Lake District Summit anomaly

Whilst undertaking a recent group of activations in the Lake District I became aware of an anomaly. The Old Man of Coniston, 803m is the listed summit in the group of peaks in that area. However Swirl How some 3kms due N of the Old Man is 804m high and should be the recognised summit of the group. The lowest point between the two is Levens Hause, a col around 700m asl.
All the maps clearly give Swirl How as the higher summit. Perhaps the man made cairn is being taken into account?

Best wishes Gordon G0EWN

In reply to G0EWN:
Very interesting Gordon…

My 50k OS map has Swirl How with a black spot height of 802m and The Old Man with a black spot height at 803m and would therefore be the parent with the Levers Hawse col at 676m (digitally). Which maps are you looking at?

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0EWN:
There might be a misprint involved. I keep an old one-inch tourist map and have the SOTA summits marked on it. The OMC is marked as 2631 feet and Swirl How is marked 2630 feet. It will be interesting to see how this plays out!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G0EWN:

Hi Gordon

Not sure which maps you’re looking at, there is no spot height on the 1:25,000 OS sheet but it is widely accepted that Swirl How is about a metre lower than the Old Man. Various sources give it as 801 or 802m (just checked the 1:50,000 where it is shown as 802m)

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to G4MD:

From Wikipedia:

Swirl How Elevation 804 m, (2,637 ft)(disputed)

and …

Old Man of Coniston Elevation 2,634 feet (803 m)

Highest Fell in the Range?

Before the 1974 revision of county boundaries in England the Old Man was the highest fell in administrative Lancashire. This assertion rested upon it being higher than its near northern neighbour, Swirl How. There appears to be some doubt in the current literature over whether the height of Swirl How is 802 or 804 m, following resurveying. If modern measurement has not added 2 m to its rival then The Old Man of Coniston is the highest point in the Furness Fells, and the twelfth most prominent mountain in England [1].


In reply to G0AZS:
Hello Marc, Brian and Paul, thanks for replies,

the maps I use are both Harvey maps;
Southern Lakeland 1:25000
Lake District BMC 1:40000

The 1:40000 BMC map is a very recent map–clearly Harvey’s reckon Swirl How is higher than the Old Man by 1m.

I also have a very old 1:50000 Lake District map which gives Old Man 2631’ and Swirl How 2630’ making the Old Man highest by a foot. Clearly both can’t be correct, hence the anomaly. It would be nice to know that we are activating the correct summit.

Best wishes Gordon G0EWN

In reply to G0EWN:

Even if Swirl How eventually becomes accepted as the higher summit, we are activating the correct summit because the correct summit is the one on the SOTA list!

Most of our summit heights as given by the OS are only accurate to plus or minus a certain amount, and that error is in metres rather than centimetres, making a proportion of sub-Marilyns potentially Marilyns, and a proportion of only-just-Marilyns are potentially sub-Marilyns. We don’tknow which ones, of course, and we shouldn’t let it bother us, either - or we will be worrying next about how many Marilyns will become sub-Marilyns as the sea level rises! We just work to our SOTA list in its latest revision.


Brian G8ADD

The Swirl How - Old Man of Coniston situation is known to the RHB surveyors, and as such gets periodically checked. It was listed as a “candidate for change” in the 2006 RHB update, but unlike Cracoe Fell and Chanctonbury Ring (et al), it never did get as far as being changed.

Maybe the forthcoming 2010 RHB update (May) will produce something - or maybe not. But you are activating the correct summit - G/LD-013!