Cumbrian mountains & limestone paving

Lake District 10,000 resurvey

The map at the bottom of the page shows the extent of the 1:10,000 survey [KJM] completed over the 1975-76 seasons. John Woolridge and Paul Frankie at Penrith would have had similar coverages.

The Penrith office 1:10,000 area not ony included the central-eastern and north-eastern mountains but the area of Shap. It also extended east of Crosby Ravensworth/Tebay where limestone paving and shake holes offering a foretaste of the nearing Yorkshire Dales

The map sheets were prepared in 5x5km units - which were quadrants of 1:25,000 sheetlines. The new 1:10,000 maps, when redrawn and published would be photo-reduced to 1:25,000 publication scale with little additional work. The smallest 1:10,000 working unit was a square kilometre - hence a 1:10,000 survey sheet may have a minimum of one sq km and a full sheet: 25 sq km,

1975 season

%Labour in Glenridding%
Glenridding: the [unofficial] labour for some microptic alidade work did not want to be recognised, on the road to Glenridding Lead Mine 07 August 1975

Despite heavy snow on the 02 June 1975 the weather turned around quickly and a fine summer started within two weeks. My own 1:10,000 started on 8 May with sheets NY60NE & NY60NW which covered the southern section of Great Asby Scar across to Sunbiggin Tarn and the western edge of Crosby Garrett Fell. There are great expanses of cliffs and limestone paving here. I discovered a young lamb stuck in a grike (the eroded gaps between limestone blocks: "clints") one morning. I'm not sure how it fared, even though I alterted the local farm, as it seemed quite weak.

From here the work moved onto the Shap Fells west of the A6 and Tebay. This is an extensive area of fells but quite featureless and rarely visited compared with the rest of Lakeland - apart from deer and air force jets.

The 1975 helicopter season intervened. For two weeks we were based in Borrowdale and took flights to hill/mountaintops to cover as much ground as possible or to conduct surveys. Old metal fence posts were common in the Lakes but had been impossible for the photogrammetrist to see on the photos. The work areas included Bleaberry Fell; High Raise (assisting Paul Frankie) and the northern area above Langdale before cloud and rain curtailed the flights.

After that excitement work resumed around Wet Sleddale. In early July I took up NY31NE: the western end of Ullswater, Glencoyne, Glenridding and Patterdale Commons.

John W.Parker had investigated all the Lakeland fell names prior to the work and had prepared a diagram of the suggested names and extents. Any change of name/spelling still required authorisation but this was often forthcoming if the landowner agreed. Wainwright had complained that OS had missed the name "Keldas" for a small hill near Glenridding for years - so this was rectified.

In the eastern Lakes the National Trust, Lowther or Greystoke Estates were the major landowners. Access to their land had also been agreed prior to commencement.

The 1975 season ended in October with sheet NY32SE: Matterdale Common, Flaska (the area used for training in April) and Great Mell Fell.

1976 season

Sleddale & reservoir 02 March 1976

01 March and another 1:10,000 season - following much of the pattern as the previous years. The area of Wet Sleddale, Ralfland Forest, Swindale south of Haweswater made up sheet NY51SW.
Then came a part sheet covering Barton Fell and Moor Divock [NY42SE] and the northern section of "High Street" the Roman road which continues all the way to the namesake mountain.

A return to Flaska Souther Fell, Mungrisedale on sheet NY32NE and included a Group Training Day introducing the proposals to balance existing "Continuous Revision [CR]" with "Periodic Revision [PR]" for rural update.

Shap to Cross Fell
Shap Hardendale Quarry near the M6 and in the distance Cross Fell on the Pennines, taken from Wet Sleddale dam - on the same clear day [02 March 1976].

The highlight of the glorious summer was undoubtedly the sheet that included: Thirlmere, Thirlspot and Thirlmere Forest, Castle Rock, Greenside, Watsons Dod, Raise, Catstye Cam, Swirral Edge, Striding Edge and Helvellyn [sheet NY31NW]. This and the Carneddau and Tryfan sheets in North Wales was perhaps one of the most rewarding pieces of survey work I was fortunate to have undertaken. The 1976 helicopter season was accommodated as well as several ad hoc tasks.

The 1976 helicopter season proved eventful - on the first day I was working with an an assistant (Tom Watt) on the ridge leading to Pilla; by mid afternoon the cloud and rain came in and we had to walk out - down into Ennerdale, the up and over into the Buttermere valley. At the end of the first week the helicopter developed a fault and had to make an emergency landing in Ennerdale. The following week was spectacular - hot sunny weather, I landed on the top of Pillar at 9am to greet two walkers who had set off from Wasdale at 6am. The same afternoon the pilot flew over Great Gable and the increased height - giving an amazing view of Gable and Wasdale. The last day included a trip far west to Lank Rigg, almost as far as Egremont - with a fine view of Sellafield on the coast. I don't know how the economics worked out in the Lakes using the helicopter - but it was a truly unique experience for all of us involved.

Bench Mark Inspection

Most of August and September was spent on "Bench Mark Inspection". The Ordnance Survey bench mark is a physical mark which has been assigned a height value [based on the Newlyn Datum]. It had been decided that we needed an up to date picture of the density of existing bench marks. Given an overlay at 1:25,000 scale, the benchmark lists [these had been computerised by this stage] I covered much of the western Eden Valley from Lazonby down to Askham and Shap then onto Ravonstonedale and as far as Mallerstang where the Settle Carlisle railway starts to get serious.

Locating benchmarks in rural areas is an art. The mark might be the common horizontal line with arrow below cut on a vertical surface, but also includes rivets (eg on culverts) and pivots (where a standard size ball was used to rest the staff). Brass flush backets were less common though easier to locate. With constant stop/start of the work - the mile per gallon of your vehicle bacame ridiculously low.

Survey rates

My own 1:10,000 area covered altogether 85 sqkm and was fully completed in 505.7 hours, giving a survey rate of 5.97 hr/km. This is significantly slower than in North Wales [where it was 4.4 hr/sqkm (KJM rate)].

This is explained primarily by

  • the number of features in the eastern lakes per km are high compared to the western lakes and Snowdonia and
  • the decision in 1974 to downgrade marginal 1:2500 maps to 1:10,000 - with the intention that this would ensure the 1980 programme completed on time. Unfortunately the marginal maps were also dense in features, more often under trees and therefore demanded additional work at 1:10,000 scale compared with 1:2500 overhaul.

Updated KJM 10 September 2013