Eighty years ago today, somewhere in deepest Northamptonshire, the very first triangulation pillar was erected at the start of a project known as the Retriangulation of Great Britain. The project was to take 26 years by which time over six thousand pillars had been erected, all over the country, on the highest points of the land; although that is all relative, there is one trig point, at Little Ouse in Norfolk, that is actually one metre below average sea level.
The iconic trig pillar was designed by Brigadier Martin Hotine CMG CBE to provide a stable base for the Ordnance Survey surveyors’ theodolites. All materials were carried up and the survey itself could take several days and obviously depended on good visibility to the two adjacent trig points in the triangle.
This trig pillar is located at the highest point of Carlton Bank which has been variously mapped as Brown Hill and Howe Moor but TrigPointingUK, the authoritative website for trig point bagging enthusiasts, refers to it as Whorlton Moor. It stands next to an 18th century boundary stone.