Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Beacon Hill

07.03.17  Cribyn (SO 198 917) and Wood Field (SO 206 916)

Cribyn (SO 198 917)

A peaceful serenity captured the land as I headed out; my destination was only 30 minutes away by car and therefore relatively local.  As I parked in Sarn the village was quiet except for a friendly looking prospective dog walker who had lead in hand with his accompanying dog barking and chomping at the proverbial bit.  I walked toward him and introduced myself and we chatted for ten minutes or so about the local hills, he couldn’t help me with their names but explained that in all likelihood the person at the farm up the road on the left, could.  As he was telling me this, guess who drove down the steep lane and headed out of the village; the person at the farm up the road on the left.

I thanked the dog walker for his time and set off up the steepening lane and within a minute the farmer was returning home and I duly flagged him down, a couple of minutes later I was sitting in his vehicle chatting about the hills, after introducing myself I explained my interest in upland place-names, he told me his name; Mark Bufton, and that the hill above his farm is known as the Cribben, this is Mark’s spelling for the hill name and is an obvious Anglicisation of the Welsh word Cribyn, Mark cannot speak Welsh and did not know the meaning of the name.  The Cribyn is the 241m map heighted hill at SO 198 917 and rises directly above Mark’s farm, and although the high point of the hill is not a part of Mark’s land, its southern slopes are.

Mark Bufton with the Cribyn in the background

Meeting Mark was a bonus as I did not plan to visit his farm, let alone the summit of Cribyn which I’d previously visited on 24th July 2004, my planned destination of the day was the 239m map heighted summit of Wood Field (SO 206 916) which I had not previously visited and I hoped to call in at Mount Nebo, the local farm to this hill and make enquiries about its name.  This latter hill was listed as Gwern-y-go in the Welsh P30 lists when published on Geoff Crowder’s website, and prior to this morning’s walk I’d studied the Tithe map which names the field where the summit of the hill is situated as Wood Field, hopefully the farmer at Mount Nebo would either confirm this name or give me a name in local use, however I’d been told by the helpful dog walker that the farmer at Mount Nebo was not local and had only been there a few years.

After thanking Mark for his time I walked back up the track from his farm and crossed a wonky foot stile into the adjacent field where the critical bwlch for Wood Field lay.  I assessed the lay of land from a number of directions and proceeded to gather five minutes of data from where I judged the critical bwlch to be positioned.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Wood Field

During the time that the Trimble gathered data I looked up at Cribyn and it was so close that I decided I’d better re-visit and whilst there, survey its summit.  By now the subdued early morning sunshine had sprung out from behind high cloud, but as I followed a public footpath down and then up fields toward the high point of the Cribyn the radiant colour faded as the cloud submerged the sun, and it remained so for the rest of the walk.

The Cribyn from the bwlch connecting it to Wood Field

The summit of the Cribyn is in a closely cropped grassy field next to a small copse of trees with their entangled bracken and undergrowth adding variety to the immediate landscape.  As I positioned the Trimble atop my rucksack a number of inquisitive sheep and accompanying lambs wanted to head directly toward it, and as the customary five minutes of data were gathered I had to shoo them away on a couple of occasions.

On the ascent of the Cribyn

Wood Field from the higher slopes of the Cribyn

Gathering data at the summit of the Cribyn

Once the Trimble was packed away I retraced my route down to the track leading to Cefnyberin Isaf and joined the lane toward the track leading to Mount Nebo, as I wandered toward this next farm I waved at the farmer who sped into the farmyard on a quad bike.  We chatted for a few minutes but although helpful he did not know a name for either the hill or the uppermost field, and therefore the Tithe name of Wood Field is being used for this hill.

The onward route toward the top of Wood Field was through two fields with their gate entrances full of wet mud and slurry, thankfully my wellies which had started to leak and had served me well during the last three seasons of winter walks had now been replaced with a shining new pair of green ones and these proved ideal for the route ahead.  I’d read that the summit of Wood Field is on pasture beside the entrance into its field, but I found the high point to be beyond this point, as I proceeded to gather data from two points in the field I stood content with the morning’s outing, and patiently waited for the Trimble to do its stuff.

Gathering data at the summit of Wood Field

Leaving the summit of Wood Field I retraced my way back toward Mount Nebo farm and followed the track back to the lane and walked down into Sarn.  It had been good to get out after a few weeks away from the hills.   


Survey Result:

Summit Height:  241.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 19882 91763

Drop:  39m

Dominance:  16.15%  

Summit Height:  238.6m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 20602 91617

Bwlch Height:  207.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 20014 91477

Drop:  31.5m (200m Twmpau status confirmed)

Dominance:  13.19% 


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