Friday, 26 May 2017

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Malvern Hills

30.04.17  Midsummer Hill (SO 759 375)    

Midsummer Hill (SO 759 375)

The Malvern Hills are justifiably popular and throngs of people descend to their well-maintained paths and shapely summits most weekends.  However, the lower summits on the southern extremity of the hill range give good walking with the benefit of fewer people, and this is where we headed to for a couple of hours this afternoon.

The main summit we planned on visiting is Midsummer Hill which has the remains of an ancient hill fort encircling its summit area, if weather and inclination permitted we also wanted to combine this hill with the lower summit to its north north-west that has an obelisk crowning its high point.

Both hills can be easily combined and we set off from the south where a free car parking area gives access to steep slopes heading in to deciduous woodland.  Although the sky was grey and the weather forecast predicted rain for later in the afternoon the woodland was bathed in serene blue as a multitude of blue bells cast their beautiful spell.  Late April and early May are a special time on the lower hills when slopes can become a myriad of succulent blues interspersed with new shooted greens as blue bells gather amongst spring’s new growth.

Blues and greens of the lower hills

The steep path gained height quickly beside masses of tangled brambles and undergrowth and proved a relatively easy way up toward the summit of Midsummer Hill.  During the wooded ascent an occasion trig was blown from overhead branches signalling the windy conditions on the top. 

Lou heading through the wood toward the summit of Midsummer Hill

The summit of Midsummer Hill is a few metres north of a memorial shelter that was built by Reverend H L Somers (who gave the hill to the National Trust) in memory of his son who was killed in the First World War.  As I assessed the lay of land to find the highest point of the hill, Lou took shelter on the leeward side crouching down out of the wind looking out toward the west and the continuation of our route to the obelisk.

Information board on the top of the memorial shelter close to the summit of Midsummer Hill

Once the Trimble was aligned with the high point of the hill and gathering data I stood back and hoped that no one else would visit the summit in the next five minutes, one couple approached, but they kept to the earthen embankment below the high point and soon disappeared from view, otherwise we had the summit to ourselves.

The summit of Midsummer Hill with the Trimble on the high point

The obelisk from Midsummer Hill

Gathering data at the summit of Midsummer Hill

Looking north to the higher Malvern Hills

By the time the Trimble had gathered its allotted five minutes of data the sky toward the west had turned a slate grey and with rain forecast for the afternoon we pressed on down the northern slopes of Midsummer Hill through woodland on a good path toward the hill’s connecting col.  Once at the col I set the Trimble up to gather data but the enclosed nature of where it was positioned did not encourage it to reach its 0.1m accuracy level before data should be logged, and after waiting ten minutes whilst directing a Landover and trailer and a few walkers to one side of where it was placed, I closed it off without any data having been collected and we made our way up toward the obelisk.

Heading down to the col

The Trimble positioned at the col waiting for the accuracy level to reach 0.1m before data should be logged

The obelisk is big and commands the southern extremity of the Malvern Hills, however our stay beside it was not long as the first rain drops were now falling and the western sky looked as if it was going to deposit lots of the wet stuff on us at any moment.

Approaching the obelisk

The higher Malvern Hills

Descending quickly to an earthen track we followed this until a gate gave access to open fields, these we followed back toward another track and then on to the car.  This descent proved a lot of fun as one in the party had concerns about killer rams and being off route and not on a main path, the pace of the descent and the fits of internal giggles thinking of killer rams made it hard for me to keep up, we arrived back at the car having dodged the rain which looked as if it had concentrated on the higher summits.  The walk proved a great couple of hours investigating the southern Malvern Hills whilst dodging the rain and the prospect of any rogue killer rams.

Looking back toward the obelisk with the infamous field full of killer rams

Survey Result:

Midsummer Hill

Summit Height:  285.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SO 75957 37516

Drop:  81m

Dominance:  28.37%

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