Saturday, 31 December 2016

Mapping Mountains – 2016 Retrospective

It’s somewhat self-evident to say that the past year in review is an opportunity to look back over the last twelve months and assess the progress of Mapping Mountains, but it also affords a chance to look ahead to the upcoming year.  Both can be fulfilling, with one showing the progress made and the other the possibilities yet to be achieved.  

Having set Mapping Mountains up in late November 2013 it was always my intention to concentrate as much energy as I could in to the site over the first two years, I hoped by doing so the site would become established and those interested in the articles and posts hosted on Mapping Mountains would find it of enough interest to re-visit.

This two year time period roughly took me to the end of 2015, and therefore I suspected that 2016 would be a year where the activity on the site would be slightly lessened, and I could concentrate more on refining its content and presentation. However, that is not to say that the site has lain dormant, far from it, so let’s look back over the last twelve months and also ahead to next year and where Mapping Mountains may go in the future.

Since its inception in November 2013 the Mapping Mountains site has been led by the surveys conducted with the Trimble GeoXH 6000, and although there have been many hill reclassifications due to surveying with the Trimble during the past year I’m not listing them here, as in past yearly reviews, this is partly due to the site now evolving to take in many other aspects related to the hill bagging world and some of these are listed below.

During 2016 Mapping Mountains benefited from the addition of five new page headings, the first of which celebrated St David’s Day on the 1st March by adding the Table of Progress for Y Pedwarau, these are the Welsh 400m Hills, and this Table lists the people who have either completed the main Pedwar list or who have completed at least 100 of the P30 hills listed in Y Pedwarau.

The second new Page Heading was added on 18th June and is entitled Significant Name Changes and it details those hills whose listed name has changed based on historical research and / or local enquiry, this page heading is related to three others that were already on the site; these are Hill Reclassifications, Summit Relocations and Significant Height Revisions, and together they make a detailed catalogue of the changes to the important place-name and numerical data associated with any hill.

On 4th July the Mapping Mountains – Publications Page Heading was added and this proved one of the most significant steps taken during 2016 as it links through to a sister site that is the publishing arm to the original blog.  This publications site now hosts Y Pellennig - The Remotest Hills of Wales which is available as a downloadable e-booklet and print-booklet version, and thanks are due to Ruth Magness and Aled Williams for their help in this process and to Mark Trengove for inspiration.  It is hoped that more hill lists will be published on Mapping Mountains – Publications during the forthcoming year.

The first article related to Hill Listing Protocols established a new Page Heading on 15th September; this article is to the Protocols for the Naming of Hills and was one that I had wanted to write for a number of years.  The article comprises over 6,500 words and details why I view such a policy to be important, as well as giving historical details to where naming nomenclature originates.  Also listed are the Tools of Research giving links to important online sites that are useful for place-name research, and lastly the Naming Protocols are listed.

The fifth new Page Heading appeared on 28th November and is entitled Articles – Internet, these are the articles that I have either written, or written with input from others, or those written by other people about things that I’ve been associated with and that appear on the Internet.  These articles were great fun researching and brought back a multitude of good memories.

There have been a number of important events over the last year with the aforementioned publishing sister site; Mapping Mountains – Publications, being one of the most important, but there have been other significant things that have happened, including the setting up in May of a Mapping Mountains Facebook page which helps catalogue the posts uploaded to the Mapping Mountains blog, and this when coupled with my personal Facebook page helps in communication with fellow hill baggers, and latterly there have been a swathe of hill reclassifications instigated by analysis of LIDAR data by Aled Williams, this work is ongoing and has resulted in many status changes to the lists we co-author.

However, not all events during the last year have been good ones and the continuing disassociation from G&J Surveys is unfortunately ever ongoing and has been for over seven months, I hope that 2017 sees this finally resolved and that financial reimbursement that was agreed three months ago is finally forthcoming.

The latter part of the past year was also one that saw a progression of injuries keep me off the hills for prolonged periods of time, this started with minor surgery in late July which kept me off the hills for three weeks, and just as I was getting ready to get back out onto the hills I was shunted from the rear whilst pulling up in my car at temporary traffic lights, the resulting crash wrote my car off and I ended up in a neck brace in A&E for four hours suffering whiplash and periphery injuries, this seriously curtailed my hill walking and I did not go surveying again for five weeks, and when I did so, I ended up with a damaged knee that now curtails much of my hill walking, however my physical ailments did not end there as whilst protecting my knee getting out of the bath, I slipped and fell, resulting in me falling down onto the side of the bath, ribs first – ouch!  For the next three to four weeks I could hear a rattling in my rib cage when I brushed my teeth and sleeping on my left side was nigh on impossible as my ribs hurt too much and sleeping on my right side was painful due to my knee – oh the wondrous joys of getting older!


Although my knee is not good and the crunching in my neck is still uncomfortable I have managed to experience some wonderful days on the hill during the last twelve months, and although many of these still linger in my memory it is the trips to islands that stand out, with mini expeditions to The Smalls, Emsger (South Bishop), Daufraich, Ynys Dewi (Ramsey), Ynys Fach and Green Scar all adding a wealth of experience to the joys that coastal retreats offer, with the majority of these trips organised by Adrian Rayner, and I look forward to more such mini expeditions in 2017.

During the last year Mapping Mountains had over 44,500 page views and the totals for posts and page views since the beginning of the site in November 2013 are given below:

28.11.13 – 31.12.14:  200 posts with 22,294 page views.

01.01.15 – 31.12.15:  264 posts with over 39,700 page views. 

01.01.16 – 31.12.16:  247 posts with over 53,505 page views.

I’m extremely pleased and rather humbled that people find Mapping Mountains of sufficient interest to visit the site, and my thanks go out to everyone that does so as you give me enthusiasm to continue pushing the site onward.

And what of the next year ahead, the publication of Y Trechol – the Dominant Hills of Wales will continue on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis, it is also hoped that another hill list will be available as a downloadable e-version and print-version booklet via Mapping Mountains Publications, and the analysis of LIDAR data by Aled Williams will no doubt continue resulting in more hill reclassifications and improvement to numerical data in the lists that we co-author.

The New Year will also see the start of publication on Mapping Mountains of a number of detailed Change Registers; these will record the additions, reclassifications and deletions to various listings, many of which are co-authored with Aled Williams, whilst some include listings by other authors where status change has either occurred because of surveys or through map study that I have conducted, others relate to listings where I am the sole author.

Many thanks for visiting Mapping Mountains during the past year, your continued support gives encouragement and I thank you for it, and I hope you have a good New Year and a fun filled time on the hills in 2017.

Myrddyn Phillips (December 2016)

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