Sunday, 9 August 2015

Newspaper Articles about the Untimely and Incorrect Demise of Moelwyn Mawr

A number of articles have recently been published regarding the mountain status of Moelwyn Mawr.  These articles relate to a survey that John, Graham and I undertook on 16th June this year.  The hill we surveyed is to the north of Moelwyn Mawr and it was not to Moelwyn Mawr, which with a prominence of c 385m unquestionably retains its mountain status.

The hill to the north of Moelwyn Mawr which we surveyed was included in the listing of 2,000ft mountains of Wales by John and Anne Nuttall as a basic levelling survey had given it a drop of approximately 15.2m.  When this hill was accepted into John and Ann’s list they coined the name of Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top for it.  Unfortunately confusion has arisen in a number of articles between what is Moelwyn Mawr and what is a Northern Ridge Top. 

Confusion has also arisen about the measurement we attained for the drop value of this hill.  We line surveyed from bwlch to summit and then from summit to bwlch and also gathered an hour’s data from both summit and bwlch with our Leica GS15.  Both surveying methods give a value of 14.77m of drop, this is insufficient for this northern top to retain its ‘mountain’ status and therefore it has been deleted from the listing of Nuttalls.

As the qualifying threshold for drop in the Nuttalls list is a minimum of 15m, our survey proved that this hill fell short by 0.23m (23cm).  Unfortunately confusion has also arisen in a number of published articles relating to this measurement as it has been reported that the hill failed to retain its ‘mountain’ status by 23mm.  This figure should of course be 23cm, an easy error to make but one of importance when dealing with the margins of measurement from a line survey.

However, where confusion can be forgiven because of the substituting of a ‘c’ to an ‘m’, it is hard to deal with poor old Moelwyn Mawr and its unsavoury oblivion as a ‘mountain’.  Part of this confusion stems from the name that has been used, in this case that of Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top, which for the uninitiated proved too much to comprehend.

Perhaps this is a case in point where the use of an invented name is both unsatisfactory and unnecessary as this hill has a locally known name which will be used when Aled Williams and I publish future place-name detail relating to it.

The stance that Aled and I adopt on such matters is to use the point (Pt.) notation for seemingly unnamed hills, this gives time for a hill list author to research an appropriate name for the hill, and where one is not found it leaves research open to future generations, whereas the use of an invented name has an uncanny knack of becoming endorsed within the hill bagging community, and in this instance such an invented name has caused confusion amongst some national newspapers.

Published newspaper articles relating to our survey are listed below:


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