Ordinance Survey Blog A history of the Trig Pillar
A testament to surveyors of the past
Although 6,500+ trig pillars were built, hundreds have been lost to housing developments, farming, coastal erosion and other causes. The vast majority follow the standard Hotine design, but some are stone built, and in Scotland there are some ‘Vanessas’ which are taller, cylindrical concrete pillars.
You can only imagine how hard it was for surveyors of the past to not only map Britain, but to also locate sites for trig pillars and carry the materials to remote sites to then build the trig pillars too.
It’s a true testament to their skills that such an accurate map of Britain was created from such humble beginnings as the trig pillar 80 years ago.
There is something special about our Trig points in Britain to the point of fond (perhaps sentimental) affection. We love to go and visit them, some people even ‘bag’ them in the same way others ‘bag’ mountain tops. Because Trigs are located in high places the views on a clear day are 360 degrees of unincumbered Britain. Today we could see the Cheviots to the north and in all directions we had crystal clear views. It was a fun walk with fellow monks and Brenda Bear came too, named after Brenda Birchenough a fond friend in the Dharma.
With thoughts for those whose day is not clear or bright, whose view is limited and who are alone, and not by choice.