/ Concrete block or iconic symbol of British summits?

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fmck - on 31 Dec 2012
Trig pillers no longer are of use to the os anymore. These do appear to be rather bland blocks of concrete. But they do now have a sort of following from some folks even bagging them!
If it was announced tomorrow folks would be protesting etc but given time the os boys can just abandon them and everyone thinks there now part of the landscape. I always found this one of the oddest things to be acceptable, bizarre to say the least.
What u think?
bouldery bits - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:

No worse than paths or drystone walls.
I quite like them.
Pete Ford on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:

I've always found them quite satisfying, something to aim for and touch at the end of a climb. If they decay and become part of the scree then so be it, but I for one will be quite sad.

Pete
a lakeland climber on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:

Not all trig points are on pillars, they were only used where there wasn't a permanent object to fix the actual plate to. We've one nearby that's pinned to the bedrock.

I think they are part of our heritage - the survey of the 1920s that produced the basis of today's maps was surprisingly accurate, about a 2 metre error in 10Km at the north of Scotland having started on the south coast of England. As such they deserve to be kept in better shape.

True, they wouldn't get the go-ahead today but you can't apply today's sensitivities to events so far in the past. Completely disingenuous to try.

ALC
DreadyCraig - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:
I love trigs, it's always satisfying to reach one at the summit of a hill. I've had a bit of a competition going with one of my mates to bag the most, this usually involves scouring new OS maps to see where any trigs are located, what's nice about this is that they take you to interesting places one wouldn't normally venture.
Let me ask this question: when you reach the summit of a hill where there is a trig present, what do you do? In my experience people instinctively head to the trig point.
DreadyCraig - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:
This website is also quite good fun
http://www.trigpointinguk.com/
Kevin Woods - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck: Not to mention really handy in a whiteout when you can't even trust cairns!

People have probably always protested change in the present, yet accepted the past whether it had brought good or bad.
fmck - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to bouldery bits: I see your point regarding it being man made but it doesn't really compare to them being made from concrete would it? It's the very idea that something that is so alien to this environment as a concrete block can end up with people attitudes to it changing so much. I just find quite interesting really.
bouldery bits - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:

Ok, bad example. No one complains about metal gates.
highclimber - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck: They aren't the prettiest of objects but I would be sad to see them go if ever they did!
stewieatb on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:

Most of the ones I've seen (largely in the Lakes) are stonemasonry mortared together, rather than cast concrete. Gives a bit more character and locality.
gethin_allen on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to fmck:
If in a large enough group we usually try and see how many people we can get on top of the trig points. They need to be kept just for this reason alone.
Clarence - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

I like trig points, in my mind they are always surrounded by ramblers with red socks, baggy shorts and enormous rucksacks full of jam butties and ginger beer.
fmck - on 31 Dec 2012
In reply to bouldery bits: don't know about that the infamous alltchoerunn bridge gates on the the river Etive spring to mind. The Scottish access laws had these removed as its first enforcement. Those metal gates were a tad controversial. A bit off the topic albeit.
fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to stewieatb: I would agree although Scotland appears to have the big ugly concrete block type mostly. I think people's perception of these are all very positive but you have to admit at the end of the day it's just a block of concrete with little purpose these days parked in the most inappropriate place!
Russell Lovett - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: don,t mind them being there its just a pity they made them for the most part of concrete, would rather the were made of what ever natural rock was in the local area so as to blend in more with the enviroment. Out of curiosity does anyone know wete they cast, on site then erected to save transporting them or cast somewere else then take up. Think the plinths must have been cast on site so makes sense to cast the trig there to. Either way must have taken some effort to get all that concrete up to some of those places.
Seocan - on 01 Jan 2013
They may not be the most aesthetically pleasing but if you have any interest in geodesy (and if you read a map you probably have shown some interest at some time) the historical context is facinating. There are lots of objects out there that are anachronistic but that doesn't mean we should just get rid of them. Ever been to a musuem?
AndyC - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:

I think that back in the days of maps and compasses and no gadgetry, it was damn good to see a trig point emerge out of the moorland mist and rain exactly where you expected it to be. Confirmation of your location in an otherwise featureless landscape. I think they should stay.
Sceptical Bastard on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
> What u think?

I really like trig columns, especially the stone-built ones.

As others have said, they are useful aids to navigation (especially as confirmation of location when the clag's down) and also objects to aim for in their own right.

They are redundant now, of course, and it is hard to justify the cost of active maintenance; on the other hand, the columns certainly shouldn't be removed IMO.

fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to Sceptical Bastard: I think there is a possibly a connection with people liking them due to poor or little confidence in their navigation skills. I don't think the history element has any real ground as most folks wouldn't really know that much about the OS history.
There is no real argument about masonry versus concrete block. We all know what folks would prefer its the very idea that outdoor folks would learn to love concrete blocks on the summits of the hills.
TOS on 01 Jan 2013 - ppp-58-11-98-170.revip2.asianet.co.th [ppp-58-11-98-170.revip2.asianet.co.th]
In reply to fmck:
> Trig pillers no longer are of use to the os anymore.

I've set up a DGPS base station on one before, whist doing photogrammetry control for an OS contract. I'm pretty sure other surveyors have used the benchmark info they have asigned to them too(?).
fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to Gaupa: yes I have used the one on Common hill, Lanarkshire for a similar station while using GPS in the construction of a wind farm. It was for convenience more than necessity albeit. We averaged two 400m3 bases a week these were proper concrete blocks : )
it just interests me folks reasons how they have become so attached to these concrete blocks. The overwhelming opinion is a block of concrete can be acceptable even if its above ground and parked on the summit. Bizarre really!
thegoatstroker - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: It is bizarre if you take it out of context. Although I am sure most people don't tolerate/like them because they appreciate the amazing work that they were put up for, I think most hillgoers have an appreciation that they produced something wonderfull i.e. ordnance survey maps!
I am sure I am not alone in absolutely loving ordnance survey maps. I have not seen foreign maps that are half as good, (although I quite like Swiss ones aesthetically.
What I am getting at is that most hillgoers don't like random concrete blocks but they do appreciate the O.S. and trig points are (along with maps) all most of us see of it. Many people probably don't realise they are defunct but i reckon most that do quite like them for the reasons above and because they have always (in our lifetimes) been there, not just in the mountains but everywhere.

I think my favourite would be Burrow Hill in Somerset which has a personal significance for me as it is where I grew up and was possibly the first i ever saw and one of my late fathers favourite places. The best cider in the world is pressed there too :)

I might start a new thread on favourite trig points!

AndyC - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
> (In reply to Sceptical Bastard) I think there is a possibly a connection with people liking them due to poor or little confidence in their navigation skills.

Guess you've never tried navigating your way around Dartmoor when the cloud's down and you can't see 50m?

fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:
Good maps certanly, but do the Americans or Russians have these? These guys manage ok and manage enough to navigate to the moon never mind Burrow hill : )
I think it's a poor argument and a tad "We're British"
To say there just a block of concrete is taking it out of context. Yes it is looking at it as just a block of concrete. Whatever its history that's what it is in the end and doesn't belong to that environment but is acceptable.
rasilon - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: They don't have exactly the same thing, but they have functionally identical things. IIRC the Americans drill their trig-point-equivalents into the ground, but the small brass bolt buried in a pipe does the same job as the brass bolt buried in the middle of the trig points.
thegoatstroker - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: Hmm... my praise of the O.S. maps wasn't intended as an argument. I don't need to argue for trigpoints - they are not under threat of being removed anytime soon.

Rather I was just suggesting that the quality of and affection people have for O.S maps is possibly one reason why people like trigpoints, and thus why they are not apalled by their prescence.

If your argument that we should be is based on them not belonging in the mountain environment, well I think you'll have to do a bit better than that. There are currently bigger things threatening the mountain environment in this country to worry about such as massive nuclear waste dumps!

Context is everything. The mountains don't care, people do. All these issues are entirely about what we think and feel about the landscape. And the context of these lumps of concrete is such that people rather like them.

There is no way of defining what is acceptable without referring to what is accepted.

Perhaps in a paralell universe we would all be up in arms about trigpoints, and nuclear waste dumps would be all good. :)
Orgsm on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:

It is not an or but an and, concrete and iconic, although some are made of stone....
fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In
Waste from the now redundant magnox plants is something you obviously have little knowledge of. If you did you would realise just how important that we need safe storage as fast as possible.
Wind scale did a fanned air cool of it reactor while on fire during the Uks biggest nuclear incident( google it to find out more) you have particles all over the Lake District for the next 100 odd years. A wee bit off topic again.
fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to rasilon: That's the point is it not? We don't need them.
fmck - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
Sorry forgot to add. It will be 400m below ground so no impact on the mountains.
thegoatstroker - on 01 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but there will be a significant impact on the mountains if the council commits to the next stage of the process. The fells around Ennerdale - will likely be blighted by tracks on the fells, drilling installations, new roads in a largely motor free valley. And all this would be just to investigate the feasibility of the area.

I do not claim to know a lot about the nuclear industry but I do know what a National Park is and in particular what the Lake District as a National Park means to people. I realise we need to work out a long term solution but I don't beleive it needs to damage the nations most treasured landscape.

The National Park status should mean that everywhere else should be considered first, or what is the point of having National Parks?

The only reason I could consider such a development to be justifiable would be if it was shown that there were nowhere else as suitable in terms of safety or suitability of the geology.

Rather it seems that West Cumbria is a politically expedient option because people need the nuclear industry for jobs.

If you are concerned about a bit of concrete that doen't belong on the mountain, you had better have a look into this.
muppetfilter - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: Why do they not complain about the Roman fortress at Hardknotts pass with its concrete mortar ?
fmck - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

The fact that the reprocessing plant where waste from plants all over Britain has been reprocessed or stored since before even decommissioning started might be the reason. The fact is so much has already been put in place there that turning around and going elsewhere would be unthinkable.
No one likes the idea but these are facts and not maybe ifs.
Seocan - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: Trig pillers no longer are of use to the os anymore

and Gaupa: I've set up a DGPS base station on one before... I'm pretty sure other surveyors have used the benchmark info they have asigned to them too(?)


Trig pillars are used by the OS, just not many of them. As long as you know which ones are maintained and which ones aren't then its fine to set up on them. Unless of course your position isn't really that important then I don't suppose it matters.
fmck - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Seocan:

As I replied previously I used one one Common hill, Lanarkshire for this very purpose during the construction of the wind farm roads and bases. It was just because it was already there that I used it because I could of set up my own stations as I did in areas the base station at the trig didn't get a signal.
I could easily of transferred a station up the hill had there not been one previously.
wilkie14c - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
Trig pillars are part of our mapping heritage as producers of the best maps in the world. OK so things have changed and moved on and this now leaves us with a problem, cost to maintain the trigs even though they have no use VS cost of removal VS simply just leave them where they stand. I'd go for leaving them in place. Can't ever remember finding a pillar offensive, only ever found them welcome. One thing we do need to plan for though is that if the pillars are not going to be maintained then they need marking on maps that the pillar shouldn't be relied upon to actually be there, like some bothys and cains, folks could pin all their hopes on finding the pillar only to find it isn't there and they wouldn't know that, just wander around looking for it. Cains/bothys removed in places for this very reason. Still, it'd take longer than our lifetimes for the pillars to erode away!
My fave pillar? Kinder.
fmck - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:

Suppose so. It's missing or dangerous bridges that have caused me grief in the past.
fmck - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to AndyC: No never been to Dartmoor. But it can't be much worse than navigating on a plateau at night, while snowing. Getting to this stage it gets easier switching your head torch off. These days of course if you need a trig point to navigate you just push the button and hey presto! You got a GR.
Jim Fraser - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to blanchie14c:
> (In reply to fmck)
>
> Trig pillars are part of our mapping heritage as producers of the best maps in the world. ...

Gets my vote.


(And if a solar storm wipes out every artificial satellite then we can still maintain our standards.)
deepsoup - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Jim Fraser:
> (And if a solar storm wipes out every artificial satellite then we can still maintain our standards.)

Or an um... whatd'yamacallit.. ablation cascade.

<goes away and googles>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kessler_syndrome
Scary stuff.
Bingers - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:

I would reckon they are part of our national mountain heritage and should be designated as protected in some way. If they are no longer to be maintained, then a lottery bid by some suitable organisation - BMC, The Ramblers would be a good idea to restore/maintain them.
fmck - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to Bingers:
Reply or expand why u think that way ? should they be listed as archtectural significance in some way?
thegoatstroker - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: maybe the bagging community should have an 'adopt a trigpoint' scheme ;)
wilkie14c - on 02 Jan 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker: that isnt a bad idea actually, perhaps they could take some photos of the view during summer and a local artist could paint the view on the pillar so we'd know what the view was like when the clag comes down ;-)
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to thegoatstroker:

There was such a scheme years ago, when the OS first declared many of the 6000+ pillars no longer part of the network. Dunno what became of it.
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to Seocan:
> (In reply to fmck) Trig pillers no longer are of use to the os anymore
>
> and Gaupa: I've set up a DGPS base station on one before... I'm pretty sure other surveyors have used the benchmark info they have asigned to them too(?)
>
>
> Trig pillars are used by the OS, just not many of them.

The 900 pillars making up the 'passive network', are actually intended for 3rd party users mainly. They are a means by which European Terrestrial Reference System coordinates (ETRS89) are realised in the UK, although you can get back to OSGB36 using the OSTN02 transformation if you're mad.

timjones - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
> (In reply to Seocan)
>
> As I replied previously I used one one Common hill, Lanarkshire for this very purpose during the construction of the wind farm roads and bases. It was just because it was already there that I used it because I could of set up my own stations as I did in areas the base station at the trig didn't get a signal.
> I could easily of transferred a station up the hill had there not been one previously.

So you build wind farms but you're hitching about tiny trig points?
fmck - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to timjones:
Nope if you read the post as intended its asking if anyone else thinks it bizarre that a block of concrete in such an inappropriate place should have outdoor folks luv them.

Folks just went off in their own directions but mine was never to have them removed. I don't really care they can still be used but are not necessary I believe.

As far as the politics of wind farms go its not the topic of discussion and the one I did has to have the land restored (includes removal of bases) on decomissioning. Unlike the trigs eh : )
fmck - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to jonny2vests:

You bag trig points don't you.
lone - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: Most of us will have grown up seeing trig points in the mountains since they've been there since the 30's/40's, I personally feel they are part of the landscape and although they had a function in terms of a part to play in the mountains, which is now redundant, we still look at them fondly as an object to reach to or a reference point in poor weather.

It's like anything that's strange, that stands out or seems out of place, you want to keep it because it's different. Trig points were supposed to last for up to 1000 years, if left to do so, I say keep them like the follies on the hill's and WW2 Pill boxes you come across, tank traps etc.

Jason
Irk the Purist - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:

There are very few truly wild places in the UK (none I'd argue) and human influence has had an impact on all of our mountains. When I stand on top of scafell pike, beyond the millions of human visitors and litter I see a landscape grazed for hundreds of years that would be unrecognisable to the Romans. When I stand on Elidir Fawr I am on a power station and when I stand on top of Coniston old man I can see copper mines. When you walk around the Peak District you see dry stone walls that are as much a part of what makes it special as the peat hags and ring ouzels.

Trig points, like dry stone walls and sheep folds, are part of the human influence that combines so well with the natural beauty of our wild places to make them, I think, unique in the world.

Keep them
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
> (In reply to jonny2vests)
>
> You bag trig points don't you.

Lol, no. But I've been involved with Geodesy my whole working life.
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to lone:

1000 years? Did you read that somewhere?
fmck - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to jonny2vests: I took that as a typo.

A general opinion is they can be used as navigation aids that seems a bit pointless as most folks have gps these days. Maybe we should paint them flurecent pink and have a solar powered beeper on top also to aid location.
Sgurr eugallt(Corbett) above the road into Kinloch Hourn had me returning during my round of Corbetts due to mistakenly thinking the trig was the summit. It was a long drive to return for the true summit and apparently a mistake that's happened often!
Jonny2vests - on 03 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:

You bag summits don't you.
fmck - on 04 Jan 2013
In reply to jonny2vests:
Aha, yep your right there shamefully. Finished the Munros, Corbetts, Graham's & Donald's all on the same day. Now into 4 figures of Marilyn's : hence the battle to blow up trig pillers quick : )
Rock Badger on 07 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck: trig points look SHIT,,, get to the top of a munroe and thier is a big dirty block of concrete,, i prefer natural cairns that would be in their place at the top,,, was up ben vorlich (loch earn) where their is one of these concrete shit blocks, i didnt want to sit at it for lunch or have my photo taken with it in. i go up hills to get away from concrete, i say lets start destroying them and slowly build cairns on thier foundations
Wainers44 - on 08 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:
> (In reply to jonny2vests) ...as most folks have gps these days....


Is that right, most people have gps now?? Thats not what I see when out on the hills (maybe people hide them??).
fmck - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Wainers44:
Yeh.
If you need a trig to navigate its highly likely gps will be a life saver some time in the future.
Don't most people keep them in pockets or rucksack?
TheDrunkenBakers - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to fmck:

I like em. Whilst not as elegant, they are part of our heritage and demonstrates something that we were/are particularly good at.
Ramblin dave - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Eric the Red:
> (In reply to fmck)
>
> There are very few truly wild places in the UK (none I'd argue) and human influence has had an impact on all of our mountains. When I stand on top of scafell pike, beyond the millions of human visitors and litter I see a landscape grazed for hundreds of years that would be unrecognisable to the Romans. When I stand on Elidir Fawr I am on a power station and when I stand on top of Coniston old man I can see copper mines. When you walk around the Peak District you see dry stone walls that are as much a part of what makes it special as the peat hags and ring ouzels.
>
> Trig points, like dry stone walls and sheep folds, are part of the human influence that combines so well with the natural beauty of our wild places to make them, I think, unique in the world.
>
> Keep them

Well put.
fmck - on 09 Jan 2013
In reply to Ramblin
I still love this! What you are saying is a block of concrete is just a picture on a mountain top as a natural stone wall, etc..
Now there's a sensible thought. It's man made so its just a development of time. Like the hillside will develope and come and go with this influence such as wind farms etc.
mhart - on 10 Jan 2013
I quite like them and think they should be kept...however I would like only the ones that are in good nick to be maintained as such (dunno by whom though), those that are damaged should be removed completely rather than left to fall apart and I agree with the Count above, the one on top of Ben Vorlich (Loch Earn) is a bit of an eyesore.

I prefer the round pillars such as the ones on Beinn Fhionnlaidh (Glen Etive) and Sgurr nan Coirereachan (Glenfinnan), I think they are quite elegant and add something to the scene.

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