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MV is a fantastic .. by brenno   (Show all posts)
Colin Murphy
2008-12-02 10:39:12
"Schiehallion" from Colin Murphy Expand pics
Schiehallion (Expand pics)
Contour lines, physics byproduct
Back in the distant year of 1981, a flatmate of mine in Edinburgh, suggested that we kill a summer’s Sunday by ‘climbing a mountain’. With nothing else to do, we set off for God-knows-where in his banger of a car and I duly trudged along in agonised silence behind him, ill-equipped and totally unfit as we headed up Schiehallion (1083m in Perth & Kinross) – my first ever hillwalking experience. By co-incidence I recently came across the name Schiehallion when reading Bill Bryson’s ‘A short history of everything’. In 1774, the mountain had been selected by a physicist Nevil Maskelyne as an ideal one to conduct an experiment to determine the universal gravitional constant – if you hang a plumb line near a mountain the gravitational force will pull the line at a tiny but measurable angle towards its mass. All you need to do is measure the mass of the mountain and bob’s your uncle, the gravitational constant! Maskelyne and a mathematician called Hutton spent months taking countless measurements of Schiehallion to determine its precise shape. But the jumble of numbers was so confusing they could make little use of them – until Hutton realised that his job would be made easier if he joined the points of equal height. When he did, he realised that he’d accidentally discovered a way of accurately mapping the landscape – contour lines. Within a few years the system was adopted as a standard among cartographers the world over and it has certainly stopped me from walking over a few cliffs over the years. Incidentally their original gravitational constant experiment was a success and was actually repeated by a group of scientists in 2005, with pretty much the same results!
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 17 Next page >>
Track
Near Mount Corrin, Mizen/Sheeps Head (Ireland)
Eirepur less than an hour ago.
walk, Len: 2.2km, Climb: 140m, Area: Mount Corrin, Mizen/Sheeps Head (Ireland) ...

  
Track
Near The Paps East, Paps/Derrynasaggart (Ireland)
Eirepur 2 hours ago.
walk, Len: 9.4km, Climb: 676m, Area: The Paps East, Paps/Derrynasaggart (Irelan...

  
Track
Near Mount Gabriel, Mizen/Sheeps Head (Ireland)
Eirepur 2 hours ago.
walk, Len: 5.9km, Climb: 290m, Area: Mount Gabriel, Mizen/Sheeps Head (Ireland)...

Track
Ballyknockan Duo
Bunsen7 11 hours ago.
Park in the car park of the pub beside the disused petrol pump in the centre of Ballyknockan. With your back to the pu... walk, Len: 8.5km, Climb: 542m, Area: Silsean, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) Silsea

  
Summit Summary
Truskmore: The Height of Sligo
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3, Peter Walker 11 hours ago.
The Dartry Mountains are among the most distinctive in Ireland, so it's unfortunate that their highest hill is one of the least distinctive in the range. Once one gets away from the signature stee...

  
Summit Comment
Truskmore: ACCESS PROBLEM at CLOONTYPRUGHLISH IG788 476
eflanaga 23 hours ago.
Earlier today I accompanied a friend, who is completing the County Tops, to climb onto Truskmore. Having previously summited from the Glencar and Tievebaun sides I suggested we go up by Eagles Roc...

Forum: General
Irish hill runners and the Spine Race
IainT a day ago.
The Spine Race is a 268 mile run up the Pennine Way in the north of England, run every January, invariably featuring snowdrifts, gales and many miles of sucking bog, much of it run in the dark. It...

  
Track
Cadair Idris Circuit
Onzy a day ago.
Route over Cadair Idris with a number of extensions. This descent is far from intuitive, largely untracked and involv... walk, Len: 14.7km, Climb: 1086m, Area: Craig Lwyd, Dolgellau to Machynlleth (B

  
Summit Comment
Slieve Binnian: New developments
Mrswoodlands a day ago.
Climbed Binnion from the Carrick Little car park yesterday. We went up the Mourne wall as described by other contributers. While hugging the wall, as described, we noted a clear track not previous...

Summit Summary
Seefin Mountain E Top: Up the old bog road.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: melohara 4 days ago.
Car park space at R66276 16811. Over or around the gate and head uphill on a good track that crosses the hill near the summit.On the crest of the hill the summit cairn is over a wall to your right...

  
Track
Snowdon: Nantlle Ridge
Onzy a day ago.
Nantlle Ridge route. Few blips in track - distance is about 20k, ascent 1,250 and time 7.30. walk, Len: 15.6km, Climb: 837m, Area: Y Garn, Snowdonia (Britain) Y Garn, Mynyd...

  
Summit Summary
Seefin Mountain W Top: Bog and rough ground.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: melohara 4 days ago.
Car park space at R66276 16811. Over or around the gate and head uphill on a good track that crosses the hill near the summit of Seefin Mountain East top.Follow the track on downhill from the cres...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 17 Next page >>