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!.
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 Although the main network is no longer being updated, the record is still in existence and the markers will remain until they are eventually destroyed by redevelopment or erosion.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 past 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are you hooked yet? Check your area and get looking.
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.
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!
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!
Just doing a dry run of the Moffat Flush Bracket Quiz with Miss Physics, who worked out all the clues before setting off to find the benchmarks. Mr Physics was armed with the 1858 Map, so we took a detour to the Old Moffat Can building. How did we miss this big beauty, newly painted and standing out from the street?
28th July 2020
I’ve just finished typing up the answers for the Moffat Museum Quiz on flush plates and cut marks and I’ve realised I am well behind in filling you in on the bagging of the benchmarks.
It appears that some serious competition has moved into the area and is a fanatic bagger of benchmarks. He completed a route just south of here and bagged 30 in one journey. This is upping the ante, but I think we should just quit! I hope he gives us a little more time to collect the ones in Moffat before he finds all the ones that we haven’t yet unearthed.
So what have we been up to? Well not in any particular order but last night I finally bagged our nearest benchmark, not 100 m away. We’ve been looking on the wrong wall. Thinking back I thought I might have seen it a month back but it was described as being on a corner wall which has been plastered over, when actually it was on the window frame. Talking to Piglet’s friend;s dad, and owner of the house, he knew exactly where it was and what it was. It has been painted black but it was quite easy to see. Sometimes you miss what is right before your eyes!
Mr Physics and I combined a bit of school work and benchamark bagging. Due to lockdown some of the new AH, some of whom I’ve yet to meet, decided they’d like to try some of their AH Physics project over the summer. I have great expectations of this group- I’ve named them the great eight. So Mr Physics and I did the full risk assessments, collected the resources at the end of term and provided some starters for 10 on possible practicals. We had to deliver as far south as Gretna, Annan, Hoddom and Lockerbie. So Mr Physics armed himself with a few to look for as close to the “way points” as possible.
If you live in Lockerbie a quick walk from Townhead along to Tescos with a brief detour up Bridge Street will bag you 6 benchmarks, including the top of a flush bracket, now mostly buried under the pavement.
Now on our second trip we went looking for the one on Livingston Place but we couldn’t find it, although Mr Competitor had spotted it in April. In our defence, the bush was another 5 feet taller.
Walking on the Wild Side.
As Miss Physics was home and we hadn’t seen her since New Year due to lockdown we decided to drag her around to see our new hobby. We thought she’d appreciate it as she used to be dragged around various Historic Scotland buildings, castles, museums and other places of historical and geographical importance. He friends commented that we were Nerdy! No idea where they got that idea from.
So two lovely walks around the town yielded a few we hadn’t yet encountered, although most were undetected. Status Not known is how they are logged. They might be hidden in the undergrowth or painted over on buildings. One was covered in garden plants.
The first was a walk up Chapel knowe.
Bagged this one quite quickly, although the lounge was full of people. I trust we didn’t disturb you but such a fine specimen.