Sunday, 25 February 2018

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Stiperstones


23.01.18  Hazler Hill (SO 464 928), Ragleth Hill (SO 454 921) and Ragleth Hill (SO 451 917)

Ragleth Hill (SO 454 921)

Having seen the forecast I did wonder if it was wise going out as it seemed almost guaranteed that we were going to get wet, and however much our beautiful green land relies upon the wet stuff it is the one type of weather that I make a concerted effort to avoid.

I was out with Mark today and we headed east in to Shropshire and the hills around Church Stretton, with a route taking in Hazler Hill and Ragleth Hill planned, Mark had visited the latter but was good enough to repeat his ascent, by visiting these hills we also hoped to be in the rain shadow of the higher hills above Church Stretton to our west, as it turned out we picked our hills wisely and got away with only a few spots of rain mid-afternoon, although it was a bit blowy to say the least.

We parked close to the centre of the town and crossed the busy A49 road and picked up the public footpath that leads southward toward the col between Hazler Hill and Ragleth Hill.  With the mast atop the former an ever present indicator of the steepness of these hills.

The mast atop Hazler Hill

The early morning’s rain had swept east, with another front predicted for the afternoon, and therefore the going under foot was soggy as we made progress near to Plocks Coppice through gentle deciduous woodland.

The upper part of the footpath leading to the minor lane

The footpath led to a minor lane where the view toward the east opened up, dark skies predominated with an occasional flash of sunlight highlighting the land.  We followed the lane north-eastward to the access track to the high mast and used this to reach the summit area.

Dark skies to the east

Further north the shapely profiles of Caer Caradoc Hill and Hope Bowdler Hill looked inviting, both have been Trimbled as have the bulk of P30s over 400m in these parts.

Caer Caradoc Hill

Hope Bowdler Hill

As we crested the area of the summit the wind blew from the south, it was unusually mind for this time of year but the wind would remain with us on the tops for the rest of the walk.  The trig pillar atop Hazler Hill is not positioned at the high point; this is further south-west beside the fenced-off area that houses the mast.

Hazler Hill with the trig pillar and high mast with the summit to the left of the fenced-off area

It took the Trimble an inordinate amount of time to achieve the 0.1m accuracy level before data should be logged, I’d propped it on top of my rucksack which was positioned flat on the ground, and wedged it in position with two rocks, otherwise it may have been blown off.  Once data were gathered and stored we retraced out route back on the access track and followed the lane south-west toward the public footpath gaining the north-eastern slopes of Ragleth Hill.

Gathering data at the summit of Hazler Hill

These hills are distinctive and give a sense of being separate, with each affording good views of the other.  The route up Ragleth Hill proved steep, we made good progress and as the higher ridge was reached the wind blew directly in to our faces, from here a path leads all the way to the summit, which is comprised of grass about 5 metres from a small embedded rock.

Hazler Hill from the ascent of Ragleth Hill

Caer Caradoc Hill from the ascent of Ragleth Hill

As I set the Trimble up Mark continued on the ridge to the relative shelter of the connecting col to a potential 390m Double Sub-Four which I planned on surveying.  The wind was blowy on top of Ragleth Hill and once the measurement offset had been taken I wedged the equipment in place with the two small rocks which I’d brought from the summit of Hazler Hill.

Gathering data at the summit of Ragleth Hill

Mark heading to the relative shelter of the connecting col to the potential 390m Double Sub-Four

This was the high point of the day’s walk and a summit that had previously been surveyed by Alan Dawson using his Leica RX1250, so it’ll be interesting to compare the results.  Once the Trimble was packed away I joined Mark at the col and as I set the Trimble up to gather another five minute data set he headed for the summit of the potential sub to assess the lay of land.

Gathering data at the col of the potential 390m Double Sub-Four

By the time the Trimble had collected five minutes of data the rain had arrived, it blew in quickly from the south, where the sky was now slate grey, the land to the west and east looked particularly murky and I thought we were going to get a good drenching, however the few spots that fell were quickly swept away leaving us intermittent light drizzle when down in the valley, otherwise it remained dry on the tops, we were indeed fortunate.

As I joined Mark on top of the potential sub the wind howled across its summit, Mark quickly pointed to the highest rock and shot down the continuation of the ridge seeking a semblance of shelter leaving me to somehow balance the Trimble atop the high point without it moving for the five minutes of data collection I usually allocate.  This proved a difficult task as the wind increased in intensity and kept howling for the duration I was on the summit. 

It took three attempts for me to gather data, I eventually wedged the rocks either side of the Trimble whose internal antenna was aligned with the high point of the highest rock, and then proceeded to crouch below it whilst holding one rock in place and also the end part of the equipment. 

Gathering data at the summit of the potential 390m Double Sub-Four

During this process I counted each second, occasionally timing my count with the beeps emanating from the Trimble indicating each data point that was gathered, these are collected per second, and with five minutes of data allocated I needed to reach the magical 300 before switching the equipment off, unfortunately the wind was so fierce I only occasionally heard the beeps from the Trimble and therefore spent my time hunkered under it counting silently before it was time to close it down and store the data.  I quickly took a few photos before the Trimble was blown in to Herefordshire and then walked down the steep southerly ridge to join Mark.

Once out of the gale we followed the path down to the A49 road where the old bridge led us in to Little Stretton, passing on the way a memorial to Crag Bullock entitled Country Blood, and which has been transcribed by Mark and appears below.


Country Blood

I am of the countryside
Carved out of the oaktree bark
And I am of the wild free wind
That bears the soaring lark.
Part of the upturned earth am I,
One with the cornfield sea,
And I exist in the quiet green hill
And it exists in me.


Here all the dainty weeds are mine
That blows along the way,
And all the little resting things
Whose heart beat for a day.
My peace is where the velvet dew
Sleeps under hanging mists;
Where the cavernous forest deeps and dims
My secret soul exists.


Poem, by anon, inscribed on the grave of Craig Bullock, carpenter
‘tragically killed’, aged 30, on 4th October 2002

Below Ragleth Hill, Shropshire, at grid ref. SO 44577 91487


The memorial to Craig Bullock

It wasn’t far to the car from the delightful narrow lanes of Little Stretton, although my old body suffered and just wanted to sit down.  This I did after changing in to clean clothes back at the car, as we walked in to town for an assortment of goodies at a very good café; yummy!



Survey Result:


Hazler Hill

Summit Height:  346.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 46469 92873

Drop:  c 40m

Dominance:  11.45%





Ragleth Hill

Summit Height:  397.3m (converted to OSGM15, Trimble GeoXH 6000)  397.5m (Leica RX 1250)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 45403 92098 (Trimble GeoXH 6000)  SO 45406 92101 (Leica RX1250)

Drop:  141.4m (Leica RX1250 summit and LIDAR col)

Dominance:  35.57% (Leica RX1250 summit and LIDAR col)





Ragleth Hill

Summit Height:  391.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 45103 91746

Col Height:  372.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 45262 91867

Drop:  19.0m (non 390m Double Sub-Four status confirmed)

Dominance:  4.85%




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