Snowdonia News:  Will the famous 14 become just 14 again - well no as it happens!


Tryfan showing the Heather Terrace  in winter   Tryfan - from Ogwen Cottage

First there were just 14, then they became 15, some even said 16, but in June 2010 we thought there could be just 14 again.  We are of course referring to the iconic "14 Peaks" of Snowdonia.

For much of my life if you told a fellow hill walker that you have done the “14 Peaks” over the weekend they would immediately know you were referring to the iconic 14 peaks in Wales over the magic 3,000 foot contour which are so conveniently grouped in north Snowdonia that they can be walked within 24 hours by very fit hill walkers without the use of any motorised transport.

Then, sometime around the early eighties, following metrication of height data by the OS, it was decided that a “top” in the Carneddau, Garnedd Uchaf (now aka Carnedd Gwenllian), deserved to be classed as a 3,000 foot peak in its own right. So the 14 Peaks became 15 and anyone who had bypassed this “bump in the ridge” to save time in their dash to Foel-fras obviously just had to go back and do the whole thing again!

Sometime around the longest day in June 2010, Tryfan, that magnificent rocky peak towering above the A5 in the Ogwen valley, was resurveyed by a team of skilled amateur surveyors using sophisticated GPS equipment to check its height, which previously was officially recorded by the OS as 3,002 feet.

Some feared that Tryfan may actually be less than 3,000 feet and have to loose its membership of the iconic "14 Peaks" club.

The result was that Tryfan's true height was found to be slightly higher at 3,010 feet, 917.5m

The new height was subsequently accepted by Ordnance Survey, the National Mapping Agency.

Tryfan is one of the very few mountains in Wales that can not easily be climbed without scrambling using both hands and feet.  Personally I am delighted that Tryfan, one of my favourite mountains, has retained its 3,000 foot status and even grown in stature, a sentiment shared I’m sure by many thousands of UK hill walkers.

As far as we know the record for completing the "14 Peaks" is still held by Colin Donnelly who traversed all 15 peaks in 4 hours 19 minutes in 1988, beating Joss Naylor's amazing 1973 record time of 4 hours 46 minutes.

Martin, a researcher for Beacon Maps

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