Benchmark Bagging

Mr and Mrs Physics have a new hobby in lockdown, and a way to make those daily walks a little more interesting. It was Mr Physics who started this obsession but he can’t remember why he clicked on the OS Benchmark Website, I suspect it was because the alternative was talking to Mrs Physics!

Anyone on one of our walks he produced a piece of scrap paper with a few grid references marked on it and we were off!.

Benchmark locator

Ordnance Survey Bench marks (BMs) are survey marks made by Ordnance Survey to record height above Ordnance Datum. If the exact height of one BM is known, the exact height of the next can be found by measuring the difference in heights, through a process of spirit levelling.

Most commonly, the BMs are found on buildings or other semi-permanent features. Although the main network is no longer being updated, the record is still in existence and the markers will remain until they are eventually destroyed by redevelopment or erosion.

So instead of just going for a walk you arm yourself with a map, put a grid reference on your smartphone and off you set with a description of the position of the benchmark.

The first one we found was at the old local post office building, now a smart opticians. We’ve lived in this town for 25 years and walked passed this particular spot at least two times in a week and often more than that in one day, but I can honestly say I’d never seen the small plaque in the bottom of the right hand sandstone wall. So that was us hooked.

OS BM Moffat PO
OS BM Moffat PO

The first day we collected the post office, church two at Holm Street, although we didn’t initially take photos of those and one at the old school and the parapet of Burnside bridge.

OS BM Moffat St Andrews Church
OS BM Moffat St Andrews Church
OS BM Flush Brackets Moffat Holm End
OS BM Flush Brackets Moffat Holm End
OS BM Cutmark Moffat Holm End
OS BM Cut Marks Holm End
OS BM Cut Marks Holm End
OS BM Cut Marks Holm End
OS BM Moffat Millburn Bridge
OS BM Moffat Millburn Bridge also called Birnock Bridge
OS BM Moffat Bridge over Burnock Water
OS BM Moffat Bridge over Burnock Water

We managed to drag Piglet across the park to find the two on the old bridge across the old A701. (This old bridge pre 1857 is actually named the new bridge, so I don’t know what the current bridge is called) Piglet got as far as walking up and down the old road before he thought that his parents had gone completely cuckoo and made his way back home. It was worth the wait, although we only found one mark and not the second. We think the second plate was placed over the first cut mark. Now in the time we’ve been here we’ve walked this route countless times but I don’t think it had ever registered. We’re on the look out now.

OS BM Moffat Bridge over Annan
OS BM Moffat Bridge over Annan

So at the end of hunt 2 we’d picked up 7 OS Benchmarks and had a couple of false starts. One at the Hope and one at the post office. We can’t find the one at Piglet’s friends house, but didn’t feel it was quite right to wander around their house to look.

Not one at the Hope Moffat
Not one at the Hope Moffat
One from the Armit collection

By the end of the first trip we’d found some kindred spirits in the Armit’s and got into competition. They bagged 6 in their first outing, although added a GPO benchmark. This was too much for Mr Physics who thought we’d end up logging every water hydrant and stop tap covers.

The GPO Benchmark was quite cute though, it has a look of a shocked old man

Within what seemed about 20 mins of telling my best pal Wol about them she’d bagged several. Most of hers where in brick and much harder to identify.

Cutmark Wall in Aylesbury
See how they have to dig so deeply into the brick in Aylesbury. One of Wols first bagged benchmarks
Aylesbury cutmark
Look how hard they are to find in the brickwork of Aylesbury.
This one is much clearer to see.
Another of Wols and much easier to spot.


Today Mr Physics started a coup he’s found a list of fundamental benchmarks. These are still in operation today so weren’t publicised on the OS Benchmarks, but someone wasn’t as private and had listed them……..

So we’re off to find one that is just a few miles away. The Armits have agreed to a 100 point bonus for a fundamental one, let’s hope we can bag it first.

We’d got a grid reference but that doesn’t indicate the vegetation that you’ll be wading through. That willowherb was higher than chest height and it wasn’t even where I’d been looking. Is this getting a bit stupid?
OSBM Fundamental Benchmark on the A701
OSBM Fundamental Benchmark on the A701
OSBM Fundamental Benchmark plaque
Not sure it is a usual monument, but in this climate I can’t see anyone complaining and wanting it removed.
OSBM Fundamental Benchmark OS plate
OSBM Fundamental Benchmark OS plate on the A701
Well worth a dig through wet willowherb chest high
Well worth a dig through wet willowherb chest high
OSBM top of a fundamental
It wasnt as tall as I thought it would be from the photo on the internet. But it is worth 100 points!

Are you hooked yet? Check your area and get looking.
Benchmark Bagger 2020

Five in 2 days and a flush plate!

Well it’s the holidays, the pressure is off, so let’s go and bag some benchmarks. Not bad we bagged 5 in two days, although I’ve not got photos of them all.

I’m not sure how we missed this one. It was obvious from many metres away, although I think the light shining on it helped. This hasn’t appeared on any OS Benchmark list, so I think the windowsill might have been pilfered from another building in one of its many updates.
It certainly stands out!
A very nice man allowed me into his garden to take this one. It was visible from the road, but the light wasn’t on it. Part of the many along Old Edinburgh Road. I wonder if he’ll be bagging them on his post round.
We spent ages looking for this at Well Road the first time but gave up after 5-10 mins. This time Mr Physics found it in under a minuts. You can see how it is so much easier to see when the light it on it.
Spot this one at the junction between Haywood Road and Well Road, but look when it is light.
This one is in someone’s garden, so again not easy to see. Why would you put your plants up against it so it isn’t visible? Another one for a winter visit.

This one was clearly described close to Archbank on the bridge over Hind Gill and according to the description it should be located where that piece of concrete is set. I wonder if it had been removed and replaced!

Was this once a cut mark?
In Archbanks Garden Wall, on the road side so no need to go rummaging!
And here is a flush plate at Hidden Corner.

Soon we hope to be delivering AH Project Equipment to the Advanced Higher students so that they’ve something to do during lockdown holidays so we’re checking the maps. Gretna, Annan, Lockerbie and Eaglesfield here we come!

Glynne Rachelle Dawson

13th June 2020

Glynne Rachelle Dawson Edinburgh Castle

I got a parcel left on the doorstep this morning. I was surprised to find it was a belated Christmas present I’d sent to a school friend being returned with a note saying “not collected”. I don’t know about you but I’ve never had a parcel returned. I thought this very odd so decided to check. Imagine my absolute shock to discover that my bubbly, funny, intelligent school friend died on 17th April 2020 on her own in her flat.

The returned parcel.

Glynne had so many friends across the country and remained friends with countless people across the years. As she worked as an air traffic controller, before 9-11 she often used to hitch a ride in the jump seat on planes. Cheap travel allowed her to travel the world and I got postcards from loads of wonderful destinations, but she especially loved the skiing in Austria and other European countries. I think there was loads of skiing and lots of partying after.

Glynne Rachelle Dawson Linlithgow Palace 2009

I’m sad she never got the parcel and knew that she wasn’t forgotten Christmas 2019 and throughout the rest of the year as she was on my mind so much over this 2020. We’d been sorting Gran’s house and didn’t really do Christmas! She was a popular woman and we had lots of laughs, especially for the 24 hour sponsored fence we did. I was always jealous she got the Wilkinson engraved sword as a memento. I hope she is at peace. Thinking of her family. RIP

Glynne Dawson Linlithgow Palace 2009
Glynne Rachelle Dawson August 2009
Glynne Rachelle Dawson Aug 2009
Glynne Rachelle Dawson Aug 2009

The pictures above are from a wonderful few days we had together in August 2009 visiting loads of places in the central belt. I think she’d just got her wonderful new camera.

What I notice about all these photos and all my memories of Glynne is how she always had the most amazing smile.

We didn’t see each other often but she was there in the back of my life since we started the same school and she will be missed by so many. RIP Glynne Rachelle Dawson who we always thought of as the girl in the school with the most exotic name!

Below is her obituary

Glynne Rachelle Dawson

Miss Glynne Dawson Southampton Miss Glynne Rachelle Dawson of Southampton has passed away at Southhampton, aged 53.
Born in Chesterfield Glynne was a local resident for 20 years.
Loving daughter of Aileen, sister to Carol and Angela, sister-in-law to Peter, dear aunt of Karl, Andrew, Craig, Claire and their children Jake, Leah, Thomas, Sophie and Amelia.
Glynne formerly attended St Helens school, and Manchester University, graduating with a physics degree. She trained as an Air Traffic Controller in 1987 in Bournemouth and was posted to West Drayton as a Radar Controller and subsequently moved to Southampton and gained her current post Airspace Development ATCO.
Glynne enjoyed cruises to Norway, following Southampton FC and socialising with family, friends and colleagues.
A private funeral service Took place on May 5, 2020 at Brimington Crematorium.
Funeral Directors: Co-op Funeralcare, 276 Newbold Road, Newbold, Chesterfield. (01246 211041)

Published in Derbyshire Times on May 7, 2020


The Best MIL

Joan Hargreaves

(no middle name- she regretted that)

18/08/35- 22/04/20

“Hello, this is Jim and I’m Joan, come in”. They were the first words my future mother-in-law spoke to me. They were an easy going, accepting, intelligent, thoughtful and very caring couple and sealed the deal that I’d found the right family I wanted to join. I mean the OH was pretty amazing so to get the bonus of amazing in-laws just convinced me to sign the contract before anyone else usurped me. In my attempts to appear worthy of joining this respected family I broke 2 items washing up and did something else so badly wrong. But very soon these two lovely people would become such a special part of my life and as important as my parents. I was brought up to respect the older generation and never refer to them by their first names so soon I had MIL and DIL (mum and dad in law) and everyone I knew generally referred to them by this term. We soon found out that we had similar tastes and it turns out OH and I decorated our bedrooms in exactly the same wallpaper at the same time without knowing it and it was quite strange describing this over the phone (no mobiles then) and realising that it was the same paper. I was only complimented on what I wore when it was clothes MIL had chosen for me and sometimes we ended up wearing the same skirts, etc; although despite a 30 year age gap she always looked better in them than me. Over the years and many wonderful meals, we grew to sharing some of our deepest secrets and I was never judged.

The most incredible moment I remember was at DIL’s funeral on 31st December 1998, he was 62. I said to MIL that Ken can walk you up the aisle and I will walk behind you. She grabbed me by the arm and said “You’re as much my daughter as he is my son.” And that isn’t underestimating the love she had for her only son.

Eventually MIL became Gran, but she’d offered mothering and counsel to so many people at various difficult points of their lives and always with such wisdom and nonjudgmentalism. With the kids she would wrap them in a warm towel if they were having a bit of a strop and gently massage their heads and hands with a hypnotic calming effect. She loved gardening, travel, food and wine and always had time for others. She cared for DIL during his illness with selfless compassion and would have continued as long as necessary. They were a rock for each other.

Her special friends at family, well most of them, Grandson took the photo, on her 80th birthday

Then we began to notice some forgetfulness, missing things, especially her purse when on holiday in Paris with the children. It got serious one Christmas when we noticed a routine each morning when she would head for a Christmas card from her brother who had deceased, which she’d obviously saved. Each morning she was drawn to the card and picked it up, and read it and then looked pained and shocked. In hindsight we ought to have moved the card, but we were younger and not as wise then. Then there were the phone calls to the police about taking her address book, which would be on her shelf or in a cupboard. She put the marmalade in with the cups, as she likes her tea and marmalade on toast. Each moment we were on edge whether she was safe, she’d call at 10 minute intervals having a slight inkling she’d spoken to us. OH often had to jump in the car and drive the 4 hour round trip to sort a problem. So it was with a feeling of failure but reassurance we had to persuade her into a care home.

The amazing and very caring staff at Westfield Care home in Lockerbie have come to love her in just the same way as others who knew her all her life have come to love her. From her phase of eating chocolate oranges, through to chocolate buttons much of her day was spent with food: no change there! Her memory was poor but her mind had so much still of the intelligent woman, who hated the idea that people might be saying things without consulting her. (So I apologise to you Gran for including this insight, but it was part of who you became and I know you’d want to give comfort to others) MIL could still tell a joke and laugh at herself, but never making others feel bad, only better about themselves.

All I can hope is some of her character, wisdom, intelligence and values rubbed off on me and become part of my personality- the cooking certainly hasn’t, but she passed that on to the OH so that is OK.

Hearing that this horrible covid-19 virus had caught up with her was devastating, but as a woman, born just before the war in Blackburn she was a fighter and she fought as long as she could. Then came the devasting news that we couldn’t attend her funeral, not even her son and daughter in law. I felt gutted. Not to be there when she slipped away and leaving that job to her Westfield Care family was tough, but not to be at her funeral was going to burn for a long time. So I decided to make my own tribute, which you can see in the video.

I know there is washing on the line and the garden isn’t tidy but that is just how Gran would have done it. Enjoy the birds rather than miss them for tidying up.

If I’ve illegally done something with the music I apologise, but hopefully they will get a few more sales, it is Jesus Remember Me Taizé Songs, the bird song is just in my back garden and cannot be bought from Amazon. I did the video twice as the first one had the volume down and I didn’t know if it would record, but during that one a gust of wind sent all this snow like stuff from the lime /linden/ tilia tree. It was like angels crying.

Then just before we went for a walk we found a beautiful potted sunflower on our coal bunker, in an M&S bag, so I knew this was from Graham Mundell the undertaker. He had rung last night and asked if we wanted flowers for Gran, and I explained she loved sunflowers. He asked where I could get sunflowers at this time of year and I explained that he better not get it from flying flowers as I’d sent some into Westfield and they were so shrivelled up. Not sure if they were actually dead, but it wasn’t the type of flower you want to send in as a thank you, more of a floral “dear John”. So he said he’d send his wife into Markys and find something, so he’d obviously had some great luck and the garden flowers with the sunflower were full of perfume. Gran would really have approved. I’d asked for a photo of the funeral, not because I wanted to be macabre but I wanted a link to Gran, the sunflower did that much better than any photo.

Thanks Graham Mundell Annandale Funeral Director

We had a meal today to remind us of Gran, on a Friday night after a week at work, we’d often make the trip to Ulverson to catch up and chill for the weekend. The meal was usually braised steak and a baked potato as it was forgiving of traffic jams.

So we didn’t get to the funeral, but all the messages and flowers sent over social media showed plenty of people were huddled up with their memories of one of the most amazing women I know, and she was my MIL.

Miss you Gran xx


Well Now I am a little alarmed and wish that I had been able to have further discussions with the funeral director. I had assumed Gran was cremated at Rouchan Loch Crematorium on the outskirts of Dumfries. When I contacted them as our Rector said he was conducting a funeral of one of the other residents of Westfield who had died of covid19, so I investigated.

P.S. I’ve just heard back from the crematorium and we could have attended the funeral.

Here is the information you are looking for.
In these unprecedented times immediate family members may attend a private funeral service.
We recommend up to 4 to 6 people but an absolute maximum of 10. Immediate family means: Spouse or partner; parents or carers; brother/sister; children.

In addition, the government states:

•  Mourners must remain 2 metres apart.
•  Mourners should observe social distancing rules when travelling.
•  Mourners must follow the strict guidance on hand hygiene.
•  Mourners who are unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), or are part of a household with possible coronavirus infection, should not attend.
• In addition, mourners experiencing any symptoms of any potentially contagious illness should not attend, e.g. flu, colds, sickness and diarrhoea etc.

I hope this clarifies things for you.
Kind regards,

Rouchan Loch Crematorium.

So why were we told we couldn’t attend? Now I feel we’ve let Gran down.

Further info from 5th May

I thought the following information below might be helpful. It was sent from Roucan Loch to all Funeral Directors in Dumfries and Galloway on the 31st March 2020.

Dear Colleague,

Following last night’s announcement that the first coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway, the Inspector of Cremation supports that Roucan Loch has implemented the following:

  1. The cremation may take place but strictly with no attendance.


  1. The funeral arrangements are delayed for a period of 14 days from the date of death, to accommodate the quarantine period for relatives. Only after 14 days can the Funeral Director contact Roucan Loch to arrange a time for the service, which may be attended by immediate family only.
Further Information 6th May

New update: I had assumed Gran was cremated at Rouchan Loch, our local crematorium but it wasn’t there or Edinburgh. I’ll now need to chase that one up. Sorry Gran.

Laser 1

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on ESCAPE ROOMS so decided if it could be brought online in these difficult times. I’ve made the tasks into a group of posts with the clue to one post being the password to the next.

To complete the ESCAPE ROOM you need to have the correct answers to the following:

  1. In which town/city/village/ scenic place am I being held?
  2. What is the exact place within the above? 
  3. Who has captured me?
  4. What is the contact details of the person who is holding me?

So here goes……….

File- Titled “The Case of the LASER”

On the table is a large handbag, it appears to have a lot of combination locks on the bag. There is a file and a locked folder.

In the Unlocked Part of the Bag

In the bag is a lanyard (see below) with an ID work badge, a mirror and a James Herbert Book- The Fog.

A compact mirror is in the bag
This is in the bag, the only part not locked up.

There is a bookmark in the book that says “the first clue is in the title of the book”.

To solve the first clue write the 3 word phrase (all lower case) for what I need to do to unlock the rest of the clues. This three word phrase is the password to the next post LASER 2. NB, All passwords are lower case or numbers unless stated.


Need a Hint? Click on the number of the post you are on to give you a hint, or a great big mallet to get you on to the next post.

LASER 1What can you fog that is in the bag?

LASER 2I can’t make it any clearer! Just type in the number to get the password



LASER 5Check out 16.6 in the National 5 Compendium,

LASER 63.0 × 108 ms-1, Energy decreases, 1.44 × 1011m, 2m, 0.36 ms-1

LASER 7 v=f λ, where v =3.0 × 108 ms-1 f = 395× 10-9 m, Remember your answer is in GHz, so you just need a 3 digit number no decimals

LASER 82015 m, Z=ENERGY,Y =LONGITUDINAL, X= PERIOD, (6/0.24)×2+1


LASER 10 λ=d/N, λ=20/4 , A=4/2, ☒=x

LASER 11 snowflake = T, Hand=I, Sun = R, so find what T.I.R. means with relation to optics.

LASER 120 not correct for X-rays, 1=in wrong boxes, 2=retina not a detector for IR, 3= radio not a source but a detector of radio, 4=CORRECT, 5= not correct for gamma, 6=CORRECT, 7=CORRECT, 8=Sun lamp not a detector of UV but a source, 9=CORRECT, now that’s enough of a clue, you can put those in the correct order or use trial and error, there aren’t that many combinations!

LASER 13 Can you really not find it? Look on page 17.

LASER 14 These are the contacts whose name begins with a part of the EM Spectrum.
0141 9496 0829 Georgina
+44 131 9496 0058 Mr Gilmour Shankey
+44 1632 960108 Iain Rennie
029 9496 0929 Moorings
028 9018 0155 Muddle MP
0141 9496 0600 Rebekah & Thomas (Radio and TV)
01224-822566 the eX! (poetic licence)
0131 9496 0243 Una Vine
0116 9496 0396 Vanora

LASER 15Well the UV torch wont work if the switch isn’t closed!

LASER 16Question 4 answers a and b had 2 waves, but c and d there are 2.5 waves in the distance. (a) λ=6m, A=1m.(b) λ=10 m, A=3 m .(c) λ=2 m, A=0.75 m .(d) λ=12 m, A=2.8 m

LASER 17 Its a building full of sick people! I hope I don’t end up here when I eventually get covid-19

LASER 18Come off it, I’ve given you 17 clues, if you need a clue for this last one you don’t deserve to get into this last post. Check out LASER 14 hint, and just try them all! Start with a capital letter!