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 Although the main network is no longer being updated, the record is still in existence and the markers will remain until they are eventually destroyed by redevelopment or erosion.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

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