Monday, 30 November 2015

The History of Welsh Hill Lists

The History of Welsh Hill Lists – Part 12

The Early Years

1954 – William McKnight Docharty

The evolutionary process of the Welsh hill list was now gaining momentum.  Slowly each author added an extra element, be it a new hill, lowering of the height criterion or perhaps widening one’s scope from listing the hills in Snowdonia to the hills in the whole of Wales.  Our next author widened his scope beyond just Wales and decided upon the whole of Britain and Ireland.  The author’s name is William McKnight Docharty.

On the 31st May 1948 William McKnight Docharty reached the top of Aonach Beag above Glen Nevis, in the process becoming only the thirteenth known Munroist.  Continuing south-east he then visited Stob Coire Bhealaich and claimed the last of Munro’s subsidiary tops, only the eighth person to do so.  During a visit to Wester Ross and Sutherland the previous autumn, and with his completion of the Munros and Tops looming for the following spring, Docharty was faced with a dilemma.  Should he continue visiting the Munros and Tops and use these as his principal objective, or should he turn his sights to new ground and visit hills of a lesser height.

William McKnight Docharty:  Photo published courtesy of SMC Image Archive

Following his Munro completion he traversed the main ridge of Rhum on the 1st June and the next day visited Knoydart with Sgurr na Ciche and Ben Aden his objectives.  These two latter excursions were to make a lasting and profound impression upon him as to the latent possibilities of excursions to hills of a lesser height than 3,000 feet.  During the autumn of the same year he visited the 3,000 foot mountains of Ireland, Wales and England.  By May of 1949 his decision had been made, the second of the alternatives had been chosen and the idea of his lists conceived.  His first list, to Scotland, was finished during the winter of 1950-1951; his lists to England, Ireland and Wales followed over the next twelve months.

During Docharty’s autumn 1948 visit to Wales, the country in the British Isles of which he had least experience; he was beset with bad weather.  Perhaps it was because of the turmoil of rain, high wind and driving mist that haunted him on his three days on the loftier Welsh ridges that no panoramic photographs of the Welsh hills are included in his book.  Nevertheless, Docharty did have the opportunity to pass comment on “Tryfan, perhaps the most graceful of all mountains throughout these islands.”  He goes on to say “I look forward to the day when I may see all the mountains of Snowdonia, but especially Tryfan, standing free and untrammeled below high skies.”  Docharty again visited Wales in October 1953, Cnicht, Arennig Fawr and the Brecon Beacons were all explored.  He enthuses about the views, especially so from the ridge of Arennig Fawr “I treasure in mind my exquisite early morning vignette of Snowdon, over seventeen miles distant, rising beyond some light diagonally cast cloud, the clear fresh silhouette being the only visible feature on the horizon, the remainder of which was dark, obscure, and ominous.”  Clearly William McKnight Docharty was a great lover of the hills.  His three privately published volumes; the first entitled ‘A Selection of some 900 British and Irish Mountain Tops’ is a testament to that love. 

Front cover to the 1954 book produced by William McKnight Docharty and which was privately published

Five hundred copies of this book were printed at the Darien Press Ltd, Edinburgh and privately published in December 1954.  The book comprises 124 pages, ending with nine magnificent black and white fold-out panoramic photographs ranging in length from 16 ¾ inches to 27 inches.  It is enclosed in a light coloured dust jacket with the title embossed in gold on a green hard-backed cover.  Each book’s allotted number is stamped on the inside back cover, many if not all are assigned to various organizations, for instance, book No. 151 is assigned to ‘The Royal Scottish Geographical Society (Glasgow Centre) with the compliments of W M Docharty.’  Following a one page dedication is a seven page autobiographical forward.  Two pages of contents lead on to page eighteen’s ‘Grand Summary of Mountain Tops Listed Herein.’  Docharty lays out his criterion on the following two pages.  After an explanatory page the lists proper start on page twenty two.

The Welsh lists are represented between pages 80 – 87.  The lists comprise ‘List A’ and ‘List B’.  They are thorough and complicated.  List A concentrates on the Carnedds, Glyders and Snowdon ranges whilst List B concentrates on mountain ranges between the heights of 2,500 feet and 3,000 feet.  The hills in both lists are divided into ‘Independent Mountains’ and their ‘Tops’, List A includes some additional heights marked on the maps which, when Docharty visited, did not appear to have sufficient individuality to qualify as tops, List B includes some other Tops of interest under 2,500 feet and some Independent Mountains of interest under 2,500 feet.  Docharty’s criterion for an Independent Mountain is that it had to have a minimum of 500 feet of ascent on all sides at or above the designated height.  This though was relaxed in List A when he states “The 3,000 feet Mountains are listed as such by virtue of their commanding position on their ridges and are not necessarily bound by the 500-foot rule”.  This criterion though was strictly applied to Independent Mountain status in List B.  The criterion for a Top is an eminence marked with one 50 foot contour on the one-inch Ordnance Survey Map at or above the designated height.

‘List A’ is to the 3,000 feet mountain groups; The Carnedds, Glyders and Snowdon.  Listed are nine Independent Mountains of 3,000 feet and over, five Tops of 3,000 feet and over, twelve Tops of 2,500 feet and under 3,000 feet.  Also listed are two points of 3,000 feet and over and two points of 2,500 feet and under 3,000 feet that are additional heights marked on the maps.

‘List B’ is to the 2,500 feet and over but under 3,000 feet mountain groups.  These are; The Carnedds, Snowdon, Moel Siabod, Moel Hebog, Merioneth, Rhinogs and Llawllech, Cader Idris, Berwyn, Fforest Fawr and Black Mountains.  Listed are fourteen Independent Mountains of 2,500 feet and over but under 3,000 feet, nineteen Tops of 2,500 feet and over but under 3,000 feet, four Tops of mountains under 2,500 feet and lastly seven Independent Mountains under 2,500 feet.

The Lists of Welsh Mountains and Tops used a detailed but complex classification

The outcome of this is a detailed but complex classification of mountains which result in a strange mix of Corbett’s Scottish mountain criterion, Munro’s mountains and Tops and Moss’s 50 feet contour ring definition.

For the purposes of this article we have to concentrate on the Welsh content; Docharty attempts a new Welsh re-ascent value of 500 foot for his Independent Mountain status and lists 70 mountains and their tops, of which all had appeared in previous hill lists.

In all, he lists 933 Mountains and their Tops.  Nobody had ever attempted such a momentous classification of the British and Irish mountains.  This was just a start.  It would be another eight years before Docharty’s next publication.  In the meantime William McKnight Docharty set out with the intention to update his 1954 publication and this time set his sights on a detailed compilation of mountains in Britain and Ireland between 2,000 feet – 2,499 feet in height.  Nothing like this had ever been attempted before.  Until we get to grips with Docharty’s next book we have an update and two new publications to deal with.

Next instalment due on the 30th January 2016

For the Preface please click {here}

For Part 1 please click {here}

For Part 2 please click {here}

For Part 3 please click {here}

For Part 4 please click {here}

For Part 5 please click {here}

For Part 6 please click {here}

For Part 7 please click {here}

For Part 8 please click {here}

For Part 9 please click {here}

For Part 10 please click {here}

For Part 11 please click {here}

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Guest Contributor – Simon Glover


I have approached a number of people to write articles, but if readers would like to contribute an article please contact me. The only two stipulations I make are that the article has to be hill related and that I don't end up in court through its publication! Otherwise the choice of subject matter is down to the Guest Contributor.

Guest Contributor – Simon Glover

Since leaving local government, Simon Glover has pursued his passions of playing croquet and crown green bowls (interests shared with his wife Lynda).  His local history society takes him to areas he may not otherwise visit in the UK.  With regards the hills, he's no longer active but his Furths research helps keep the love affair alive


Biographical Background

Living on the Wirral peninsula, just thirty-seven miles as the crow flies from Foel Fras in the northern Carneddau range of Snowdonia, I have long been interested in the 3,000 ft. summits of England, Wales and Ireland, otherwise known collectively as The Furths.  This fascination, I suppose, started early in the summer of 1976, when I acquired my first copy of Munro’s Tables (First metric edition, 1974). For the first time, this historical Scottish mountain document published a list (pp.86-88) of some 107 Munroists, i.e. people who had claimed to have climbed all the Munros.  The list also catalogued those that had added the subsidiary peaks - called “Tops” - and the supplemental 3000 foot mountains in the British Isles furth of Scotland.

My childhood home in Wallasey, stands on a sandstone ridge overlooking the coastal plains of north Wirral and North Wales beyond, from which the long, sprawling ridge of the Carneddau rises - something which I didn’t appreciate in my formative years of the 1960s!  It was from here that many youthful mountain wanderings began.  Like thousands of others, the first notable hill for me was nearby Moel Famau (classified a Marilyn: height with a drop of 150 metres on all sides), first climbed on the twentieth anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing’s historic ascent of Everest.  Family holidays saw two further Marilyns - Great Rhos (Radnor Forest) and Aran Fawddwy - done in the successive years.  (These early hillwalks were solo efforts.)  A trip to Bala awakened my awareness to the possibility of more superb mountain days to come, when I equipped myself with W. A. Poucher’s guide The Welsh Peaks.

My introduction to the Furths finally came on 27 August 1976 - with a sizzling hot, almost solo (I say almost, because I tagged along with a school party being led over Crib Goch) traverse of the celebrated Snowdon Horseshoe.  It was the start, unwittingly, of a piecemeal round of the Welsh/English Furths, which ended on Scafell on 22 July 1982.  A few days earlier I had a chance meeting with a tanned Hamish Brown at Keswick Youth Hostel, where I introduced myself.  Hamish asked: “Do I know you?”, to which I quipped “No. But you soon will, as I’m on your forthcoming autumn Irish trip!” (Hamish was cycle-linking the Four Country Summits of Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland.)  The Irish Furths were duly added - finishing the lot on Brandon Mountain on 11 October 1982.

The writing part of me manifested itself late 1977, when I penned the following brief note for Climber and Rambler magazine:

Another Top ?

Sir,   -   I have found a 3000ft. top which does not appear in the 1974 Edition of Munro’s Tables.  It is situated half a mile NNW of Bynack More (Section 14 in the Tables).  Its name is Bynack Beg and its height is 960 metres on the new 1:50 000 map.  

Could Bynack Beg have been overlooked when the Tables were revised for the 1974 Edition?



It was published in the January 1978 issue, and I’ll never forget how thrilled I was to see it in print - contrasted with a rather lengthy contribution from Hamish Brown about the erring ways of the Ordnance Survey’s revision (or lack of!) on their maps of the Scottish Highlands.  I’d like to point out that Hamish was already known to me through his Round the Munros series, published in this periodical during the 1970s.

Hamish Brown - multi Munroist.  Photo reproduced courtesy of SMC Image Archive

Since then, I’ve contributed letters to the Mailboxes of Trail and The Great Outdoors (TGO) magazines, plus Dave Hewitt’s fanzine The Angry Corrie.  More recently the below article, Final Furths - An Overview, was tacked on to “Munro Matters” in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal 2013, from which my blog Final Furths and Furthists was a natural progression.

The Furthists

The primary tool used in my research is the Scottish Mountaineering Club’s Munroists’ database, maintained by the Clerk of the List (its latest incumbent being Dave Broadhead).  This currently contains 5765 people (at the time of writing, 8 August 2015), of which roughly one in ten have climbed the Furths.  The term Furthist was publicly given to them by Max Landsberg in his blog The Call of the Mountains.

Historically the first recorded Furthist was SMC member James A. Parker, when he reached the 3010 ft. rocky peak of Tryfan (Snowdonia) on 19 April 1929.  Next came Willie Docharty, who compleated the Munro “Grand Slam” on the stony Lakeland summit of Ill Crag on 29 September 1949.  Docharty in turn accompanied John Dow when he finished his Furths on Cruach Mhor on 1 October 1956.  (They had both been making aneroid estimations of unlevelled heights on the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Co. Kerry.)

James A Parker - the first recorded Furthist.  Photo reproduced courtesy of SMC Image Archive

The Munroist/Furthist list has its roots in the article Quod Erat Faciendum, written by Eric Maxwell (1891-1978) - a stalwart member and librarian of the Dundee-based Grampian Club - and published in the Club’s Bulletin, No. 7, 1960.  This was the third instalment of a series of Munro-related pieces, the others being Munros and Tops (1958) and Furth of Scotland (1959).  The latter amusingly recounts Maxwell’s traverse of the Furths in the company of fellow GC member James Anderson, and concludes with the endorsement: “We recommend to you the ascent of the three thousand foot hills Furth of Scotland.”  Eric Maxwell’s catalogue included 25 names, with reference to sources, and was introduced thus:

“The following list contains the names of all those who, to the best of the author’s knowledge, have climbed every Munro, and shows, also, which of them have climbed the other mountains and tops in Munro’s and/or Maxwell’s Tables. The information has been obtained from journals, etc., in the Grampian Club Library, and from personal knowledge.”

Eric Maxwell - first compiler of Munro compleaters on his final Munro: Chno Dearg 26/05/1957.  Photo reproduced courtesy of the University of Dundee Archive Services

His son David privately issued, in 1959, Tables giving all the 3000-Ft. Mountains of England, Wales and Ireland  in an eight-page “erudite booklet”, similar in style and content to the 1953 Munro’s Tables.  (Dave Hewitt kindly facsimiled me a copy of this hard to find publication.)  It is worth mentioning that the SMC made tentative listings of Munroists in the 1960s, and in the Journal of May 1968 (SMCJ, 159/29) published a full list with the unstinted cooperation of Eric Maxwell.  Iain Smart, the first recorder, seems to recall taking over from Maxwell before the figure reached 100.  There was some talk of discontinuing the list then, as the SMC thought no one would be interested if they were not in that number.  How wrong they were!

The volume of correspondence received from Munroists has grown such, that Dave Broadhead was prompted to write in Munro Matters (SMCJ, 205/43): “I often receive copies of hill logs, diaries, spread-sheets etc all of which go into the National Library of Scotland archive along with the letters.  There is a PhD there for someone, sometime.”  This is partly true for myself, in so far as some Furthists send me spreadsheets and the odd photo.  I derive immense satisfaction from the research: contacting individuals by letter/email, the friendly support of the SMC, The Munro Society and a lot more besides!  My list naturally incorporates Munroists (some of which are unregistered with the SMC), and also non-Munroists who are either working their way through the Munros - but have pre-dated this achievement by compleating the Furths - or who’ve solely accomplished these wonderfully diverse peaks.  It is a work in progress.  A labour of love.

Norman Wares (4151) with his wife on Skiddaw, 14/07/2011 

Last September, I was surprised (and honoured!) to receive the following email from Munro Society member, Alan Haworth - Lord Haworth of Fisherfield (Munroist No. 2625):

“Responding to the piece in the recent edition of the Munro Society Newsletter my Furth Compleation was on Brandon Mountain on 26.08.2008.  Accompanied by my wife, Maggie Rae, and my long-suffering teddy bear which has had much to put up with in the hills down the years.  There was a raging gale on the summit.

Irvine Butterfield told me I had left the best till the last and I quite agree.  One of my prized possessions is a beautiful framed photo of Brandon Mountain taken by Irvine from the beach at Kilcummin which I got from him a few weeks before his death”.

Alan finished his Munros on Ben More (Mull) on 28 September 2001, the centenary of A.E. Robertson’s historic completion.  I contacted him recently.  He’d just bagged his penultimate Munro Top on Beinn a’ Bhuird, viz. Stob an t-Sluichd, and said afterwards that he was in some pain with his knees, hips and an ankle - but reckoned malt whisky is a great analgesic!  Health permitting, he’s going to compleat the Grand Slam on Ronald Burn’s centenary in 2023.

In reply to my Furth enquiry, David Geddes (No. 592) sent a lovely letter back, which I feel, epitomizes the essence of this worthwhile pursuit. I give extracts from it here:

“….Good for you gathering names and dates.  I hugely enjoyed the Furths and have many wonderful memories of places and people encountered on my travels furth o’ Scotland.  Happily your sterling efforts will encourage others to find similar pleasures.

….Brandon (5/7/91) completed my personal ’Grand Slam’.  It was misty but a little bit special - Yippee!

My constant buddy….was my faithful Working Cocker Spaniel ’Tess’.  She features in almost all of my hundreds of hill photographs and I am eternally grateful to her for her support and companionship.”

David Geddes and his beloved Tess on Brandon Mountain

David also emailed me details of his Munros and Tops compleations, which I quote fully:

“My final Munro on that 1st round (not that I’ll ever complete a 2nd round!) was Sgurr nan Gillean (Cuillin) on the 4 August 1988 in the company of a small party with the famous Gerry Akroyd as our guide.  A glorious day of spectacular views and altogether a memorable experience.

The final top was Sgurr Eilde Beag (Mamores) on the 20 October 1989 in the company of my faithful Tess.  The diary account notes, ’wretched weather, strong wind, rain and mist.’  We walked on to revisit Binnean Mor and Binnean Beag ’through curtains of rain driven by gale force wind.’  I recall enjoying the bleakness and loneliness of it.

I’m sure every hillwalker can relate to this mixed bag of experience.”

These then are the words of a couple of typical baggers which, told from their perspective, hopefully convey a sense of the delights (and hardships!) that await those who take up the challenge of the Furths and other 3000 ft. mountains.


I am indebted to David Geddes and Alan Haworth for permitting me to share their experiences and to Norman Wares for the use of his Skiddaw photo.  Thanks are also due to Dave Broadhead, Robin Campbell and Iain Smart of the Scottish Mountaineering Club for their input.  The article Quod Erat Faciendum is held at the University of Dundee Archive.

The following article first appeared in the Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal
(SMCJ, 204/42, 609-10) Copyright 2013, and is reproduced here with permission.


Simon Glover

MUCH HAS BEEN written about Munro compleations down the years; but what of the Furths?  Inspired by Dave Hewitt’s research into Scottish hill list compleations, and his online history 'May The Furth Be With You!' [1], I decided to take up the gauntlet of establishing the location of Furth finishes.

What follows is a brief summary of final 3,000 ft summits ‘Furth of Scotland’, using spelling of names listed in the 1997 edition of Munro’s Tables.  Prior to this, England has variously been credited with between four and seven baggable peaks, Wales 14, and Ireland between seven and thirteen respectively.  The following statistics are based on my list so far of 52 compleaters (which include several SMC luminaries), and spans the period 1929-2012.

Here is the distribution of 47 known first-round finishes:

18  Brandon Mountain
 5   Galtymore, Lugnaquillia
 3   Beenkeragh
 2   Carrauntoohil, Elidir Fawr, Helvellyn, Ill Crag
 1   Caher, Cnoc an Chuillinn, Cnoc na Peiste, Cruach Mhor,
      Scafell, Scafell Pike, Skiddaw, Tryfan

And of 9 known repeat rounds:

 2   Brandon Mountain, Scafell, Snowdon
 1   Elidir Fawr, Foel Fras, Lugnaquillia

Five hundred and forty four listed Munroists (March 2013) have done the Furths, just over 10% of the overall total.  However, things are not as simple as they seem.  For instance, it is clear that not all compleations are reported/recorded, as in the case of Paul Russell (731) who finished on Lugnaquillia, 28/10/1977.  It’s also known some compleaters report the Furths as an integral part of their Munro round, and this produces different dates.

Finally, not wishing to detract from the admirable work of the Clerk of the List (and his predecessors), it is hoped that the above serves as an interesting introduction to my ongoing research.  Anyone who wants to impart their Furth details, or would like a copy of my list, please e-mail

1.  12/09/2002

Friday, 20 November 2015

Out for the Count at 120

Tomorrow’s blog post has been submitted by Simon Glover and will appear under the Guest Contributor heading.  Simon’s article is entitled ‘The Furths and Their Compleaters’ and details his research into the Furths (more details tomorrow).

Tomorrow’s blog post will also be the 120th consecutive day that I have posted on the Mapping Mountains blog, this is a total I may never approach again, and after Simon’s article has been uploaded I’m going to sit down, relax and play a good bit of music, I may even watch a bit of telly before dusting off the Trimble for more data gathering that will inevitably result in future blog posts.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Fforest Glud

12.11.15  Gilwern Hill (SO 098 582) and Pt. 409.9m (SO 083 579)

Gilwern Hill (SO 098 582)

Two hills that are listed as Pedwarau with Gilwern Hill also being listed as a Submarilyn, this higher prominence hill has an interesting summit height as it is currently listed as 439m high in the Marilyns list and as 441m high in the Pedwar list.  The Marilyn height is based on the current Ordnance Survey map spot height whilst the Pedwar height is based on the 441.045m flush bracket height adjoined to the trig pillar that is situated on the summit area of the hill.  And what better way to sort the height of Gilwern Hill out than with two of the three hill list authors who put their names to the Marilyns and Pedwarau lists.

Alan had stayed the night in Welshpool on his way to the Bagger Rambles meet at Plas Tan y Bwlch in Maentwrog, and although the weather forecast was not good we decided that a survey needed to take place, with an option being to choose a hill that appeared in both listings and one where the data did not correspond and Gilwern Hill fitted the bill perfectly.

As I drove south and Alan navigated me toward these hills the grey, murky cloud descended and drizzly rain enveloped the land.  Thankfully the track approaching these hills from the south-west is driveable and we parked adjacent to a track junction at SO 087 580.

As we set off the cloud was down and an autumnal dampness pervaded the land, we’d come well prepared with three lots of surveying equipment, my Trimble GeoXH 6000, Alan’s Leica RX1250 and another attractive little yellow number, looking all coy and relatively new, this was Alan’s new toy and it matched mine perfectly.  We’d also come well prepared as wellies were de rigueur for the day, these are marvellous inventions and are essential pieces of hill walking kit for lower heighted autumnal and winter hills.

Somewhere in the gloom is the summit of Gilwern Hill

We soon left the track and followed an indistinct path across fields to the murky heights of Gilwern Hill’s summit, this is crowned by an ancient cairn that is now grassed over and which has a trig pillar perched on top of it.  The perimeter of the cairn can be relatively easily distinguished but all now merges into one, with field and cairn and what constitutes a hill’s summit blending and merging, and we both marched to the top of this grassed ancient construction and assessed where the high point lay.  This was a patch of grass adjacent to a number of small rocks all of which moved with none being embedded.

Once the high point had been determined Alan set his Leica up and we stood below the trig on the leeward side of the grassed cairn until 30 minutes of data were collected.  During this Alan and then I took data with our Trimbles from the top of the trig to compare against the flush bracket height given in the OS Trig Database with a measured 0.89m offset from top of the flush bracket to the top of the trig.

The Leica RX1250 set-up position at the summit of Gilwern Hill

After the Leica had been dismantled Alan took a data set with his Trimble from the high point and then I followed with a five minute data set with my Trimble.  Happy that we’d got sufficient data we packed everything away and headed back toward the car and our next summit which was conveniently positioned no more than five minutes from where the car was parked.

Gathering data with my Trimble GeoXH 6000 from the summit of Gilwern Hill

By now it was obvious that the wet conditions had set in for the day, but the mistiness that had skimmed the summit of our next hill had risen slightly, and although everything around was damp the rain was not sufficiently heavy to be uncomfortable.

I quite like symmetry

Alan beside the Leica RX1250 and the two Trimble GeoXH 6000's

The summit area of our next hill proved relatively flat and therefore we set the three pieces of equipment up within a metre or so of one another and had them all gathering data at the same time, which made me smile.  Alan's Leica and Trimble were set up at approximately the same height so he could compare their data, whilst each was positioned approximately 2-3cm below where I had positioned my Trimble.  During this a vehicle drove down the track from the direction of Upper Gilwern which is the farm between these two hills, I felt like waving and trying to stop it and running down to ask about the names of the hills as the one we were currently gathering data on is listed using the point (Pt.) notation in the current edition of Y Pedwarau.

Gathering data with the three pieces of equipment from the summit of Pt. 409.9m

Once data were collected we packed everything away, walked back to the car and drove to the area of the bwlch for Gilwern Hill.  This is positioned close to the A44 and I had zoomed around on this road during the morning in a Google Car and found a parking place close to a gate which gave access to a field and the area of the bwlch.

By the time we had parked and walked back up the road toward the gate the murky afternoon was quickly turning dimmer as dusk set in.  We found a gate and bashed through hawthorns and soon were heading down toward the bwlch, this proved relatively easy to find its critical point, and once we had assessed the lay of land from a number of directions Alan set the Leica and his Trimble to gather data.

The Leica RX1250 set up at the critical bwlch of Gilwern Hill

As data were gathered we chatted away as afternoon murk turned to dimmed dusk and by the time I set my Trimble up to gather its customary five minutes of data it was turning decidedly darkish. 

After all data were gathered we sloshed our way back up the field with Alan first and me scampering behind, losing one another in the darkening dimness and re-joining each other back at the car.  All that remained was the drive back home, a quick change, wash, snack, followed by Montgomery Film Club and an excellent Locke and a yummy Ginger Chicken in Spice UK afterwards…. Good times.

Survey Result:

Gilwern Hill

Summit Height:  440.7m (converted to OSGM15, and average of two Trimble GeoXH 6000 surveys)  440.7m (converted to OSGM15, Leica RX1250)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 09895 58290

Bwlch Height:  294.0m (converted to OSGM15, and average of two Trimble GeoXH 6000 surveys)  293.9m (converted to OSGM15, Leica RX1250)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 14378 60966

Drop:  146.6m (average of two Trimble GeoXH 6000 surveys)  146.8m (Leica RX1250) (Submarilyn status confirmed)

Dominance:  33.30% (using Leica RX1250 results) (non Lesser Dominant status confirmed)

Pt. 409.9m

Summit Height:  409.8m (converted to OSGM15, and average of two Trimble GeoXH 6000 surveys)  409.9m (converted to OSGM15, Leica RX1250)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 08331 57995

Bwlch Height:  379.2m (LIDAR)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 08711 58270 (LIDAR)

Drop:  30.7m (Leica RX1250 summit and LIDAR bwlch)

Dominance:  7.49% (Leica RX1250 summit and LIDAR bwlch) 

The comparisons between the results produced by the two Trimbles are as follows:

Gilwern Hill (top of Trig) = 440.742m (AD)    440.825m (MP) (all heights converted to OSGM15)

Gilwern Hill (summit) = 440.617m (AD)    440.691m (MP) (all heights converted to OSGM15)

Gilwern Hill (bwlch) =  294.048m (AD)    294.033m (MP) (all heights converted to OSGM15)

Pt. 409.8m  SO 083 579 (summit) =  409.879m (AD)    409.748m (MP) (all heights converted to OSGM15)


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

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Y Berwyn

26.10.15  Pt. 336.2m (SJ 186 426)  

Pt. 336.2m (SJ 186 426)

Picking which hill to visit is sometimes like the act of hoovering; as they can be bagged one by one with the area covered slowly expanding outward, until all available hills have been neatly hoovered up.  For me, one hill remained near to the A5 road next to Llangollen, I’d often looked up at this hill as I travelled west to the higher hills of Eryri, but until today I had not visited, and the opportunity to do so presented itself this morning with a suggestion of a 2.30pm appointment at the Corn Mill in Llangollen for afternoon coffee and tea.  This gave me just enough time beforehand to bag and Trimble the hill.

The hill is listed as Pen-y-Vivod in the original 300m P30 Welsh listings on Geoff Crowder’s website, but this is the name of a house to the south of the summit and therefore the Point (Pt.) notation is being used for this hill until further research in to its name can be done.

There is adequate parking at the base of the hill just off the busy A5 as it swings westward; this is conveniently next to where a public footpath climbs the steep brackened slopes toward this hill’s critical bwlch.

As I left the car I peered skyward at a graying view where the summits of the higher hills were cloud skimmed, all around was a multitude of autumnal colour with dulled browns mixed with yellows and orange, but with no direct sunlight to accentuate these wonderful colours, the scene remained one of still beauty.

Autumnal colours with the higher Moel y Gamelin hills skimmed with cloud

I marched up the steep path as the breeze increased in strength and followed the fence line northward toward the summit; to my left was the conifer plantation that swamps this hill’s northern and western slopes.  A vehicle track on the upper hillside led toward the high point of the hill. 

Once at the summit I set the Trimble on top of my rucksack, to give it elevation and an increased chance of logging into the required satellites for data collection quicker than if it was placed on the ground beside the ridge fence which crosses the summit of this hill.  However, the breeze was too strong and the Trimble persistently wobbled when on top of the rucksack, so I put it on the ground and hoped that its 0.1m accuracy level before data should be logged would be achieved before my legs started to get cold.  Thankfully it only took a couple of minutes before I pressed ‘Log’ and as it gathered its allotted five minutes of data I waited down slope and peered out in to the increasing gloom.

Gathering data at the summit of Pt. 336.2m

Packing the Trimble away I headed back down the hill and found its critical bwlch to be positioned in a field close to the house named Pen-y-Vivod.  As it gathered data I hoped no one would appear from the house and ask what on earth I was doing, thankfully no one did, and once data were gathered I visited the house hoping to find someone with local knowledge of the hill’s name.  Unfortunately no one was in, so I re-joined my inward route and sauntered back to my car, changed, and headed into Llangollen and the delights of the Corn Mill and my afternoon appointment.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Pt. 336.2m

Survey Result:

Pt. 336.2m

Summit Height:  336.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 18662 42685

Bwlch Height:  273.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 18628 42292

Drop:  62.3m

Dominance:  18.53%

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

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Mapping Mountains – Summit Relocations – 100m Twmpau

Wynnstay Park (SJ 310 429) 

There has been a Summit Relocation to a hill that was originally surveyed for 100m Twmpau (thirty welsh metre prominences and upward) status, and which was initiated by a survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 and confirmed by subsequent LIDAR analysis, with these details retrospective as the survey that resulted in this summit relocation was conducted on the 20th October 2015.

LIDAR image of Wynnstay Park (SJ 310 429)

The survey was conducted in the eastern part of the Moel y Gamelin range of hills, on the south-eastern outskirts of Rhiwabon (Ruabon), with the hill being situated on the old country estate of the Wynn family; the estate house has now been converted to flats and private houses.  Access to the hill is easy from the north as a paved road leads to its summit.  Parking can either be found adjacent to Broth Lodge at the entrance to the old estate or if wanting a quick visit a car can be driven up the road and parked within 100 metres of the high point of the hill.

The name of the hill is Wynnstay Park and prior to the survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 the summit position was listed as SJ 310 430, this is where the 141m spot height appears on the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map.  However, the Trimble set-up position was south south-westward from where the spot height appears on the ground, and with LIDAR giving the summit position as SJ 31001 42958.

Therefore, the position of the summit is at SJ 31001 42958 and is beside a fence next to the road that makes its way toward the old estate house.  This position is not given a spot height on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps although it is close to where the 141m spot height appears.

The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Moel y Gamelin

Name:  Wynnstay Park

OS 1:50,000 map:  117

Summit Height:  141.2m (LIDAR)

Summit Grid Reference (New Position):  SJ 31001 42958 (LIDAR)
Bwlch Height:  128.2m (LIDAR)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 31418 43293 (LIDAR

Drop:  13.0m (LIDAR)

The summit area of Wynnstay Park

Myrddyn Phillips (October 2015)