Monday, 1 February 2016

Mapping Mountains – Trimble Surveys – Carnedd Wen

20.01.16  Broniarth (SJ 160 117), Broniarth (SJ 166 120), Bank Wood (SJ 171 115), Pt. 262.8m (SJ 173 109) and Bwlch Clump (SJ 170 108)  

Broniarth (SJ 160 117)

With such a beautiful cold chilled day forecast I thought it a shame to miss out on the delights of a hill or two.  Examining the maps I noticed a small group of 200m Twmpau hills that I had not visited, these were situated between Meifod and Maesmawr, and would only take a half hour or so to navigate the narrow country lanes to reach their base.

I parked next to a farm at SJ 158 112 having asked permission to do so from a friendly woman who was hanging out of a house window opposite and who had quickly noticed me wandering the lanes.  I sauntered over to introduce myself and we talked for a number of minutes, she kindly told me that the first hill, which was rising above the valley in front of me, was known locally as Broniarth.

As I waved the woman goodbye I gathered all my stuff from the car, locked it and wandered down the lane to a cross road where I forked right and admired the frost encrusted detail of leaves hanging on a becalmed hedgerow.

Delicate frost on leaves

A footpath through part of a wood gained initial height before it deposited me on to a clean chilled hillside, frost predominated, a tranquil and silent landscape fell away down to the shaded valley below.  Elongated shadowed greyness stretched from deposits of trees as rolling fields edged their way across the land.  It felt good to be out in this wonderful part of the country.

Low sun casting early morning shadow

The Breiddin hovering above misty haze

I clambered a wired fence to reach the upper section of Broniarth which is brackened, with sapling trees giving convenient hand purchase to its morass of undergrowth.  The hill’s high point was in a small clearing and as I set the Trimble up on top of my rucksack to gather its allotted five minutes of data I looked out in to the haze of white and low sun beyond, trying to distinguish the hills on my planned route ahead.

Gathering data at the summit of Broniarth

Following a path amongst the brown and forlorn bracken I headed down to a difficult fence crossing and back on to the frost encrusted field, my planned route headed down toward buildings that are named Fron-las on the map, and ahead lay an elegantly shaped green hill that I thought needed Trimbling.  As this walk was only planned late the previous evening I did not have much time to study the map and this hill looked as if its Sub status needed checking.

The critical bwlch for this next hill was placed directly straight lined between it and the summit of Broniarth and as the Trimble gathered data I marvelled at the highlighted frost that brought a graceful feel to the surroundings.  Next stop the summit.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of the lower Broniarth hill

Wandering up the hill’s symmetrically shaped western slopes the Berwyn stretched off in to the distance, crowned in white and rising above a greened and wooded land.  The summit of this hill proved easily identifiable and as the Trimble gathered data I took a number of photographs with the southern slopes now bathed green contrasting against the northern slopes still shadowed and firmly white.

The Berwyn, snow-capped away in the distance

Gathering data at the summit of the lower Broniarth hill

Having packed the Trimble away I headed directly down to a gate which gave access on to a narrow road, I called at Fron-las to make place-name enquiries but unfortunately no one was in.  The next point to survey was the critical bwlch for Broniarth and this proved to be in a field, a couple of metres from a gate beside a corner in the lane.  As the Trimble gathered its data, I stood beside the narrow road hoping that no one would appear from the adjacent farm, but all the land and its occupants were quiet, seemingly not a breath stirred, just low sun, blue sky, chilled freshness and beautiful small hills to explore.

Gathering data at the critical bwlch of Broniarth

A track led from the lane up toward my next hill; Bank Wood, I left the track to walk through a field to the edge of the upper part of the wood.  From the direction that I approached the high point of Bank Wood appeared symmetrical and was framed with mature deciduous trees against the greens of cropped fields with the shape of the hill rounded.  I find symmetry appealing, it is eloquent to the eye, uncomplicated, and nature often offers this.

Bank Wood - rounded and symmetrical, and pleasing to the eye

Once in the wood I followed a narrow path from a partly collapsed gate up to the high point.  Within a few minutes the Trimble was placed on my rucksack and the long waiting process for the equipment to attain its 0.1m accuracy before data should be locked, started.  I checked this accuracy level a couple of times and scampered back down below the height of the Trimble when I saw that the 0.1m mark had not been reached, I waited for what must have been 15 minutes for the accuracy to be attained, I cannot remember much of this time as my mind happily wandered in abstract and welcoming thought.

The upper slopes of Bank Wood

Gathering data at the summit of Bank Wood

Another bwlch lay between me and the next hill, and its critical point to be surveyed proved fun to find.  Leaving the delights of Bank Wood behind I sauntered down a field and found two foot stiles giving access to an enclosed footpath which led to another foot stile and an open field, I followed this parallel to the enclosed footpath heading toward a ten figure grid reference that I had quickly scribbled for where this next bwlch may lie.  When I arrived at this point the lay of land compared to where the critical bwlch was placed was all wrong, and therefore I back-tracked following a stream uphill to where I’d encountered the first foot stile ten minutes before.  Examining the map I realised that this next bwlch had at least two positional possibilities for where its critical point lay, and I’d been very close to each as I’d wandered around in the field parallel to the enclosed footpath, however, the point where I was standing was also a low point, of sorts, on the hill to hill traverse, so I set the Trimble up to gather another data set before quickly heading off to Trimble the other two points.

Bwlch Clump from one of the preceding bwlch surveys

The last of these potential bwlch positions was placed under the frost encrusted southern slopes of my next hill, this is unnamed on the map, so is listed under the point (Pt. 263m) notation.  Although listed as a P30 in the original list that appeared on Geoff Crowder’s website, it is now a twin top as the Ordnance Survey enlarged map on the Geograph website also gives its adjacent hill; Bwlch Clump, a summit spot height of 262m.  I hoped to Trimble each and separate their short lived twinness.

Gathering data at the last of the bwlch options with the summit of Pt. 262.8m (SJ 173 109) in the background

The next summit proved easy to find and is situated in a closely cropped grassy field, beyond lay the bwlch between each map heighted twin top.  This again is situated in a closely cropped grassy field just above the farm of Bwlch Aeddan.

Gathering data at the summit of Pt. 262.8m (SJ 173 109)

As the Trimble gathered another five minute data set I listened to a van’s starting motor being worked on in the farm yard below, this was one of only a few sounds that I’d heard during the whole walk.

Gathering data at what proved to be the critical bwlch of Pt. 262.8m (SJ 173 109)

Beyond the bwlch lay the wooded top of Bwlch Clump, a name that appears on the Ordnance Survey enlarged Geograph map.  Between me and it were two gates, as I entered the wood the ground rose steeply to a slender greened ridge which had been quarried, with the spoil topped up in a high clump of waste.  I set the Trimble up on top of my rucksack and waited until the accuracy level had descended to the required 0.1m, this took about 20 minutes to attain, but I was in no rush and although a slight breeze had picked up I was warm enough in the wood and patiently waited until five minutes of data were collected. 

Gathering data at the summit of Bwlch Clump

Just one survey remained and that was a bwlch that according to the map lay somewhere around the confines of Bwlch Aeddan farm.  When I arrived in the farm yard I approached the farmer and we chatted for a number of minutes, he was completely at ease with me wandering around trying to find where the critical bwlch lay, and after doing a circuit of the paved track and road that leads from the farm yard to the narrow lane which would eventually lead me back to my car, I found where I thought the critical bwlch lay, positioned the Trimble on top of my rucksack and hunkered down for what I imagined would be another long wait as it was positioned next to an outbuilding which had large trees above it.  Miraculously the 0.1m mark was attained very quickly and I pressed ‘Log’, scampered away and waited for its five minutes of data to be stored.

Feeding time at Bwlch Aeddan farm

The last survey of the day - gathering data at what proved to be the critical bwlch of Bwlch Clump

All that remained was a contented wander down the lane to my awaiting car.  On my way home I drove toward Maesmawr, instead of my inward route to Meifod, this outward route took me past Pant Cottage, known locally as The Kennels.  This old house with its earthen track leading to it from the adjacent narrow and steep country lane was where my Grandfathers family lived their lives, it is a house I have not visited for over 11 years, since I scattered some of my father’s ashes in its grounds.  I stopped, paid my respects and looked out past the house to the setting sun, sinking, winter like, down to a frosted earth below.

Survey Result:

Summit Height:  279.2m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 16075 11772

Bwlch Height:  225.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 16965 11712

Drop:  53.3m

Dominance:  19.08%


Summit Height:  267.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 16648 12055

Bwlch Height:  246.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 16446 11940

Drop:  21.5m (200m Sub-Twmpau status confirmed)

Dominance:  8.01%

Summit Height:  266.8m (converted to OSGM15)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 17129 11574

Bwlch Height:  226.7m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 17138 11121

Drop:  40.1m

Dominance:  15.02%

Pt. 262.8m

Summit Height:  262.8m (converted to OSGM15) (de-twinned becoming non prioritised summit)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 17354 10914

Bwlch Height:  243.5m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 17190 10797

Summit Height:  263.9m (converted to OSGM15) (de-twinned becoming prioritised summit)

Summit Grid Reference:  SJ 17063 10813

Bwlch Height:  234.9m (converted to OSGM15)

Bwlch Grid Reference:  SJ 17089 10581

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

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