Thursday, 23 April 2015

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Pen Llŷn


19.04.15  Ynys Tudwal Fach (SH 340 259)   

Ynys Tudwal Fach (SH 340 259)
As I walked up the road in Abersoch and looked out over the jetty the sea spilled into the harbour, one white wave followed another and the wind blew strongly from the east.  When I had arrived I’d quickly dispensed with my shorts and one skin summer walking jacket in favour of a fleece coat and trousers.  But in conditions such as the ones I was looking at I thought our chance of visiting Ynys Tudwal Fach was almost non-existent, or at the best it would mean a patient wait into the afternoon, hoping that the easterly would lessen and the sea swell reduce.

Lots of white stuff in the harbour at Abersoch
By the time I walked back down the road Adrian and Alex were waiting at the pre-arranged meeting spot, we were soon joined by John and Marian Mackay.  This trip had been organised by Adrian with permission to visit the island given him by the landowner.

Within a few minutes we were beside our Rib with the boat man, who was showing enthusiastic signs of testing the water with three of us on board.  We scrambled up into the Rib and put life jackets on, and off we went, slowly at first toward the harbour entrance before venturing out to the open sea.

The open sea beckons
This was going to be a wet ride and each of us had full water proof gear on and I’d packed my video camera and Trimble in the bottom of my ruck sack as I suspected I was going to get soaked.

As we left the confines of the harbour we met the waves, which deposited us up with their swell before thudding us down to their depths, this repeated itself as spray came in from all angles.  I sat directly behind Alex with Adrian standing behind me; we all clung on as the bucking bronco continued its merry passage toward Ynys Tudwal Fach.

The usual landing for this island is on its east, this is sheltered from the normal westerly’s, but today the wind blew from the east so the boat man manoeuvred  the Rib to a sheltered small cove on the west side of the island where I spotted my first seal in its natural environment. 

At the entrance to this small cove is a slanting rock shelf that gained height toward the grass above, this was our route onto the island.  As the Rib was driven in Alex clambered out timing his deposit onto ‘dry land’ with the sea swell, I remember looking at him as he left the boat and made it onto the rock – he was standing almost upto his knees in the sea!

The entrance to the small cove where we were dropped off
Soon the three of us were slowly making our way up the rock shelf, with the snippiest part also being the narrowest with the sea beckoning about 20ft below.  Once on the grass we aimed for the high point, gulls swooped all around, a constant overhead attraction.

Adrian and Alex on the slanting rock shelf
looking down the slanting rock shelf
Heading up on the sponge-like grass
The ground was pitted with many burrows with each step being similar to walking on a sponge as your walking boot would sink into the soft grass.  Ahead lay the summit cairn with a large iron cross which had been hit by a recent lightning strike and was now doubled over and bent.

Heading for the summit
As with many of these trips to small islands there seems to be a multitude of things to do and a limited time to do them.  We quickly took a series of summit photos and I set the Trimble up on a rock to gain height for it above the thick grass.  Once data were collected I looked for the mouth piece to my re-hydration water system which had gone missing along with the two litres of liquid it was carrying. 

Adrian and Alex at the summit with Ynys Tudwal Fawr in the background
I soon gave up my hunt and left the summit to walk down the island toward the one house that is nestled into the easterly upper hillside.  On my way I passed a stone circle, a modern, but not unwelcome, addition.

The stone circle on Ynys Tudwal Fach
To the west lay Ynys Tudwal Fawr, only higher by a few metres and with its Lighthouse and accompanying buildings at its summit.

The house is used by the owners of the island and it has a rather lovely old wooden door.  It must be a wonderful feeling settling in for the night on this island with just the stars and gulls for company.

The only house on the island is nestled into the eastern hillside
The front of the house with its old wooden door
By now Adrian and Alex had headed back to the slanting rock terrace as the boatman had gone back to the mainland, picked John and Marian up and was now skimming across the sea ready to drop them off.  By the time I reached the upper part of the descent route John was holding his hand out to Marian as they both made it safely onto ‘dry land’.

John and Marian land on the island
Adrian and Alex head down toward the Rib
John soon passed me as he made his way up the rock shelf, slightly lower down I met Marian who was wondering if she was going to wait on the rock for John or whether to slither her way up to the grass above.

With Alex on board, Adrian waits for the Rib
As the Rib was manoeuvred in Alex and Adrian got on board, for my birthing I decided to adopt the full on belly flop approach as I considered momentum to be the important factor in getting on board and not miss-timing a lunge for the Rib and ending up in the sea.   As the Rib approached I flung myself head first into it, aiming my entrance so it was cushioned by my shoulder and side, within a few seconds we were in our positions and away toward our next adventure.
    

Survey Result:


Ynys Tudwal Fach

Summit Height:  36.3m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SH 34037 25971

Drop:  36.3m

Dominance:  100.00%



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

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