Monday, 1 March 2021

The Huws – 100 great Welsh hills under 2,000ft


The Huws – 100 great Welsh hills under 2,000ft

There certainly is eloquence in listing hills that meet set criteria.  There are also many hours of painstaking map study involved.  However, not all hill lists are objective with firmly set qualifying parameters.  Some are subjective and list hills on personal opinion based on individual merit.  The listing of the Huws – 100 great Welsh hills under 2,000ft is subjective and only has one major determining factor; all hills must be below 2,000ft (609.6m) in height. 

The list was instigated by Alex Cameron and has involved contributions by a number of people.  Its title of the Huws is a play on the name Hughs, which Andrew Dempster used for his guide to Scotland’s Best Wee Hills under 2,000ft.  It is this book that was the inspiration behind our list of Welsh hills. 

The listing of the Huws covers the length and breadth of Wales from the islands of Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid (The Skerries) in the north to Penrhyn Gŵyr (Worm’s Head) in the south.  It has variety a plenty with many higher hills in the 500m and lower 600m height band, to lower prominence hills such as the shapely Y Gribin above the small community of Llangynog and Clip in the northern Rhinogydd; with its southerly peak considered better than its higher northerly counterpart. 

Our aim was to devise a list of hills that would take the hill walker on a journey throughout the wonderful landscape that Wales has to offer.  The remit for which hills to include concentrated on variety and not surprisingly there are many hills of relatively high height and prominence included, but we also included hills associated with historical eras such as the Roman fort complex of Tomen y Mur, Bryn Gop with its second largest Neolithic mound in Britain, the quiet surrounds of Sycharth once one of the two traditional courts of Owain Glyndŵr and the impressive Y Ceiliog Mawr, which is a part of Wales’ industrial heritage having been formed from the slate mines near Llanberis.  Also included are a scattering of islands; offshore and tidal, hills consisting of wooded summits, those nearby mountain lakes and even a sand dune makes an appearance. 

Access:  This is a collection of Welsh hills which we all feel sums up what is so great about the variety to be enjoyed around the country, but it must be stressed that those wanting to visit these hills should abide by any legal restrictions and if unsure of permissible access ask permission to visit from the respective landowner. 

Risks:  Do always remember that hill walking is an activity with many risks and dangers, both natural and man-made.  You should not climb peaks beyond your capabilities, and should fully appraise yourself of, and prepare for, the possible risks before attempting to scale any peak.  Climbing, hill and mountain hiking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death.  Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks, and be responsible for their own actions and involvement. 


Contributors to the Huws – 100 great Welsh hills under 2,000ft: 

Alex Cameron:  Alex is an enthusiastic backpacker based in the north of Wales and who goes about all his exploring of the Welsh hills completely on foot, or also occasionally by bicycle too. 

John Gillham:  John is a full-time professional writer, illustrator and photographer and the author of a number of published books concentrating on Wales and more recently Shropshire. 

Myrddyn Phillips:  Myrddyn is the webmaster of Mapping Mountains, he is an enthusiastic hill surveyor, hill list compiler and enjoys Welsh upland place-name research and lives in Mid Wales. 

Adrian Rayner:  Adrian is a keen walker and has summited over 1,000 hills in Wales.  He runs an email based discussion forum for British hills with over 30 metres of drop.  When time allows he enjoys visiting overseas mountains. 

Mark Trengove:  Mark is the webmaster of Europeaklist.  He lives in the north-east of Wales and enjoys international peak-bagging and poly bagging, and has a wide experience of the Welsh hills. 

Rob Woodall:  Rob has completed numerous hill lists in Britain and has bagged many overseas peaks.  He’s also visited all the British trig pillars and is currently working on Ordnance Survey benchmarks.

The list is available on the Haroldstreet website and on the Mapping Mountains site:

Haroldstreet website for an online tick list and GPS Waypoints  

Mapping Mountains downloadable list in Google Doc format



The Mapping Mountains list consists of the following: 

Name:  This is considered the most appropriate name for the hill, based on local usage where this is known.  The name used does not always correspond to contemporary Ordnance Survey map spelling and/or composition or the name may not appear on any map.  Where an appropriate name is not forthcoming for the hill, the Point (for example; Pt. 608.8m) notation is used rather than making up a name that has no local or historical evidence of use.


Summit Height (m):  This gives the map height in metres of the hill above Ordnance Datum Newlyn (ODN), often referred to as sea level.  Where a height is quoted to a decimal place it implies that the hill has been surveyed by GNSS receiver (survey grade GPS) or obtained from LIDAR analysis (these heights may not match current Ordnance Survey map heights), with the heights produced by GNSS receiver converted to OSGM15.  Where a ‘c’ (circa) appears preceding the height it means there is no known spot height available and the height has been estimated from contour interpolation.


1:50,000 Map:  This column gives the number or numbers of the 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey Landranger map that the summit of the hill appears on.


1:25,000 Map:  This column gives the number or numbers of the 1:25,000 Ordnance Survey Explorer map that the summit of the hill appears on.


Summit Grid Reference:  This is the ten figure grid reference for the summit of the hill.  This has either been produced by an accurate survey via GNSS receiver or LIDAR, a map spot height, hand-held GPS via DoBIH or for interpolated heights by a centralised position in an uppermost contour ring.


Summit Grid Reference extracted from:  Details of where the ten figure grid reference for the summit was derived.


Drop (m):  This column details the prominence of the hill, otherwise known as drop or re-ascent.  The drop is the height difference between the summit and the lowest connecting bwlch to the higher parent peak along the watershed.  The letter ‘c’ before the drop figure signifies there is no spot height or surveyed height known for either summit or more usually, the bwlch, therefore a part of the drop figure has been estimated from contour interpolation.


Notes:  This column gives additional information relating to the hill, including our reasons why it is included in the list.



Thanks are due to a number of people, including Andrew Dempster for inspiration and Phil Newby for publishing the list on the Haroldstreet website.  The names of our hills have been assessed by Huw Richards and we thank him for his appraisal for the use of the most appropriate name and its composition.  Our thanks also to the people who submit 10 figure grid references to the Database of British and Irish Hills (DoBIH) and for DoBIH making these available for public use.


Mapping Mountains downloadable list in Google Doc format




1 comment:

NeilC said...

Great effort guys! As a fan of Dempster's book, I've thought for some time that I would like to see a 'Hughs Furth of Scotland' list so you can imagine my delight at seeing your UKH article. Have you thought about producing companion lists for England (perhaps incorporating the Isle of Man) and Ireland? I recently started putting my own very rough list together for England and would be very happy to share my suggestions with you, though I doubt you need my help! I see Adrian Hendroff is a past guest contributor to this blog - doubtless he would be able to offer a wealth of great suggestions for Ireland. Anyway, thanks again for this inspirational list.