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Mountain mapper Myrddyn ‘discovers’ new Marilyn among Welsh mountains

31 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Llyn Hywel and Rhinog Fach. Picture by Blisco (CC BY-SA 3.0).

A mountain mapper has discovered a new Marilyn among Wales’ mountains, taking the total to 159 in Wales.

Marilyns – the name a pun on the Scottish Munroe – are defined as peaks with a prominence of 150 metres (492 ft) or more.

On Friday Rhinog Fach was added to the list of Marilyns, following a re-survey of its relative prominence by Myrddyn Phillips, who announced the discovery on his blog Mapping Mountains.

It’s the first new Marilyn in Wales since Mynydd Anelog in 2013, and the first in Britain since Beinn Dearg in 2018.

Rhinog Fach is in the northern Rhinogydd, between Abermaw to its south and Trawsfynydd to its north.

As Marilyn status depends on a minimum 150m of drop, and as drop is dependent upon the summit and connecting col height, both summit and col needed to be surveyed in order to be able to confidently declare a find.

“I approached the hill from the east via forestry and Bwlch Drws Ardudwy, with a steep ascent following to its summit, which was easy to identify,” Myrddyn Phillips wrote.

“I imagined I’d have to take a number of data sets from various points, but the high point consists of a small protruding rock about 2 metres from the base of the cairn.  I had a good rummage in the top of the cairn, but couldn’t find anything natural and higher.

“The end of the Trimble was placed on a rock taken from the cairn to give it horizontal alignment.”

With the hot weather over the last few days, he admitted that this was hard work.

“This can get a little complicated on occasion, and when conditions are extremely warm and a multitude of surveys are being taken it even baffles me sometimes!” he said.

‘Small chance’

Alan Dawson, who coined the name Marilyn in 1992, has confirmed the find, and says that there may still be a few Marilyns out there that haven’t been found.

“Rhinog Fach has been in need of a survey for many years and it is great news that Myrddyn has done it and made this discovery,” he told UK Hill Walking.

“The only other realistic possibility for a new Marilyn is Faan Hill on Shetland Mainland, a mere 173m high. That will not be an easy one to survey.

“Meall an t-Suidhe next to Ben Nevis is estimated to have 147m drop and so it also has a small chance of reaching 150m. There is also the possibility of summits being relocated, as happened recently when Lidar data showed that White Hill near Dumfries was higher than nearby Hightown Hill, though OS maps show it to be a metre lower.”

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