You don’t have to become a determined hill bagger to find the database useful, but you will probably be a hill walker with a desire to reach summits rather than simply enjoying being amongst the hills. By using the Google Map facility you can soon establish the position of Prominent Peaks nearest to your home or a holiday or weekend base. If you have become interested in completing Bloomer’s Challenge, then many half days out on the hill can be extended to full days with the addition of neighbouring Prominent Peaks and other smaller tops. You could aim to complete the P500+s and set yourself a target of doing an additional 142 Prominent Peaks giving a Grand Total of 300.
The idea of a database is very much geared to providing hill walkers with opportunities to select challenges that suit them and to plan rewarding days in the hills. Within the database is a device to track your progress This breaks down the UK’s hills as follows:
Here the hills are categorised by their height and prominence categories and then by country, with the Isle of Man adding a further 3 summits.
The authors believe the flagship challenge that emerges from the Prominent Peak database is to climb the 158 Peaks in the UK with a prominence of more than 500 metres – Bloomer’s Challenge.
For those in need of a more demanding target, the 386 Prominent Peaks over 750 m height with 200 m prominence may provide the answer.
|Northern Pennines & Cheviots||3||1||4|
|Central & South Wales||3||1||4|
A third UK challenge is to ascend the 133 Prominent Peaks over 1000 metres in height – The Thousanders.
If you have already climbed all the Munros then you will have done at least 127 of these. As well as the 3 Thousanders in North Wales, there are 3 P100s which are Munro Tops and have not been accorded 'separate mountain' Munro status. If you are interested in The Thousanders then we provide a downloadable list dedicated to these high summits although it is very easy to determine your progress using the database.
For the real enthusiast, there is the opportunity to combine all 3 of these UK Challenges (Bloomer’s Triple Challenge), giving a total of 457 Prominent Peaks. This involves accepting a lower height criterion with increasing prominence criterion. This means doing all the P1000s and P500s, the P200s over 750 m in height and the P100s over 1000 m in height.
These 457 hills in the combined lists can be further analysed by Traditional List, Topography (below) and Nation (below):
|Height < 610 m||6|
|Carn Eige Group||175|
|Ben Nevis Group||208|
|Isle of Man||1|
After the Triple Challenge, the next UK-wide Challenge is to go on to complete the 1564 Prominent Peaks.
If you commit yourself to a UK challenge, then a high proportion of your hills will be in Scotland.
Many English and Welsh hill walkers will seek out hills closer to home. If all the Prominent Peaks are included, then England and Wales have a combined total of 271. Wales has 136 hills and so does England, after adding Black Mountain, which sits astride the Anglo-Welsh border.
Some Scottish residents hold the view that there are enough hills in Scotland without venturing south and west. The authors would urge at least a minimalistic approach south of the border of doing Snowdon together with the 22 P500s in England, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Prominence plays an all-important role in the UK Prominent Peaks Database and so an alternative analysis can be presented around topographic prominence principles:
|Ben Nevis P1000 Family||1-9, 19, 21, 26||1||50||219||316||586|
|Southern highlands||1, 2, 19||24||85||90||199|
|Central highlands||3, 4, 5A, 9||1||20||71||115||207|
|Greater Cairngorms||5B, 6, 7, 8, 21||4||58||107||169|
(N of Central belt)
|Carn Eige P1000 Family||10 - 16, 18||1||62||186||212||461|
|Western Highlands||10, 11, 12, 18||1||33||102||110||246|
|Northern Highlands||13, 14, 15, 16||29||84||102||215|
|Snowdon P1000 Family||27, 28, 30 - 36, 38, 40, 41||1||21||125||237||384|
(S of Central Belt)
|Wales||30, 31, 32||1||10||43||82||136|
|England||33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 40, 41||7||47||81||135|
|Islands||17, 20, 24, 29||18||35||46||99|
|Northern Ireland||43, 44||4||12||18||34|
Here the P1000s transcend national borders, with the English summits and Scotland’s Southern Uplands usurped by Snowdon. Essentially, this means going back to how the land was left at the end of the last ice age (geography) rather than post Roman historical divisions. The Islands and Northern Ireland are shown separately. The territories of Ben Nevis and Carn Eige are further sub-divided into traditional regions.
There are many opportunities that emerge from the table and you can restrict your challenge to hills with prominence greater than 200 m or attempt all the Prominent Peaks (H500+) in a given area. Many hillwalkers will want to focus their efforts on the hills that are most accessible whilst others will seek out the remoteness of, say, the Islands or the Northern Highlands.
One important mountainous area that has been dealt few P500s is the 'Greater Cairngorms'. The small P500 count need not stop those who enjoy this unique terrain setting their own challenge of completing the 169 Prominent Peaks or the 62 summits with a prominence greater than 200m. A third ‘Greater Cairngorm’ challenge would be to climb the 88 Prominent Peaks over 750 m elevation. This third challenge only emerges after a little study or manipulation of the Excel Database.
The database includes some 424 Prominent Peaks below 600 m in height. Many younger people, in good physical condition, with easy access to the higher summits will no doubt feel less inspired by these less demanding hills. If you are in this category, remember you will get older. Your knees, ankles or other body parts will become less reliable. In these circumstances a time may come when you’re immensely grateful that there are Prominent Peaks you can still conquer. Save them for your mature years (but do the 6 P500+s below 600 m soon – they are special).
Whilst the authors of the UK Prominent Peaks would be delighted to hear of real interest in the UK wide challenges of the P500+s, the P200+H750+ and the Thousanders, they would also relish the idea that hill walkers are making their own selection of hills from the Database, getting out for rewarding days on the hill and perhaps driving a few kilometres less than might otherwise be the case.