

By now we had walked out from underneath the cloud cover and the sun seemed to blaze down, although the last few walks I’d done had been in the first warmth of spring, today the ascent of The Lawley proved the first time this year when the sun’s strength proved a little too warm for the gear I was wearing, I sweated and toiled as we slowly walked up the hill’s southern ridge.  One false top led to another as Charlie told me of his fell running days when he had run around the base of this hill from north to south and then over its summit and down again in about 27 minutes, I chuckled at this and remembered the day’s when my speed around the hills was a little quicker than my now steady plod.

Approaching the summit of The Lawley
The summit of The Lawley is crowned by rock and has the remains of the base of a trig pillar on it as well as an attractive weather cock; this rises to the sky perched on top of what looked like an old telegraph pole. 

The weathercock atop The Lawley
As the Trimble gathered its data we sat on the steeply angled western side of the hill and looked out toward the far off Berwyn, whose rounded and distinct elongated ridge could easily be picked out to the west.

Gathering data at the summit of The Lawley
As the five minutes of allocated data collection neared its end I walked up to the Trimble to switch it off and found a multitude of small spiders clambering over it, all attracted to its bright yellow façade, I showed them to Charlie and then blew them off back into the grass.

The bright yellow colour of the Trimble attracted a swarm of small spiders
The north-eastern ridge of The Lawley with The Wrekin in the background
All that remained was the walk down the hill’s north-eastern ridge back to where my car waited, it had been another excellent walk and it was great to be out with Charlie who I hadn’t seen since our walk over part of the Long Mynd in February of last year.

Survey Result:

Caer Caradoc (significant name change)

Summit Height:  459.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 47745 95390

Drop:  274.2m (converted to OSGM15) (273.0m col data from LIDAR being prioritised)

Dominance:  59.68% (59.41% Trimble summit and LIDAR col)

The Lawley

Summit Height:  377.0m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 49469 97493

Drop:  c 106

Dominance:  28.12%

For details on the col survey of Caer Caradoc

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

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