Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Fforest Glud

04.05.15  Bryn Gwyn (SO 177 500), Allt Dderw (SO 167 502), Red Hill (SO 156 501), Pt. 451.8m (SO 148 494) and Painscastle Hill (SO 156 481)   

Red Hill (SO 156 501)
When re-visiting hills in areas that have not been walked for many years I’ve noticed that further visits to the same area soon follow.  The explanation for this is probably due to re-accustoming oneself with the beauty of certain hills, and the enjoyment they give draws the person back to them shortly afterward.  Having visited Aberedw Hill with Mark and Aled last weekend to celebrate Carole Engel’s completion of Y Pedwarau – The 400m Hills of Wales, the quiet solitude of the Radnorshire hills drew me back.

Having examined the maps I decided on a circuit which had Red Hill as the axis, this walk would include my last Radnorshire Pedwar; Bryn Gwyn, and a number of interesting surveys with two possible new Pedwarau and one possible new Sub-Pedwar.

I parked near to The Pant farm at SO 161 490 on a grass verge having asked the farmer, who was rounding up his sheep, if this was OK.  The forecast for the day was good with sunny spells in the morning, with it clouding over in the afternoon, which heralded rain in the evening.  As I also wanted to visit Newchurch Hill (SO 197 505) after this walk and examine its three tops of similar height, I needed to set a reasonable pace if the rain was not to overtake me.

Part of the beauty of these hills and the majority of the ones in Radnorshire are their openness and the green tracks that lead through them, and once above the valley I found one of these green tracks and followed it north-eastward up between Bryn Gwyn and Allt Dderw, these were to be my first and second hill of the day, but before visiting their summits I wanted to survey the critical bwlch of Bryn Gwyn which was in a field with many bleating sheep, whose noisy presence threatened to alert the local farmer to the mysterious Trimbling goings on in their field.  Once data had been collected I re-joined the track happy in the knowledge that this would probably be the only survey of the day which necessitated being clandestine.

Allt Dderw from the approach to Bryn Gwyn
Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Bryn Gwyn
Painscastle Hill from the approach to Bryn Gwyn
Soon after re-joining the green track I headed up hill and found a sheep track which joined the ridge path on Bryn Gwyn.  These hills mainly comprise moor and heathland, with the dulled rusty and green colours of bilberry interspersed amongst bracken and heather, with the re-claimed brightly greened pastoral grazing fields butting up to their openness, giving a foreground set-off against the extended and rolling ridges of hills as they headed south toward the higher old red sandstone giants of south Wales.

Bryn Gwyn has two tops with 464m and 466m given them on Ordnance Survey maps, as each was Trimbled I looked out toward Newchurch Hill and its three tops that Alex had brought to my attention last weekend.  By now the sunnier conditions had merged into light and shade, as cloud build up, which sparked hillsides softly illuminated whilst others remained dulled in shade.

Gathering data at the summit of Bryn Gwyn
After the Trimble had been packed away I found a sheep track descending the north-westerly slopes of Bryn Gwyn onto the green track that I had been on earlier, this soon bisected and I headed left into the western heartland of this small patch of Radnorshire.  I opted for the open hillside of Allt Dderw in preference to keeping on the track.  This track, in time, would give quicker access to the summit, but I preferred trying to find a path on its bilberried eastern ridge, all I found were a number of haphazard sheep tracks which weaved their way toward the summit of this 28m drop listed Sub-Pedwar hill.

Having decided where the high point lay, I set the Trimble down to gather its customary five minutes of data before walking down to its critical bwlch.  I took two data sets with the latter one being on lower ground on the hill to hill traverse; both were in lovely wild, open countryside with the green track leading upto the bwlch between Red Hill and Glascwm Hill pointing the way for my continued route.

Gathering data at the summit of Allt Dderw
Gathering data at one of the two positions surveyed for the critical bwlch of Allt Dderw
This green track proved rather magical, it boldly cut through the surrounding moor and headed for the line of weakness between the hills and gave wonderful, contented walking with Allt Dderw now behind me with its westerly stream valley plunging down to the manicured greens of re-claimed land below.  Red Hill sprang up ahead, dominating the view with its rounded top crowned by a trig pillar.

Allt Dderw (SO 167 502)
This green track led to a muddy puddle which supports itself at the critical bwlch of Red Hill, once Trimbled I decided to follow the track around the north-western flank of Red Hill in preference to a direct, pathless route through heather to its summit.  Thankfully I spotted a sheep track heading up the hill, which in time, led up close to the trig which is positioned on the summit area of this hill.

At the bwlch between Red Hill and Glascwm Hill
The trig atop Red Hill has a proudly stencilled red dragon emblazoned on it, one for each of its four sides.  This trig is positioned approximately 17 metres from the high point of the hill which is small, flatly rounded, and covered in heather, moss and bilberry.  The last time I had visited this summit was for Rob’s last Welsh trig celebration in August 2008.

The trig pillar at the summit of Red Hill
A vehicle track through the heather led down from the summit of Red Hill to another green track, which continued toward a bwlch of a potential new Sub-Pedwar which is given the map height of 452m.  On the way I passed Steve, who was out Dewey bagging, he logs his ascents on Hill Bagging under the initials ‘SS’ and has already done so for yesterday’s walk.

The view south from Red Hill
Steve on his way to the summit of Red Hill
This small hill is given 19m of drop according to Ordnance Survey spot heights and therefore was a prime candidate to survey for Sub-Pedwar status; I took data sets from two potential bwlch positions and also data from its two tops.  During this long waiting process Steve reappeared having visited the summit of Red Hill.  We chatted for a few minutes as we walked up toward the first of this hill’s two tops before we said our goodbyes.

As the Trimble gathered data from the summit of this hill, my last hill of this walk; Painscastle Hill, stared out at me from across the intervening valley with the high peaks of Mynyddoedd Duon beyond.  To the south the summit of The Begwns (SO 155 444) was neatly nestled amongst heath and moorland ridges with higher peaks as a backdrop.

Painscastle Hill with the higher peaks of Mynyddoedd Duon in the background
Surveying for Sub-Pedwar status
The copsed summit of The Begwns (SO 155 444)
Beyond this small top lay my outward route from this walk, I scampered over the critical bwlch of Craig y Fuddal on my way to the narrow road which heads over these hills from Painscastle to Cregrina.

(L-R) Red Hill, Allt Dderw, Bryn Gwyn, Newchurch Hill and Painscastle Hill
Not one car passed on this narrow road as I walked down it toward the critical bwlch of Painscastle Hill, a sign of the quiet nature of life hereabouts.  Thankfully the bwlch consisted of closely cropped grass and not the reed invested bogs sometimes encountered.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Painscastle Hill
Once data were collected I walked up another green path toward the highpoint of Painscastle Hill, I’d visited this hill once before in November 2012 and it holds special memories for me.  As data were being collected from its high point the sunnier conditions of the day had given way to a blanket of dull greyness which looked darker in the south-west, this was the direction where the forecast of evening rain was coming from, and I hoped that it wouldn’t arrive early when I was still out on the hill.

Gathering data at the summit of Painscastle Hill
I opted to take a direct route down from Painscastle Hill toward my car, instead of following public footpaths back to the lower part of the lane and have a small road walk left at the end of the afternoon.  I scampered down the hill as I still wanted to visit the three tops of Newchurch Hill and the greying overhead conditions gave a foretaste of the predicted evening rain that was heading my way.  

The view of the potential new Sub-Pedwar from the descent of Painscastle Hill

Survey Result:

Bryn Gwyn

Summit Height:  465.6m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 17785 50029

Bwlch Height:  372.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 17470 50173

Drop:  93.1m (Subhump status confirmed)

Dominance:  19.99%

Allt Dderw

Summit Height:  456.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 16767 50248

Bwlch Height:  427.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 16699 50641

Drop:  28.9m (400m Sub-Pedwar status confirmed)

Dominance:  6.32%

Red Hill

Summit Height:  509.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 15649 50105

Bwlch Height:  432.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 15560 50718

Drop:  77.0m

Dominance:  15.11%

Pt. 451.8m

Summit Height:  451.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 14830 49421

Bwlch Height:  433.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 14883 49759

Drop:  17.9m (non 400m Sub-Pedwar status confirmed)

Dominance:  3.97%

Painscastle Hill (significant name change)

Summit Height:  445.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 15689 48172

Bwlch Height:  416.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 15058 47960

Drop:  29.7m (400m Sub-Pedwar status confirmed)

Dominance:  6.66%

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

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