My concrete muse

Today, 18th April 2016, marks the 80th anniversary of the construction of the first concrete pillar for the great Retriangulation of Great Britain.

The Ordnance Survey's trig points are a much-loved feature of the British landscape. My local trig point (number 4144; official benchmark designation S4643) makes frequent appearances throughout my book On the Moor, and is the star of one of the chapters.

Trig. Point 4144
Trig point 4144. Benchmark S4643.

As I say in my book:

Trig points hold a strange fascination for me. As a child, I used to think they marked the official summits of hills. I still do. If there’s a trig point near the top, you can’t claim to have climbed a hill until you’ve touched it—even if the trig point isn’t at the actual summit. […]

How many times have I touched this trig point? I’ve been walking the Moor for 20 years, so it must be well into the hundreds by now. I’ve been up here in all weathers: wind, rain, fog, ice, snow, and sunshine. Yes, we do occasionally get sunshine. The seasons change, the weather changes, but the trig point remains constant. Solid and dependable. Right where you left it. Which is the whole point of trig points, come to think of it.

She might only be a lump of concrete, but I have an immense fondness for trig point 4144. She acted as a muse while I was writing my book: not just as the star of Chapter 5, but as the place I'd stop to take in the view while mulling over my latest writing predicament. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say I couldn't have written my book without her.

(And, yes, I do think of my beloved trig. point as a her.)

See also: A history of the trig pillar (Ordnance Survey blog)

Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. He is currently working on a book about looking at the world through Darwin’s eyes.Website · Newsletter · Mastodon · Facebook

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *