CALCH Day 2 – Plane Tabling, Not Plain Sailing (or; the day we turned into Smurfs)

We woke up to sunshine this morning – bright, glorious sunshine – but unfortunately the wind was still blowing like there’s no tomorrow! Aware of how cold it was on the mountain yesterday I decided to add extra layers – another t-shirt, an extra pair of socks, an extra pair of gloves and some leg warmers. On top of this I donned my trusty trapper hat and headed up the mountain with a team of similarly well wrapped up volunteers and staff.

The morning's glorious sunshine

The morning’s glorious sunshine

Today's team from left to right - Brian (volunteer), Holly (BBNP), Duncan (DAT), Tony (volunteer) and Sarah (DAT)

Today’s team from left to right – Brian (volunteer), Holly (BBNP), Duncan (DAT), Tony (volunteer) and Sarah (DAT) with the plane table survey equipment in the foreground

Today was the day that we learned all about plane table surveying (For info – Scotland’s Rural Past) – this is a low-tech (this does not mean it’s not good) and simple to use survey method which creates a scale plan of a site or building. Setting up this equipment is usually pretty easy (when there is no wind), albeit fiddly, and involves placing a board (the ‘plane table’) complete with a sheet of scaled permatrace (on which we draw the plan) on an adjustable tripod. Here comes the fiddly bit – once the plane table is attached to the tripod it is necessary to adjust each of the legs so that the table is completely level – this, when the wind is blowing as it was, is no mean feat!

Leveling the plane table

Leveling the plane table

After the battle with the tripod we began taking the measurements of the office block (please see above link for the specific measurement instructions). We had difficulties. Our plane table equipment was set up approximately 14 meters away from the points we wanted to measure, which meant that there was a great deal of tape measure between the person at the plane table station and the person standing at the measuring point. What we hadn’t realised was that the wind would try to rip the tape measure out from our hands… Which doesn’t help when attempting to take accurate measurements!

After a while we decided it was time for lunch – it was so cold that our toes were frozen and we couldn’t feel our faces, and trying to draw exact measurement points at a scale of 1:100 on a building plan was not easy when our fingers felt like ice cubes.

After sheltering in the site hut with our sandwiches and tea we headed back to the office block to continue our survey. Due to the difficulties we encountered in the morning we moved the survey station closer to the office block (in fact, so close we ended up within the building) – this meant that there would be less length of tape measure to be blown by the wind and that the station was slightly more sheltered.

Plane tabling in the office block

Plane tabling in the office block

After another hour of almost getting blown over by the wind and taking it in turns to shelter behind a wall we managed to survey some of the eastern side of the office block – success!! However, after Tony noticed that my face had literally turned  into a Smurf and had gone blue with cold (I thought that was just a saying!), Menna decided that we best call it a day and retreat to warmer locations where we could defrost our freezing bones.

A little recuperation before leaving for the day

A little recuperation before leaving for the day

Nevertheless, we are looking forward to our next day’s work on the mountain and just hope that we’ll get a mini heat wave for the next few days! The next blog entry will be a two parter; we’re splitting into two groups, on of which will work on the mountain (weather permitting) and the other will be working with a home education group in Llandovery.


4 thoughts on “CALCH Day 2 – Plane Tabling, Not Plain Sailing (or; the day we turned into Smurfs)

  1. rastenfors

    I like your office ‘view’ a lot better than mine!
    Smurf face syndrome must be somewhat annoying, but only seasonally :)


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