Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Mapping Mountains – Significant Name Changes – Y Pellennig, Yr Uchafion and 500m Twmpau

Bryn Llwyd (SN 835 920)

There has been a Significant Name Change to a hill that appears in the following listings, Y Pellennig - The Remotest Hills of WalesYr Uchafion and the 500m Twmpauwith the height, drop, summit relocation and status of the hill being confirmed by a survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 which took place on the 5th May 2016 and the 13th May 2016.

The criteria for the three listings that this name change applies to are:

Y Pellennig –The Remotest Hills of Wales comprise all Welsh hills whose summit is 2.5km or more from the nearest paved public road and which have a minimum 15m of drop.  The list is co-authored by Myrddyn Phillips and Aled Williams.

Yr Uchafion - All Welsh hills at or above 500m in height that have 15m minimum drop.  The list is co-authored by Myrddyn Phillips and Aled Williams. 

500m Twmpau - All Welsh hills at or above 500m and below 600m in height with 30m minimum drop, with the word Twmpau being an acronym standing for thirty welsh metre prominences and upward.  The list is authored by Myrddyn Phillips.  

The hill is a part of the Pumlumon range, which is an extensive group of hills in the north-western part of Mid and West Wales, and it is relatively remote for a Welsh hill with the nearest small community being Penffordd-las (Staylittle) to the east.

The Trimble GeoXH 6000 gathering data at the summit of Bryn Llwyd

The listed summit of this hill has been relocated from Bryn yr Ŵyn at SN 83919 92571 to Bryn Llwyd at SN 83574 92022, with the latter surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 as being 1.5m higher.  

The hill first made an appearance in a hill list in 1997 when John Kirk listed it as Bryn Yr Wyn, using the name of the adjacent hill but with the correct grid reference in his Kirk’s BIG Mountain List, this list that remains unpublished but available via the author.  The adjacent lower hill was later included by Michael Dewey and listed as Bryn yr Wyn in the April 2002 edition of Strider, which included the updates to The 500-Metre Tops of England and Wales list that appeared in his Mountain tables book published by Constable in 1995.  The summit of the Dewey was later relocated due to the Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey to the higher summit and listed as Esgair Greolen.

Prior to making local place-name enquiries the now known higher summit was accepted as being named Esgair Greolen, and since this summit has usurped its neighbour as being the higher, this is the name used in Michael’s list to The 500-Metre Tops of England and Wales.

Hill list authors are prone to list a hill by the name that appears nearest to its summit on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps, without much consideration for its local or historical confirmation, or whether map placement is appropriate.  However, place-name data can be improved by asking local people and examining historical documents, and on the way to survey this hill for the second time with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 I made place-name enquiries with the local farmer, who kindly took me up in his two seater quad bike toward the hill.  Afterward both Aled and I examined a number of historical maps for evidence of where the name of Esgair Greolen originated and where it is applicable to.

The local farmer I met is named Gareth Griffith and he had farmed from Nant-yr-hafod for forty years, he was out with his dogs heading up the hill to feed the sheep.  As we chatted I asked him about the names of the local hills, and he rolled off name after name of the local hills and streams, one in particular proved extremely interesting, it related to the hill that Ordnance Survey maps name as Esgair Greolen, which was the hill I wanted to concentrate the morning’s surveying activities on.  Gareth knew this hill as Bryn Llwyd, and said that ‘this name doesn’t appear on the map.’  I asked him about the name of Esgair Greolen, and he had never heard of it.

Gareth Griffith

Gareth gave me a lift up the hill on his two seater quad bike and dropped me off at the end of the track close to the forested summit of Fedw Ddu.  From this vantage point we were looking across to Bryn yr Ŵyn and also the hill I planned on prioritising to survey, and Gareth pointed toward each and named them, Bryn yr Ŵyn and Bryn Llwyd, the latter is the hill named as Esgair Greolen on contemporary Ordnance Survey maps.

When back home I examined old Ordnance Survey maps and forwarded the details of my meeting with Gareth Griffith to Aled, who proceeded to research where the name of Esgair Greolen originated and what feature this name may be applicable to.  Aled’s comments relating to this appear in the 2nd edition of Y Pellennig - The Remotest Hills of Wales, and are reproduced below:

The OS have applied the name Esgair Greolen to this hill since the 1901 Six-Inch map, however earlier OS maps provide conflicting information regarding the positions of the steams named Nant Esgair Greolen and Nant y Barcud, which casts uncertainty over the exact position of Esgair Greolen.  A single local contact failed to confirm Esgair Greolen as the name of this hill, but instead visually identified the hill as being known as Bryn Llwyd.

Extracts from a number of Ordnance Survey maps appear below giving detail relating to the name placement of Esgair Greolen and the steams of Nant Esgair Greolen and Nant y Barcud.

Extract from the Ordnance Survey One-Inch 'Old Series' map

Extract from the 1886 Ordnance Survey Six-Inch map

Extract from the 1903 Ordnance Survey Six-Inch map with the stream previously recorded as Nant y Barcud now recorded as the Nant Esgair Greolen

Extract from the Ordnance Survey 1903 Six-Inch map where the name Esgair Greolen first appeared on an Ordnance Survey map

Extract from the current Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer map

As a result of this research the hill has subsequently been listed under the name of Bryn Llwyd in Y Pellennig – The Remotest Hills of Wales, Yr Uchafion and the 500m Twmpau, and this name was derived from local enquiry and does not appear on any Ordnance Survey map.

ills of Wales, and are reproduced below@
The full details for the hill are:

Group:  Pumlumon

Name:  Bryn Llwyd

Previously Listed Name:  Esgair Greolen 

Summit Height:  501.4m (converted to OSGM15 and average of four summit surveys)

OS 1:50,000 map:  135, 136

Summit Grid Reference:  SN 83574 92022 
Drop:  30.3m (converted to OSGM15)

For details on the 1st survey and the 2nd survey of Bryn Llwyd

Myrddyn Phillips and Aled Williams (December 2016)

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