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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 06:19 GMT 07:19 UK
Experiencing the highs and lows
By Brady Haran
BBC News Online, East Midlands

Flying the flag at each summit of the East Midlands

Two climbers from England's East Midlands have been in the headlines this week.

Derbyshire's Nigel Vardy just tackled the highest peak in Greenland, as part of a wider challenge to reach the highest point on seven islands.

And 11-year-old Joseph Pointing, from Newark, tackled Britain's "three-peak challenge" - Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike.

This has prompted BBC News Online to ask the question - must all climbers leave the East Midlands to find impressive summits?

Could there be a multi-peak challenge in one of England's flattest regions?

Over the course of a week, we visited the highest and lowest points of five counties in the East Midlands.

Heights were provided by the Ordnance Survey

DERBYSHIRE: The highest county

Not surprisingly, the East Midlands' highest point is in the Peak District.

At 636m (2,087 feet), the top spot is near Crowden Head, on Kinder Scout's moorland.

Kinder Scout
Heading up Kinder Scout

Geographer Professor Paul Mather, from the University of Nottingham, said Derbyshire retained its height despite the ice age which "filed down" much of the East Midlands.

He said: "Millions of years ago, Derbyshire's rocks were squeezed up into a big dome by continental collisions.

"When ice moved down from the north during the great ice age, the big dome of Derbyshire was sticking up out of the ice so it wasn't eroded."

The lowest points in Derbyshire are two areas near the River Trent at Long Eaton, both 26m (85 feet) above sea level.

They are found at Cranfleet Farm and the Trent Rifle Range.

LINCOLNSHIRE: The lowest county

The lowest point in Lincolnshire - and the overall title of lowest point in the East Midlands - is shared by several farms under the 0-metre contour line.

In total, the Ordnance Survey says there is about 10 sq km just below sea level, including Glebe Farm, Engine Farm and Round Decoy Farm.

Trig pillar at highest point in Lincolnshire
The hidden summit of Lincolnshire

They are located east of Stickford, between the A16 and A52.

The highest point in Lincolnshire is marked by a trig pillar 168m (551 feet) above sea level.

The pillar is hard to find, concealed by a hedge on farmland near Normanby Le Wold.

However, the general location is impossible to miss, as it is dominated by a radar station which can be seen from miles away.

The radar looks like an oversized football hovering above the landscape.

RUTLAND: The smallest county

It is the nation's smallest county, so it is perhaps unsurprising that Rutland's topography is also on a small scale.

The highest point is a trig pillar on a sheep farm near Cold Overton Park Wood, at an altitude of 197m (646 feet).

The low point is a section of secluded farmland near Belmesthorpe, 17m (56 feet) above sea level.

LEICESTERSHIRE: Ashphalt quarry to ashphalt road

The view from Leicestershire's highest point is spectacular.

At 278m (912 feet), Bardon Hill rises above the flat landscape.

Bardon Hill quarry as seen from the hill's summit
Leicestershire's own Grand Canyon?

The hill, near Coalville, is also a rich source of aggregates and is home to a huge quarry.

The view from the summit looks directly into the massive quarry, its steep sides and earthy colours resembling a smaller version of the Grand Canyon.

The lowest point in Leicestershire is a bend on a minor road near Bottesford, adjacent to the county boundary with Nottinghamshire.

It is about 25m (82 feet) above sea level.

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE: From farm to farm

Both the highest and lowest points in Nottinghamshire are found on farms.

The highest point is near the M1 at Whiteborough Farm, near Huthwaite, measuring in at 203m (666 feet).

Brady Haran walks towards the highest point in Nottinghamshire
Approaching the Nottinghamshire summit

The lowest point lies on a contour line running at sea level at Peat Carr, in the county's north.

On hearing of BBC's News Online's "five summits conquest", mountaineer Mr Vardy, from Belper, was full of understanding (if not admiration).

Describing the lure of highest points, Mr Vardy said: "A lot of people like to get to the top and get the flag out and take a photograph.

"Some people find the summit as an extra, they find the climb itself is what they are after.

"I get a bit of both... I do enjoy standing on a summit, there is no two ways about it."

Mr Vardy returned from his own climb this week, reaching the top of the Arctic Circle's highest peak, Gunnbjornsfjeld in Greenland.

ALL THE DETAILS (supplied by the Ordnance Survey)

Got and Ordnance Survey map and fancy seeing these places for yourself? The information below may be of some help.

Highest points

radar station at Normanby Le Wold
The radar station at Normanby Le Wold

Derbyshire (636m) Kinder Scout, grid ref SK 0863387543
Leicestershire (278m) Bardon Hill, grid ref SK 4600413213
Nottinghamshire (203m) approximately 200m to the west of Whiteborough Farm, north of Huthwaite, grid ref SK 4567560503
Rutland (197m) Trig pillar east of Cold Overton Park Wood, grid ref SK 8271708539
Lincolnshire (168m) Trig pillar NW of radar station, Normanby le Wold, grid ref TF 1210696464

Lowest points

Lowest point in Leicestershire
A significant bend in the road

Derbyshire (26m), Spot height 150m north of Cranfleet Farm, Long Eaton, grid ref SK 4942131520, and spot height on the Trent Rifle Range, Long Eaton, grid ref SK 49828131585
Leicestershire (24.8m), Spot height at bend on a minor road, north of Bottesford West Junction, grid ref SK 7955740776
Rutland (17m) Spot height 400m NNE of North Lodge Farm, Belmesthorpe, grid ref TF 0566111226
Nottinghamshire (0m contour) Peat Carr, 3.5 km east of Blaxton, grid ref SE 7073000940
Lincolnshire (below 0m contour) 3 areas: 4.8 sq km approx centred on Glebe Farm, grid ref TF 4187560591 - 3.5 sq km approx centred on Engine Farm, grid ref TF 3728659136 - 1.7 sq km approx centred on Round Decoy Farm, grid ref TF 4578256899

The BBC's Brady Haran
"No mountaineer is complete without a flag at the summit"

Additional footage
Extended interviews and material not seen on TV

Is the grass any greener?
10 Feb 04  |  Derbyshire
The Magnificent Seven
07 Oct 03  |  England
The farm furthest from the sea
23 Jul 03  |  Derbyshire


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