I love this crisp weather - or, in up to date parlance, 'I'm loving this crisp weather'. The view from our kitchen window this morning: Solsbury Hill. Yes, the same hill made famous by local resident, Peter Gabriel, who was credible right up until he claimed to see an eagle flying out of the night. Also in modern parlance, "SHU' UP!!!"
It was massive, Iron Age hill-forts like this one which the invading Romans had to overcome before they could get down to building the Baths, straightening and mettling roads, plus all the other little day to day details which made our lives so much more bearable than it was before they arrived and pummelled us into submission. 'What have the Romans done for us?' Well....
A friend of mine took his girlfriend up there last weekend, and asked me if I knew what the funny, obelisk-shaped lump of concrete with a metal mount set into the top of it was on it's highest point. He's about 12 years younger than me, so I suppose he can be forgiven for not knowing. "It's an O.S. trig-point" I told him. You can guess what the next question was.
Just about every useful thing that has been invented in the last 150 years has been designed for military use, and trig-points are no exception. This computer was designed for military use, as was the internet which supports it. That hill-fort was designed for military use as well, but not as well designed as the Roman machine which overcame it.
All the best invaders have good intelligence, and the best intelligence often involves accurate maps. O.S. stands for Ordnance Survey, and the reason for the topographical surveys was so that artillery could be aimed more accurately, and these concrete mounts on the high points of hills were to put theodolites on to take triangulated readings from another two points within sighting distance. (Stop me if you know all this).
It's always best to get as high as you can to find out where you are going, and before aircraft were invented, hills were the highest. You can't get much higher than the window of an orbiting satellite, so now these posts are pretty much useless and O.S. maps are used by retired ramblers more than anyone else. I use O.S. maps for armchair exploration - don't you love doing that? I use Google Earth for flying too - don't you love doing that as well? These days, I use Google Streets for spying on myself and others - don't you love doing that too?