Monday, 20 July 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Carneddau

10.07.15  Mynydd Deulyn (SH 759 612), Pt. 403.8m (SH 746 594), Pt. 416.9m (SH 745 589) and Clogwyn Manod (SH 741 593)  

Pt. 416.9m (SH 745 589)

Out with Mark today Pedwar bagging in the eastern Carneddau, we had options for how many hills to visit and what direction to tackle them.  We opted to visit Mynydd Deulyn first and leave Crimpiau as our last hill if time and inclination permitted.

These hills and the ones between are best visited from Llyn Crafnant where there is a car park set in mixed forestry.  By the time we arrived and sorted our gear the sun blazed down and gave a taste for what was to come.

Leaving the car park a small path took us to the paved road which skirts the eastern side of the lake.  Llyn Crafnant is a reservoir with its northern end being dammed in 1874; the view from its outflow gives a glimpse of the steeply wooded and cragged sides of the hills encircling the valley, with Crimpiau prominent at the head of the lake.

Crimpiau from Llyn Crafnant

Beyond the northern outflow and beside the road is a memorial that looks out over the length of the lake and which was erected by the inhabitants of Llanrwst, it commemorates ‘the gift to that town of this lake’.

The memorial to the building of the reservoir

The road ends at the head of the valley next to the house of Blaen-y-nant, we left its paved surface close to the tea rooms that beckon passing walkers, Mark already knew its closing time and hoped we’d be there in time for a leisurely late afternoon snack and drink, but we both thought that we’d probably miss out on its delights.

A path heads up from near to the tea rooms toward part of the Gwydir Forest that spreads across the south-eastern lands of the Carneddau.  Mark led the way on what proved to be a delightful path next to the richness of high summer growth, before entering the woodland we had views across Llyn Crafnant to the steep sides of Allt Goch.

On the path that heads into the Gwydir Forest

The steep sides of Allt Goch

Two couples passed us walking in the opposite direction from Llyn Geirionydd which is situated to the east of Llyn Crafnant, with these two lakes giving the name to our first hill; Mynydd Deulyn, ‘mountain of the two lakes’.

We followed the wooded path down beyond its high point to where it joins a forest track and then followed this as it gained height and doubled back around a 336m forested top.  This way has been used by a number of people in the past as Mynydd Deulyn is listed as a Hump as well as a Pedwar with c 105m of drop, Mark had also visited the hill before and hoped to remember where to leave the forest track and enter the confines of the conifers.

We opted for what looked like a reasonable opening and headed into the trees, within a few paces we knew there was no path and that we had probably overshot where a small red ribbon on a tree signifies where the narrow path is that weaves its way through the woodland.  However, by branching (no pun intended) right we soon found what looked like the path and as height was gained we knew we were on it.

Our opening into the trees

On the way to the 382m spot heighted top

This path makes its way up toward where a 382m spot height appears on the map, this position gives excellent views over Llyn Crafnant to the higher hills of Eryri, with Moel Siabod, Yr Wyddfa, Glyder Fach and the distinctive profile of Tryfan all being prominently displayed.  These hills are set against a wall of robust individual cragged hills that form a cirque around the south-western end of Llyn Crafnant.  Having never visited Mynydd Deulyn it is a view I had not seen before, it is highly recommend.

Looking beyond Llyn Crafnant to the cirque of crags enclosing its south-western lands with the higher Eryri peaks in the background

Leaving the 382m top behind us we re-joined the narrow path as it led us through the trees with an occasional green coloured plastic tie indicating we were on the right route.  Thankfully the trees give out near to the summit of Mynydd Deulyn and they leave heather and fern to mingle.

The green tie indicated that we were on the correct route

The high point of Mynydd Deulyn is crowned by a neat cairn, this vantage point does not give as good a view south-westward as from its 382m spot heighted neighbour but it does give an extended view east.  I took two data sets, one on the highest bit of earth we could find beside the cairn, all of whose rocks moved when we wriggled them, and the second about 1.5 metres from the base of the cairn on heather that was firm which indicated that an ancient cairn may have once been positioned on this hill.  Not wanting to excavate in the warn sunshine I was happy with the Trimble’s placement and took another five minutes of data.

Gathering data at the summit of Mynydd Deulyn

By now I felt somewhat flobbered but knew that my flobbiness was only to get worse as the heat of the day was just about to strike.  We retraced our steps back through the trees on the path which proved relatively easy to follow when compared to our initial foray into the woodland on our ascent.  Occasionally a flap of green plastic was tied to a tree branch and a succulently coloured toadstool would emerge from the undergrowth.

Another green tie indicated we were still on the path

We had previously looked at our route through the trees toward our next hill near to the top of our inward wooded path, and once back on the forest track we walked back up to the top of our inward route through the wood and headed toward a number of felled trees which we clambered under and over before emerging back out into bright sunlight. 

Emerging back into the light

I had hoped to survey the critical bwlch of Mynydd Deulyn but once onto open hillside we found ourselves in a land which was covered in chest high fern.  We were now on top of a hillock that overlooks the bwlch position of Mynydd Deulyn and ahead of us lay a number of rocky tops, with the land between us and them all saturated in chest high fern.  What made matters worse was the hidden rocks, gorse and brambles.  I took one fall and saw a rock approach my head as I crumbled in a heap on steep broken ground, thankfully nothing was twisted or bashed and I heaved myself to my feet and wondered how on earth we were going to make progress as the continuation of our planned route resembled an assault course.  It was at this stage that our plan to include Crimpiau at the end of the walk was shelved.

The onward route from the small hillock

As we stumbled down from the hillock Mark suggested keeping to high ground whereas I was tempted in following the forest boundary beside a fence, we chose the former and my energy levels plummeted, so much so that after a few minutes I had to stop, sit down and scoff on an apple.

The previous few minutes and the next half hour proved tough going

However, there was beauty to be seen amongst this landscape

Looking down on the critical bwlch of Mynydd Deulyn with the heather clad hillock on the right and the forested slopes of Mynydd Deulyn in the background on the left

In between my bouts of reluctance to move I looked around and tried my darnest to appreciate our surroundings, and what a place it was that we were struggling through.  In winter this territory would be no more than a navigational wander from one undistinguished hill to another, today in high summer the undergrowth was formidable and the heat blazed down causing me to wilt.  However, progress was made and slowly we went from one rock laden hill to another and as we gained height the fern gave way to patches of burnt heather.

The forested summit of Mynydd Deulyn

Looking back the wooded summit of Mynydd Deulyn was now just below us as the cairned summit of our next hill was reached.  Phew, time to rest, I needed it.  We prodded about in the cairn for quite a while and found that one of the rocks was embedded and formed a part of a small summit tor, I dismantled part of the cairn to expose this and have no qualms doing so as I consider cairns on the actual summit of hills to be vandalism, especially so when they are positioned over such a small tor.  It seems man cannot leave such natural things exposed and we have a want to embellish them with untidy rock constructions.  If wanting to build a summit cairn why not place it adjacent to the high point and not over it?

Gathering data from the summit of Pt. 403.8m

The green slopes of Clogwyn Manod with Yr Wyddfa in the background

Once five minutes of data were collected we re-made part of the cairn and headed down to find the hill’s critical bwlch.  This hill is listed under the point (Pt.) notation in Y Pedwarau as no appropriate name for it could be found when the 1st edition of the list was published by Europeaklist, it is listed as a 400m Sub-Pedwar with c 29m of drop.  However, the hill is listed as Clogwyn Pryfed with 31m of drop in the Tumps.  This name harks back to when Mark Jackson duplicated this list from my compilation on the RHB file database, its inclusion as a Tump also harks back to when the hill was promoted from its Sub status, with its contours being re-evaluated when this list was published on Geoff Crowder’s website and it was placed back in the Subs. 

The ten figure grid reference for the estimated position of the bwlch took us to the top of a small intervening hillock which I thought rather funny, the critical bwlch lay just below in a morass of heather and grass.  Mark relaxed in the sun as the Trimble gathered its five minutes of data.  The Trimble result for this hill will be interesting as status change is guaranteed as it will either be a new Pedwar or a dethroned Tump.

Gathering data from the critical bwlch of Pt. 403.8m

The view of the 400m Sub-Pedwar from its critical bwlch

When I packed the Trimble away I walked up to join Mark on the small hillock and found a path which led toward our next hill, which we also list under the point (Pt.) notation.  The path weaved its way up toward what would prove to be our highpoint of the day; it only petered out within metres of the summit, by now I had regained some of my momentum and thankfully so, as at one stage I wondered how on earth I was going to complete the walk.

Another neatly constructed cairn unfortunately obliterates the high point of this hill, as the cairn was not an untidy construction I decided that I should only remove one or two of the lower rocks and hope that by doing so the cairn would not collapse.  It didn’t, and this gave me just enough space to position the Trimble aligned with the highest part of rock that constitutes the summit of this hill.  Miraculously the Trimble attained its 0.1m accuracy relatively quickly as it was now perched partly inside the cairn, once ‘Log’ was pressed it gathered data and only screamed out in annoyance twice when its internal logarithms and the like probably found latching onto overhead satellites a wee bit difficult due to the enclosed nature of its position.

The summit cairn on our high point of the day with Moel Siabod in the background

Gathering data at the summit of Pt. 416.9m

The next objective was the bwlch of Clogwyn Manod which lay in an elongated bog which had a number of stagnant slender threads of water laid across its length.  Mark led the way and zoned in on where the 361m map spot height appears on the ground, once there we assessed the lay of land from a couple of directions, chose a spot and the Trimble did its stuff.

On the way to the next bwlch

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Clogwyn Manod

Only one summit remained and as I picked the Trimble up from its position in the bog I walked over a number of grass tussocks that balanced their way between the sloshy undergrowth and joined Mark as we headed to the summit of Clogwyn Manod.  This summit has a small squashed cairn on it with the high point of the flat rock beside it being the summit of the hill.  Soon the Trimble had been set up and was gathering data.

Pt. 403.8m the 400m Sub-Pedwar from the summit of Clogwyn Manod

By now the heat of the day had thankfully dispersed, and the strong breeze that had been welcome during the latter part of our walk had pushed in a cooling weather front which heralded evening rain.

Clogwyn Manod does not give a lasting impression as a hill, it is neither eloquent in shape or have feature to boast, but it is well positioned and gives excellent views toward the higher Carneddau peaks, and as the Trimble gathered its data I looked out toward these wonderful mountains, a number I have not visited for many years, but all hold special memories from past visits.

Gathering data at the summit of Clogwyn Manod with Creigiau Gleision in the background

All that remained was to walk north-west across pathless land to where the last bwlch of the day was positioned.  This is the critical bwlch for our high point of the day which we have listed under the point (Pt.) notation, the pathless wander eventually joined the path that crosses this bwlch from the direction of Capel Curig.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Pt. 416.9m

As the Trimble gathered its last data set for the day Mark waited patiently looking out toward Llyn Crafnant, by now the sky had turned a milky grey and a breeze blown drop of rain fell, but thankfully this was all, and after packing the Trimble away I joined Mark for the walk down the path to the shores of Llyn Crafnant and past the sign saying ‘Closed’, we had missed our snack and drink at the tea rooms by 45 minutes.

Oooops, just missed our cuppa

Survey Result:

Mynydd Deulyn

Summit Height:  400.1m (converted to OSGM15) (Pedwar status confirmed)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 75936 61265

Drop:  c 105m

Dominance:  26.25%

Pt. 403.8m

Summit Height:  403.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 74675 59467

Bwlch Height:  374.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 74693 59288

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

Dominance:  7.16%

Pt. 416.9m

Summit Height:  416.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 74560 58930

Bwlch Height:  337.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 73825 59654

Drop:  79.5m

Dominance:  19.07%

Clogwyn Manod

Summit Height:  403.6m (converted to OSGM15) (Pedwar status confirmed)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 74169 59314

Bwlch Height:  359.6m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 74413 59368

Drop:  44.1m

Dominance:  10.92%

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

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