Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Mynydd Epynt


29.09.15  Cefn Clawdd (SO 043 403), Pt. 411.9m (SO 054 405), Pt. 415.5m (SO 064 408), Cefn Llwydallt (SO 074 409) Pentre Moel Tump (SO 074 418)  

Cefn Llwydallt (SO 074 409)

Investigating the hills of the Epynt is proving a very enjoyable experience, where leg sapping tussock grass predominates on this ranges northerly neighbour of the Elenydd, the Epynt has extended and open moorland ridges that are easy to the eye and leg.  However, it is only there southern and eastern lands that are accessible all year round, as their northern lands are out of bounds for much of the year due to the military artillery firing range.

Today I wanted to visit a number of hills that included a 400m Sub-Pedwar listed with 29m of drop which desperately needed a survey, I also hoped to meet at least one farmer on my travels as three of the five hills I planned on visiting has no name given them on current Ordnance Survey maps, and perhaps local knowledge may unearth a name or three.

I parked beside Cilian-fawr, a farm house next to a narrow lane that meanders for miles above the beautiful Afon Gwy (River Wye).  This farm is positioned directly under what was planned to be my last hill of the day, and as the rest of the hills are laid on a ridge I needed to walk out to them to then walk back.

I found an old green and muddy track between high hedgerows that led toward a footpath that in time would gain height toward the hills.  This old green track had the smell of death about it and I soon found the unpleasant debris of sheep carcasses thrown on a pile of festering and unsavoury death.  Skeletons were on the ground beside the pile and a belly-up dead sheep dog on top of the pile.  However unsavoury and unnecessary this pile of death was the most hauntingly pitiful site was a sheep that was lying beside the pile of corpses and whose head was being occasionally lifted up, the poor thing was still alive.  I stood and watched for a few seconds and could not bear to witness the scene any longer and turned and walked away.

The footpath took me across a couple of fields and onto a green track that kept to the northern side of the ridge crest, this, in time, would take me all the way to my first hill of the day; Cefn Clawdd.

To be on this green track in the morning’s sunshine with a slight chill early autumnal breeze was blissful, solitude pervaded and the world seemed at ease with itself.  As I contoured around the northern part of the 400m Sub-Pedwar I looked down on its connecting bwlch and then assessed it quickly as I continued walking toward the first summit of the day.

A vehicle track on the moor led me up toward the summit of Cefn Clawdd, as I gained height I heard the distinctive sound of a quad bike in the distance that seemed to be getting nearer, I hoped that it was coming my way and that I’d have the opportunity of talking with a local farmer.

As the quad bike appeared I briskly walked back down the hill and waved toward the driver, three sheep were in front seemingly being driven down the hill with two sheep dogs present, one scampering behind the sheep, the other happily bouncing along on the back of the quad bike.  Within a couple of minutes I was talking with Bernard Davies who has lived in these parts all of his life, we stopped and chatted for ten minutes or so with Bernard giving me names for two of the three hills unnamed on the map hills.  This information has been sent to Aled, who will evaluate it and if accepted, it will appear in the 2nd edition of Y Pedwarau which is due for publication by Europeaklist in 2016.

Bernard Davies on his quad bike

After I waved goodbye to Bernard I continued to the summit of Cefn Clawdd, found what I judged to be its high point and set the Trimble up on the top of my rucksack and gathered five minutes of data.  By now the sun had burnt off the majority of early morning mist but a lingering high cloud still obscured the sun on occasion.

Gathering data at the summit of Cefn Clawdd

Leaving the summit of Cefn Clawdd I headed down to the connecting bwlch which is the critical point for the drop of the 400m Sub-Pedwar, this bwlch was not difficult to pinpoint and the Trimble was soon gathering its customary five minutes of data. 

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Pt. 411.9m, with Cefn Clawdd in the background

Pt. 411.9m (SO 054 405)

After packing the equipment away I walked up an open part of hillside and then delved into the browned bracken toward this hill’s summit.  This highpoint soon had the Trimble on top of my rucksack and off it went again; beeping away as each one second epoch timed data point was gathered.  After approximately 300 data points were stored I pressed ‘Done’ and packed it away.

Gathering data at the summit of the 400m Sub-Pedwar

Continuing along the ridge the next point to survey was a bwlch which looked relatively flat in the valley to valley direction and which had a pool in the centre of it.  This watery lagoon is not indicated on current 1:25,000 OS maps.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch for Pt. 415.5m (SO 064 408)

Beyond the bwlch the next hill has a trig pillar positioned on its summit, this is another hill that is unnamed on current Ordnance Survey maps but which was named as Waun Gynllwch in the 400m P30 list published on the RHB file database and then on Geoff Crowder’s v-g.me website.  As this data was duplicated for this part of Mark Jackson’s Tump listing the hill not surprisingly also appears under this name in this list.  However, Waun Gynllwch strictly applies to marshy land to the north of this hill’s summit and not to the name of the hill.  We’ll have to wait and see what Aled’s evaluation of the locally known name is, and whether it makes it into the 2nd edition of Y Pedwarau.

Once the summit of this hill had been Trimbled I walked along its north-easterly grassy ridge and followed a sheep track down to a narrow road that crosses the hills and comes close to turning the critical bwlch of my next hill; Cefn Llwydallt, into tarmac.  Thankfully the road just misses this critical bwlch and within a few minutes the Trimble was set up gathering data on it.  Once stored, it was switched off and I followed a path up to the top of the next hill.

Gathering data beside the trig pillar at the summit of Pt. 415.5m (SO 064 408)

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Cefn Llwydallt

The afternoon was proving lovely and warm, not so much to be uncomfortable, but enough to enjoy and bask in, and as I reached the top of Cefn Llwydallt I proceeded to take four data sets, all from individual high points, the second is where the summit is positioned but I thought why not gather data when I’m up here.

Gathering data at the summit of Cefn Llwydallt

After the fourth data set was complete and the Trimble safely packed away I followed a gravelled track back down toward the bwlch and joined a track which led me down toward the last hill of the day, which is the one positioned above Cilian-fawr, and where I had parked my car.

Pentre Moel Tump (SO 074 418)

Maps indicate that the critical bwlch for this hill is placed in the centre of the narrow lane that skirts the hill’s western flank.  This lane has high hedgerows either side of it, so I spent a pleasant few minutes in the fields either side of the lane gathering two data sets, one from each.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Pentre Moel Tump (SO 074 418)

Only one hill remained and it looked a delight with relatively steep grassed sides leading up to a rounded and pronounced summit.  I used a series of gates to get to its top across a number of fields, being careful on my way not to disturb a grazing herd of cows.  Once at the summit another Trimble data set was gathered and then for my last survey of the day I visited its lower and north-easterly summit.

Gathering data at the summit of Pentre Moel Tump (SO 074 418)

Once this second summit had been Trimbled I headed down to Cilian-fawr where Lyn Jones was training a sheep dog in the adjacent field.  We chatted for quite some time about the route and hills I’d visited and about the names of these hills, with many of the names Lyn gave me matching those that Bernard had given me earlier in the day.  It’s always good to get hill names confirmed from a second source and especially so when the two people work land on opposing sides of the hill.  Importantly Lyn also told me that the last hill I had visited is known locally as Pentre Moel Tump, with Pentre-moel being a farm positioned to the east south-east of the hill. 


Survey Result:


Cefn Clawdd

Summit Height:  434.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 04324 40381

Drop:  c 46m

Dominance:  10.59%



Pt. 411.9m

Summit Height:  411.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 05488 40538

Bwlch Height:  384.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 04980 40516

Drop:  27.4m (400m Sub-Pedwar status confirmed)

Dominance:  6.66%



Pt. 415.5m

Summit Height:  415.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 06443 40804

Bwlch Height:  368.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 05944 40803

Drop:  46.6m

Dominance:  11.21%



Cefn Llwydallt

Summit Height:  380.7m (converted to OSGM15) (significant height revision)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 07422 40950

Bwlch Height:  339.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 07211 41034

Drop:  41.0m

Dominance:  10.77%



Pentre Moel Tump (significant name change)

Summit Height:  360.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 07445 41820

Bwlch Height:  308.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 07112 41686

Drop:  51.5m

Dominance:  14.30%



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



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