Town & Country mapping

The Lakes and the Eden valley

The map at the foot of the page outlines the 1:2500 resurvey and overhaul mapping I completed at while at Penrith. Again colleagues in the Penrith office would have similar and probably more extensive coverages.

Two weeks in Kendal

Penrith started in a similar way as Stockport - after an early 04.30 start on 7 April I had been in the Penrith office and was back down the A6 in Kendal by mid-morning. The work was the last quadrant of 1:1250 resurvey of Kendal town. This was also reputedly the last resurvey block to use "butt-joint" plates (the 250mm square aluminium plates - I had last encountered in Marple in 1969). Nevertheless I got to work in Kendal for a couple of weeks which was pleasant enough before returning to the rural life of 1:2500.

Lazonby: 2500 resurvey - by "Air Ground"

The Eden valley is a luxurious expanse or rivers and red sandy fertile fields, rivers and woodland sitting at the foot of the Pennine escarpment for 20-30km. It is also home to a significant gypsum mine - but this is well hidden. OS had already revised the area (by basic overhaul methods) over the previous decade. However when British Gypsum started mapping their mines they occasionally surfaced and were surprisesd to see that their position did not correspond very well with features on the OS map. OS acknowledged the limitations of the overhaul method and set about resurveying the area.

John Horton & aerial imagery
John Horton preparing the survey map for fieldwork using aerial photographic enlargements and stereo contact prints in the Penrith office. Photo Credit: John Woolridge.

Normally this would have been undertaken by photogrammetric instruments to achieve positional standard error of around a 1m. However a new technique was trialled known as "Air Ground Resurvey". The surveyor receives a gridded 1:2500 (km) map sheet with 2-3 pin pricks marked up and a set of rectified enlargements with corresponding marks. From this it is possible to build up a new topographic map based on intersecting rays extending from the photograph's [nadir point] - for each exposure along the flight lines(s). I only completed four sq km sheets near Lazonby before the start of the 1975 1:10,000 summer season but it proved quite successful and satisfying, give that the sheet was completely blank at the start

The Beagle
OS Official vehicle: the Beagle at Threlkeld below Blencathra - were John Horton was working c13 December 1976. Photo Credit John Horton.

At this stage, autumn 1975, the population of the office grew with several new surveyors who had recently left the survey school. This included John Horton (who did some work in Lancashire first), Ian Spilman and John Harrison. Interestingly all three were still with OS in June 2011. These guys took up more of the 1:2500 resurvey work. Paul Frankie and John Woolridge were by now fully immersed in their 1:10,000 training course [this was the first year of 1:10,000 mapping in the Lakes].

Lakes & Shap: 2500 Overhaul - by "Air Ground"

During the winter months we all reverted back to 1:2500 overhaul work - also assisted by rectified enlargements, Over several months I completed 12 sq km of 1:2500 mapping, including the villages of Glenridding and Patterdale in December and around Christmas time in 1975. As I had experienced in Betws y Coed in November the previous year - these places are very different when the last tourist has left and they revert again to charming, tranquil sleepy backwaters for a few months. Indeed the most stunning time of the year around Ullswater has to be November when its not only quiet but a blaze of autumnal colour.

Stybarrow Crag, Ullswater
Stybarrow Crag, Ullswater on 6 November 1975

Glenridding & Ullswater from below Place Fell in the eastern shore of the lake on 12 December 1975

Early 1976 took me gradually east to Shap and beyond. All of ths work was aimed at completing "1:2500 buffer plans" ie a buffer of 1:2500 maps had been left in all blocks that abutted 1:10,000 [or 1:1250] resurvey to ensure that the sheet edges were in sympathy. There was also testing times in the field and not just the bitter cold. I will not go into detail but the village of Keld west of Shap was covered in ice and snow and we all get desperate, discretely I located found a limestone wall junction on the road out of the village .... only to be given away by a massive plume of steam......

Eventually spring arrived, some work near Orton and the fascinating area of limestone and shake holes brought the end of the work and a return to 1:10,000 resurvey.

Updated KJM 09 September 2013