Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Carnedd Wen


08.08.15  Bryn Mawr (SJ 251 190), Cae Boncyn (SJ 238 193) and Old Oswestry (SJ 295 309)  

Bryn Mawr (SJ 251 190)

Our last three hills of the day started with the delights of Bryn Mawr which is another hill hidden away in the landscape of mid Wales that has an ancient hill fort constructed on it.  This is similar to the first hill we visited earlier in the day; Gaer Fawr Hill (SJ 223 129) as it is now submerged in trees and undergrowth, sometimes this adds to the appeal of such hills as there ancient landscape is hidden and their once proud nature is open to one’s imagination.

We parked to the west of the hill beside a gate that gave access to a covered reservoir, with Alex striding ahead on a freshly mown strip of grass that marched up next to thistle and long grass, this led to a locked gate and barbed wire, which Alex quickly dealt with, with the dexterity of a monkey, whist I crumbled in a heap and struggled Sloth like to its top and perched on a small fence post I then threw myself down to the comparative safety beyond – oh to be young again!

On the path leading to the covered reservoir

Ahead lay swaying grass and a summit swathed in summer growth with the high point beside a tree that had glimpses of the outside sunshine penetrating the canopy above. 

Heading for the summit

As I set the Trimble up on top of my rucksack Alex sat in a patch of sunshine whilst I sneaked away from the equipment and stood beside clumps of nettles and brambles and a multitude of undergrowth.  It was a long wait as the Trimble edged toward the 0.1m accuracy level and eventually I pressed ‘Log’ and waited for it to gather its five minutes of allotted data.

Gathering data at the summit of Bryn Mawr

Alex waiting patiently for the Trimble to do its stuff

My rucksack makes a good improvised tripod

Once the equipment was packed away we found an easier descent route on mown grass to a gate and then through a field which was adjacent to our ascent route, next stop; Gelli Farm and a visit to Cae Boncyn.

The green fields of Cae Boncyn (SJ 238 193)

To get to Gelli Farm Alex navigated us east to the B4393 and then west toward a minor road and a concrete track / road that gains height rapidly up to the farm.  When I parked the farmer was contentedly sunning himself on a reclined seat outside his front door.  I walked toward him, introduced myself and asked if we could visit the hill which was in view from the front of his farm.  He kindly said yes, and directed us to which gates to use and pointed to where the high point was, which was positioned just beyond a bricked construction which looked like a small water tower, I thanked him and re-joined Alex and away we went up the hill.

Heading toward the summit of Cae Boncyn

Alex led through the second gate and a couple of minutes later we were standing on the grassed summit which is to the west of the current position of the 142m spot height on Ordnance Survey maps and in the adjacent field to it.

Away to our south-east was Courthouse Bank (SJ 247 183) and its two distinctive summit ridge trees and beyond was the Breiddin with the quarried western side of the hill bathed in afternoon sunshine.

Looking across to the Breiddin

As the Trimble gathered its data I scribbled a number of notes which are given in the Trimble Survey Spreadsheet on the Spreadsheets heading of this blog, and Alex lazed in the sun admiring the view and happy in life.

Gathering data at the summit of Cae Boncyn

The Trimble on the summit and Alex flat out enjoying the sunshine

Once all the lazing and Trimbling had been completed we retraced our steps back down the hill to the car, before leaving I walked back to the farmer; Mel Jones, and thanked him once again for letting us visit the hill, I also asked if he knew of a name for it and indeed he did as he quickly said ‘we call it Cae Boncyn which is the name of the field’.  He then mentioned the ‘Rabbit Field’, the ‘Maes’ and the ‘Barracks’, all are individual bounded fields either on Mel’s land or adjacent to it.

As the conversation continued with Mel, he said ‘hang on a moment’ and disappeared in to his house and reappeared a couple of minutes later with a large back-boarded map of his farm.  This was made by his father and passed down to Mel and will, sometime in the future, be passed down to Mel’s sons.  On the map was each field with their name written against them, with the field where the 142m spot height is positioned on current maps being named the ‘Top Field’ and the field where the high point of the hill is situated and where the Trimble had been placed named as ‘Cae Boncyn.’

I asked Mel if I could take some photos of him with the map and we stood on his lawn, beside his farm with him proudly holding the map.  It was great meeting Mel and talking about his farm and the various names written on the map; if only every farmer had such a thing as then the preservation of locally known place-names would be made much easier.

Mel Jones with the Gelli Farm field map

The map has each individual field named with the high point of the hill named as Cae Boncyn

Only one hill remained and that was positioned across the border in deepest, darkest England on the outskirts of Oswestry.  The name of our last hill is Old Oswestry, to my knowledge the hill doesn’t appear in any hill list but we thought it stood an outside chance of becoming a new Tump.

Old Oswestry is positioned on the northern outskirts of the town that bears part of its name and can be easily accessed from a visitor car park to its west.  This gives immediate access to its impressive earthen ramparts and its upper section.  The area of this ancient hill fort is now in the guardianship of English Heritage and it was classified as a Scheduled Monument in 1997.

An artist's impression of Old Oswestry

Old Oswestry is one of the best preserved hill forts in the country and has five sets of ramparts enclosing a central area of 8.4 hectares.  As we walked up the path past these ramparts a number of people were sitting in the sun after having visited the site.  Nearing the top we found the central section with its high point being lazily guarded by a herd of cows that were contentedly munching on grass whilst the labours of the world passed them by.

Looking past one of the series of earthen ramparts onto summer activity below

We walked part of the upper rampart and then visited the central cow pasture where we picked the spot for Trimble placement and sat in the sun as it gathered its five minutes of data.  During this time a friendly cow visited us and slowly edged itself ever nearer, it was an inquisitive beast and I hoped its attention would be kept on Alex in preference to a sticky slurping lick of a brightly coloured Trimble that was positioned on the ground a few metres from it.

Making friends

Gathering data at the summit of Old Oswestry

Once the Trimble was safely packed away we headed back to the car and drove to Gobowen for Alex to catch the train back home.  It had been a great couple of days with Alex visiting Yr Allt yesterday and a good bagging day today, all that remained was to write a multitude of blog posts and process a multitude of data!

Alex catching the train back home

Survey Result:


Bryn Mawr

Summit Height:  178.1m (converted to OSGM15) (significant height revision)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 25117 19054

Drop:  90m (Sub-Hump addition confirmed)

Dominance:  50.53% (Lesser Dominant reclassified to Dominant confirmed)




Summit Height:  142.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 23849 19306 (summit relocation confirmed)

Drop:  44m

Dominance:  30.97%



Old Oswestry

Summit Height:  165.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 29533 30990

Drop:  c 27m

Dominance:  16.35%



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


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