Westmoreland County Highpoint Trip Report

fifteen areas at 190+ ft - one with spot elevation 197 ft

Date: November 4, 2004
Authors: Fred Lobdell, Mike Schwartz, Don Desrosiers

This county will require multiple permissions. Do not try this one after dark or on the sly. You will see why as we continue.

There are 15 areas in this county, not 17. The two areas on the Colonial Beach quad connect with the larger area on the Rollins Fork quad. Our numbering scheme really does make sense.

Area 1 (small area near Lerty): From the intersection of VA 3 and VA 214, go west on 3 for 4/10 mile, turn right onto dirt VA 669 (Old Park Road) and park (hence the name). The HP is due east through the fairly open woods. Coming up from the east is steeper (even for this county).

Area 2 (large area spanning quads with 197 spot elevation): Continue on VA 3 for 8 miles to Oak Grove and turn left at the light onto VA 638. Take the first dirt road to the left after the 636 intersection into the tree farm and get permission for access. (This is a tree farm and can you say "Virginia law"?) They graciously gave us permission to look around. Come to find out, this permission also covers the 3 areas on the west side of 638 (or so we interpreted it). We went back out to 638 and turned south (left). The house at the circle is Tara-like and visible up the long drive. There is a new road up into the property not shown on the topo between the driveway and the 182 dirt road. We will get back to that one.

Take the 182 road to the 197 ft elevation and turn right. There is a farm on the left and the dirt road no longer goes through. At the end of the road there is a white house. We took the HP to be just in front of the front steps. If we presume that the 197 ft point is valid, the house is pushing hard up against the 200 foot contour. While there were several other places in this area that rose above their neighbors, it was our considered opinion that this was the "Big Enchilada" of Westmoreland County. We related this information to the property owner.

Back to the road and take a right then another immediate right onto the road we didn't take earlier. There were several interesting spots on the north-south ridge that might benefit from touching. Without expensive equipment, it was hard to tell the specific HP.

Area 3 (farthest from road): Back to 638 and go north. Across from the entrance to the tree farm there is a dirt driveway not shown on the topo (Wirtland, 6073 Leedstown Road). Follow it straight ahead and park out of the mud (we didn't and had to push). HP was in the tree plantation just ahead. Scoping showed this area was lower than the large area across the street.

Areas 4 & 5 (two areas close together): Back to 638 south and take the first driveway on the right. The house at the smaller area was populated by tree farm workers who spoke no English. Our Spanish was rudimentary at best. The HP of the small area was next to the tree in front of the house. It was lower than the larger area which was in the middle of another tree plantation (easy walking). Scoping showed the larger area was lower than the area across 638.

Area 6 (on 636 near cemetery): Back to VA 3 (we got lunch at the convenience store in Oak Grove) and head west. In about a mile turn left onto VA 634 (Claymont Road). At the intersection with 636 (176 elevation, turn left for 7/10 mile to the red stock gate. Climb gate. HP is to the right of the house. House on topo is in serious disrepair.

Area 7 (west of 176 spot elevation): Back onto 636 to just past the curve. HP is in the field. This place has been plowed over the years so it may not be over 190 any more.

Area 8 (near 189 BM): Back west on 636. House at corner of 637 is abandoned. The field on the topo is flat and the area closest to the intersection looked as high as any. We invoked the Rule of Schweiker. No sign of the BM.

Areas 9 & 10 (on opposite sides on 634): The open area to the east of 634 is obvious. There is an old cemetery there, not shown on the topo. We took the eastern HP to be just to the right of the cemetery. For the western area, cross road and walk through woods. HP was to the left at the edge of the field.

Area 11 (due north of Grace Church): Either park at Grace Church or pull off at the bend in the road. Head up through the woods. The topo implies there will be 15-20 feet of relief. We never found it. Wander until you are happy.

Areas 12 and 13 (spanning VA 674): Do not attempt these points without getting landowner permission. We later realized how close we came to getting shot. Go to the smaller, southwestern point and see the large house on the right. It is owned by Rodney Rollins. GET HIS PERMISSION! The HP of this area is about 100 feet inside the fence near 674 (Bristol Mine Road).

Mike and Fred stealthed it while Don walked down to the house to get permission. Nobody answered at the door so Don hopped the fence on the way back and did this one at a run (OK, a quicker walk than normal). We went back east on 674 to the larger area. As we were standing next to the barbed wire fence trying to figure out what we were going to do, Rodney drove up. We quickly explained what we were doing. He has apparently been having troubles with ex's and was not immediately convinced that three strangers were not there for nefarious purposes. After several minutes in the rain he came to the (obvious to us) conclusion we were harmless if not a shade wacko. He gave permission to access his property and told us that the larger area in question was the highest point in the area (he had been a well driller in a previous, less well-heeled life.) We got the HP and got out.

Areas 14 & 15 (near county line on VA 3): Back to 634, turn left then turn left again onto VA 3. Northern HP is obvious to the right. There is an old driveway, although the house shown on the topo is gone. HP was next to cedar tree. For south of 3 area, turn into driveway for #17226 across from VA 683. HP was in the driveway next to the house. Touch and go.

Near the house at area 2 is probably the highest although we cannot prove it. Area 13 is probably the highest of the areas around Grace Church.