Have you ever noticed how you often overlook the places nearest to home and visit those further afield? We have done it many times but since buying some new OS maps, I remembered them so we went trig bagging on Tandle Hill.
For those of you wondering what the heck trig bagging is, let me explain. Back in t’day when Ordnance Survey were starting out on their maps, they placed trig points. They were used to help work out the measurements, placements of areas on the maps and are predominantly placed at the top of hills. You’ll recognise them as the weird concrete pillars that you find when out walking. So the bagging part is collecting them. Well, you find them and take a picture of you with it and that is it bagged. Check out the history of trig pillars here.
This is Jit with the trig pillar on the Little Orme in Llandudno. This one is easier to get a picture with as everyone tends to go for the one on the great Orme.
The great thing about it is that you can do it for free – perfect for budget holidays or activities. If you grab an Ordnance Survey map of your local area or where you are going on holiday, you can spot them bu the little triangle with a dot in the centre.
Anyway, back to trig bagging in Tandle Hill.
Tandle Hill is Royton in Oldham and really close for us to head over in the car. It was the meeting point for radicals in the lead up to the Peterloo Massacre and is the oldest park in Oldham – if you want more on that read here. It is a lot bigger than it looks too, approximately 110 acres of beech woodland and open countryside. And the views are fantastic if you get there on a clear day. It rained here and there on our visit, but we could see just enough into the distance to see Beetham tower.
There are plenty of grassy areas where kids and dogs run off steam too. As we wandered in, we got to enjoy the sight of a dog who kept upgrading his stick!
Taking your own route
The nice thing about such a large park is that you can choose you own adventure and route. Whether you want to walk the path alone or with other people, with grass or through the woods, the choice is yours. And may of the routes have excellent paths too. Perfect for the easier days or when you’re out with family.
We always love to go through the woods and went straight in that direction. It is usually pretty quiet and people free around there, so perfect for what we were looking for.
Even though there was a slight bit of drizzle once we got into the woods, we managed to stay dry underneath the beautiful green canopy. The rain and dark sky does wonders for bringing out the colours in a wood. Actually, it brings out the colours everywhere, even the city!
Anyway, we made our way through the woods, trying to remember back to our previous visit. Funnily enough, our last visit was a mistake when we were looking for another park. We’re so pleased we found Tandle Hill though, as it fills a great deal of our swift country walk criteria.
Unfortunately the rain began to pelt us and the wind picked up. You would think for people living in Manchester we would always have coats on us, but we foolishly believed the forecast (which we had checked before leaving the car) and left our jackets in the boot. Fools, I tell you! Luckily the wind carried the dark clouds away and we were able to carry on.
Just following the paths, we made our way up towards the memorial. The area was used by the radicals to practice marching and drills in the run up to the Peterloo massacre. So a very important place in Manchester’s history. The memorial stands at the peak of the park commemorating the people of Royton who died in WWI.
I love how memorials are situated at the highest point of parks. There is something special about sitting near them and pondering the world and predecessors while looking out over the counties.
Making our way to the top of the hill was a bit of a challenge due to the gorgeous view in the distance, despite the rain clouds. You have to be a bit careful depending on the path you take as it is so easy to get your footing wrong and plop yourself straight onto the ground.
Just to the other side of the memorial, sitting proud on the ground was the first of our purposely hunted out trig pillars. It is funny how exciting it is to find a chunk of concrete on a hill.
The Tandle Hill point reminded us about how fun trig bagging is and how easy it is to find them. We also discovered that the church at the end of our main road was once used as a point as well, although not in the same sense as the trig pillar.
Having collected our trig point photographs and admired the spectacular views over the surrounding counties, it was time to let someone else have a go. We decided to head back to the woods to follow a different trail.
Back to the car
As we headed back to the car, the skies began to darken again. Only slightly disguising the view, but still showing off the glorious green hills in the foreground. By this time, many of the visitors seemed to have fled due to the rain. Only the hardcore and those with kids or dogs remained in the mud and drizzle.
As the rain began to pick up we headed for the cover of the trees and made it in time to have a chat with a lovely lady and her very friendly rescue dog. I was pleased to get doggy kisses, as always! After a chat and more licks we headed on our way again. Stopping to see how high we had come without even noticing it.
And a final swing past the cafe and to the car. Just in time for the heavens to open and the rain to really drop! We were lucky to have been in the car as it was a heavy shower!
So that was the first of our trig points bagged and one of many, I suspect. Once we got home, dodging the rain to empty the car, we pulled out the personalised OS map that I bought for Jit for Christmas. The central point is our house so we can easily choose places to visit nearby. We can also spot our local trig points too for when we’re in the mood for trig bagging.
Highlighter in hand we marked off number one and are poised to collect some more on the weekends. You don’t have to be a pro outdoorsey person to collect trigs or live in the sticks. There are plenty around when you look for them!
Here’s to a summer of trig bagging!
Have you ever been trig bagging? Fancy having a go? How about seeing how many are near you?
Let me know in the comments below.