Friday, 14 July 2017

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Arenig

31.05.17  Bronydd Fron Feuno (SH 913 358), Gwastadros (SH 896 355) and Rhos yr Ŷd (SH 903 343)

Gwastadros (SH 896 355)

Whilst driving toward Bala the hills I planned on visiting were immersed in grey cloud, and yet higher hills were clear with just summer’s blueness above, with thick, grey cloud pockets being interspersed on the hills awaiting the warmth of the day to burn off any lingering murkiness.

Heading up a gravelled track toward Fron Feuno Farm the morning’s dew scattered the near fields and higher up gorse bushes were laden casting a silvery sheen against early morning webs.  Below, Llyn Tegid reflected the near hill beauty, with low sun washing out colour, leaving a tranquil expanse almost undisturbed at this hour.

Summer dew on gorse

Subdued reflections in Llyn Tegid

I was on my way toward three hills that when combined make a good small circuit with the Aber Gwenwyn Feirch stream making the central pivot of this small horseshoe.  The upper part of the first hill had a manicured golf course on it and the summit was reported to be just north of the 17th green.  I went off route trying to follow the public footpath but eventually ended up between small fairways and greens and aimed for the highest point, and there in front of me was a small sign with the 17th emblazoned on it, it was only a short distance from here to the high point of the hill which consists of a small rocky knoll.

Rhos yr Ŷd (SH 903 343) from Bronydd Fron Feuno (SH 913 358)

As the Trimble gathered its data I looked out on the high Aran and Arenig, both submerged in murk, whilst many surrounding hills were now clear of the morning’s low lying cloud.  It was good to be out, visiting somewhere I had not been to before with perspectives of the higher hills that I had not encountered.

Gathering data at the summit of Bronydd Fron Feuno

Once the Trimble was packed away I headed down over cropped grass toward Fron Feuno Farm where I knocked on the door and was invited in by Linda Roberts; a delightful person, we chatted for ten minutes or so and she told me that the higher of these three hills is known locally as Stradros, with its proper name being Gwastadros, and that the hill I’d just come down she knows as Bronydd and that this hill is a part of their farm, although the land is rented and not owned.

Thanking Linda for her time I walked through the farm yard to a track with the great expanse of a bog laden bwlch to my left, I thought finding its critical point may be a difficult and rather wet undertaking, however within a couple of minutes the Trimble was set up and gathering data.

Whilst approaching the farm I’d noted a path crossing this bwlch and heading up toward the summit of Gwastadros, and once the Trimble had gathered its customary five minutes of data I hoped to follow it, however detail when close, can sometimes be difficult to see, and I could not distinguish where this path left the green track I was now on, this wasn’t a problem as I followed the green track to a fence boundary where a sheep track headed off toward where the path emerges out of the bog.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Bronydd Fron Feuno

In places the underfoot conditions were like a water meadow and wherever I went the sides of the hill were wet, with only the higher slopes giving dry conditions and these consist of an ancient cairn now grassed over with a trig point perched within a metre of the highest point.

Bronydd Fron Feuno  (SH 913 358) from the approach to Gwastadros

By the time I’d set the Trimble up and pressed ‘Log’ a cloud bank had sucked in the easterly land with the high Aran still immersed under murk, and yet further west and north blue skies interspersed amongst white cloud predominated.  Again, all was quiet, and it was proving a peaceful way to spend a few hours amongst the hills.

Gathering data at the summit of Gwastadros

I now needed to head down to a track which would lead me toward the last summit of the day, I followed one or two sheep tracks downward toward a white washed house named Ty’n-y-rhos, this is a beautiful place, alone and butted up against the expanse of Gwastadros with emerald grazing fields in front, it was well maintained and quiet, without a car or van, which for me was perfect as I wanted to survey the connecting bwlch which looked as if it was positioned on, or beside the track leading from the house down to the minor road crossing these hills from Llanycil toward a number of hill farms.

I spent a number of minutes at this bwlch assessing the lay of land before activating the Trimble to gather data, during this process one lone car passed, otherwise the whole land was seemingly asleep. 

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Rhos yr Ŷd

Packing the Trimble away I crossed the minor road and headed up the continuation of the track toward the last of the three summits of the day, its high point is a part of a grazing field with grass almost cropped to the quality of the greens on the golf course at the top of Bronydd Fron Feuno.  It wasn’t difficult to judge where the high point was and I set the Trimble atop my rucksack, measured the offset between its internal antenna and the ground at its base, waited until the 0.1m accuracy level had been attained and pressed ‘Log’ and scampered off to admire the view until the allotted five minutes of data were gathered.

Gathering data at the summit of Rhos yr Ŷd

During the waiting process for the Trimble to gather its all-important data I spotted two people on the summit of Gwastadros, small figures beside the trig pillar amongst an expanse of beautiful land.  As the last couple of minute’s data were collected I spent time taking photographs of a tree weighed down with a multitude of blossom, it was white and gleamed out snow-like when picked out by the sun, it just stood there, quietly burdened in beauty.

The Arenig from Rhos yr Ŷd

Having collected the last of the morning’s five data sets I retraced my way back to the track and the minor road and contemplated visiting Moel-y-garnedd farm for further place-name enquires, however whilst on route a vehicle chugged up the road and so I flagged it down; Islwyn Owen farms from Cefn-bodig and although he needed to get to a funeral he was good enough to spend ten minutes of his time telling me about the hills. 

Islwyn told me that the highest of the three hills is known as Stradros which is shortened from Gwastadros Common and that this translates as level ground or level moor and relates to how the slopes of the hill retain water.  He gave me another lovely local name for a small bump on the hill I had just surveyed and which I’ll detail in a forthcoming Significant Name Changes post.

Islwyn Owen, another helpful farmer

After Islwyn continued toward home to get ready to attend the funeral, I headed down the minor road past verges full to bursting with greenery and coloured flowers dotted against a myriad of grass and fern, and by the time I had changed and driven home the sky became soaked in grey and an afternoon drizzle then set in, I’d been fortunate and picked a good place to visit this morning.     

Survey Result:

Bronydd Fron Feuno

Summit Height:  297.9m (converted to OSGM15) (200m Twmpau status confirmed) 
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 91396 35827

Bwlch Height:  262.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 90916 35912

Drop:  35.8m (200m Twmpau status confirmed)

Dominance:  12.01%


Summit Height:  359.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 89634 35516

Drop:  86m

Dominance:  23.89%

Summit Height:  298.8m (converted to OSGM15) (200m Twmpau status confirmed) 

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 90324 34367

Bwlch Height:  268.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 90248 34777

Drop:  30.3m (200m Twmpau status confirmed)

Dominance:  10.14% 

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