Going Nuts for Nuttalls - the 2000ft Peaks of England & Wales

by Myrddyn Phillips Nov/2016
This article has been read 1,829 times

Numbering several hundred summits, the Nuttalls - the 2000-foot peaks of England and Wales - are a classic tick list. In this age of accurate mapping you might assume the list was definitive, but in fact many entries have been added or demoted over the years. The most recent changes have been made only this month. Myrddyn Phillips, one of the surveyors responsible for several revisions, takes us through the additions and deletions.


In 1989 Cicerone Press published the first of a two volume guide, with the second volume being published the following year: The Mountains of England and Wales, volume 1 Wales and The Mountains of England and Wales, volume 2 England. Within their pages are details to the 2000ft mountains of each country and over the years they have become prized by many hill walkers, as their contents must have been a labour of love to produce. The authors are John and Anne Nuttall, a married couple who live in Congleton in Cheshire and the listing of hills within these two books are now affectionately known as the Nuttalls.

Castell y Gwynt, 146 kbCastell y Gwynt
© mr mills, Jun 2015

"These two volumes by John and Anne Nuttall have taken many walkers on a journey through some of the most beautiful landscape that Britain has to offer"

Since the publication of these guidebooks many people have completed an ascent of each mountain, with 275 completers listed as of October 2016. By doing so each and every person would have visited all summits in England and Wales at or over 2000ft (609.6m) in height that have a minimum prominence of 15m. These mountains are spread throughout Wales and also take in the majority of upland areas in England from the wilderness of the Cheviot in the north to the rock tors of Dartmoor in the south, with the Welsh mountains taking in the variety of Snowdonia’s higher summits to the remote and bleak central hills to the old red sandstone giants of the south. Each and every mountain can leave memories that refresh the soul and body, and these two volumes by John and Anne have taken many walkers on a journey through some of the most beautiful landscape that Britain has to offer.

When the books were first published Wales was listed with 181 mountains and England with 251 mountains. Since these early days the influx of independent surveyors and the diligence of map study has reclassified and promoted a number of hills to mountain status. But what hills have now entered these lists and who was responsible for their inclusion?

Over a recent two-week period there have been four alterations to the list, so now seems a fitting time to list all the reclassified Nuttalls.

Three mountains have just been promoted to the list and another one deleted, with two of these new inclusions being adjacent to one another and situated in the western fells of the northern Pennines, and the third recent addition being a part of the Brecon Beacons, or Bannau Brycheiniog as the hill range is known in Welsh; the deleted mountain meanwhile is found in the Howgill Fells.

The overall total now stands at 446, an increase of 14 since they were first listed in 1989 and 1990.

Manky conditions on Mynydd Craig Goch, 115 kbManky conditions on Mynydd Craig Goch
© Myrddyn Phillips

First of the three new Nuttalls is Craig Gwaun Taf (SO 005 207), which is situated to the immediate south of Corn Du, second highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons with its adjacent neighbour of Pen y Fan being the highest. This new mountain entered the list through the diligence of John and Anne’s son; Joe, who checked its prospective status against recently made available LIDAR data. This data is highly accurate but necessitates great time to pinpoint where the summit and respective col is situated. Joe’s analysis proved correct as he notified me and asked if I could survey it with my Trimble GeoXH 6000. The result from the Trimble survey gives Craig Gwaun Taf 16.1m of drop, which is sufficient to enter the list of Nuttalls.

The most recent additions to the Nuttalls list are Tinside Rigg (NY 775 199) and Long Fell (NY 768 198) adjacent peaks with 19.3m and 16.5m of drop respectively and which are situated in the Warcop military range where the Military of Defence restricts access to only a few days per year. Whilst the deleted Nuttall is Bram Rigg Top (SD 668 964) which is situated in the Howgill Fells to the immediate south of The Calf, which is the hill ranges highest point. This mountain was deleted from the list due to a survey with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 resulting in a 14.68m drop value and which was later confirmed by a line survey, this drop value is insufficient for Bram Rigg Top’s retention in the Nuttalls list.

The addition of Craig Gwaun Taf, Tinside Rigg and Long Fell, and the deletion of Bram Rigg Top, are just the latest in a line that stretches back to 1997 when the first of many surveys were conducted on prospective new mountains. However, there have also been three deletions over the years in all, and these are also listed with their respective details.

There have been a number of reclassifications to the Nuttalls lists, and these appear below in receding order under the hill name used by John and Anne:

Long Fell 623.5m at NY 76871 19810

Confirmation of promotion via the Grough website on 18.11.16, the hill was surveyed on 05.10.16 by Graham Jackson and Jim Bloomer using a Leica GS15 with John and Anne also present, and by line survey conducted by John Barnard, Chris Crocker and Simon Edwardes with the resulting 16.5m of drop being sufficient for qualification as a Nuttall. English Nuttall total confirmed as 256.

Tinside Rigg 624.0m at NY 77547 19904

Confirmation of promotion via the Grough website on 18.11.16, the hill was surveyed on 05.10.16 by Graham Jackson and Jim Bloomer using a Leica GS15 with John and Anne also present, with the resulting 19.3m of drop being sufficient for qualification as a Nuttall. English Nuttall total confirmed as 255.

Bram Rigg Top 672.7m at SD 668 964

Bram Rigg Top - recently demoted following a survey, 209 kbBram Rigg Top - recently demoted following a survey
© Myrddyn Phillips

The first English Nuttall to be deleted since publication of John and Anne’s list and guidebook in 1990, with confirmation of the deletion via the Nuttall’s website on 12.11.16. I surveyed this hill with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 on 10.10.15 and as the result of 14.7m (14.683m) of drop was insufficient to retain its Nuttall status I forwarded the result to John and Anne. A line survey was later conducted on the hill on 06.10.16 by John Barnard and Graham Jackson with John and Anne also present. The result confirmed the Trimble survey with 14.68m of drop. English Nuttall total confirmed as 254.

Craig Gwaun Taf 826.4m at SO 00548 20720

Craig Gwaun Taf emerging out of the mist, the recently confirmed new Nuttall, 128 kbCraig Gwaun Taf emerging out of the mist, the recently confirmed new Nuttall
© Myrddyn Phillips

Confirmation of promotion via Joe Nuttall posting on the Yahoo groups RHB forum on 04.11.16, this being the result of Joe Nuttall relaying the information that LIDAR data gave this hill 15.783m of drop and asking me if I could survey it with the Trimble, the resulting Trimble GeoXH 6000 survey confirmed that with 16.1m this hill has sufficient drop to qualify as a Nuttall. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 190.

Calf Top 609.61m at SD 66450 85624

Calf Top - Britain's newest mountain, 149 kbCalf Top - Britain's newest mountain
© Myrddyn Phillips

Confirmation of reclassification via the Nuttall’s website on 06.09.16. This hill had been surveyed by John Barnard, Graham Jackson and myself using the Leica 530, firstly on the 15.04.10 when a two hour summit data set was gathered, and secondly on the 20.05.10 when a four hour summit data set was gathered. Both data sets were subsequently processed by Ordnance Survey who confirmed that this hill was 609.58m high and therefore just 2cm under 2,000ft (609.6m) in height. However, six years later the Ordnance Survey produced their new geoid model; OSGM15, resulting in all known accurate heights increasing by 2cm – 4cm throughout England and also Wales, this resulted in Calf Top increasing in known height to all of 6mm over 609.6m (2,000ft). English Nuttall total confirmed as 255.

Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top 649.7m at SH 66099 45259

Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top - sums up the pitfalls of using 15m of prominence as a qualifying mark, 165 kbMoelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top - sums up the pitfalls of using 15m of prominence as a qualifying mark
© Myrddyn Phillips

An interesting example this, as it has yo-yoed in and out of the list over the years, following survey and re-survey.

Confirmation of promotion via letter dated 12.08.98, with survey having been conducted by John and Anne Nuttall during the previous week. I surveyed 166 hills for Welsh Nuttall status and this hill was the first hill confirmed through these surveys to enter the list of Nuttalls (it was also the second hill confirmed to lose its Nuttall status, see above for details). The details from this hill’s survey were passed on to Dewi, and John and Anne, who all later surveyed it and came to the same conclusion that the hill just had sufficient drop to be included. It was also rather ingeniously surveyed on the 25.05.98 by Joe and Tara Nuttall who used an almost full water bottle to ascertain its drop value.

The second Welsh Nuttall to be deleted since publication of John and Anne’s list and guidebook in 1989. Confirmation of deletion via the Nuttall’s website on the 05.08.15, reversing its inclusion after John Barnard, Graham Jackson and I line surveyed the hill and also surveyed it with a Leica GS15 and Trimble GeoXH 6000 on 22.04.15, resulting in the hill having 14.77m of drop - just less than the required 15m.

Thack Moor 609.65m at NY 61166 46278

Surveying Thack Moor, 142 kbSurveying Thack Moor
© Myrddyn Phillips

Confirmation of reclassification via the Nuttall’s website on 03.04.13. This hill had been surveyed by John Barnard, Graham Jackson and myself using the Leica 530 and Leica GS15, firstly on the 22.08.12 when a two hour summit data set was gathered, and secondly on the 03.03.13 when a four hour summit data set was gathered. Both data sets were subsequently processed by Ordnance Survey who confirmed that this hill was 609.65m high and therefore over 2,000ft (609.6m) in height. English Nuttall total confirmed as 254.

Mynydd Graig Goch 609.75m at SH 49732 48518

Confirmation of promotion to the Nuttalls list on 19.09.07 at a Press Conference held in the Oakeley Room at Plas Tan-y-bwlch, Maentwrog. This hill was first proposed as a prospective hill to survey by Aled Williams on the Nuttall’s message board, and the survey that resulted in this hill’s reclassification to a Nuttall was done in conjunction with Leica Geosystems with their representative; James Whitworth being the surveyor who operated the Leica 1200, Clwb Mynydda Cymru and the Snowdonia National Park Authority. Present on the survey were John Barnard, Graham Jackson, Dewi Jones, Harold Morris, Anne Nuttall, John Nuttall, James Whitworth and myself. Outside of The Munro Society commissioning CMCR Ltd to survey two hills in Scotland for Munro status this was the first time that Differential GPS equipment had been used outside of the Ordnance Survey to determine the accurate height of hills. The resulting reclassification of Mynydd Graig Goch made headlines on the television, radio and throughout the national press. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 190.

Castell y Gwynt 972m at SH 65397 58181

Castell y Gwynt, 152 kbCastell y Gwynt
© Myrddyn Phillips

Confirmation of promotion to the Nuttalls list on 02.09.07. There were two hills outstanding that needed accurately surveying out of the 166 hills I had surveyed for Nuttall status, and this hill was the second of them. To my knowledge the hill was first proposed for Nuttall status by Dewi Jones, and I subsequently surveyed this hill on a number of occasions and forwarded the details to Dewi, and John and Anne, with all my surveys giving this hill over 15m of drop. But it wasn’t until John Barnard, Dewi Jones and I teamed up that this hill was surveyed with a Leica Disto A8 on the 24.07.07, resulting in the hill having 15.95m of drop. This hill was later surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 as having 15.9m of drop. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 189.

Carnedd y Filiast N Top 721m at SH 61751 63165

Carnedd y Filiast, 190 kbCarnedd y Filiast
© osh, Jan 2012

Confirmation of promotion to the Nuttalls list on 02.09.07. There were two hills outstanding that needed accurately surveying out of the 166 hills I had surveyed for Nuttall status, and this hill was one of them. I surveyed this hill on a number of occasions and forwarded the details to Dewi, and John and Anne, but it wasn’t until John Barnard, Graham Jackson and I teamed up that this hill was surveyed with an Automatic Level and Staff on the 26.05.07, resulting in the hill having 16.1m of drop. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 188.

Cadair Bronwen NE Top 700m at SJ 08713 35222

The first Welsh Nuttall to be deleted since publication of John and Anne’s list and guidebook in 1989. Confirmation of deletion to the Nuttalls list on 02.09.07 with a suitably wet wake held on behalf of the hill on 19.08.07. This hill was line surveyed by John Barnard and Graham Jackson on 03.03.07, resulting in the hill having 10.7m of drop. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 187.

Birks Fell 610m at SD 91878 76369

Confirmation of promotion via the Nuttall’s wesbsite on 04.10.06 and confirmed on 05.10.06. This hill had been proposed for inclusion as a Nuttall by several people, most notably John Barnard and Graham Jackson who on the 03.06.06 used an Automatic Level in calculating the height of the hill. Subsequently John and Anne Nuttall had the height of the hill confirmed by Ordnance Survey and then accepted it into their list of English 2,000ft mountains. English Nuttall total confirmed as 253.

Honister Crag 634.0m at NY 21247 14152

The first new English Nuttall since publication of John and Anne’s list and guidebook in 1990. Confirmation of promotion via the Nuttall’s wesbsite after John and Anne had surveyed the hill in November 2004. This hill was proposed for inclusion as a Nuttall by Edwin Gradwell and Andy Moffat, and subsequently surveyed with the Leica RX1250 by Alan Dawson, resulting in the hill having 21.0m of drop. English Nuttall total confirmed as 252.

Waun Garnedd-y-filiast 650m at SH 87404 45247

Confirmation of promotion via letter dated 21.10.99 after John and Anne had surveyed the hill. I’d surveyed this hill on numerous occasions and forwarded the results to Dewi, and to John and Anne. The hill was subsequently line surveyed by Harold Morris, Dewi Jones, John Williams and myself on 02.07.99 resulting in a 15.13m drop value. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 188.

Waun Lefrith 676.2m at SN 79820 21451

Waun Lefrith, one of the early additions to the list of Nuttalls, 184 kbWaun Lefrith, one of the early additions to the list of Nuttalls
© Myrddyn Phillips

Confirmation of promotion via letter dated 16.09.99, with survey having been conducted by John and Anne Nuttall on 14.09.99. This was the first hill I ever surveyed and repeated the process on a number of occasions and forwarded the results to John and Anne. This hill was subsequently surveyed with the Trimble GeoXH 6000 by me, resulting in the hill having a 15.9m drop. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 187.

Waun Camddwr 621.7m at SH 84832 20712

Confirmation of promotion via letter dated 16.09.99, with survey having been conducted by John and Anne Nuttall on 10.09.99. I’d surveyed this hill on a number of occasions and forwarded the results to John and Anne, with all my surveys giving this hill over 15m of drop. This hill was subsequently line surveyed and surveyed with a Leica GS15 and Trimble GeoXH 6000 by John Barnard, Graham Jackson and myself, resulting in the hill having a 15.5m drop. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 186.

Moelwyn Mawr North Ridge Top (as above)

Summit demoted. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 185

Foel Meirch c 800m at SH 65878 63744

Confirmation of promotion via letter to Dewi Jones dated 16.02.98, with survey having been conducted by John and Anne Nuttall on 15.02.98. Having met Dewi in the car park at Bwlch y Groes I was inspired to take up surveying after he told me that ‘John and Anne had missed one on the northern ridge of Cnicht.’ I subsequently had a staff manufactured and took up the challenge to find a new Nuttall, and sent Dewi details of this hill which he then surveyed, passing the details on to John and Anne via letter. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 184.

Craiglwyn 623m at SH 73056 60891

Confirmation of promotion via letter to Dewi Jones in late 1997, with Dewi having proposed this hill as a prospective new Nuttall via letter to John and Anne Nuttall who subsequently surveyed it. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 183.

Cnicht North Top 688m at SH 64803 46870

Confirmation of promotion via article in the Rambling Today magazine, dated spring 1997, after Dewi Jones surveyed the hill with a rudimentary levelling staff, with the resulting qualifying drop value later confirmed by a line survey conducted by Harold Morris and Tudur Owain. Welsh Nuttall total confirmed as 182.

 

About the Nuttalls Guidebooks

£12.99

Nuttalls Wales, 72 kb

The Mountains of England and Wales: Vol 1 Wales

by John & Anne Nuttall

Published by Cicerone Press, 3rd edition 2014

The Nuttalls are hills over 2000ft high in England and Wales. The 190 Nuttalls in Wales are split into: Carneddau, Glyders, Snowdon, Moel Hebog, Moelwyns, Arenigs, Berwyns, Arans, Rhinogs, Cadair Idris, central Wales, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons. Definitive lists, detailed route descriptions, maps and drawings of Wales' highest peaks.

 

Nuttalls England, 43 kb

The Mountains of England and Wales: Vol 2 England

by John & Anne Nuttall

Published by Cicerone Press, 3rd edition 2008

A walking guide to climbing the 253 'Nuttall' mountain summits in England, in a series of 58 walks. These form part of the total of 443 mountain summits in England and Wales which reach the height of 2000ft or more. Routes and summits in the Lake District, Cheviots, North Pennines, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and Dartmoor.

 

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