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!.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/benchmarks/

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 Although the main network is no longer being updated, the record is still in existence and the markers will remain until they are eventually destroyed by redevelopment or erosion.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.

FUNDAMENTALs

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.

Searching
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.

http://www.trigtools.co.uk/fbmlist.cgi
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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

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