Sunday, 30 November 2014

The History of Welsh Hill Lists

The History of Welsh Hill Lists – Part 6

The Early Years

1933 – Ted Moss

Corbett’s updated list ushered in the 1930’s.  These years saw the least amount of Welsh hill list publication in any decade from 1911 to the present day.  The only list concerning Wales to be published was another update to Corbett’s Twenty-Fives.  This was published in 1933 in the Rucksack Club Journal, and entitled Some New Twenty-Fives.

It comprised two pages, of which the first page is introductory as well as listing the latest updates; these consist of ten additional Twenty-Fives, of which six are in Wales.  Of particular note is the first ever listing of the southern top of Arennig Fawr which was listed as Arenig Fawr Far South top.  The remaining page gives brief details on the six new Welsh tops.  There were now 158 Twenty-Fives with sixty four of them in Wales.

The first page of the two page update to the Twenty-Fives
This now brought to a conclusion the updates to John Rooke Corbett’s original 1911 list, the author of this latest update we’ll meet later, in 1939/40, but first our story takes us into England, where between the years 1933-1939 three lists were produced, with the latter two paving the way for the first comprehensive published listing to the 2000 foot mountains of Wales.  The first of the three was compiled by the Rev. W. T. Elmslie, entitled ‘The Two Thousand Footers of England’, comprising 347 mountains and published in 1933 by the Journal of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District.  Following this in 1937 was the Wayfarer’s Journal’s publication of F. H. F. Simpson’s ‘Concerning Contours’, comprising the 225 English Lake District 2000 foot tops.  Two years later the Rucksack Club Journal published ‘The Two Thousands of England (excluding the Lake District)’, this listed 152 tops and complemented Simpson’s 1937 list.  When combined the two lists produced a mammoth total of 377 English 2000 foot tops.  The author of the 1939 list and the Twenty-Fives update of 1933 was Edward (Ted) Moss.

Next installment due on the 30th January 2015

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}

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Moelwynion

22.11.14  Hir Ynys (SH 605 404) and Ynys y Gwely (SH 597 405)  

Ynys y Gwely (SH 597 405)
After yesterday’s entertaining encounter with some of the Traeth Mawr islands Aled and I decided to investigate Hir Ynys (long island) which is situated just to the north of the peninsula island ridge that we were on the previous day.

Hir Ynys is as its name suggests, it is long, but this is relative as it is only elongated when compared to its neighbouring islands.  This island is squeezed into the flat plain by the B4410 to its north, the Afon Glaslyn to its west, Ynys Berfedd and Ynys Glog to its south and forestry plantation and the A4085 to its east.  It was from the east where Aled recommended we start our walk.

We parked beside a gate just off the road at approximately SH 614 405.  As we left the confines of the road we entered a labyrinth of trees where the path which we started on eventually petered out the further into the trees we went. 

Heading through the labyrinth of trees toward Hir Ynys
The ground hereabouts is flat with many drainage channels criss-crossing the area of Traeth Mawr.  Within the plantation we had favourable underfoot conditions as wooded planks crossed many of the water channels. 

Many drainage channels are crossed by land bridges but the ones at the base of the islands are harder to negotiate
As we ventured further into the trees the path disappeared and onward progress involved a little tree bashing and weaving.  A bridge at the periphery of the trees gave access over one of numerous drainage channels and as we broke out of the plantation we were confronted by Hir Ynys, an elongated wooded island rising from the flat greenness of plain.  Seemingly our only other companions in this island world were a herd of black cattle, who kept an inquisitive eye on us as we walked beside the first of the day’s drainage channels toward a land bridge which gave access into the field of cattle and our objective of the day; Hir Ynys.

Hir Ynys (SH 605 404)
As the flat field butted against the rising wooded slopes of Hir Ynys we found another drainage channel that circled the edge of the island.  This channel was quite wide and each opposing bank was steep.  We walked back and forth trying to find the easiest way over, Aled decided to use an overhanging branch as a monkey swing and seemingly flew over with ease, I looked and thought how easy this would have been even ten years ago, as I didn’t want a wet slimy beginning to our walk I followed the channel of water to the corner of the field and used a slippery fence post which had been placed over the water as a makeshift bridge and slithered my way over into the brambled confines of the island.

Backtracking to find Aled we headed up through the customary undergrowth of bracken, bramble and sapling tree.  Although the weather forecast was good the land suddenly became grey and the only shower of the day fell as we carried on up the steepening slope.

Cresting the upper ridge the immediate ground opened a little with moss covered rock and lichen covered trees giving a forgotten and peaceful air to the hill.  Few except the committed hill bagger and off route farmer must come this way; I suppose this is one of the attractions of such places.

The upper ridge of Hir Ynys
Once at the high point I set the Trimble up and waited for it to gather the all-important summit data.  The shower had now passed and the area of the upper hill with its yellow laden gorse and rust coloured bracken gave a tranquil foreground to the flatness of plain with the shapely silhouette of Moel y Gest being pre-dominant on the western horizon.

Gathering data at the summit of Hir Ynys
As the data gathering Trimble did its stuff I looked out to the island ridge that we were on yesterday, all wooded with rock up thrusts as summits, a small microcosm of interest.  Aled had ventured a little downhill and was contentedly staring out to the flat Traeth Mawr plain, all green with the punctuation of wooded islands rising from its lushness.

Looking out to the flat plain of Traeth Mawr
As the Trimble was packed away Aled suggested that we follow the western ridge of Hir Ynys and try and get to a smaller island named Ynys y Gwely which we could see below us.  This island is in the wilderness of flatland and most easily accessible from where we now were.  The opportunity to visit may never arise again so we happily headed its way.

The western ridge of Hir Ynys brought us down past the walled remains of what was probably a summer hafod, well protected by a southerly facing large rock, with two rooms identifiable and an old iron headboard of a bed laid and forgotten against an outer small wall, an image of a time long gone when these islands would have been sea locked at high tide.

Once down from the wooded slopes we emerged onto a track which leads to the farm of Hir-ynys.  The track gave access onto a field which was out of sight of the farm, the field gave access to our next island; Ynys y Gwely.

As we approached Ynys y Gwely from the south we wondered how on earth we could get up the thing as although only 17m high on the map the southern part of the island is well protected by steep rock.  We circumvented the island on its west and then came across a particularly foul looking water channel running around the northern side of the island.  The water was yellowish red and looked very unpleasant.  Aled quite fancied jumping the channel but the old geezer with him favoured finding an easier alternative.

Eventually the eastern side of the island gave us access up onto its brambled and gorse laden land.  As we bashed our way through the undergrowth I wondered if any such relatively small heighted ‘hill’ was as well protected as this wee beastie.

Heading upto the summit of Ynys y Gwely
The high point consisted of a large gorse bush so I placed the Trimble on open ground below it and gave an approximate 0.35m measurement offset for its height placement.  As it collected data we stood in brambles on its eastern side and looked out toward the hills of the Moel Hebog range as afternoon sunshine cast out from a brightening sky.

Gathering data at the summit of Ynys y Gwely
Once five minutes of data were collected we retraced our brambled route back down the island and into the adjacent field where we stopped in our tracks as a hunting party came over the track from the near farm.  Our clandestine island visit was about to be rumbled.  We stood bolt upright and wondered what to do.

As the party walked toward Hir Ynys they split up, some heading up the hill and other shooters heading into the adjacent field beside the drainage dyke at the base of the island, positioned there to shoot any pheasants flushed out by their party higher up the slope.  The hunters positioned in the field were on the route that we wanted to take back to the car.

We waited for the hunting party to position themselves and we then made a move into the field toward the track which we had used to gain access toward Ynys y Gwely.  Before re-joining the track I took a five minute data set from the approximate position of the connecting bwlch between Ynys y Gwely and Hir Ynys.

Gathering data at the approximate position of the bwlch of Ynys y Gwely
As we approached one of the hunters we passed a number of feathers freshly scattered on the field, the dead pheasant was in the shoulder bag of the person who had shot it, and he had an accompanying gun dog excitedly wagging its tail looking up toward the island for the next flying pheasant.  We stopped and chatted and explained where we had been and asked if our outward route would disturb their hunt.  Thankfully he had no discernible grievance with where we wanted to go and we chatted for a number of minutes.  He used to farm at the base of Cadair Idris from the Dolgellau side of the hill.

Waiting for the next pheasant to be flushed from the undergrowth.
We left him with his gun and dog and prized catch of a pheasant and re-traced our inward route back through the field and plantation to the car.  An excellent few hours in the company of Aled and another two of the wonderful islands of Traeth Mawr investigated.

Survey Result:

Hir Ynys 

Summit Height:  57.7m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 60504 40492

Drop  54m 

Dominance:  93.65%

Ynys y Gwely 

Summit Height:  16.8m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59702 40598

Bwlch Height:  2.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 59852 40491

Drop  14.6m

Dominance:  87.01%


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Moelwynion

21.11.14  Pt. 87.3m (SH 607 398), Ynys Berfedd (SH 599 398), Ynys Glog (SH 596 398) and Ynys Gron (SH 596 392)  

Ynys Glog (SH 596 398)
When in the early 1800’s the earthen embankment, now known as the Cob, was built to re-claim land from the large tidal estuary of the Afon Glaslyn, the land of Traeth Mawr which up until then was flooded at high water, was left as flat land used by local landowners for agricultural purposes and grazing.  These flatlands of Traeth Mawr are punctuated by drainage dykes and forested islands that spring up from the flat plain.  It was some of these islands that are connected to the higher peaks of the Moelwynion we wanted to visit.

For more detail relating to Traeth Mawr and the landlocked islands please refer to Aled Williams’ article The Islands of Traeth Mawr.  

In February of this year I’d met Aled and we had visited three of these landlocked islands and found them challenging with overgrown undergrowth, overhanging cliffs and a beauty all to themselves, they seemed a hidden other world, seldom visited and yet full of interest.

Today Aled suggested a circular walk with the possibility of visiting five of these islands.  We parked close to a road junction next to houses at SH 605 388 and walked north-west up the road to where a footpath heads north-east following the course of the railway line.  By now the forecast rain had started and throughout the day it remained, with occasional periods where the wet stuff would relent, teasing us that it had ended.

The first of the day’s islands is positioned at SH 610 396 and has an 81m spot height on the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 and enlarged Geograph map, unusually there is a five metre difference in height compared to the 1:50,000 map which has an 86m spot height for the island’s high point.  As we approached the sound of forestry workers and their accompanying diggers and tree fellers rang out from the wooded slopes, we soon decided to bi-pass this island as it could wait for another, quieter day.

The footpath headed north to the attractive Ty-fry where the occupant was quick to see us, he soon asked if we had seen the warning notices relating to the tree felling.  A rather humorous discussion then developed between us trying to explain that we had not, and him insisting that we must have.

After our brief encounter we were left in peace to investigate a small corner of the land above Traeth Mawr.  The first island we visited is unnamed on Ordnance Survey maps and as I don't know an appropriate name either locally or historically for it, it is being listed by the point (Pt. 87m) notation.  My recollection of our previous island walk was that they are well protected upthrusts of rock with bramble, small trees, bracken and scrub undergrowth making uphill progress interesting.  The first of the day’s islands was similar as it swept us up in its clutches.  Forward progress was pathless and consisted of finding a route past a small rock terrace to the high part of the hill.

Heading up the small rock terrace on our way to the high point of Pt. 87m
As we crested the upper ridge the rain had stopped leaving in its place a monochrome stillness only punctuated by the late autumnal rusts of bracken and leaves.  The high point was easy to find and as the Trimble gathered its data we looked out onto the flat lands as they extended toward Moel y Gest.

Gathering data at the summit of Pt. 87m
Our next objective; Ynys Berfedd was due west with an intervening bwlch between, this I wanted to survey.  We stumbled through the undergrowth down to a track which led us toward the bwlch which was positioned on a narrow track with steep island slopes of rock on one side.  The Trimble took an age to attain its 0.1m accuracy before data can be logged, but it eventually did, and the customary five minutes of data were gathered and stored.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Ynys Berfedd
From the bwlch we clambered over a fence and into the undergrowth of Ynys Berfedd, our next wee island.  Ahead was a moss strewn lump of rock well protected by small trees.  Again progress was interesting and as the high point was neared so the drop immediately to the north increased.

The initial ascent of Ynys Berfedd
The high point proved to be a small pointed rock immediately over a vertical drop down to trees and oblivion, not a place to slip.  Aled devised an ingenious surveying method where the Trimble could be attached to his rucksack which lay neatly beside the high point.  This enabled its internal antenna to be aligned to the high point of the hill but remain safely strapped to the rucksack and even though it was perched on a small pointed rock it would not topple into Trimble hell as the rucksack would hold it firmly in place.

Balanced over another big drop the Trimble gathers data from the top of Ynys Berfedd

Clipped onto Aled's rucksack which nestled safely away from the drop, the Trimble could live for another data gathering day
When the Trimble was gathering data we disappeared into a vegetated morass of trees, rock and bramble and waited for it to gather five minutes of data.  Once stored it was safely unclipped and quickly put back in its holder before we headed down towards the Afon Glaslyn and more undergrowth mayhem of our next island; Ynys Glog.

Thankfully the high point of Ynys Glog was free of trees and consisted of moss on a rock which, although close to a big drop, was not directly over it.  Although similar in nature each island has its own intimate character, as a whole they form a unique landscape for Wales, with their rock upthrusts and undergrowth adding entertaining interest.

Gathering data at the summit of Ynys Glog
We backtracked from the summit to the connecting bwlch which is on a narrow lane beside a house, once the Trimble had done its stuff we left the confines of rock, tree and bramble and headed south on a footpath into the openness of green flatland.  Looking back Ynys Glog looked rather dramatic as it literally shot up from the flat plain as an uncompromising rock edifice.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Ynys Glog

These islands are well protected, Ynys Glog from its critical bwlch

Ynys Glog is an upthrust of rock rising from the flat plain of Traeth Mawr
The footpath led towards our last objective of the day; Ynys Gron which at one time was the highest island in these parts.  Old maps show the top with a 323ft / 98m summit.  This has long gone as the Garth Quarry has now obliterated the old natural high point.  However, what remains had been on the agenda for a number of months and coupled with a survey of its critical bwlch may elevate the hill back into the ranks of P30.

Our visit was clandestine as the quarry is still operating.  We headed up through a mass of brambles and trees with Aled leading the way, nearing the top he went ahead and looked over the parapet and came back and said that the high point was just over the lip of quarry spoil that we were now standing on.  This spoil is steep and compact, we edged our way up and looked onto a relatively flat summit area with a small and easily distinguishable high point; beyond was an open expanse of hill nothingness, now the inner workings of the quarry.  We quickly crept back down the steep spoil and I switched the Trimble on and once the file had been created I sneaked back up, placed it on the high point, activated it to attain its accuracy and quickly disappeared out of sight of the quarry.  A couple of minutes later and I crept back up and pressed ‘Log’ and then disappeared out of view.

Gathering data at the high point of Ynys Gron
During this Aled investigated the adjoining land at the edge of the quarry spoil, thankfully blasting was not taking place but the quarry vehicles below could be heard.  Once five minutes of data were collected we shot up to the high point and took a few photographs, we were now in full view of anyone still working in the quarry.  As dusk was setting in and as the diggers below had now stopped we decided to have a look around the upper part of the hill and took another data set from a lower point that was more overgrown.  Once the data from this point had been stored we sped down through the undergrowth to the bwlch.

The remains of Ynys Gron is overshadowed by the Garth Quarry
When we arrived at the bwlch it was dimly lit with the last vestiges of light from a late November afternoon.  The bwlch was narrow and confined with a large wall and trees overshadowing it.  Eventually the Trimble was placed on the wall above the bwlch and an offset of 1.5m measured.  By the time it had stored its data it was dark and raining heavily.

At the very wet and very dark critical bwlch of Ynys Gron
We descended by torch light and got soaked as we made our way down the track from the bwlch onto the road which led back to the car.  There are more of these islands to investigate and I can’t wait to do so as they are proving ideal winter expeditions.  Once back at the car we revised our planned walk up Moel y Dyniewyd for tomorrow and decided to investigate some more of the islands of Traeth Mawr.   

Survey Result:

Pt. 87.3m 

Summit Height:  87.3m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 60724 39845

Drop  c 38m 

Dominance:  43.51%

Ynys Berfedd 

Summit Height:  42.9m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59943 39865

Bwlch Height:  6.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 60150 39921

Drop  36.1m (30-99m Twmpau status confirmed) 

Dominance:  84.06%

Ynys Glog 

Summit Height:  40.6m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59647 39826

Bwlch Height:  7.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 59718 39838

Drop  32.7m (30-99m Twmpau addition confirmed) 

Dominance:  80.44% (Dominant addition confirmed)

Ynys Gron 

Summit Height:  69.4m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59653 39268

Bwlch Height:  44.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 59839 39297

Drop  25.1m (30-99m Sub-Twmpau status confirmed and Dominant deletion confirmed)

Dominance:  36.12%

For further details please consult the Trimble Survey Spreadsheet


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Beacon Hill

14.11.14  Caer Caradoc (SO 309 757), Stow Hill (SO 317 745) and Cwm Sannam Hill (SO 270 755)  

Caer Caradoc (SO 309 757) and Stow Hill (SO 317 745) left and right of  central background respectively
With the prospect of good weather and a number of hills no more than 45 minutes’ drive from Welshpool that I had not visited, I decided to head back into Shropshire and investigate some more of The Fours.  Ideally the three hills I’d chosen could be combined in a circular walk, but Google Maps indicated parking was limited, so I devised a route to the hills that required a there and back on a couple of occasions.

I parked outside a house at SO 286 754 having asked permission to do so.  As I set off heading eastward the last of the morning’s light drizzled showers passed over the land, once this sprinkling had disappeared the sun shone all day.  The green track I walked on was a quagmire of mud, sludge and water, heavy overnight rain had not helped.  This track led up towards Stow Hill which I wanted to visit after Caer Caradoc.  I left the track and climbed a gate into an adjacent field as the underfoot conditions were awful.

mmmmmmm yummy, a slushy, sludgy, slimy track
Once away from the mud laden track I slowly made my way up through a number of fields, each having access through a gate until nearing the earthen ramparts of Caer Caradoc, where a couple of fences and a hawthorn hedge had to be negotiated.

Caer Caradoc only entered the listing of The Fours on 27th September 2013 as the old Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 map has a 403m spot height adjoined to the summit, this compared with a 399m spot height on current maps.  The old height had been rounded up from a 1,321.4ft (402.76m) levelled height that appeared on the Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 map. 

Approaching the summit of Caer Caradoc from the west one enters the ancient fortified structure through or close to the western gate.  The structure consists of three ramparts / ditches, all well preserved, these are impressive constructions with the outer one being approximately 5m high from the ditch’s base, the central one is about 6m high and the inner rampart is higher still and looks out from an approximate 9m from its ditch base to its top.

The inner embankment of Caer Caradoc
The view in the opposite direction looking up toward the high point of the hill on the inner embankment
The western approach is directly to the high point of this construction and the hill.  Unfortunately the day’s mileage and number of planned surveys dictated that I could not fully investigate the land around the ancient hill fort, but the high part of the hill looks out to its concentric earthen ramparts as they disappear eastward out of view.

I took two data sets from points about seven metres apart, with both being close in height to each other.  As the Trimble gathered data I looked south toward my next objective; Stow Hill, as sun caught the manicured green fields of its north-eastern slopes.  To the north-west the gentle rolling hills of Shropshire spread out with their contouring highlighted by light and shade from sun and shadow.

Trimble placed in position for the first summit data set

Trimble placed in position for the second summit data set
Before leaving the summit I looked down to the inner part of the summit area to where the 399m spot height appears on current maps, all land led upto the western rampart without any inner high point being visible.  Even if one existed, to list the summit as something approximately four metres below the height of the earthen rampart would make a mockery of where hill walkers head when they visit such places.  If wanting to visit the summit of the hill, few would be content in visiting the inner bowl of such a construction when significantly higher ground is immediately within reach.

The manicured green fields of Stow Hill
Leaving the summit I retraced my route back toward the sludge laden track and spent quite some time looking at the area of the critical col for Caer Caradoc.  This is in a field adjacent to a hedge and a feeding place for cattle, because of the latter the place where I thought the critical col is positioned was awash with mud and slime.  I found a relatively dry spot and gathered five minutes of data.

Gathering data at the critical col of Caer Caradoc
As I left the field and walked up to re-join the track I looked down on where I had placed the Trimble and thought ground about 20 metres further east may be slightly higher and therefore a better place for the position of the col.  If time permitted I would re-visit on my descent and gather another data set.

The part of the green track I was now on was in much better condition than its lower counterpart.  Rutted through farm vehicle use it was relatively mud free, I walked on and beside it as it led up through a gap in two conifer plantations, the one to the south being extensive, whilst the northern one is only a narrow strip.  I followed the edge of the northerly plantation and walked on the ridge past an attractive pool which gave a good foreground to views of the upper part of Stow Hill and to the high Fforest Glud hills farther to the west.

The summit of Stow Hill is just beyond the conifer plantation
With the hills of Fforest Glud in the background
Once past another strip of conifer plantation the upper part of the hill is easily reached, this is marked by a trig pillar with adjacent ground one metre from the trig being the highest.  As the Trimble gathered data I happily soaked up the sun and took a number of photos.

Gathering data at the summit of Stow Hill
Re-tracing my steps back to the green track I met two walkers who had travelled from Telford for a 13 mile walk and were heading toward Black Hill (SO 326 790), we chatted for five minutes or so and then went our separate ways.  My way was back to the previously visited col for another data set before trying to keep off the lower part of the green track as the slithery mud swamp was not conducive to what constitutes a hill walk.  This meant I headed back into the adjacent fields and used gates between each, unfortunately progress was barred between two fields and the only way onward was through a hawthorn hedge which proved interesting.  As I lumbered my way into the hedge I did think about taking a photo as it isn’t every day that you find yourself willingly being immersed inside a hawthorn hedge. 

Once out onto the open field I gained the mud sludge track via a gate and walked back toward the car.  It was now 2.00pm and the first two hills and their respective surveys had taken four hours.  I crossed the road and continued on the green track, now more of a path which was adjacent to a hedge with a tarmacked road beyond leading to a house on my right.  I was now close to where the critical col for Cwm Sannam Hill is positioned.  The land immediately ahead looked quite flat, with hedgerows consisting of overhanging trees on the enclosed path and ground to my left which was scrub made up of small trees and bracken.  I reached a point where standing water continued from the path through the adjacent fence and onto the scrub land, this looked as if it indicated where the critical col is placed.  Making a mental note of the position for my return journey I continued on the path and then up through the lower mud splattered field to higher and dryer fields giving access to the high point of Cwm Sannam Hill.

The higher fields were now bathed by a lowering sun that cast rich colours and lengthy shadows.  I walked through one field full of horses that came toward me inquisitively; the next field brought me out by an old barn and another slime laden bog.  As I circumvented the bog a Red Kite flew across the outline of the hill and glided past in a southerly direction. 

The grassed summit ridge of Cwm Sannam Hill is crowned by a trig pillar on its southern periphery which has no height given to its flush bracket in the OS Trig Database.  However, whilst compiling The Fours we found an old 1,343ft (409.4m) height on the Ordnance Survey New Popular One-Inch map which complimented the height on the larger scaled 1:10,560 map; this height elevated the hill’s drop to 98m.  It’ll be interesting to find what the Trimble made of its summit and col height as with only another two metres of prominence the hill would become the latest addition to the Humps.

I assessed the ground leading upto the trig and decided that there were two possibilities for the high point, neither of them beside the trig.  One being approximately 14 metres from the trig and the other further away from it next to a fence corner, both positions were Trimbled.

Gathering data at the first of the two possible summit positions on Cwm Sannam Hill
Gathering data at the second of the two possible summit positions on Cwm Sannam Hill
Once the Trimble was safely packed away I re-traced my inward route back to the confines of the path and scrub land at the col.  I followed the patch of standing water from the path over a fence and into the wasteland of small trees and bracken and proceeded to wander around for five minutes.  It was hard to pinpoint where the valley to valley traverse met as the view was obstructed, it was also hard to judge where the western hill to hill traverse started to go up as the land was relatively flat.  However, I found a spot that I was happy with, gave it a large margin of uncertainty for positional height, gathered five minutes of data and made my way back to my car as the sun sank out of view and the land began to edge toward night.

Gathering data at the col of Cwm Sannam Hill
Only one survey remained and that was the critical col for Stow Hill which was situated to the north of the summit of Cwm Sannam Hill, I had contemplated taking in this col on the walk but time dictated that it would be quicker to drive there.  So I jumped in my car drove the mile north to New Invention and headed west on narrow lanes to the col.  I’d investigated the position of the col on Google Maps the previous evening and thought that a car could be parked at the beginning of a track that led into a field on the south-western side of what looked like the position of the critical col.

When I arrived I parked on the track, grabbed all necessary gear and walked the few metres up the narrow road to look at the col.  It was one of the easiest I’ve had to judge since getting the Trimble, but unfortunately all land from the valley and the hill directions led me to the conclusion that the critical col for Stow Hill is placed in the centre of the narrow road.  I had hoped that if this was so that a placement on an adjacent grass verge would suffice, but the sides of each were raised above the road.  So taking the Trimble’s life in hand I set it up in the centre of the road and hoped that no vehicles would come this way for the next five to ten minutes.

Once logging data I decided to keep on the western side of the Trimble as from this side the road made its way toward the col around a slight corner and if any vehicle approached from this direction I wouldn’t have much time to either stop it or grab the Trimble, whereas on the eastern side the road climbed steeply up toward the col and therefore I may have time to grab it before its strength was tested against another car.

Two minutes into data collection and I heard the sound of a car which came from the western side of the col, as it approached I flagged it down and quickly explained what I was doing and asked if they would mind waiting about three minutes until it had done its stuff.  They kindly said that this was no problem and waited, this meant I could run past the Trimble and stand on its eastern side and stop any vehicle approaching from that direction, thankfully none did and once five minutes of data were collected I packed the Trimble away, thanked the occupants of the car and explained in more detail what the Trimble did and possibly more relevant; the reasoning why.

Living dangerously - the Trimble gathering data in the middle of the road at the critical col of Stow Hill
As I got back into my car the last light of the day was quickly disappearing to be overtaken by the blueness of late autumnal dusk.  The hills of Shropshire are proving an excellent addition to my hill walking agenda.  I must visit more during the winter months.

Survey Result:

Caer Caradoc 

Summit Height:  402.7m (converted to OSGM15) (Four status confirmed)
Summit Grid Reference:  SO 30903 75743

Col Height:  347.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 29798 75086

Drop:  55.6m 

Dominance:  13.80%

Stow Hill 

Summit Height:  434.3m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SO 31758 74527

Col Height:  299.1m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 26949 76843

Drop:  135.2m 

Dominance:  31.13%

Summit Height:  409.1m (converted to OSGM15)
Summit Grid Reference:  SO 27080 75511

Col Height:  310.0m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 28522 75426

Drop:  99.1m (Subhump status confirmed) 

Dominance:  24.23%