UKH

South Wales 'Mountain' Becomes a 'Hill'

Following last week's promotion of a Lakeland summit to 'mountain' status (see here) comes news that a peak in the Brecon Beacons formerly thought to qualify as an independent mountain has now been downgraded to mere 'hill'. Where will it end?

Approaching the top of Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons, 129 kb
Approaching the top of Fan y Big, Brecon Beacons
© AllanMac, Jan 2008

After work by UKH contributor and amateur hill surveyor Myrddyn Phillips, it turns out that Fan y Big (or, rather, not so big) does not meet the criteria for status as a Hewitt. This is the list of hills in England, Wales and Ireland that are at least 2000 feet high, and with a relative height of at least 30m. The summit may be 717.6m, says Myrddyn, but the new drop measurement, obtained using satellite technology, has been recorded as 28.5m.

Confusingly, last week's promotion of Miller Moss gained it entry to the Nuttalls, an alternative list of 2000 foot 'mountains'. So what's the difference?

Well the Nuttalls are hills in England and Wales that are at least 2000 feet (610 metres) high, with a relative prominence of at least 15 metres (49.2 feet). The more rigorous Hewitts, on the other hand, are hills in England, Wales and Ireland that are at least 2000 feet high and with a relative height of at least 30m.

Of course there will be those for whom none of this matters. Part of the high ridge heading east from Pen y Fan, Fan y Big may have lost its Hewitt ranking, but it "will continue to be a mountain to be climbed, and a summit worth seeing" insist the people at the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.



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