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County Tops and Unitary Authorities

Unlike hill lists such as the Marilyns and Nuttalls the County Tops are not measured by minimum height or relative height, instead they are simply the highest point in a man made geographical area. Thus while a county top is often a recognised summit it can also be merely a corner of a boundary fence on the slope of a hill. An example of the latter is Cheeks Hill, the long standing county top of Staffordshire.

There are in effect three different county top lists, each of which is given below. The first list are the so-called 'Historic County Tops'. These are the long standing counties prior to the 1974 adminsitrative changes.

The next list is based on the 1974 administrative changes that saw the creation of metropolitan counties such as Greater Manchester. At the same time the old North, West and East Ridings of Yorkshire were replaced by the very different Humberside, North, South and West Yorkshire. In the late 1990's the more suburban counties were sub-divided into Unitary Authorities - the third list below.

While the county top status of mountains such as Kinder Scout and The Cheviot has remained consistent throughout these changes others have fallen off the list altogether while others have changed their allegiance. For example, prior to 1974 Black Hill was the historic county top of Cheshire, after 1974 it became the county top of the newly created West Yorkshire. More recently it is the county top of the much more prosaic Kirklees Unitary Authority.

There is no denying that the historical county top list is probably more appealing for the peak bagger than the current county and UA list. One of the reasons I am so looking forward to one day climbing Mickle Fell is because it is the 'true' summit of Yorkshire even if it does now reside in County Durham.

The lists below only show the counties and unitary authorities that impinge on the Pennines. For a full list of English, Welsh and Scottish county tops go to the Database of British Hills website.

Cheviot and Pennine County Tops completed: 32 / 38 = 84.21%


Historic County Tops

Name Metres Feet Grid Ref County Visits
Black Hill 582 1909 SE078047 Cheshire 1
Kinder Scout 636 2087 SK085875 Derbyshire 1
Burnhope Seat 747 2451 NY785375 Durham 1
The Cheviot 815 2674 NT909205 Northumberland 1
Cheeks Hill 520 1706 SK026699 Staffordshire None
Mickle Fell 788 2585 NY804243 Yorkshire (North Riding) 1
Whernside 736 2415 SD738814 Yorkshire (West Riding) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1974 Administrative Counties

Name Metres Feet Grid Ref County Visits
Shining Tor 559 1834 SJ995737 Cheshire None
Kinder Scout 636 2087 SK085875 Derbyshire 1
Mickle Fell 788 2585 NY804243 Durham 1
Black Chew Head 542 1778 SE056020 Greater Manchester 1, 2
Green Hill 628 2060 SD701820 Lancashire 1, 2
Whernside 736 2415 SD738814 North Yorkshire 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The Cheviot 815 2674 NT909205 Northumberland 1
Howden Edge 550 1804 SK188944 South Yorkshire 1
Cheeks Hill 520 1706 SK026699 Staffordshire None
Black Hill 582 1909 SE078047 West Yorkshire 1

Current County and Unitary Authority Tops

Name Metres Feet Grid Ref County Visits
Hoar Stones 514 1686 SK158983 Barnsley UA 1
Winter Hill 456 1496 SD659149 Blackburn with Darwen UA 1, 2
Winter Hill (boundary) 445 1460 SD662146 Bolton UA 1
Withins Height 455 1493 SD978350 Bradford UA 1
Bull Hill (boundary) 418 1371 SD766187 Bury UA 1
Moor Moss Edge 482 1581 SD997139 Calderdale UA 1
Shining Tor 559 1834 SJ995737 Cheshire East None
Kinder Scout 636 2087 SK085875 Derbyshire 1
Mickle Fell 788 2585 NY804243 Durham 1
Black Hill 582 1909 SE078047 Kirklees UA 1
Green Hill 628 2060 SD701820 Lancashire 1, 2
Burley Moor 340 1115 SE140445 Leeds UA 1
Whernside 736 2415 SD738814 North Yorkshire 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The Cheviot 815 2674 NT909205 Northumberland 1
Black Chew Head 542 1778 SE056020 Oldham UA 1, 2
Blackstone Edge 474 1555 SD972163 Rochdale UA (Joint) 1
Hail Storm Hill (boundary) 472 1548 SD843189 Rochdale UA (Joint) 1
Howden Edge 550 1804 SK188944 Sheffield UA 1
Cheeks Hill 520 1706 SK026699 Staffordshire None
Mellor Moor 327 1073 SJ986872 Stockport UA (Joint) None
Robin Hood's Picking Rods 327 1073 SK006909 Stockport UA (Joint) 1


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