A Hill-walking Resource for the 21st Century
Walking has never been so attractive. It’s cheap, it keeps you fit and it gets you away from the crowds.
First the recession and now a serious health scare - both are causing people to focus on the leisure opportunities available closer to home. The launching of a new inter-active website (www.prominentpeaks.org.uk) draws together for the first time a UK-wide peak challenge and a wealth of information for hill walkers. The beauty of this metric list of peaks is that it has something to offer for seasoned walkers, those starting out on a new hobby, and families. There’s nothing new in the concept of the hill walking challenge and the appeal of bagging all the peaks on a list. This website enables walkers to create their own challenge near to where they live, or for a holiday, to suit the constraints on their leisure time and pocket. Or they could tackle all the 158 peaks in the UK with a prominence of over 500 metres, by taking up ‘Bloomer’s Challenge’. The whole list is based on prominence – giving walkers the best views from the highest positions in a region or range.
For over a century, hillwalkers have used various tables of hills as the basis of a multi-year challenge. The most famous, Munro’s Tables, have a long history but are limited to the Scottish Highlands and two Islands. Although there are some GB-wide tables – most notably the Marilyns – so far there has been no UK-wide peak challenge.
Today, weather permitting, Jim Bloomer and Roddy Urquhart hope to climb Ben Nevis to formally launch the UK Prominent Peaks web-site and challenge. Jim explains: "the inter-active web-site of 1564 peaks can be used by anybody to create their own challenge locally or for a holiday. And we have created a brand new challenge of the most prominent peaks across the whole of the UK. This list of the UK’s most prominent peaks will introduce walkers to all the major ranges of our beautiful islands".
Earlier today a new classification of the UK peaks – the UK Prominent Peaks – was launched online. The website documents the 1564 peaks with over 100 metre prominence and 500 metre summit height. Bloomer’s Challenge is based on this classification and includes the most prominent 158 peaks. The list includes peaks from Caithness to Devon, from Fermanagh to the Cheviots and from the Isle of Lewis to the Isle of Man. Jim Bloomer’s first peak of his Challenge was Scafell Pike in 1961 at age 7. He completed it on High Willhays, in Dartmoor, in October 2008 (he finished the Munros in 1986 and has climbed over 900 Prominent Peaks).
Bloomer’s challenge brings together the peaks of 500 metres prominence. They are likely to provide good unobstructed views by their dominance in their locality. They are the most distinct summits. This is based on the topographic concept of prominence.
An inter-active website www.prominentpeaks.org.uk has been created with the help of the UK Metric Association. This provides downloadable access to the UK Prominent Peaks database. It provides links to the following additional resources:
- Wide area and local area Google maps of the UK Prominent Peaks & Bloomer’s challenge
- Downloadable Google Earth files for the peaks.
- Access to Ordnance Survey maps for each peak using either Streetmap or Get-a-Map websites
- Access to photos of the Prominent Peaks using the Geograph website.
- Links to the Wikipedia entry for many hills