Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Moelwynion

23.12.17  Ynys Ferlas (SH 596 436), Bryn Tŵr (SH 604 441), Pt. 12.2m (SH 598 431), Ynys Fach (SH 601 430) and Ynysfor (SH 599 422)

Ynys Ferlas (SH 596 436)

As I pulled up outside Aled’s house in Tremadog a misted drizzle had turned the land a damp grey, I was all for a panad and chat, but Aled came out of the house with his rucksack and a smile, indicating that the planned walk over some of the Traeth Mawr islands was on.

These islands are now land locked having once been rocky and wooded up thrusts as the sea at high tide ventured inland beyond what is now the Cob at Pothmadog.  We had visited a number of these landlocked islands over the last few years but the ones Aled planned for today I had never been to before.

We dropped one car off at the base of Ynysfor, which was to be our last island of the day and drove north on the A 4085 road and parked before Pont Aberglaslyn next to a gate off the road. 

As we set off the mist was obscuring the higher tops and the drizzle was becoming heavier, blanketing the land in its delicate touch that eventually pervaded everything.  The paved minor road soon gave way to a track which we followed south around the western edge of Bryn y Gwynt which was our first planned hill of the day, however as the map gives this hill less than 30m of drop we decided to bi-pass it in favour of visiting the P30 of Bryn Tŵr.

The track led across the Welsh Highland Railway and to the base of Ynys Ferlas, which from the north looked horrendously brambled, we decided to continue on the track around its northern extremity and found a line through stunted Holley that at least avoided the worst of the brambles.

The Welsh Highland Railway with Ynys Ferlas in the background

The summit of Ynys Ferlas is crowned by a number of small outcrops, each vying for the accolade of high point, I quickly set the Trimble up and whilst gathering data I joined Aled at the southern end of the summit area to look out on the flatlands and grey misted sea beyond.

Gathering data at the summit of Ynys Ferlas

Retracing our route down we followed the track toward Bryn Tŵr passing a caravan which is a part of the Ospreys project set up since these birds have made this part of Wales their home. 

The caravan is a part of the Ospreys project

The forecast predicted that the day’s drizzle would relent in the early afternoon, but if anything it was now becoming set and as the walk continued it would become heavier and stay with us for the 4½ hours that we were out.

Bryn Tŵr (SH 604 441)

Bryn Tŵr proved a good hill and one of the easiest to ascend as a path led us forever upward and onward on a boggy mud splattered route.  Although when on the wooded islands were we somewhat sheltered from the drizzle, by now it had turned to rain and we were progressively getting wetter.

Aled on the lower slopes of Bryn Tŵr

The summit of Bryn Tŵr is crowned by a slate chair dedicated to Rhys Goch; a 15th century bard who lived at Hafod Garegog, near Beddgelert.  This top is higher and to the west of the top that the Ordnance Survey give a 52m spot height to, and is placed where only an uppermost 40m ring contour can be found on the map.  Today it was wet but still a beautiful quiet spot, overshadowed by old stunted deciduous trees and a peacefulness only disturbed by the quiet beeping of the Trimble as it gathered data and the chat of two very wet people.

The chair at the summit of Bryn Tŵr dedicated to Rhys Goch

Gathering data at the summit of Bryn Tŵr

Aled now wanted to take advantage of the foul conditions and visit two other smaller islands before heading toward Ynysfor; our last island of the day, the first of which is unnamed on the map and the lowest island that we visited during the day and this is where a 24 hour watch is kept during nesting season and the island is then definitely off limits, today it was quiet and except for the two of us, undisturbed.  Beyond lay Ynys Fach with its drainage ditch protecting a direct ascent, we circumnavigated this finding a muddied track passing on to its higher slopes.

The next island visited is unnamed on Ordnance Survey maps

The Trimble set-up position on Pt. 12.2m

The whole summit area of Ynys Fach seemed to be made of rock and moss and its surrounding land one that is flat, today the island was wet and its surrounds a boggy affair with rivulets of water leading to drainage channels full to the brim.  Once the Trimble had stored its data we set off toward one of the earthen embankments surrounding this land and used its elevated bank to circumvent the worst of the underfoot wet stuff.

Ynys Fach (SH 601 430)

Gathering data at the summit of Ynys Fach

The embankment led us toward Ynysfor and a track leading to a house, we headed up moss strewn rock to its summit which was thankfully free of near trees.  By now dusk was quickly approaching and as the last data set of the day was stored in the Trimble I packed it away and we headed down toward a gate and a plod back on the road to where Aled’s car was parked.

Gathering data at the summit of Ynysfor

It had been another adventurous few hours in the company of the Traeth Mawr islands, they are a special environment and one that it seems for me are reserved for wet days out; I suspect they are beautiful on a warm colour enriched autumnal day.

Survey Result:

Ynys Ferlas

Summit Height:  47.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59664 43610

Drop:  c 44m

Dominance:  91.65%

Bryn Tŵr

Summit Height:  54.5m (converted to OSGM15) (significant height revision)
Summit Grid Reference:  SH 60453 44187 (summit relocation confirmed)

Drop:  c 43m

Dominance:  77.99%

Pt. 12.2m

Summit Height:  12.2m (converted to OSGM15)  

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59890 43153

Drop:  c 8m

Dominance:  67.22%

Ynys Fach

Summit Height:  19.2m (converted to OSGM15)  

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 60131 43029

Drop:  c 15m

Dominance:  79.18%


Summit Height:  45.2m (converted to OSGM15)  

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 59947 42215

Drop:  41m

Dominance:  91.15%

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