Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Bannau Brycheiniog

22.07.14  Bryn Melyn (SO 109 184)

Bryn Melyn (SO 109 184)
Bryn Melyn is perched on the southern flank of Tor y Foel (SO 114 194), a small lump of a hill with its grassy summit heading skyward but forever dominated by its higher and more prominent neighbour, it clings on to the hillside almost as an afterthought, something that seems rather inconsequential, but none the less fine views can be had from its summit, especially northward to Tor y Foel and westward to the Talybont Reservoir in the valley below and across to the eastern part of the high Bannau Brycheiniog, with the profiles of Allt Lwyd (SO 078 189) and Waun Rydd (SO 061 206) on grand display.

Talybont Reservoir with Allt Lwyd (SO 078 189) and Waun Rydd (SO 061 206) above and to the right
I’d only visited this hill once before, in early June 2013 when on a four day bagging trip, visiting friends in south and mid Wales whilst enjoying days of endless sunshine and visiting as many hills as my body could get up.  Today’s walk had been suggested by Mark, who had a day off work and wanted to investigate south Wales to edge his second round of the Welsh Hewitts nearer to completion.  Before the main walk he suggested we could visit Bryn Melyn and survey it as the hill is easily visited from a high road that culminates at the hill’s bwlch.  Bryn Melyn is currently listed in Y Pedwarau (Europeaklist May 2013) as a marginal Pedwar with c 446m summit (no spot height appears on any map) and c 413m bwlch, giving c 33m of drop.  As well as determining if Bryn Melyn is rightly listed as a Pedwar we could also give it an accurate absolute height, rather than an estimated one.

We had a relatively long drive down to south Wales as we wanted to avoid the throngs of people enjoying the Royal Welsh Show at Builth Wells, our journey deposited us at the top of the high road at just after 11.30am.  As Mark took photos of the higher hills to the west I had a look at the area of the bwlch, a solid stone wall heads down from just below the summit of Bryn Melyn and crosses the bwlch in the hill to hill direction, land immediately below the wall on its eastern side is significantly higher than that on its western side, this we deemed to have been earth piled up during the walls construction and therefore man-made, therefore we discounted it as the rightful place for the critical bwlch.  Once a position had been chosen the Trimble gathered five minutes of data and we then headed up the hill to the summit.

The first position (SO 10994 18781) for the bwlch came to 412.454m high
The ascent of the hill is an easy one with a small sheep path to follow before the high point is gained.  This consists of grass with a few thistles adding summer colour to the profusion of greens.  The summit is easily identifiable and soon had the Trimble placed on it gathering another five minutes of data.  As the data was being stored we pottered about taking photos.

The view south from the summit of Bryn Melyn as the Trimble gathers data
The view north from the summit of Bryn Melyn toward Tor y Foel as the Trimble gathers data
Once the Trimble was packed away we headed down and re-assessed the area of the bwlch and decided to get another data set from a slightly different position, this was next to a large manure heap and rutted ground caused by farm vehicles.  Again the Trimble was placed away from the ground immediately below the wall as this was deemed to have been built up and therefore man-made.  After the Trimble was closed off and packed away we headed down the narrow road and aimed for the car park next to Talybont Reservoir for the main walk of the day.

The second position (SO 10991 18728) proved to be at the critical bwlch and came to 411.867m high
Survey Result:

Bryn Melyn

Summit Height:  450.5m (converted to OSGM15) (significant height revision)
Summit Grid Reference:  SO 10941 18432

Bwlch Height:  411.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SO 10991 18728

Drop:  38.6m  (Pedwar status confirmed)

Dominance:  8.57%

For further details please consult the Trimble survey spreadsheet click {here}

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