Friday, 16 March 2018

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Malvern Hills

15.02.18  Worcestershire Beacon (SO 768 452, col only [SO 502 657], summit previously Trimbled)

There’s a pleasure surveying a col that isn’t positioned in what could generally be referred to as the uplands, and especially so if the col is situated away from urban development.  The cols I have surveyed that meet this description are usually quiet places, seldom visited except by an occasional farmer.  They are places that a walker would rarely go, and as for a hill bagger, well, there would be little reason to visit, except of course if wanting to increase the accuracy of numerical data in a hill list, and to do so via a survey.

Today’s such col is situated about a mile west of the busy A 49 road and to the south of Ludlow and between the small communities of Ashton and Orleton.  The col is the critical one for Worcestershire Beacon, a hill whose summit I surveyed in early October 2015; this hill is listed as a Marilyn, Hump and a Four.  Its summit is probably one of the most visited of any hill in Britain, and yet its col is a forgotten and quiet spot positioned on an earthen vehicle track or close by in an adjacent field, I surveyed both.

Leaving Worcester at just past 10.00am I had a good day ahead with a number of walks and hills planned to visit and survey before a 6.00pm rendezvous in Newtown with friends for a meal and the cinema, I wondered if everything I planned to survey could be accomplished.

By 11.20pm I had my wellies on and was walking down the earthen vehicle track having parked my car at the junction between it and the narrow lane leading to Orleton.

Map contours suggest that the col of Worcestershire Beacon is placed in the adjacent field to this track on its eastern side, I’d come prepared with two sets of ten figure grid references, one on the track and the other in the field where interpolation suggests the col to be placed. 

As with many col’s it is the valley to valley direction that is the hardest to visually determine, and as I walked past where the col is situated to the point where the hill to hill traverse descends from the south I followed this traverse back on the track to where I judged its low point to lie, during this time I had the Trimble switched on to log in to satellite reception, when I determined my chosen spot for Trimble placement I checked the ten figure grid reference I had noted for where interpolation suggests the col could be placed on the track , and my chosen spot was within a couple of metres.

Gathering data at the first Trimble set-up position at the col of Worcestershire Beacon (looking south)

Gathering data at the first Trimble set-up position at the col of Worcestershire Beacon (looking north)

Once the Trimble was set up I waited about ten minutes for it to achieve its 0.1m accuracy level before data should be logged and then waited another five minutes for the allotted data points to be gathered.  During this time all was thankfully quiet on the track, although tyre marks from a tractor were evident in the mud either side of the thin strip of grass in the centre of the track, indicating that the local farmer had come this way recently.

Gathering data at the second Trimble set-up position at the col of Worcestershire Beacon

The second Trimble set-up position at the col of Worcestershire Beacon

After gathering up the Trimble I walked back down the track to where a gap in the adjacent hedge gave access to the field on the track’s eastern side, this field was extensive and so I followed the hedge to where it bisects with the point at which the Trimble had been set-up on the track and checked this position against the ten figure grid reference noted for the field, I then wandered around a bit and moved the position of the Trimble a few metres before setting it to gather data.

As the Trimble gathered data I stood beside the hedge and hoped that I would blend in as I was in view from a house across the field, but again all remained quiet.  Once I packed the Trimble away I exited the field through the gap in the hedge and wandered back down the track to my car, next stop Wapley Hill.      

Survey Result:

Worcestershire Beacon

Col Height:  89.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Col Grid Reference:  SO 50239 65776

Drop:  335.7m

Dominance:  78.91%

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