Bagging Series

Rob Woodall Completes the 1000ft Hills

On 5th November bagging-meister Rob Woodall climbed his final summit of a truly epic hill list - the 1000 foot hills of Wales, England and the Isle of Man. There are 2462 of them! Myrddyn Phillips was there on the day, and has sent us this brief account. 

There are numerous challenges that a hill bagger can choose to take on, from the best known, such as the Munros, to lists far more obscure and difficult. Among baggers, Rob Woodall is one of the leading exponents of the weird, the wonderful and the epic having, among other accolades, been the first person to complete the 1556 Marilyns (see here), and having visited all of Britain's remaining trig pillars - over 6100 of them.

Rob Woodall (bottle in hand) and friends celebrate his 2462nd 1000-er  © Myrddyn Phillips
Rob Woodall (bottle in hand) and friends celebrate his 2462nd 1000-er
© Myrddyn Phillips

These self-set British challenges would be enough to last most keen walkers a lifetime. But Rob is no ordinary hill bagger. His exploits also take him worldwide in search of the Ultras, the planet’s peaks of 5000ft prominence. 

But closer to home, one beauty of British hill listings is that there are so darn many of them. Bagging them all could be construed by some as an affliciton, but for those in the know a list is just an aid in exploration, and that exploration can take a person on an extremely fulfilling route whose memories last a lifetime.

After Rob's past achievements, what challenges remained to him? Well, in old money there are always the 1000ft hills of Wales, England and the Isle of Man. In metric terms these are the hills at or above 300m, each wih a minimum prominence of 30m. They may mostly be small, but there are plenty of them - 2462 in fact! No small task, then.

Inevitably, there's a lot of common ground with other lists, including many summits that also feature among the Hewitts, the Deweys, Y Pedwarau, The Fours, Y Trichant and the 300m hills of England. Until Rob turned his sights to them, only one other person had claimed them all - the rather elusive Andrew Allum, another hill bagger extraordinaire.

En route to Drosgol   © Myrddyn Phillips
En route to Drosgol
© Myrddyn Phillips

Rob’s last 1000ft hill was Drosgol (SN717885), a rather unassuming summit in the western Pumlumon range in central Wales which is situated east of the small towns of Tal-y-bont and Borth, and which rises above the Afon Cyneiniog at the head of a quiet valley whose narrow paved lane ends near a disused mine. This was the meeting point last Saturday the 5th November for the ascent of Rob’s final 1000ft hill.

From the disused mine the route to the summit is relatively easy as it follows a grassed path beside bracken to an attractive summit comprising a rocky bluff, and it was here that at approximately 4pm Rob touched the highest point to complete yet another self-set challenge.

He was joined on the walk by eleven friends who all celebrated with copious amounts of cake and a dram or two of Penderyn Single Malt Whisky. Even the weather was kind with late afternoon sunshine breaking out to bathe the summit in November warmth.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Rob’s bagging exploits continue with the Humps (Hundred Metre Prominence summits numbering nearly 3000) and the Simms (600m minimum height with 30m minimum prominence) keeping him happily occupied, as well as those more exotic trips farther afield with the Ultras. 


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