About Trigpointing

Trigpointing is one of those unusual hobbies that tends to get you funny looks when you mention it to people. For some reason, which I cannot for the life of me fathom, I also get the same reaction when I mention sand collecting, fat biking and kick scooting. Anyway, trigpointing itself is about as simple a hobby as you can get. You find the location of a trig point – a trig point is one of those concrete pillars you come across just about everywhere – and you go there and “bag” it.

The term trigpoint is the common name for a triangulation pillar, a concrete pillar around 1.20m tall located at prominent positions all across the UK. They were built by the Ordnance Survey from the 1930’s onwards to determine the exact shape and size of the country. Surveyors used theodolites to measure the angles between pillars, allowing them calculate the distance between pillars. This is why trig points are always in line of sight of other trig points. They may not be today but they were back in the day. This process led to the excellent OS maps we have today. They are no longer in use following the invention of GPS.

There are around 6190 of them scattered about the United Kingdom so you are never far from one no matter where you live. Getting to some is literally as easy as a stroll in the park, others will require considerably more effort, being located on remote almost inaccessible mountain tops. And that’s the beauty of trigpointing, you pick the one’s you want to visit. There are no rules, you decide what trig point you want to bag and when you want to go.

Finding a trig point is easy enough. A search for “trigpointing” online will produce various sites with searchable online maps that will show trig points located in and around your local area. The rest is entirely up to you. My personal preference is to only bag trig points that I can visit under my own stream, as it were. Avoiding using the car and only travelling either on foot, by kick scooter or by bicycle.

Copyright ©2020 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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