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
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!
Towton near Tadcaster
Trig points or triangulation pillars as they are correctly called date back to the 1930’s when the re-triangulation of
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. Britain
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!
I have a unique collection of photographs of myself stood by trigs in Yorkshire,
and Derbyshire. I have visited over 40 at the moment but the list keeps getting longer as the weeks roll on! Lincolnshire
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
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!
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 upon a cluster of gritstone
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!
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