Peterborough and Oundle men feature in ‘Dull Men of Great Britain’ book

Rob Woodall at Torre de Cerredo in Spain (photo - Geoff Pettengell)

Rob Woodall at Torre de Cerredo in Spain (photo - Geoff Pettengell)

1
Have your say

The next time you reflect that your partner or friend has a boring hobby or job it might be worth thinking about Rob Woodall and John Potter.

Because Rob from Peterborough and John from Oundle are two stars of a new book called ‘Dull Men of Great Britain’ which attempts to celebrate the mundane and unusual passions of a select few males from these isles.

European Rail Timetable collator John Potter (photo - Leland Carlson and Jonathan Sears-Corfield)

European Rail Timetable collator John Potter (photo - Leland Carlson and Jonathan Sears-Corfield)

Not that either men would class what they do as dull. Rob has climbed mountains, landed on remote islands and visited a military fort to pursue his passion for trig bagging.

A trigpoint is a concrete four-foot tall pillar previously used across the country by the Ordnance Survey (OS) to improve their map accuracy.

They are often located on the highest bit of ground so that there is a direct line of sight from one to the next.

Rob, of Muskham, Bretton, believes he has visited or ‘bagged’ all but one of the near 6,200 trigs he has pinpointed from OS data and the internet, although he admits there may be more he has yet to discover.

Nevertheless, when his 14-year venture to become the first person to visit all known trigs is met in Fife, Scotland next April, it will be a moment to savour.

“There will be a bit of Champagne at the site and a malt or two. Hopefully the weather will be nice,” said Rob.

The 55-year-old undertakes his trips outside of his day job at Anglian Water, not that all his work colleagues understand the appeal of trigs.

Rob said: “Some are interested, some are a little bit bemused.”

Keen hill walker Rob got into trig bagging when he realised that although there are not many hills around the city, there are a lot of trig points.

His quest to bag every trig has seen him climb Ben Nevis, spend three years getting permission to access a military fort and even visit people’s gardens. And Rob was happy to be part of the Dull Men book after being approached by its author, not that he takes the boring label too seriously.

“It’s just a bit of fun,” he added. “I’ve got all sorts of friends contacting me telling me I’m not that dull which is nice.”

John (61) put together the European Rail Timetable at Thomas Cook in Peterborough before being made redundant two years ago once the timetable was stopped.

He then decided to begin publishing it himself and now sells it to people across the world, including individuals from Brazil and Australia.

John said: “Anyone associated with trains has been renowned as a bit of an anorak,” but he too has enjoyed passing through Europe by rail, and he classes the Brig to Geneva route as his favourite with it taking in a glacial valley.

“The scenery on that route is just wonderful,” he said.

To buy the timetable call 01832 270198.

Dull Men of Great Britain: Celebrating the Ordinary by Leland Carlson (Ebury Press).