Ben Nevis Gains One Metre in Height

© Matthew Hellewell

Britain's highest mountain - Ben Nevis, or simply 'The Ben', as it is widely known in the climbing community - is reported to have gained one metre in height following more accurate GPS measurements carried out by Ordnance Survey. Its height now stands at 1,345m, replacing the previous official record of 1,344m.

Ben Nevis from Torlundy  © Matthew Hellewell
Ben Nevis from Torlundy
fhuaran, Apr 2012
© Matthew Hellewell

The mountain was last surveyed 65 years ago in 1949, and improvements to measurement technology have resulted in this latest, more accurate reading, as opposed to any geological movement.

The new height may only have changed by a few centimetres - now standing at precisely 1,344.527 metres - but the new figure requires the height to be rounded up to 1,345 metres officially. The new measurement will be included in all new Ordnance Survey digital and printed maps.

UKH's Dan Bailey commented:

"Will many people now feel compelled to re-climb the dreadful Zigzags for the cachet of standing a fraction of a metre higher? At a guess, the height increase probably won't make much difference to visitor numbers. But it might explain why the Tourist Track always felt longer than it should."

Ben Nevis  © Peter Leeming
Ben Nevis
© Peter Leeming, Apr 2008

This Daily Mash article offered an amusing explanation for the mountain's "increase" in size: 

"Ben Nevis will awake and wreak terrible vengeance on England if Irn Bru is taxed, geologists have confirmed.

"The mountain, which has grown a metre since Wednesday’s budget, is expected to draw itself up to its full 6,000m height and stagger south to London if any further threats are made to Scotland’s lifeblood.

“Current theories are that the mountain is sleeping off a tectonic hangover and wants to be sure there’s plenty of rusty orange restorative for when it wakes up, but nobody knows for sure.”

More seriously, to the credit of the 7-strong team of surveyors who spent 20 nights measuring its height in 1949, it would seem that their measurement - using the rudimentary method of shining light between trig points on different mountains - wasn't too far off the mark...

Read a BBC news article here.

UKH's Dan B clowning about on Wednesday - he had no idea he was one 'whole' metre higher  © Dan Bailey
UKH's Dan B clowning about on Wednesday - he had no idea he was one 'whole' metre higher
© Dan Bailey




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18 Mar, 2016
This story reminded me how many moderate Himalayan scale peaks are way out verses what the maps say for height. Seen quite a a few that are recorded higher than actual. Climbed a couple that look 100m lower on Google Earth than what the maps claim.
18 Mar, 2016
Sounds like the worst episode of tattoo fixers ever...not that I've watched it ¬¬
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