Monday, September 22, 2008

When is a Hill a Mountain?

So, I've always assumed that something was a hill or a mountain depending on who named it -- otherwise, why would the Black Hills be higher than the Ozark Mountains? Well, it turns out that there's a more or less official definition that if it's 2,000 feet high, it's a mountain; anything less than that is a hill.

This became relevant (well, as relevant as it gets) when they re-measured a Welsh hill this week and found out it's actually a few inches higher than they thought. So they're reclassifying it as a mountain. Thanks to Janice for drawing this story to my attention.

Here's the bbc article with a short video report:

And here's a bbc radio report on the same topic:

Finally, just for fun, here's a little piece on some volunteers fixing up one of England's chalk figures (the Cerne Abbas Giant). I got to see the White Horse when I was there in October, thanks to Charles and Tammi Ryan, and on my next visit I'm hoping to visit all three of the surviving Chalk Figures -- the White Horse, Long Man, and Cerne Abbas Giant (and possibly the sites of two destroyed figures, the Red Horse of Tysoe and the Plymouth Giants Gog/Magog). So, if like me you're interested in what Paul Newman called "The Lost Gods" of England*, enjoy:

--John R.

*[not the actor, but the author of the same name who wrote LOST GODS OF ALBION: THE CHALK HILL FIGURES OF BRITAIN]

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