Sunday, 27 November 2016

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Arenig

06.11.16  Arenig Fach (SH 820 415)    

Arenig Fach (SH 820 415)

Today Steve Smith completed the Nuttalls; the 2,000ft mountains of both England and Wales.  He had chosen Arenig Fach as his final hill having dashed toward completion during the settled weather of October.

We met at the car park on the western shore of Llyn Celyn between Y Bala and Trawsfynydd.  As I drove west over Y Berwyn the sky darkened a forbidding slate grey giving wintry showers over the hills, with the land to the north swamped in rain cloud, whilst the land west and south still had a relatively high cloud base showing the signs of the first snows of the season on the higher summits.

Pulling in to the car park I watched a Buzzard sitting on a large rock only a few metres away, I donned full wet proofs as the prospect of the ascent being dry was rapidly disappearing and by the time I’d sorted my gear the rain had started.  I took shelter in my car as Tony arrived, closely followed by Adrian and Ayako.  By the time Steve arrived with Gina, Josie and Simon a number of people were ready to set off hoping to get a reasonable start over the quicker people in the group.

Gathering in the car park for Steve's final Nuttall

We followed a graveled track from the roadside that soon merged in to a vehicle track on the moor and then a path of sorts continued toward the fence line on the eastern broad ridge of Arenig Fach.

Heading toward Arenig Fach with Mynydd Nodol in the background

(L-R) Simon, Josie, Ayako, Adrian and Gina

By now the weather had closed in with squally showers submerging the land, a sleet grey scene emerged as we headed toward a ladder stile where the main part of the group waited for the others to join them.  I took advantage and slowly plodded onward and upward following the fence line as the rain chilled to sleet and then wet snow.  I rarely go out in such conditions as I am fortunate and can pick my days on the hill, but I found the weather to be invigorating as the wind blew and the land became chilled in its early winter’s grip.

By the time the gradient lessened some of the others had caught up, I headed toward the small cairn east of the recognised summit hoping to get a data set from the high point of the land beside it.  By now it was cold and although I had two sets of gloves on my fingers were chilled from the incessant wet weather.  I quickly took a five minute data set and aimed toward the trig pillar where Steve had just arrived.

Gathering the first data set on the summit area of Arenig Fach

Arriving at the trig everyone was taking shelter behind the large wind shelter at the summit, photos were taken, handshakes had and congratulations given, but the weather dictated that we couldn’t stay here too long and the celebratory cake would have to wait until back at the cars.

Steve Smith completes the Nuttalls atop Arenig Fach

Before everyone left I had chance to gather another five minute data set on top of a rock which was about five metres from the trig pillar, but another larger erratic also vied for the high point of the hill, and as the group wisely left the summit and disappeared from view in to the thickness of murk to head down I positioned the Trimble for a third data set.  Jon Glew kindly waited with me, and once five minutes of data were gathered I packed the equipment away and followed Jon in to the murk to find the descent route.

Gathering the second data set on the summit area of Arenig Fach

Gathering the third data set on the summit area of Arenig Fach

My fingers were now wet and chilled, but it was a cold that was not unwelcome, one that was manageable, and as we quickly lost height the severity of the chill lessened and the wet snow turned itself back to the customary rain, which then lessened still as we joined the path and vehicle track back to the road.

We gathered beside Steve’s camper van for cake and drinks and tried to shelter as best we could as another squally shower sped across the land.  It had been another excellent day on the hill which proved somewhat cold but also rejuvenated my pleasure with the higher of the Welsh hills and many congratulations to Steve for a fine achievement in completing the 2,000ft Nuttalls.

Survey Result:

Arenig Fach

Summit Height:  688.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 82020 41583

Bwlch Height:  390.6m (converted to OSGM15, from subsequent Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SH 78593 38716

Drop:  298.3m

Dominance:  43.30%

For details on the bwlch survey of this hill

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