My photo
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
I simply love Yorkshire and its magnificent scenery. Every season Yorkshire has something magical to offer. There's nothing better than getting my hiking boots on and disappearing into Yorkshire's superb countryside! I take my camera everywhere with me to ensure others can appreciate the many beautiful things that I see on my breathtaking walks. My photography has been featured on ITV Calendar, BBC Look North and has been published in The Yorkshire Ridings Magazine, The Yorkshire Dalesman, Country Walking Magazine and Countryfile magazine. Some of my images have been transformed into beautiful paintings by Yorkshire artists. At the end of 2013 I was selected to be the Face of Ordnance Survey. You can see me in the 'Explore More' campaign. Follow me on Twitter: @Yorkshireimages Email enquiries:

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Trig Happy!

Trig Happy!

Barwick-In-Elmet, Leeds

I’ve always been passionate about the countryside.  I remember feeling excited about buying my first pair of hiking boots as a teenager just so that I could get out there and enjoy the awesome scenery of the Lake District.
I’d been on several low level walks across the lakes and the dales as a youngster with my dad but I’d never really considered hill walking.  Well, at least not on the search for trig points!
I have spent so much time at trig points that I have begun to observe people around them.  It’s funny how most hikers feel the need to touch them. Presumably for the same reasons as myself, a sense of achievement perhaps?  It’s very rare that hikers just walk past them without the need to be photographed next to them or to climb on top of them!

Towton near Tadcaster

Trig points or triangulation pillars as they are correctly called date back to the 1930’s when the re-triangulation of Britain began.  It became apparent that the original survey that dated back to the late 1700’s was no longer sufficient and a more accurate measuring method needed to be used.  

I’m not entirely sure who trig points actually belong to. This seems to be a bit of a grey area! Some say they all belong to Ordnance Survey while others seem to think that they belong to the owner of the land on which they stand.

So there I am at 34 years old climbing up the moor-land track to Simon’s Seat (Wharfedale, North Yorkshire) and on the horizon I could see the trig point standing proud at 485 metres above sea level.
Upon reaching the summit I felt a great sense of achievement. I still vividly remember climbing up onto the rocky outcrop to stand by the trig.  I looked all around me to admire the spectacular views to the valley below.  It sounds a little crazy but I was overcome with emotion.  It was a combination of “Yesssss, I’ve done it!” and “Wow, how lucky are we to have such beautiful countryside!?” It was from this point on that I became addicted to the hills and the many trig points that I’d yet to discover. In fact nearly every hill climb that I took part in would involve visiting a trig point!

Baildon Moor

I have a unique collection of photographs of myself stood by trigs in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire.  I have visited over 40 at the moment but the list keeps getting longer as the weeks roll on!

Some trig points are much more popular than others.  The three peaks in Yorkshire (Penyghent, Whernside, Ingleborough) for example, are always busy at the summit with people taking part in charity hill climbs, students on team building exercises and the general public who are simply out for a breath of fresh air. 


 The first time I climbed the three peaks, each and every one of them was in the cloud. I had a job seeing beyond the length of my arm, let alone the superb views that were hidden below the dense stratus!  Which leads me on to talk about my visit to Scafell Pike

I stood below the massive peak at Wassdale Head and struggled to see the summit due to the grey fluffy stuff that hugged its highest point.  It was a little drizzly but nothing too much to worry about! I stopped to study the map on the uphill climb and without realising I had taken the wrong footpath and was about to be challenged by a vertical scree climb on my hands and knees! So there I was, in the stratus (again!) with poor visibility, no-one around and beginning to feel a little worried to say the least! I had to will myself on. After all, I’d come all this way and I wasn’t going to be defeated! After scrambling to the top of the scree I reached a footpath at Mickledore and eventually made it to the cladded trig point.  I looked a little worse for wear and yet again was unable to see beyond the length of my arm! BUT… I did it and I managed to get another photo to prove it!

Scafell Pike

Anyone that has ever climbed Scafell Pike will know that there are no obvious footpaths from the summit due to its carpet of huge rocks, so needless to say I took the wrong route again and ended up looking down the vertical scree that I had climbed up only an hour before!  I can’t begin to tell you how daunted I was at the prospect of shooting down scree on my backside!  However, I made it back to Wassdale Head safe and sound and felt satisfied to know that I had climbed the highest peak in England.

The lowest trig I have visited stands at a mere 20 metres above sea level on the Duddon estuary, South Lakes, Cumbria.

Hodbarrow, Duddon Estuary

The trig which I have found the most difficult to get to is at Norwood Edge, North Yorkshire.  This one was erected on an outcrop of gritstone rocks and required a ‘foot-to-bum’ shuffle in order to work my way up the rocks to reach the concrete pillar.

Norwood Edge

Norwood Edge upon a cluster of gritstone

Some trig points are very well maintained like the ones at Beamsley Beacon near Ilkley, Yorkshire and Mam Tor in Derbyshire.  While others like this one located at Halton Moor on the outskirts of Leeds have quite frankly seen better days!

Halton Moor, Leeds

My favourite trig point has to be Pendle Hill, Lancashire.  It is well presented and the views over Lancashire and Yorkshire are absolutely out of this world!

Pendle Hill

So, although these wonderful concrete pillars are no longer used for landscape mapping purposes, they are most definitely used by hikers up and down the country as a navigational tool. 

I feel very strongly about maintaining our cultural heritage and I believe that trig points certainly make up part of it.  :0)

Capplestone Gate, Wharfedale


  1. Brilliant Nicky I love your photo's your vitality and commitment to fund raising...

    Regards Merice

  2. Brilliant Nicky, this is what I was saying about your last blog, there wasnot enough of the writing in it, you excelled yourself on this blog, I didn't know what a Trig was until now, so I learnt something new again today, lol, 60 odd years old and still learning, but really enjoyed this one Nicky, keep it up

  3. Trig points belong to the government and maintained by the ordnance survey. It is illegal for the land owner to block access to trig points. They are covered by a survey act that is years old now.

  4. Thanks for the info Steve. V interesting!