back to archiveDoes Tryfan measure up?

Does Tryfan measure up?

Ever since detailed maps of Snowdonia have been produced, the 3,002-foot Tryfan has been a member of the 14 peaks, the list of 3,000-foot Welsh mountains. But recently some experts have asked, “Does Tryfan really measure up?” 

The matter will be settled in June when three amateur mountain surveyors haul professional GPS equipment and computers to the summit. John Barnard, Graham Jackson and Snowdonia Society member Myrddyn Phillips have a serious track record in surveying mountains and their measurements are accepted by Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency. 

In 2008, Mynydd Graig Goch on the Nantlle Ridge was designated as a 2,000 foot mountain as a result of their work. Last summer they proved that one of the accepted 3,000 foot Scottish Munros was no such thing.  Now they have Tryfan in their sights.

Myrddyn says, “We are interested in whether or not it is indeed above the 3,000-foot 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, Ordnance Survey Geodetics Advisor, has been working closely with the expedition. He comments, “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.”

Ordnance Survey makes around 5000 changes a day to the digital mastermap of Britain used by businesses and the government. “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”, Mark adds.

Most mountain heights are calculated using aerial photography, which provides a height accurate to a few metres. The GPS equipment now being used to measure Tryfan is accurate to within just a few centimetres.

The project to resurvey Tryfan now has a YouTube channel. Clips about the project will be uploaded to the channel each week - starting with today's video, which you can see by clicking here.

Myrddyn Phillips, a member of the surveying team and the Snowdonia Society, interviewed our Director Alun Pugh as he was coming to the end of his tenure with the Society and posted the video on his personal YouTube channel here.

BBC coverage of the Tryfan project can be found here.

If you would like more information about the Welsh 3000s or to add your name to our database of those completing the challenge, go to our 14 peaks website.