Sunday, 11 October 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Hafod Ithel

12.09.15  Ynys Aberteifi (SN 158 514)   

Ynys Aberteifi (SN 158 514)

Situated within 200 metres of the mainland, Ynys Aberteifi is the only major island on the great sweep of western coastline of Wales.  It rises to a map height of 52m and comprises 38 acres.  The Island is owned and managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and is commonly referred to as Cardigan Island in English.

Our trip to this island was arranged by Adrian Rayner who had sought and been granted permission to visit by the owners, Adrian arranged our trip with A Bay to Remember, who operate boats out of Gwbert, which is a couple of miles north of Aberteifi (Cardigan).  The small family run business was set up in 2007 and run two boats; we had the pleasure of being shipped to the island in their 12 person RIB.

Departure time was set at 5.30pm and I arrived with plenty of time to spare and relaxed in the afternoon sunshine listening to the car radio.  One by one the others arrived with John Mackay, Marian Mackay, Alan Holmes and George Morl appearing from the direction of the beach next to where the Rib was moored in the estuary, Gordon Adshead soon arrived, followed by Douglas Law and Alex Cameron with Mark Trengove and Adrian Rayner pulling into the small lane leading down to the slipway and finally Rob Woodall and Smudge arrived.  There was debate whether to leave cars on the sands but due to high tide we were advised to park above the estuary.

Walking across the sands with the late afternoon sun sinking behind dotted cloud we met up with the two designated operators from A Bay to Remember, they patiently went through safely procedure and gave us our life jackets and on we clambered.  I sat at the back with Mark and within a few minutes the RIB was being manoeuvred out of the narrow estuary and into the open sea.

Heading over the sands towards the RIB

(L-R) Gordon, Mark, George, Alex, Alan, Smudge, Marian, Rob, Adrian, Doug and John
We kept close to the coastline as the RIB sped its way north and as we rounded the rocky jut of Craig y Gwbert, Ynys Aberteifi came into view.  The island was bathed in late afternoon light with its lower southerly coast gauged out into rocky crags and its upper grasslands pleasantly sloped up toward its slightly rounded summit.

Following the coastline north toward Ynys Aberteifi

Close to the eastern coast of the island the Dinghy that had followed us pulled toward the side of the RIB and Adrian, Rob, George, Mark, Gordon and me clambered aboard and were whisked off toward the slanting lower rock of the island.  As with most of these island trips the safest place to deposit visitors is on a flattish lower rock that usually then slants upward shelf-like until the safely of the grass above is reached.  This landing was no different, however the rock on previous island landings had always been wet and slippy, whilst today’s was dry and a delight to stand on.

Adrian securely on the island with the Dinghy heading back to collect the remaining six people from the RIB

As we made our way up the rock the Dinghy quickly swept back to the RIB and Doug, John, Marian, Smudge, Alex and Alan were aboard and whizzing toward the island.  As Adrian and Rob headed up the grass toward the top, a large flock of Geese rose from the summit area and wagh-onked their way across the sky, slowly darting in quickly formed formation flying landward and then circling back over the island.  Their continued call and flight was captivating and added to the serene nature of our surroundings.

Safely on the Dinghy the last of the party prepare to head toward Ynys Aberteifi

Standing on the summit and looking out to the flatbed of sea with the sun casting silver sheen across its limitless depths was a wonderful experience, these island trips are always special with each having their own individual atmosphere, but they seem to be over so quickly and as a number of summit photographs were taken, people started to roam and investigate whilst I positioned the Trimble on the highest point of land under helpful instruction from Alan.

Gordon on the lower grassed slopes

Call of the wild as Geese fly over the island

Smudge, Gordon and Doug with the shapely profile of Foel y Mwnt in the background

Rob and Adrian heading for the summit

As it gathered its five minutes of data I stood and looked out to sea and watched a gull fly through the silvered horizon where land meets the depths of ocean.  When the Trimble had gathered its allotted data I pressed ‘Done’ and took a photograph of Alex, Adrian, Alan and Mark at the summit, with Adrian holding two fingers aloft signifying this to be his two hundredth island that he had visited, a remarkable achievement.

Gathering data at the summit of Ynys Aberteifi

Becalmed tranquility

(L-R) Alex, Adrian, Alan and Mark at the summit of Ynys Aberteifi

Leaving the summit we headed over to the northern highpoint which according to the map is 9m lower than the island’s summit.  By now the sun had sank behind cloud and the prospect of a magical and illuminated sunset was tempting, but we couldn’t linger as many of the party were booked on the Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid island trip for tomorrow and had hours of driving ahead of them to get to their club huts, Youth Hostels and such like.

Looking toward the northerly highpoint

Alex videoing the scene

(L-R) Alex, Mark, Rob, Adrian and Alan on the northerly highpoint

Leaving the northern part of the island

Heading down toward the rock shelf

We found the narrow rib of rock leading down to the rock shelf and waited to be picked up by the Dinghy and transported back to the RIB.  Once the first set of six were safely dropped off on the RIB the Dinghy sped back to gather up the remaining six.

Getting onto the Dinghy

Approaching the RIB

The Dinghy picking up Smudge, Doug, John, Adrian, Alex and Rob
Once all aboard the RIB we were taken around the northern coast of the island, by now shower cloud had formed out to sea and pushed westward past us, but as we sped around the rock strewn island of Silian a rainbow flashed down from the sky illuminating the small island followed by the western tip of Ynys Aberteifi.

Silian and rainbow
The RIB ground to a halt as we all stared and soaked in the view as Silian looked as if it was alight and bellowing forth the rainbow, a quite magical site, as the RIB started its engines and headed toward the estuary the rainbow circled around the main island before disappearing from view.

Evening light on Ynys Aberteifi

It had been another magical island trip and all due to the logistical and patient expertise of Adrian who had gained permission for us to visit the island and organised the trip, thanks Adrian.

Survey Result:

Ynys Aberteifi

Summit Height:  52.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SN 15812 51487

Drop:  52.5m

Dominance:  100.00%

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

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