07-Apr-2001 -- Visit to confluence point 50°N 12°E on the 7th of April 2001.
by Carsten Neßhöver and Andreas Heßberg
Our contribution to the confluence project already started in March 2001 when we got to know about the project and were surprised to recognize, that the confluence 50N 12E was pretty near to our working place in Bayreuth and not yet visited. Unfortunately, the Bavarian weather made us wait some weeks before approaching the confluence...
The confluence is located within the Fichtelgebirge, an up to 1000m above sea-level hillside in Northern Bavaria, South-East Germany. The Fichtelgebirge is part of the Hercynian block in central Europe. It has a cool and wet, semi-continental climate (about 6,5°C average temperature per year and 950 mm of precipitiation). The vegetation is dominated by Norway Spruce forests. Starting in the 1980th, the higher regions of the Fichtelgebirge were strongly affected by forest dieback due to strong sulfur- and nitrogen-inputs through the atmosphere and alteration of soil and climate conditions. Although, still about 80% of the landscape are forested. Thus, forestry is one of the main industries in the region.
The confluence point itself is located on the Eastern slope of the Burgstein Hill (879 m), north of the Kösseine Hill (939 m) at a height of approx. 770m, 30 km east of Bayreuth and 6.7 km west of Marktredwitz. The Kösseine Hill consists of a special, blue-coloured form of granite, which makes it some kind of special for mining. The slope around the confluence is mainly covered by Norway Spruce stands.
Our approach to the point started from the small village of Kleinwendern at the foot of the Burgstein Hill, after making our way from Bayreuth by car. With the local topographical map we were able to approach the point within half an hour by foot. The point itself happened to lie in between the forest, so the detection of the point by GPS was complicated because of bad satellite reception. Although, we got the signal from 49°59`59``N and 12°E exactly on the granite block we’re sitting on at one of the photos. As it is perfect as a crossing-point, we decided to take it as best approximation to the exact confluence point, which must be lying within a few meters under the trees. Andreas made an 360 °-panorama shot from there- unfortunately the only thing you really can see are Spruce trees...
Carsten Nesshoever, 5th of May, 2001