County tops between Inverness and London

Leaving my job in Inverness and re-locating to London has brought a temporary halt to my blogging efforts. However, in between lugging my worldly possessions hundreds of miles from one corner of the country to the other, my round-Britain trip re-visiting numerous county tops has continued in earnest. In the last week I have re-acquainted myself with the following: Fife, Kinross, Clackmannanshire, West Lothian, Lanarkshire, Dumfriesshire, Midlothian, East Lothian and Berwickshire (same hill), Northumberland and Roxburghshire (almost the same hill), and, most recently, Nottinghamshire and Kent.

As I’ve said before, I am writing a guidebook on these hills (the county tops), so I wouldn’t necessarily choose to re-visit them.  Hence, there were few surprises, although I enjoyed a 10-mile run over The Cheviot in inevitable clag, while crashing a hire car into a road-side boulder in Tillicoultry cheered me up no end.

I did visit Silverhill in Nottinghamshire for the first time, having previously taken land off Newtonwood Lane as the county’s high point. Silverhill is a solitary metre higher, but – as the purists quite rightly argue – the summit has been created from the slag heap of a redundant colliery, so the high point is unnatural. Silverhill, which is topped by an Antony Dufort sculpture of a coal miner, is infinitely more interesting than Newtonwood Lane, so, for the sake of the guidebook, I’ve elevated it to the ranks of the county tops. Over time it will surely be considered as such, usurping Newtonwood Lane?

I also went back to Kent – the so-called garden of England – which, rather aptly, but infuriatingly, has its high point in a garden. The closest the walker can get, without grovelling to a resident, is walking along the lane, pictured below, on the outskirts of London, close to Biggin Hill. I comforted myself with the thought that I never have to come here again.


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