Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mapping Mountains – 2014 Retrospective

Towards the end of 2013 the Mapping Mountains blog was activated from a two year private slumber when experimenting with uploads and blog style was dispensed with, in favour of the blog becoming public.

Activating the Mapping Mountains blog has been one of the best things I have done as it has given me an opportunity to pursue my passion for landscape photography, writing, surveying and hill listing. 

The blog was something that I had not originally envisaged as it was suggested by Ruth Magness, who I would like to thank for her patience and encouragement.  Thanks are also given to Delyth Andrew who in years past also encouraged me with all manner of hill related subjects.

Although a year in review for 2014, it was late 2013 on 28th November when the Preface for the ongoing article detailing The History of Welsh Hill Lists was made public, this was the first blog post and in a year that saw 22, 335 page views it was the first of 200 posts that were uploaded to the blog.  The first Trimble survey followed shortly afterward on the 15th December 2013 with the summit of Cyrniau being the first hill surveyed. 

There are many reasons why the blog was activated, one being the purchase of a Trimble GeoXH 6000.  I’d been interested in this equipment since first hearing that DoBIH were considering accepting data produced by John Fitzgerald who had the same piece of machinery.  This was in the early part of 2013 but it wasn’t until 1st December of that year that the finance to buy such equipment became available.

Once bought it was a steep learning curve, but one which was fun, so come along for the ride and let’s see what happened in 2014.

Firstly the streets of Mold in north-east Wales heightened the excitement levels as when in the middle of discovering a new P30 the Trimble took on the weight of a car and survived being run over.  This was rather unexpected, both the running over part and the surviving part.  Thinking back on it, it was a surreal experience and one that I hope is not repeated.

Secondly, after seven years of enjoying the company of John Barnard and Graham Jackson in G&J Surveys and after much hard work by the three of us, the opportunity to have a programme concentrating on one of our surveys being broadcast on television presented itself.  The programme was entitled ‘Snowdon – Climbing New Heights’ and was broadcast on ITV Wales and was produced by Aled Llŷr of Slam Media and Stephen Edwards of CREAD Cyf.  It was a great experience and one that will be with me for many years to come.

During the year Aled Williams and I were invited by Lady Willoughby to visit Grimsthorpe Castle for lunch and to view an old Estate Survey book to the Gwydir Estate.  This was part of our continuing research into Welsh upland place-names and formed an integral part of this research, along with visits to the National Library at Aberystwyth and many local enquiries with a number of farmers.  Aled is co-ordinating this research which will be made public in the hill lists we are jointly compiling and it is hoped in future book publications.

As the Mapping Mountains blog progressed a number of new pages were added, including one for ‘Guest Contributor’.  This was based on an idea I had a few years ago and one I hoped to pursue when an Editor of DoBIH, unfortunately that tenure was short lived, so the Guest Contributor concept was pursued through the blog, and it has proved a great success with the page views increasing each time a new contributor post is uploaded.  There have been six articles published so far, with another two waiting publication and a number of others in production.

The blog has also enabled me to create pages that suit a specific subject, and there are now pages for Hill Reclassifications, The History of Welsh Hill Lists, Spreadsheets, Videos, Various Articles and English Hill Lists to name a few.  However, one thing missing from the blog itself is hill lists, it is hoped that in 2015 this will be rectified with a number planned to appear during the forthcoming year.

Although the blog is a conduit for a number of hill related things that I have produced, its impetus is led by surveying, and during the past year there have been a number of hill reclassifications instigated by surveying with the Trimble with the Pedwarau seeing the majority of change.  The following are the major reclassifications from Trimble surveys during 2014:

Ynys Hir (SH 566 396) - new 30m – 99m P30

Pt. 37m, Ynys Hir (SH 566 398) – new 30m – 99m P30

Ynys Fadog (SH 564 398) – new 30m – 99m Sub-P30

Pt. 452m (SJ 229 443) – new Sub-Pedwar

Y Garn (SH 758 375) – new Pedwar

Moelfre (SO 121 759) – deleted Sub-Pedwar

Bera Mawr (SH 674 682) – deleted Pumau

Cefn Perfa (SO 173 579) – new Pedwar

Pt. 388m (SN 907 900) – new 300m P30

Carreg y Big (SN 902 909) – deleted Sub-Pedwar

Craig y Ganllwyd (SH 707 258) – new Pedwar

Bryn y Beili (SJ 235 643) – new 100m P30

Twyn Walter (SN 828 175) – deleted Pumau

Derlwyn (SH 588 586) – new Sub-Pedwar

Pt. 499m (SH 665 310) – new Pedwar

The Cold Piece (SO 338 996) – deleted Four

Mynydd Poeth (SH 953 513) – new Pedwar

Ynys Tywyn (SH 571 385) - new 30m - 99m Sub P30

The Trimble also instigated Foel (SH 450 506) in becoming a new Hump and Moel Garegog (SJ 216 525) becoming a new Sub-Hump and it split a double Hump and triple Hump for good measure.

As the year progressed from the exceedingly wet winter into the warmth of Spring and Summer I found that walking with Mark Trengove usually meant late evenings on the hill.  These were either preceded or followed by a leisurely bite to eat in a pub or restaurant and they soon became one of the year’s highlights.  The late evenings in particular gave me an opportunity to be on the hill at sunset, which being an early morning hill walker was something I was unused to.  A number of these walks have given sublime sun sets and many that will remain in my memory for a long time to come.

The variety of conditions found on Welsh hills were shown by another of the year’s highlights, these were walks with Aled Williams as we investigated the islands of Traeth Mawr.  This is the land that in years past was reclaimed from the sea on the outskirts of Porthmadog.  Throughout this land are small islands dotted across the landscape, all are individual in nature but they seem to have one common factor and that is that they are difficult to ascend because of their undergrowth.  Each trip to these islands has brought its own excitement and I look forward to more visits with Aled to other Traeth Mawr islands in 2015.

Another surveying highlight of the year was visiting and surveying the most remote spot and the remotest hill in mainland Wales.  Each is situated in the expansive southern grasslands of Y Mynydd Du in south Wales.

When I bought the Trimble and activated the blog I hoped that 100 P30’s would be surveyed by the end of 2014, this has been exceeded with 150 P30’s surveyed in all.  Many of these also included the respective bylchau.  There have also been a number of subs surveyed and P15’s and anything else that looked of interest.  When including datum point surveys the overall total for the year is in excess of 540 individual surveys.  I’m not sure I can match that in 2015.

Let’s hope that 2015 is as successful for the Mapping Mountains blog as 2014 has been, but above all I’d like to thank all the people who visit the blog and find it of interest.  I hope you enjoy the New Year ahead and get pleasure from the hills you visit.

Myrddyn Phillips

1 comment:

Alex Cameron said...

Keep up the great work with the surveying and blog writing Myrddyn. It's always a pleasure reading your very thorough accounts coupled together with the many splendid photographs you capture on your travels.
Chances are I'll see you out on the hill again before the year is through.

All the best, Alex C