BRITAIN’S BIGGEST & BEST-SELLING HILLWALKING MAG 13 WALKS+MAPS WALKS + MAPS
LIVE FOR THE OUTDOORS
THE CUMBRIA WAY BEINN A’ BHEITHIR DRYGARN FAWR SCAFELL PIKE + MORE
WWW.LIVEFORTHEOUTDOORS.COM JANUARY 2013 £3.99
FIVE HILLS, ONE WEEKEND!
SUMMITS DISCOVER THE LAKE DISTRICT’S STUNNING SILENT MOUNTAINS GEAR UP!
WINTER BOOTS AXES & CRAMPONS + RAN FIENNES’ POLAR KIT
The one that needs to borrow a theodolite just to check Scafell Pike is really higher than Scafell
32 PAGE HISTORY OF MAPPING SPECIAL SUILVEN
An atmospheric night beneath mighty Ben Macdui
Your 3D guide to a Highland icon
THE EXPERT ISSUE! 76 GENIUS TIPS, TRICKS AND TECHNIQUES FROM THE UK’S TOP OUTDOOR PROS
OUT THERE THE
Outside the Wasdale Head Inn with Alan Hinkes , waiting for the Intern ational Space Station to pass over.
Pillar Lake District The rear guard (including many of Team Trail) by Pillar’s summit trig in chilly but crystal-clear conditions during October’s reader / mag get-together held at the brilliant Wasdale Head Inn.
Elliot looks deservedly pleased with himself on the top of Scoat Fell with Steeple behind.
Snizzle Bizzle – the Trail Weekend’s smallest participant.
Richard and Alan Hinkes discuss which of them is ‘more Yorkshire’ while Zak enjoys the ride! 8 TRAIL JANUARY 2013
GT (technical editor Graham Thompson) admires Rach’s woolly hat.
Send us your shots, share your adventures Email your photos to us, along with a description of what was special about your day, and we’ll publish the most inspiring examples! Put ‘Out There’ in the subject box, and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Steeple: Trail’s attempt to get a Lake-District-wide Mexican wave started fell at the first, er, fell. See page 22 for an article on this particular peak on a different day!
at performance, The quiz winners: gre Table 18. terrible team name –
Happy recipients of the pla stic spork, Trail’s version of the wooden spoon losers’ aw ard!
d a little lady – Three men an ers-up. the quiz runn
JANUARY 2013 TRAIL 9
it’s YOUR fantasy Raining out? Crackling fire? It’s okay, we understand – sometimes curling up with a good Summit
Published to mark 150 years of the Alpine Club, this stunning, dramatically illustrated book by George Band (of Everest 1953 fame) documents the history of British ascents around the world from Victorian times to the present day. You’ll have to hunt, but you can still find it. �� www.amazon.co.uk
An entire book on The Ben might seem excessive, but when you consider the historical and physical context of Britain’s highest mountain, you’ll start to question whether one is enough. Beautifully reimagined from Ken Crocket’s original, this is an absolutely stunning book for anyone even moderately mindful of heritage. �� www.smc.org.uk
14 Trail january 2013
Invisible on Everest
Despite the slightly oblique title, this is actually a fascinating journey into the history of outdoor gear of all shapes and sizes. �� www.amazon.co.uk
Camping in Britain
Rough Guides’ books on Britain are just as useful as their foreign guides, and this bible of places to spend a special night out roundly caters for every budget and whim. �� www.rough guides.com
The SMC’s indispensable guide to Scotland’s major mountains is an essential reference guide to peaks both major and obscure. �� www.smc.org.uk
Inexplicably leaner than the Munros companion piece, the SMC’s The Corbetts and Other Scottish Hills hides its magic in its sub-line; it’s here you’ll find other eccentric worthies unqualified for either list, like cover star Suilven. �� www.smc.org.uk
Mick Conefrey’s spanking new book to mark the 60th anniversary of Everest’s first ascent tells the entire story. �� www.oneworldpublications.com
The High Mountains
Considered, deep and reverent, Irvine Butterfield’s emotive guide to Britain’s high places is a book for connoisseurs. �� www.batonwicks.com
Map of a Nation
If you’ve been inspired by the map supplement in this issue of Trail, check out Rachel Hewitt’s brilliant and absorbing biography of Ordnance Survey. �� www.granta.co.uk
The High Places
A collection of mountainflavoured dispatches from the pages of the Lancashire Evening Post – more specifically, the articles written by literary crag rat A Harry Griffin, whose ‘Country Diary’ column for The Guardian would become an outdoor institution. �� www.franceslincoln.com
...then put your feet up!
book can be as rewarding as a day on the hill. Especially if you’ve a library like this.... Rock Trails
Branded as a ‘hillwalker’s guide to geology and scenery’, this new series of books by Paul Gannon offers a fascinating and accessible way to understand the environment around you when you walk. There are editions for Snowdonia, the Peak District and the Lakes. �� www.pesdapress.com
Great Mountain Days in Scotland Trail contributor Dan Bailey’s guide to Scotland’s big walks is engaging, compulsive and packed with epics. �� www.cicerone.co.uk
Scotland’s Mountain Ridges
Ultimate Navigation Manual
Swiftly establishing itself on release as the bible for navigators both modern and traditional, Lyle Brotherton’s masterful and rich tutorial on every conceivable angle of navigation will help you move through the landscape in a whole new light. �� www.collins.co.uk
Wainwright’s Pictorial Guides
Now lovingly updated and available in a box set, there is A terrific guide to the most not much that can be said about exciting routes in Scotland Wainwright that hasn’t already (and therefore Britain) in all been written 100 times. But manner of conditions. Written taken purely as guides, there by Dan Bailey, this and its really is little that can beat them English companion piece are when it comes to the Lakes. terrific reference for walkers ‘Little’? Sorry, nothing. who like to push the envelope. �� www.franceslincoln.com �� www.cicerone.co.uk
The Welsh Peaks
They’re getting a bit long in the tooth now, but WA Poucher’s seminal photographic guides to the British mountains have been consistently republished since their inception in the 1960s. The Welsh Peaks is particularly enduring. �� www.franceslincoln.com
The Guardian Book of Mountains
The White Spider
The Wild Places
The companion piece to the superb Mountains of the Mind (which you should already have, on another shelf), Robert Macfarlane’s second book is if anything more atmospheric, dedicated to microcosms of the British landscape by way of a first-person exploration. Utterly absorbing. �� www.granta.co.uk
As classic as they get, Heinrich Harrer’s chilling Spanning the history of account of the first ascent both The Guardian and of the Eiger’s north mountaineering, this face is as much a tale of collection takes in such irrational obsession as it gems as the first ascent of is of the adventure itself. Everest, the climbing of the The ultimate armchair Matterhorn by Whymper, and adventure. nearly everything besides. �� www.collins.co.uk �� www.amazon.co.uk
The Life and Times of the Black Pig
A biography of a mountain is sadly not a thing you come across often, but Ronald Turnbull has written two: this, about Ben Macdui; and The Riddle of Sphinx Rock, about Great Gable. Both are excellent. �� www.millracebooks.co.uk
january 2013 Trail 15
out there Suilven rises above the wilderness. ÂŠ David Harris / Alamy
16 Trail JANUARY 2013
dream it, do it!
Suilven ASSYNT The Scottish region this extraordinary mountain stands in, Assynt, translates from the old Norse as ‘seen from afar’. It’s apt. At 731m, Suilven – galleon of the far north – isn’t that big, but it has a prominence like no other. It is one of those rare peaks whose appearance varies almost continuously with angle: from some it’s a thin, tall cone of brutal rock leaning out across wastes of interlocking lochans; from others a striking wheel mid-roll or simply a massive, angled dome of Torridonian sandstone, frozen mid-flinch from some unseen foe. Straightforward and home to a transcendent summit plateau, its location makes it a once-in-a-life objective for many. This issue of Trail has all the info you need to make your ascent.
do it this month! ›› turn to page 121
JANUARY 2013 Trail 17
Where? Lake DIstrict What? Secretive summits
22 TRAIL JANUARY 2013
WALKING THE UNDERDOG The Lake District is studded with peaks standing in the long shadows of famous neighbours. Trail seeks out some overlooked underdogsâ€Ś
WORDS SIMON INGRAM PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY
On Yewbarrow, with Wast Water beyond. Amazingly, this is one of Wasdale's quieter hills. Which means more for you...
JANUARY 2013 TRAIL 23
Where? The Cairngorms What? Tackling the Lairig Ghru
40 34 TRAIL TRAIL DECEMBER JANUARY 2012 2013
Seven miles from anywhere: looking south over the River Dee just east of the Corrour bothy.
BRING ON PLAN B Wild weather keeping you off the tops? Here’s a solution that doesn't compromise in the challenge stakes. Join Trail as we explore Scotland’s highest mountain pass.
WORDS DAN ASPEL PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY
JANUARY 2013 TRAIL 35
Unimaginable cold In the darkness of an Antarctic winter, temperatures can dip to a staggering -90 deg C. So how does Sir Ranulph Fiennes plan to deal with such harsh conditions? Trail asked the man himself... WORDS Dan Aspel
ÂŠ Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy
Easter feaster: Sir Ranulph devours a chocolate egg during the circumpolar Transglobe Expedition.
46 Trail january 2013
2012 Equipment testing in Sweden.
ntarctica does not welcome visitors. If the relative warmth of its -10 deg C coastline seems bearable, then the gale-force winds that tear across its seas certainly don’t. Forge deeper into the continent and the winds fade away, leaving the deathly void of a three-kilometrehigh plateau. In winter the daily temperature averages -48 deg C and can reach -90 deg C. It is a place without warmth or life or light. But, according to Sir Ranulph Fiennes, it’s also a place of tremendous beauty: “The lovely parts of Antarctica are on the edge,” the veteran adventurer told Trail, “but if you’ve got moonlight, which every two weeks you have, and you’ve not got clouds… the rest is fairyland. The starlight is brilliant. In a way it’s more aesthetic in winter than in summer.” He and his team will be in a unique position to observe this other-worldly scene next year. Starting on the equinox of 21 March 2013 they will begin a six-month trek across 3823km of Antarctic terrain, passing the South Pole and aiming for the opposing shore. If successful it will be the first winter traverse of the seventh continent. Sir Ranulph, of course, is no stranger to the poles. His visits have included a successful summer crossing of Antarctica in 1980 (part of the Transglobe Expedition) and an aborted, sled-dragging solo attempt on the North Pole in 2000 during which his left hand was severely frostbitten. It was in this self-reliant and man-powered mould that he and long-term collaborator Dr Mike Stroud
conceived the ‘Coldest Journey’. However, the extremity of the conditions, and the demands of the logistics, have resulted in a mechanical twist to this latest challenge. “Carrying fuel and food for a year is a huge amount of weight,” the 68-year-old told Trail, “so you have to have two vehicles capable of operating at -70 deg C. D6N Caterpillars [a form of rugged construction tractor] are pretty much the only ones that might be able to do it. Each has to tow 75 tonnes of fuel and the maximum you’re allowed to carry is 8,000 litres on one sled. There are 14 of those. In addition to which you have three big cabooses – caravans on skis – one of which is the living caboose, another which is the science caboose, and then the stores caboose. You have a massive amount of stuff just to endure what is our goal of skiing across the continent in the winter.” The human element is introduced via a pair of skiers who will travel in front of the Mobile Vehicle Landtrain (MVL), towing crevasse detection radar. A failure of the device and the collapse of a vehicle into the ice would be, in Sir Ranulph’s words, “a showstopper”. There is no possibility of rescue in this isolated part of the world. This life-or-death reliance upon mechanics is highlighted when Trail asks if the prospect of such a long, cold winter frightens him. “No, I’m frightened of what it might do to the machinery,” is his response. Not that the dangers of simply being outside in an Antarctic winter should be understated. For the human body to endure it the team will
be wearing a variety of specialised clothing. “In past expeditions, down to -50 deg C, we’ve always been moving – so our metabolism would keep us warm,” says Sir Ranulph. “When it goes down to -70 deg C will this make a difference? You’d think we really ought to know. But the cold chamber where we’ve been testing only goes down to -58 deg C. We’ve selected clothing from different manufacturers according to which appears best on the infrared images. That’s what we’ll be taking with us.” What may come as a surprise is how much of that clothing comes from the world of British hillwalking: much of the team’s four-plus layer system will be supplied by UK firms Páramo, Bridgedale and PHD. In fact, if you’ve ever worn a pair of Bridgedale socks or a Páramo shell jacket (even their Cambia boxers would do) then you’ll have first -hand experience of what the Coldest Journey team will be sporting next year [see box overleaf]. Unsurprisingly, an extra boost will be needed to support the kit in an environment that saps heat with fearsome speed. This will come in the form of a mechanical ‘power loom’ between the second and mid layers of clothing. Contained within it will be batteries for heated insoles, gloves and helmet visors, as well as the team’s radio headsets and headtorches. Should the two skiers – or any of the team – become separated from the convoy then Garmin GPS devices (courtesy of the wristmounted Fenix) will aim to keep their locations � clearly discernible. Not that separation is january 2013 Trail 47
trail skills your experts Alan Hinkes(AH)
is a mountaineer, climber, hillwalker and Yorkshireman. He is the first (and to date only) Brit to have summited all 14 of the world’s mountains over 8000m. Not only that, but he’s a fan of Trail, as Trail is of him.
Mal Creasey (MC)
is a climber and guide, and he’s currently the development officer for Mountain Training. He has over 30 years of experience of operating throughout the UK, Europe, Nepal, Tanzania and Indonesia.
Squash Falconer (SF)
skis, snowboards, paraglides, rides motorbikes and climbs mountains, plus various combinations of the above, such as riding to Mont Blanc, climbing to the top and paragliding off. Oh, and she’s summited Everest.
Kenton Cool (KC)
has summited Everest 10 times (including twice in one week) and successfully guided Sir Ranulph Fiennes up the north face of the Eiger. He is director of Chamonix-based Dream Guides and a supporter of the Porters’ Progress charity.
Graham thompson (GT)
has been Trail’s technical editor for over 20 years, and he’s a fountain of knowledge on all aspects of walking kit.
TEAM TRAIL (TT)
comprises the massed brainpower of editor Simon Ingram, mountaineering editor Jeremy Ashcroft, and writers Ben Weeks and Dan Aspel.
If you’ve got a question about hill-walking. Get in touch and ask our team. Post your queries to: Ask Trail, Trail, Bauer, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Even better, email us: email@example.com and put ‘Ask Trail’ in the subject box. (Sorry, but we can only answer the questions that appear in the magazine.)
52 Trail january 2013
TIPS,trick & techniques T
eam Trail has been up rather a lot of mountains. As such, we’ve amassed a fair bit of experience and a vast collection of tips to help make life easier on the hill. But we don’t know everything, so it helps that we’ve also got a bunch of experts we can call on to offer their advice. So if you’ve ever wondered how to stop your glasses misting up in the morning, whether creme eggs are better than Mars bars in the cold, how good knickers can improve your day, or why Kenton Cool has wine gums rattling around in his rucksack, this is the place to find out! n If there’s no room in your bag, zip your jacket up around the outside of your pack as if it’s a little person! That way you don’t have to actually wear it. TT n Bookmark the MWIS weather website on your phone. They have a fantastic mobile site that loads very quickly. TT n My philosophy is this: if your knickers are right, your day goes right! The bigger meaning goes something like: if you sort the small stuff the big stuff falls into place. Treat yourself to lovely kit that feels and looks good.
n Baking soda sprinkled in boots can make them smell fresher, (although it does depend how stinky they are to start with...). GT
It makes a difference – I always take a pair of knickers for every day when I’m on a trip! SF n Cut your map down (but not too much) so it folds smaller. You’re then more likely to keep it in your pocket instead of buried in your rucksack. Another trick is use a hole punch in the corner and tie the map onto a zip toggle. MC n Need more space? Ditch your tent bag, stuff it into a more compact dry bag and store the poles separately down the side of your backpack. TT
n Check your compass straight after purchase to ensure it points north. Compasses can be distorted by items including magnetic tags and scanners, and if it doesn’t point in the right direction it is useless. GT
n Despite what backpack manufacturers seem to expect, make sure you stow your walking poles on your pack with the tips pointing down to avoid injuring somebody behind you. AH
n If you are away for a few days take shampoo/ wet wipes/deodorant! You can decant small amounts into travel containers and you’ll feel much better for it, and being comfortable and happy will help you to achieve your goal. SF n Stuff a dry-bag or stuffsack with a down jacket for an incredibly comfortable pillow. TT n Eat and drink before you need to, and choose a sheltered spot before the summit bid. The worst time to try to replenish food and drink is actually on the summit of a mountain as there is no shelter, more wind, lower temps and you’ll be wanting to get off as soon as possible. GT n Keep snacks easily accessible in your pack or the pockets of your shirt, jacket or pants, so their retrieval
n Crush the leaves of an elderberry bush and either place them in the pockets of your clothing or rub them over your body for a natural insect repellent. TT
© imagebroker / Alamy
the expert issue
ground. Even relatively gentle wind can soon send them spinning away from you. Get into the habit of stashing gloves inside your jacket and don’t expect things to stay where you put them. MC
doesn’t become a timeconsuming ordeal when you’re tired and hungry. TT n Never put your gloves or other vital bits of kit on the
n For a rough estimate of much daylight you have left, hold your hand out at arm’s length and see how many fingers you can fit between the horizon and the sun. Each finger represents around 15 minutes of sunlight. TT
n Use walking poles! Research shows that using a pair of poles can reduce the stress on your legs by as much as 20 per cent, so always take them – you never know when you’ll need them. TT
4-SEASON BOOTS When the mountains are plastered in snow and frozen with ice, the right pair of 4-season boots can make light work of getting walkers to the top of the hill and down again safely and in comfort... TEST GRAHAM THOMPSON OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHS TOM BAILEY STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHS GRAHAM THOMPSON
WHAT WE TESTED Mammut Berghaus Scarpa Hanwag Meindl La Sportiva
MONOLITH GTX KIBO MANTA GTX FRICTION GTX PIZ PALU GTX TRANGO EXTREME EVO LIGHT GTX Zamberlan TORRE GTX The North Face VERTO S6K GLACIER GTX 78 TRAIL JANUARY 2013
£200 £220 £240 £260 £280 £300 £300 £330
January 2013 Trail 79
When it comes to Cumbria, the way ahead is the Cumbria Way. Ronald Turnbull samples a long weekend’s worth of it...
ven if you know the fells pretty well, the Cumbria Way will surprise you with its riversides and woods, and its routes through the middle of the hills. And if you simply don’t know Lakeland, this 70 mile footpath is truly a treat. For a way-out weekend, take two long stretches of it by bus from Keswick, with a day-off outing up Walla Crag above Derwent Water.
TRAINS nearest and most convenient rail station is Penrith 08457 484950 www.thetrainline.com BUSES from Penrith to Workington via Keswick hourly: timetables at www.cumbria.gov.uk Taxis Skiddaw Taxis (017687) 75600; D n K Taxis (017687) 74959; Iains Taxis (017687) 36333
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Langdale: a fellwalkers’ pub since before fellwalking was
Skiddaw and Keswick from the path up Walla Crag (route 12).
ORDNANCE SURVEY MAPPING © CROWN COPYRIGHT. CREATED WITH MEMORY-MAP. LICENCE MEDIA089/12
invented (015394) 37272 www.odg.co.uk Stickle Barn Tavern, Langdale: good food, beer, live music (015394) 37356 Langstrath Inn, Rosthwaite: some of the best bar meals in Lakeland (017687) 77239 www.thelangstrath.com Oddfellows Arms If Keswick has a bad pub I haven’t found it. The Oddfellow is central and inexpensive (017687) 72682 Oddfellows Arms, Caldbeck: another great Lakeland pub right where you need it (01697) 478227 www.
PRACTICALITIES ROUTE 11 24km
ROUTE 10 24.5km ROUTE 12 10.3km oddfellows-caldbeck.co.uk
Campsites National Trust Camp Site, Great Langdale handy for Day 1: big and busy (015394) 63862: online booking at www. nationaltrust.org.uk; Hollows Farm, Great Langdale, an informal and
inexpensive farm site, low on luxury but high on loveliness (017687) 77298 www.hollowsfarm.co.uk Youth Hostels Skiddaw House 07747 174293 www. skiddawhouse.co.uk or book via YHA, closed Nov–Feb; Keswick Youth Hostel 0845 371 9746 open all year B&Bs too many to mention!
Keswick Co-op is open late: just west of bus station roundabout (NY264236) Gear shop huge selection; my favourite is Needle Sports (017687) 72227 Chemist JN Murray Ltd, 15 Station St (017687) 72049 Doctor Castlehead Medical Centre, Ambleside Rd (017687) 72025 Bank several, and cash dispensers, around Moot Hall Fuel Crosthwaite Service Station, on A5271 just west of the town centre
TIC at Moot Hall, Main St, Keswick (017687) 72645; www.golakes.co.uk; www.lakedistrict.gov.uk; www.sherpavan.com (baggage transport) has useful Cumbria Way pages, including accommodation
JANUARY 2013 TRAIL 117
10 route lake district 24.5km/15¼ miles
always take a map out with you on the hill
Langdale to Keswick Inverness
Two per fec t val leys
NY295064 Pass to the right of New Dungeon Ghyll Glasgow Edinburgh STRENUOUSNESS ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ onto a path west Berwick-upon-Tweed NAVIGATION ■■■■■ along the foot of the ISLE TECHNICALITY ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ F ARRAN fell, above a wall. In Ayr Jedburgh 1km pass above the antrae Dumfries Old Hotel, to join a Newcastle Newton Stewart wide path up the -upon-Tyne Carlisle Stranraer floor of Mickleden. Penrith Keswick After 3km cross Middlesbrough Stake Beck and Northallerton Windermere Kendal turn up right, Ingleton marked Cumbria Bentham York on a low stone Way Lancaster Skipton Leeds sign. Pitched path Distance 24.5km leads up steeply, Liverpool Manchester (15¼ Rhyl miles) then more gently Conway up Langdale Combe Sheffield Total ascent 400m Bodelwyddan to the cairn marking Time 8½ hours Betws-y-Coed Llangollen Stake Pass. Start New Dungeon Ghyll Oban
Ordnance Survey mapping © Crown copyright. Created with Memory-Map. Licence MEDIA089/12
A frosty Borrowdale, looking over Rosthwaite.
Hotel, to a signposted gate on right. The wide path winds north, across meadows. After a gate, the path forks – both lead to the head of Derwent Water. Turn left around the lakeside path, past several jetties.
Barmouth Hotel, Great Langdale Aberystwyth(NY295064); finish Birmingham Keswick Moot Hall, Main Hay-on-Wye ardigan Street (NY266234)
NY265087 Peterborough Take the path down just east of north. It zigzags Brecon Gloucester Terrain good paths, down to the left of Stake Oxford Pembroke rising to 480m at Beck, then runs down Stake Pass Swansea Langstrath to the right of Cardiff Bristol Maps Harvey Walker the river. Keep to the right (1:40,000) Cumbria Way; of the river for 4km, to pass Minehead OS Explorer (1:25,000) Stonethwaite. Don’t cross Southampton OL6 and OL4 (need both); into the village,Brighton but stay to Exeter Poole OS Landranger right of the river for another (1:50,000) 90 Bodmin 1km, to cross to the B5289 at Plymouth Public transport get the north edge of Rosthwaite.
to Langdale on bus 555 to Ambleside, then 516 to Langdale. No early service on Sunday mornings but Mon-Sat arrive Langdale 10am
NY258149 Cross into a lane a few steps to the left, and in 200m turn right into a stony track to the River Derwent. Cross stepping stones, or stay on the track 300m to cross a stone bridge. Follow path to the left of the river for 2km, then pass through Hollows campsite and take the lane ahead to Grange.
in association with
1 On the Cumbria Way above New Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale.
118 Trail january 2013
NY252228 Head north through the village, then turn right past Derwentwater Hotel to a footbridge over the River Derwent. Follow the lane ahead for 200m, then turn right on a footpath across fields into the edge of Keswick. At the main road, turn right, past the bus station mini-roundabout, to Main Street and the Moot Hall.
NY252174 Having sampled one of the two cafés, turn left on the road for 1km past Borrowdale Gates
NY252207 At Low Brandelhow jetty, after a gate the path forks at the start of a meadow. Left is quicker, along the edge of one meadow then up left across the next to join a tarmac lane near Hawes End outdoor centre. Turn right, to
To get this route and maps on your phone now, go to www.viewranger.com/trail Route code TRL0332
1400 1200 METRES 1000 ABOVE 800 SEA 600 LEVEL 400 200
Guidebook The Cumbria Way and Allerdale Ramble by Jim Watson, pb Cicerone
a track junction above Hawes End jetty. Bear right through a gate onto a wide woodland path. After 1km, briefly join the driveway at Lingholm before forking off right on a wide path. At once, a footpath bears left, to join a road at the south end of Portinscale.
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
MAPPING THE MOUNTAINS THE STORY OF BRITISH MAPMAKING
MAPPING THE MOUNTAINS
MAP NO. 1 Ordnance Survey’s origins – via the Tower of London and a map known as ‘Mudge’. The story starts here...
ROYAL MUSEUMS GREENWICH
n Entirely New & Accurate Survey Of The County Of Kent, With Part Of The County Of Essex, by the Surveying Draftsmen of His Majesty’s Honourable Board of Ordnance, 1801 was its typically verbose name when it first materialised at the turn of the 19th century. These days, it is simply known as ‘the Mudge Map’, after William Mudge, its chief surveyor. Mudge’s creation now hangs in the lobby of Ordnance Survey’s Head Office in Southampton, which befits its significance – it’s the very first Ordnance Survey map. It took ten years to complete, involved four copper printing negatives and saw the best part of a hundred years of piecemeal
The first OS logo: note the Tower of London.
‘MUDGE’S CREATION NOW HANGS IN ORDNANCE SURVEY’S HEAD OFFICE IN SOUTHAMPTON, WHICH BEFITS ITS SIGNIFICANCE: IT’S THE VERY FIRST ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP.’ 4 MAPPING THE MOUNTAINS JANUARY 2013
cartography finally drawn together into a system that would redefine mapping in Great Britain and eventually lead to the production of the world’s best maps – the very Ordnance Survey maps we buy today. The map was surveyed initially at a scale of 6 inches to 1 mile, later completed at 3 inches to 1 mile, then redrawn for production in the Drawing Room of the Tower of London at 1 inch to 1 mile. The reason Kent was chosen was not, as you might think, a start-from-the-bottom-
right-hand-corner-and-work-your-wayup approach. Back in 1791, at the map’s inception, Britain was still concerned about invasion – so an accurate chart of the most exposed coastline made a lot of sense. In fact, the Ordnance Survey came about through reasons far more complex than a fear of the French, and included – among other things – concerns about the Scots, feelings of cartographic inferiority to Europe, and the tactical uselessness of existing maps, which had no means of
effectively depicting relief. It was the most significant piece of cartography in British history. Turn the page to read the story of its inception and its development – a story which still continues to this day. T
TURN THE PAGE FOR A SHORT HISTORY OF BRITISH MAPPING…
january 2013 mapping the mountains 5
MAPPING THE MOUNTAINS
THE HILLTOP MAPMAKERS Sappers’ Bothy on Ben Macdui.
The unnamed ruin on Scafell Pike.
rdnance Survey often spent weeks on particular mountains making measurements, both in the initial survey and in the re-triangulation of Great Britain. In the case of the former, the surveyors were frequently soldiers, nicknamed ‘sappers’. To aid the early surveys, rudimentary stone bothies and camps were built to give a modicum of shelter from the harsh elements encountered. Few of these remain, but three of particular note do: Sappers’ Bothy on Ben Macdui, an unnamed ruin on Scafell Pike (both above), and a basic camp at Creach Bheinn on the Morven massif in the west Highlands.
load to the trig point. It was a terrible day, heavy rain and mists. Then we had to give up owing to being wet to the skin. I thought it would clear up but it kept on all day.
Tues 18th August
I went down 5ft 6 ins and found the OS box. I filled base to about 3 parts of the way up and left, owing to some nasty mists and rain setting in.
Wed 19th August TOM BAILEY
Weather today is terrible, raining all day. Nothing can be done. Fed up with it.
DIARY OF A TRIG During the re-triangulation of Great Britain in the 1930s, the creation of concrete trig pillars atop the trig points (then simply piles of stones) was a necessary evil. While in later years many materials were airlifted in by helicopter, for the most part the trig points were carried up and mixed on site. One that required a certain amount of Herculean effort was on Cadair Idris. Here, in an extract from the 1936 surveyor’s diary, is a snapshot of the gruelling (but impressive) hardship the men endured...
Thurs 13th August
I have now secured horses. Today we managed to get one load [of materials] to the trig point then had to give up owing to rain and heavy mists on top of Cader Idris. Before starting today we had to make a road up the side of a bog. Today we got a
A tribute to exhaustion on Cadair Idris’s trig pillar. Or just a hot day. Either way, respect...
horse stuck in a bog. The mists on Cader are terrible every day…
Fri 14th August
This afternoon we managed to get another load to the top of the mountain threequarters of the way to the trig point but had to leave them there owing to heavy mists and rain. We were wet to the skin and had to return to digs.
Sat 15th August
Weather today terrible. Nothing can be done. One cannot see the mountain.
Mon 17th August
This morning we managed to get another
14 MAPPING THE MOUNTAINS JANUARY 2013
Thurs 20th August
Left digs at 8pm for the trig point. I have now constructed base 5ft 8 ins deep, 3ft square. Returned to digs at 8pm, tired and ready for bed.
Fri 21st August
Today I inserted flush bracket, shutterings, centre pipe and beacon pipe, inserted spider and three brass loops. I am staying tonight on the top of Cader Idris in an old hut for the night.
Sat 22nd August
Filled sighting tubes and faced pillar, cleared site. This has been a tough job; thank God it is up. In 1983 this pillar fell over. Materials for a new pillar, which still stands, were deposited by helicopter and it was restored to full function in 1985.
A view of a prism reflector and attendant during the re-triangulation of Great Britain. This was used with the AGA geodimeter, which used pulsed light beams to measure the distance to a distant reflector. The pulse (or modulation) frequency was accurately controlled by a crystal in conjunction with a Kerr cell, the distance being deduced by measuring the distance by which returning pulses were out of phase with those emitted. See, it’s easy!
Ordnance Survey reaches Snowdon during the re-triangulation of Great Britain. On-theground survey seasons were known as ‘hill seasons’; this was the first day of 1951’s.
january 2013 mapping the mountains 15
Surveying on Sgurr na Ciche, above Glen Shiel, in 1951. The Tavistock theodolite is being used. Often these observations had to be made at night, watching for beacons atop distant hills. Surveyors would sometimes undertake exhaustive hill-climbing schedules during a season.