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Ben Nevis gets officially higher

The Ordnance Survey have announced that Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, is higher than we all thought. Their surveyors have made the ascent and resurveyed the mountain recently, for the first time since 1949. They found that the mountain is 1,345m high, up a metre from 1,344m.

The resurvey was carried out following the recent restoration of the trig pillar, but the team were clear that the mountain isn’t really growing – it’s just a more accurate measurement. For the last survey it took a team of seven surveyors almost three weeks to make the 1,344m measurement using 200lbs of kit they had to haul up the mountain. Now just three surveyors using a geodetic survey grade GPS receiver for two hours could take their data back to head office for it to be checked and confirmed.

Mark Greaves, Geodetic Consultant, said “The new height relates to the highest natural point on the summit and was measured as 1344.527m. I double checked everything and asked others to do so too. What is amazing is how close the surveyors in 1949 were. The measured height has changed by centimetres, but those centimetres mean we now need to round up rather than down. So that’s why Ben Nevis will now be officially known as being 1,345m.”

Ben Nevis summit seen in summer

Ben Nevis summit seen in summer


The team experienced rain, sleet and snow on the summit during the survey, but back in 1949 it was a very different experience back in 1949 when surveyors had to wait for darkness to make the survey, which then relied on powerful lights being shone from the trig pillars of other mountains to Ben Nevis. It had taken 20 nights because only three nights were clear enough.

The new height for Ben Nevis is shown on the new OS Landranger paper map and on digital maps.

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