Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Y Berwyn

06.04.17  Moel Llaethbwlch (SJ 113 167), Craignant Hill (SJ 119 165) and Craignant Hill (SJ 118 164)

Moel Llaethbwlch (SH 113 167)

With the fine weather continuing I wanted to edge my Welsh P30 total up from 997 to 999 and picked two hills relatively close to one another above the town of Llanfyllin.

I parked close to the bwlch of my first planned hill; Moel Llaethbwlch squeezing my car onto the wide grass verge, as I laced up my walking boots a quad bike zoomed round an adjacent field, I made a mental note to try and talk with the farmer if he was still around after the first of three potential bwlch positions for Moel Llaethbwlch had been Trimbled.  This proved to be beside the minor road a few metres south-west from where I had parked.

As the Trimble gathered the last of its allotted 300 datum points the quad bike reappeared and I waved and shouted over, a few minutes later the Trimble was packed away and I was chatting with Mike Evans who farms the land to the west of the narrow lane where the bwlch is situated on or near to.  It was good to speak to Mike, he proved extremely friendly and helpful, confirming the name of Moel Llaethbwlch and Moel y Fronllwyd, but could not help me with the name of my second planned hill of the day which has twin map heighted summits of 329m.  I told Mike all about the Trimble and the place-name research I conducted and he kindly gave me permission to head over his fields toward the summit of Moel Llaethbwlch.

Gathering data at the first of three potential bwlch positions for Moel Llaethbwlch

Mike Evans

As Mike zoomed off on his quad bike I proceeded to gather a further two data sets at the remaining potential bwlch positions for Moel Llaethbwlch and then headed toward its summit.

Gathering data at the second potential bwlch position and what turned out to be the critical bwlch of Moel Llaethbwlch

Gathering data at the third of three potential bwlch positions for Moel Llaethbwlch

Craignant Hill from near the bwlch of Moel Llaethbwlch

When speaking with Mike we both commented what a fantastic view was all around, with the shapely up thrust of Cadair Idris on the horizon and the high Aran dominating the view north-westward, but he told me the view from the summit of Moel Llaethbwlch was even better and when I arrived on top it didn’t disappoint.  Occasionally a relatively small hill is positioned just so, with its prominence seemingly more dominant and its views spinning ones head in all directions, and Moel Llaethbwlch is such a hill, a little beauty.

The distant Cadair Idris

The distant Aran

By now the sun had burst through the morning’s high cloud and blue skies and warmth predominated.  After the customary five minutes of data were gathered from the summit I headed down steep grassed ground to the next connecting bwlch.  I judged the critical point to be positioned on the edge of the minor lane and set the Trimble up on my rucksack and hoped that no cars would come this way for the duration of data collection, none did.

Gathering data from the summit of Moel Llaethbwlch

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Craignant Hill

I now thought that only two surveys remained, the figure proved to be five as I gathered two data sets from the northerly summit of the next hill.  During the time that the Trimble beeped away collecting its all-important data I stood back taking in the view and watching the sheep sometimes watching me.

Gathering data at the summit of Craignant Hill

Looking across from the northerly higher to the southerly lower of the two tops of Craignant Hill

On a whim I decided to survey the connecting bwlch between the two 329m map heighted summits and decided that as the valley to valley traverse was relatively extensive I should take two data sets, the second of which proved visually to be lower than the first.  However, I didn’t really care how many survey I took as the sun gave welcome warmth and the land was peaceful and the views were distant.

Gathering data at the connecting bwlch between the two tops of Craignant Hill

After the second bwlch survey I gathered the Trimble up and proceeded to the top of the southerly of the two 329m map heighted summits and gathered the last five minutes data set of the day. All that remained was the walk back to my car on the minor lane as the sun gleamed down.

Gathering data at the lower of the two top of Craignant Hill

Looking across from the southerly lower to the northerly higher of the two tops of Craignant Hill

Arriving at my car a farmer and his two sons were busy unloading sheep in to the adjacent field, I chatted with the farmer; David Evans for ten minutes or so and he suggested that I should visit John Evans at Tyncelyn and showed me on my map where this farm was.  John farms the land where the two 329m map heighted summits are positioned and David explained that he should be able to confirm the hill’s name.

As I approached Tyncelyn a quad bike shot down the entrance drive, I flagged it down and spoke with Aled Watkins, who works for John.  After explaining my interest in upland place-names he whizzed off and said that they were bringing a number of sheep up the lane and that John would be following him up in ten minutes or so.  I waited in the sunshine, took my walking boots off and opened the gate for Aled as he reappeared with a small lamb under his arm; he then waited for John to appear heading up the lane with 30 – 40 sheep and four sheep dogs in attendance.  When John appeared we shook hands and he quickly abandoned his quad bike in favour of shepherding the sheep on foot, I followed in my car.  Half a mile up the lane and the sheep were penned in to their field and John and I chatted about the twin map heighted hill, he immediately told me that it’s known as Craignant Hill, with the old farm of Craignant-mawr being just north of the northern summit.  John pronounced the name as Crugnant Hill, and told me that he could speak just a little bit of Welsh; the hill is a part of John’s land and was easily pointed to over the near hedge.

Following John up the lane

Before leaving John and Aled, the name of a 200m Sub-Twmpau was confirmed, Aled had already told me its name when waiting for John to appear up the lane with the sheep as we were looking directly toward it and its unusual pole which is the lower remains of a wind turbine whose blades no longer exist, this hill has a 261m summit spot height and is positioned at SJ 110 151 and its name is Pentre Hill, with the farm of Pentre positioned to its north-west.

(L-R) Aled Watkins and John Evans

It was good to meet Mike, David, John and Aled and also good to investigate land that is close to where I live and yet I hadn’t been on these hills before.  It was also good to nudge my Welsh P30 total up to 999, just one more for the 1,000th.

Survey Result:

Moel Llaethbwlch

Summit Height:  372.1m (converted to OSGM15) (significant height revision)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 11335 16724

Bwlch Height:  328.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 11484 17236

Drop:  43.3m

Dominance:  11.63%

Summit Height:  329.5m (converted to OSGM15) (higher summit confirmed)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 11926 16590

Bwlch Height:  299.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 11692 16648

Drop:  30.3m (Trichant status confirmed)

Dominance:  9.21%

Summit Height:  329.3m (converted to OSGM15) (lower summit confirmed)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 11893 16416

Bwlch Height:  311.4m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 11967 16505

Drop:  18.0m (non Sub-Trichant status confirmed)

Dominance:  5.45%

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