Tryfan: will it still be a 3,000-footer in June?

Tryfan: will it still be a 3,000-footer in June?

One of the shapeliest of north Wales’s 3,000ft mountains could soon lose its status.

Tryfan, the perfectly mountain-shaped peak in the Ogwen Valley is to be resurveyed in June to determine whether it really does measure up to the elite league of peaks that top the 914.4m mark. The measuring will be done by the trio of amateur surveyors who last year managed to get a Scottish munro moved from the lists.

John Barnard, Graham Jackson and Myrddyn Phillips will take their high-precision Global Positioning System equipment to the rocky peak of Tryfan for a definitive measurement of the its height. The mountain will provide a challenge to the trio of hill sleuths, with its twin 3m-high blocks Adam and Eve.

The project has the blessing of the Snowdonia Society and its former director Alun Pugh. Myrddyn Phillips is himself a member of the society.

The spot height of Tryfan is given on OS maps as 915m – 3,002ft in imperial measurements. But OS says aerial surveys of this type have an accuracy of only plus or minus 3m, which puts Tryfan in the danger zone for losing its elite status.


There is conjecture anyway on what constitutes a 3,000-footer in Wales, with figures currently varying between 14 and 16 for peaks that measure up.

Mr Phillips said: “We are interested in whether or not it is indeed above the 3,000ft mark. It would certainly make the challenge of visiting every Welsh 3,000 foot summit in a single journey easier if it wasn’t.”

Mark Greaves, OS geodetics adviser, said: “The professionalism shown by Myrddyn and the team means we have no hesitation in supporting their work. Once their survey is complete we will verify the accuracy of their data and providing it meets our standards, which I’m sure it will, the revision will be made to the relevant maps and mapping data.”

The survey will entail collecting GPS data for two hours in the summit.

OS makes about 5,000 changes a day to the digital MasterMap of Britain, but Mr Greaves explained: “Most of those changes take place in urban areas which is where Ordnance Survey has to concentrate our resources. But if enthusiasts like Myrddyn, John and Graham have access to the same specialist equipment and want to carry out their own mountain surveys, we’re very happy to talk to them.”

The trio have launched a YouTube channel through which they plan to issue regular updates.

In September last year, the amateur surveyors reclassified a former munro, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, when it was measured at 913m. It too, had appeared on OS maps with a height of 915m.

A reclassification for Tryfan would mean serious rethinking for those tackling the Welsh 3,000ft challenge, which currently includes Snowdon, Garnedd Ugain, Crib Goch, Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, possibly Castell y Gwynt, Glyder Fach, Tryfan, Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Yr Elen, Foel Grach, possibly Garnedd Ugain/Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel-fras.

One of the shapeliest of north Wales’s 3,000ft mountains could soon lose its status.

Tryfan, the perfectly mountain-shaped peak in the Ogwen Valley is to be resurveyed in June to determine whether it really does measure up to the elite league of peaks that top the 914.4m mark. The measuring will be done by the trio of amateur surveyors who last year managed to get a Scottish munro moved from the lists.

John Barnard, Graham Jackson and Myrddyn Phillips will take their high-precision Global Positioning System equipment to the rocky peak of Tryfan for a definitive measurement of the peak. The mountain will provide a challenge to the trio of hill sleuths, with its twin 3m-high blocks Adam and Eve.

The project has the blessing of the Snowdonia Society and its former director Alun Pugh. Myrddyn Phillips is himself a member of the society.

The spot height of Tryfan is given on OS maps as 915m – 3,002ft in imperial measurements. But OS says aerial surveys of this type have an accuracy of only plus or minus 3m, which puts Tryfan in the danger zone for losing its elite status.

There is conjecture anyway on what constitutes a 3,000-footer in Wales, with figures currently varying between 14 and 16 for peaks that measure up.

Mr Phillips said: “We are interested in whether or not it is indeed above the 3,000ft mark. It would certainly make the challenge of visiting every Welsh 3,000 foot summit in a single journey easier if it wasn’t.”

Mark Greaves, OS geodetics adviser, said: “The professionalism shown by Myrddyn and the team means we have no hesitation in supporting their work. Once their survey is complete we will verify the accuracy of their data and providing it meets our standards, which I’m sure it will, the revision will be made to the relevant maps and mapping data.”

The survey will entail collecting GPS data for two hours in the summit.

OS makes about 5,000 changes a day to the digital MasterMap of Britain, but Mr Greaves explained: “Most of those changes take place in urban areas which is where Ordnance Survey has to concentrate our resources. But if enthusiasts like Myrddyn, John and Graham have access to the same specialist equipment and want to carry out their own mountain surveys, we’re very happy to talk to them.”

The trio have launched a YouTube channel through which they plan to issue regular updates.

In September last year, the amateur surveyors reclassified a former munro, Sgurr nan Ceannaichean, when it was measured at 913m. It too, had appeared on OS maps with a height of 915m.

A reclassification for Tryfan would mean serious rethinking for those tackling the Welsh 3,000ft challenge, which currently includes Snowdon, Garnedd Ugain, Crib Goch, Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, possibly Castell y Gwynt, Glyder Fach, Tryfan, Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Yr Elen, Foel Grach, possibly Garnedd Ugain/Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel-fras.

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