Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Fforest Glud

07.04.15  Hergest Ridge (SO 254 562), Hanter Hill (SO 252 570), Pt. 346.5m (SO 238 565) and Gobe Banks (SO 222 556)   

Hanter Hill (SO 252 570)
Quiet mornings when the chill warmth of spring and emerald new growth is set off against the ever present call of the Skylark is a therapeutic experience, one to be savoured and stored in memories eye.  The ascent of Hergest Ridge from Gladestry gave me all of these and more, it was a slow plod gaining 200m of height through a peaceful landscape of almost forgotten tranquillity.

I parked on the northern outskirts of the beautiful village of Gladestry where a number of cars can be left in an elongated add-on to the road just where the speed limit sign gives indication that the motorist is entering a built up area.  As I sorted my gear out the sun baked down from a succulent blue sky, with the clarity of colour enhanced by early growth with the young greens fresh and the earth almost dust-like with a crispness to the fallen winter leaves as they lay forlorn on the track that ascents the south-west ridge of Hergest Ridge.  This is a fine hill and one that I had not visited before, although I had visited its adjacent neighbour; Hanter Hill.

I’d made a mental note of eight points to survey during the day, four summits and four bylchau, well three bylchau and one col as the walk meandered through border country with the boundary firmly placed at the bwlch between Hergest Ridge and Hanter Hill.

As I gained height I picked out the grassed tops of the last two P30s of the day, one a hill that is listed as Weythel Common in some lists and the other named Gobe Banks, each looked attractively shaped, albeit dwarfed by some of their neighbouring hills.

The grassy hill in the centre of photo is Pt. 346m
The grassy hill in centre of photo is Gobe Banks
The ascent toward the summit of Hergest Ridge was a delight with expansive views; the hill seemed almost island like, bathed above all others.  Its summit is crowned by a copse of rocks, all neatly arranged in a haphazard way, attractively pointing up to the sky with a trig pillar some distance away toward the east.

Approaching the summit of Hergest Ridge
I balanced the Trimble on the highest rock and aligned its internal antenna with the very highest point of the rock and stood back and looked as the Trimble clung on almost vertically aligned against the sides of the rock, this was not ideal as one slip and it would topple off to the ground below.  I rummaged around the summit rocks and found a small rock that I balanced across the highest rock and which supported the Trimble so that it was sat horizontally instead of almost vertically, and once the required 0.1m accuracy had been attained I quickly pressed ‘Log’ and scampered off, hoping that the rock and hence the Trimble would not slip and fall to the ground below.  Thankfully there was hardly any breeze and once five minutes of data were collected I switched it off, took a few photos and packed it away with relief.

Gathering data at the summit of Hergest Ridge
The Trimble delicately positioned balanced on a balancing rock
A short distance below the summit rocks a sign post indicated the downward route toward the connecting bwlch with Hanter Hill.  There is now a conifer plantation near to this bwlch which looks regimented and out of place amongst the heathland.  As I assessed the bwlch from four different directions I still did not know if my chosen spot for the Trimble was at the exact critical bwlch, although the area was only small the land seemed to head off from the wanted route with slight undulations adding complexity to the land.

Hanter Hill on the descent from Hergest Ridge
As the Trimble slowly ebbed down to the 0.1m accuracy I stood in the shade made by the conifer wood and looked, thought and slowly cascaded into contentment, this was only broken with a number of visits to the Trimble to check on its downward progress, after 20 minutes of waiting the magical 0.1m appeared on its screen and I pressed ‘Log’ and waited another five minutes before switching it off and proceeding to enjoy the steep sun drenched path that led joyfully to the cairn on the summit area of Hanter Hill.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Hanter Hill
I took data from two points, one about five metres from the summit cairn and another about 50 metres away, both were crowned with small attractive rock outcrops.  Again I waited patiently as the data was collected from each as birdsong rang out serenading the hills with beauty.  Tis a wonderful place when happiness can be found through morning wanderings, I’m always amazed at the joy that hills can bring, it seems unfathomable to me, sometimes being able to find fitting words to summarise their beauty is difficult, but the hills seem extraordinary things with sublime offering of wonder in all weathers and environments, and todays offering was just so, a rather pleasant plod in sunshine on old tracks amongst the hills that led from one valley to another, a transportation hub long overshadowed by the arrival of the tarmac artilleries.

Gathering data from the first of two positions at the summit of Hanter Hill
Aligned with the high point of the second position with the summit cairn in the background
Gathering data from the second of two positions at the summit of Hanter Hill
As data were collected I walked to the northern part of the hill’s summit dome and peered across toward the remains of Old Radnor Hill and its adjacent hill, both now quarried away by the Gore and Dolyhir Quarries respectively.

This hill was once a P30
This hill was once a Hump
Beyond Hanter Hill lay two P30s that I had not visited, once back at the connecting bwlch I found the green track that led down to the B4594 and slowly walked up the road toward the critical bwlch of the next hill.  This lay in a field next to the road and close to the Wern Farm.  Once data had been collected I followed a footpath up toward the summit of the hill that overlooks the farm.

Pt. 346m on the descent from Hanter Hill
Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Pt. 346m
This hill has an engraved memorial rock at or near to its high point, it commemorates Shiela Mary Watson and is a fine and unobtrusive reminder of someone’s loved one.

The memorial rock at the summit of Pt. 346m
Neatly engraved, the memorial rock overlooking the Wern Farm
The summit area of Pt. 346m
By now the sun was taking its toll and waiting atop the hill as the Trimble gathered data from two points was a welcome relief, over the intervening valley Hanter Hill rose conically shaped with the elongated heathland of Hergest Ridge stretching adjacent to the B road as it gathered its downward motion toward Gladestry.

Gathering data at the second of two points at the summit of Pt. 346m
Beyond this P30 lay my last hill of the day; Globe Banks, between me and it lay a roasting afternoon of sweat and slowly paced walking as I skirted a number of fields using gates as access before dropping down to the hill’s critical bwlch, this was duly Trimbled before I plodded wearily up another footpath toward the eloquently shaped Gobe Banks.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Gobe Banks
The footpath was old and enclosed with a teeming spirit of travel with it submerged in the countryside between young lambs lazing in the sunshine and the steepening slopes of Gobe Banks.  As I rested in the shade I heard a quad bike and waved across at the driver indicating for him to come my way.  The person on the quad bike was Joe Alman who farms from Gladestry Court and Upper Rabber.  Joe’s family had been in this area for 300 years and we chatted about the hills, family history and the route I had taken during the day.  It was lovely to meet Joe who was ever so friendly and pleasant, I asked if he’d mind me visiting the summit of Gobe Banks and he kindly encouraged me to do so, I explained what I was doing and told him that I was surveying each summit and connecting bwlch with the last bwlch of the day below where we stood to our north-west.

Joe Alman - friendly, hospitable and with a wealth of local knowledge
As Joe left to find one missing sheep which was ready to lamb, I slowly made my way up to the summit of Gobe Banks which is a wonderful spot with a curved closely cropped grassy ridge reaching to the summit knoll which overlooks Joe’s farm and the village of Gladestry beyond.  Once the summit was Trimbled I followed a descending path to the area of the last survey of the day, this was the critical col of Hergest Ridge which was in a field close to the continuation of the enclosed and shaded path that I had previously been on, on my way toward Gobe Banks.

Gathering data at the summit of Gobe Banks
Gathering data at the critical col of Hergest Ridge
All that was left was a steady and contented wander down the lane back to the village and my awaiting car, it had been a very enjoyable day spent in the beautiful Radnorshire countryside amongst its shapely and quiet hills. 

Survey Result:

Hergest Ridge

Summit Height:  426.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 25435 56259

Col Height:  269.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 22057 55715

Drop:  157.6m

Dominance:  36.92%

Hanter Hill

Summit Height:  414.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 25216 57065

Bwlch Height:  346.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 25392 56820

Drop:  67.3m

Dominance:  16.26%

Pt. 346.5m

Summit Height:  346.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 23881 56524

Bwlch Height:  278.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 23998 55881

Drop:  68.3m

Dominance:  19.71%

Gobe Banks

Summit Height:  325.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 22243 55606

Bwlch Height:  279.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 22707 56059

Drop:  46.6m

Dominance:  14.30%

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

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