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Post details Post   (Contract pics)
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Colin Murphy
2008-12-02 10:39:12
"Schiehallion" from Colin Murphy Contract pics
Picture: Schiehallion (Contract 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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Track
Near Bweengduff, Boggeragh Mountains (Ireland)
caiomhin 18 hours ago.
walk, Len: 7.4km, Climb: 181m, Area: Bweengduff, Boggeragh Mountains (Ireland) ...

  
Track
Tonlagee via Stoney Top.
simon3 19 hours ago.
Stoney Top view south.Annalecka BridgeThis walk starts from near Annalecka bridge where there is a limited amount of p... walk, Len: 14.4km, Climb: 659m, Area: Stoney Top, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) St

  
Forum: General
RE: Morocco - advice for tackling Jebel Toubk
muzag 2 days ago.
@spiider28 Handy article with logistical tips here :https://www.irishmountaineeringclub.org/travelling-light-in-the-high-atlas-mountains/

Summit Comment
Slemish: tea at the top
Parts999 2 days ago.
great views my kids and i are going to as many mountian tops as we can, we call it tea at the topit great fun

  
Summit Comment
Knocknamuck: Summit of the Slieveardagh Hills
Wilderness 4 days ago.
If you fancy a longer walk you can start at the car park just outside Grange at S309566. From here I walked clockwise round the Crag Forest Loop until I reached the Wellington Monument. I then joi...

  
Track
Blackstairs Challenge 2018
David-Guenot 3 days ago.
Different finish on this year's challenge, adding some 3km over good forest tracks. Best weather conditions we could ... walk, Len: 34.2km, Climb: 1491m, Area: Mount Leinster East Top, Blackstairs Mo

Summit Comment
Sliabh Tuaidh Far W Top: All About The Journey, Not The Destination
Aidy a week ago.
I had a mixed day weatherwise, with dark skies, rain and flat light one minute, and blue skies the next, but it only added to the spectacular views to be had from the summit. If anything, the view...

  
Track
Glenbeigh Horseshoe, extended version
David-Guenot 3 days ago.
A peak-bagger's trip over the beautiful Glenbeigh Horseshoe, with plenty of time allowed for filming. walk, Len: 41.7km, Climb: 1906m, Area: Seefin, Glenbeigh Horseshoe (Ireland) Se...

  
Forum: General
Kenmare next week.
simon3 2 days ago.
Anyone interested in hillwalking next week?Contact sstewart04@mountainviews.ie

Summit Comment
Spelhoagh: Quiet mountain
Wilderness a week ago.
I climbed this mountain coming from the West side from Oughtmore mountain. I've never tried it but I'm sure Spelhoagh can also be easily accessed from the Moneyneany Road on the East side as well ...

  
Track
Brassel Mountain
David-Guenot 3 days ago.
walk, Len: 3.0km, Climb: 458m, Area: Brassel Mountain, MacGillycuddy's Reeks (I...

  
Summit Comment
Dromderalough: Here we go again
peter1 2 weeks ago.
Ah yes...The Dromderaloughs...in cloud and rain...'climb me once, shame on me, climb me twice, shame on thee'.I had climbed Dromderalough some years ago in Autumn, in cloud and rain, using Paddy D...


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