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Britain’s brand new MOUNTAIN!

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Britain’s brand new MOUNTAIN!

Wales has gained a new mountain after ramblers re-measured it using sophisticated technology – and found it had been wrongly classified as a hill for years.

While Foel Penolau in Snowdonia has always been 16ft over the 2,000ft minimum height for a mountain, its drop of 85ft from summit to its closest ridge (col) meant it fell short of that status.

But hill-walkers Myrddyn Phillips and Aled Williams have used sophisticated GPS technology to double check the length of the drop – and found it 19ft bigger than thought.

While Foel Penolau in Snowdonia has always been 16ft over the 2,000ft minimum height for a mountain, its drop of 85ft from summit to its closest ridge (col) meant it fell short of that status

While Foel Penolau in Snowdonia has always been 16ft over the 2,000ft minimum height for a mountain, its drop of 85ft from summit to its closest ridge (col) meant it fell short of that status

While Foel Penolau in Snowdonia has always been 16ft over the 2,000ft minimum height for a mountain, its drop of 85ft from summit to its closest ridge (col) meant it fell short of that status

A graphic showing the height of the mountain

A graphic showing the height of the mountain

A graphic showing the height of the mountain

This takes it over the 98ft threshold to turn the peak into Wales’ 136th mountain.

It has now been added to the list of Hewitts – Hills in England, Wales or Ireland over Two Thousand feet high.

It is the first time since the list was introduced in 1992 that a Welsh hill has been upgraded to mountain status because of the ridge (col) measurement.

Mr Williams, a 32-year-old scientist from Porthmadog, Snowdonia, said: ‘The col of Foel Penolau is situated on a large boulder field, which makes it a difficult place to survey.

Hill-walkers Myrddyn Phillips (pictured) and Aled Williams have used sophisticated GPS technology to double check the length of the drop - and found it 19ft bigger than thought

Hill-walkers Myrddyn Phillips (pictured) and Aled Williams have used sophisticated GPS technology to double check the length of the drop - and found it 19ft bigger than thought

Hill-walkers Myrddyn Phillips (pictured) and Aled Williams have used sophisticated GPS technology to double check the length of the drop – and found it 19ft bigger than thought

‘Some of the boulders are over 7ft high and finding the lowest point between Foel Penolau and its neighbouring higher hill was like finding a needle in a haystack.

‘After a lot of work we were satisfied with our efforts and proceeded to visit the summit to gather further data from its two tops.’

The hill-walkers carried out the survey using sophisticated Trimble GeoXH 6000 equipment, which works in a similar way to a car’s satellite navigation system as it collects data from orbiting satellites, making it capable of much more accuracy in both height and position.

Mr Phillips, 57, from Welshpool, mid-Wales, added: ‘Foel Penolau is one of the most impressive mountains in Wales as it has a sheer south face forming an almost impenetrable cliff, and it is this cliff that has deposited the large boulders at its col.

The hill-walkers carried out the survey using sophisticated Trimble GeoXH 6000 equipment, which works in a similar way to a car's satellite navigation system as it collects data from orbiting satellites, making it capable of much more accuracy in both height and position

The hill-walkers carried out the survey using sophisticated Trimble GeoXH 6000 equipment, which works in a similar way to a car's satellite navigation system as it collects data from orbiting satellites, making it capable of much more accuracy in both height and position

The hill-walkers carried out the survey using sophisticated Trimble GeoXH 6000 equipment, which works in a similar way to a car’s satellite navigation system as it collects data from orbiting satellites, making it capable of much more accuracy in both height and position

‘I spent many hours during the second survey taking seven further data sets that give a good height spread for the land making up the boulder field.

‘It is quite a find as this is the first time since the Hewitts were published in 1992 that a hill has been reclassified a mountain because of its col.

‘It is a stunning mountain and a very worthy addition to the mountain ranks..’

The list of Hewitts has been compiled by Britain’s leading hill list author, Alan Dawson.

Foel Penolau (614.4m) is one of the most distinctive features of the Rhinogydd mountain range in north Wales. Its name can be translated as 'top of the light bare hill' and its appearance has been described as something akin to a fortress out of a JR Tolkien novel

Foel Penolau (614.4m) is one of the most distinctive features of the Rhinogydd mountain range in north Wales. Its name can be translated as 'top of the light bare hill' and its appearance has been described as something akin to a fortress out of a JR Tolkien novel

Foel Penolau (614.4m) is one of the most distinctive features of the Rhinogydd mountain range in north Wales. Its name can be translated as ‘top of the light bare hill’ and its appearance has been described as something akin to a fortress out of a JR Tolkien novel

He hailed Foel Penolau’s reclassification as a ‘brilliant discovery’ and has updated the online list with the new addition.

Mr Dawson said: ‘This is a brilliant discovery and once again illustrates the vital role of satellite technology in determining the classification of hills.

‘I’m very happy for Foel Penolau to be added to the Hewitts.

‘The reason the Hewitts classify mountains using two criteria is because if you don’t measure the drop between the summit and the col there’s no way to tell one hill from another.

‘Measuring by height alone is meaningless as any bump could be classified as a mountain, so you need two dimensions.’

Foel Penolau (614.4m) is one of the most distinctive features of the Rhinogydd mountain range in north Wales.

Its name can be translated as ‘top of the light bare hill’ and its appearance has been described as something akin to a fortress out of a JR Tolkien novel. 

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