Friday, March 18, 2016

Britain's Highest Mountain Just Got a Little Bit Taller

Ben Nevis is a famous mountain in the U.K. Not only is it the highest peak in all of British Isles, it is also a place where many of the country's top mountaineers honed their skills before heading off to conquer much more difficult and taller peaks. But now, a new survey indicates that the mountain is even higher than previously thought, but not by much.

According to a new survey, Ben Nevis stands 1345 meters (4412 ft) in height, which is exactly one meter taller than it was previously believed to be. The last survey on the mountain took place back in 1949, and 1344 meters has been the official height of mountain ever since. But surveyors say that the height gain isn't from any kind of geological activity, but is instead the result of more accurate equipment to measure the altitude at the summit.

Technically speaking, the mountain only gained a few centimeters in height, but it was enough to cause cartographers to begin rounding its altitude up, rather than down. The survey was conducted over a period of about 21 days, although the team only had three clear nights to collect their data. That was still enough to record the differences however, with a new official height being announced.

Ben Nevis is located in the Scottish Highlands at the western end of the Grampian Mountains near the town of Fort Williams. It is estimated that about 100,000 people climb to the summit each year, most of which fall upon the so called Pony Track which is a non-technical hike to the top. But one of the attractions for this peak is that there are multiple routes of varying degrees of difficulty, some requiring rock climbing skills, tough scrambling, or even technical mountaineer. It can be especially challenging to summit in the winter, which is why so many climbers flock to it on a regular basis.

Reading this story makes you wonder how far off we are on the heights of some other peaks. I'm sure as we go back to re-survey other mountains using modern technology this will become a more common story.


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