I’ve been struggling of late for motivation and mental stimulation at work. We’ve arrived at a stage in the project where everything is almost finished and we’re tweaking little bits here and there for tooling feasibility. For my non-engineering friends, the way I’ve described this is imagine you have written a 15,000 word dissertation (roughly 30 pages of A4) and submitted it for a draft review. You’ve done the hard work, the research and development, and you consider it to be ‘finished.’ The reviewer takes a look and advises some changes. You need to change the wording of the third sentance in the third paragraph on page three. You also need to add a punctuation mark in the middle of page 20, and so on…

This gets quite repetitive and bitty as you make the little, necessary changes, only to receive more following a second draft review. Same dissertation, same words, over and over again, for months on end. So you can see why there’s maybe a bit of boredom setting in.

When this happens, I tend to go in search of a new challenge, which is generally a physical one. The Yorkshire and UK Three Peaks immediately spring to mind. So what else is there to do? Running wise, the only thing left really is a marathon, and I have no particular desire for one just yet. Unlike others, I didn’t get runners envy whilst watching the London Marathon. As I’ve said before, I will do one, but not just yet. There’s also nothing new in another half marathon, or trying to bring down my 5k time. That’s just general training.

Something that I do love though, is mountains. It doesn’t matter if it’s trail running or hiking, I do love being in mountain ranges. The sights, the quiet, the sense of achievement. It got me thinking, what if I scaled every mountain in England? There can’t be that many…

Searching for “how many mountains are there in England” brought about the first problem. A hill/fell becomes a mountain when it surpasses an elevation of 2,000 feet (609.6 metres). There are 232 peaks in England that have an elevation of at least 609.6 metres. However, what seems to be a more common term than simply ‘mountain’ is a Hewitt. A Hewitt is a Hill in England, Wales and Ireland over Two Thousand feet, but it also states a prominence of 30 metres all around, of which there are 180 in England. There are other classifications too, such as the Nutall’s (over 2,000 feet but with a prominence of 15 metres), P600’s, Marilyns, HuMPs, Simms and TuMPs.

As it appears to be the most common, I went for the Hewitt classification and set about identifying where exactly each one of the 180 was. As expected, the majority of these are in the Lake District, but they’re quite well spread out away from Cumbria, from the Cheviot Hills on the Scottish border to Dartmoor at the foot of the country. Next up, how many have I already climbed? Hmm, just the four. The three in the Yorkshire Dales that I did as part of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and Scafell Pike that I did as part of the UK Three Peaks. Some way to go then.

All Hewitts, courtesy of Harold Street

In reality, this is not going to solve my lack of stimulation issue. Given other commitments, this is not something that I would like to commit to doing within a specified timeframe, all within a year for example. It’s therefore more of a goal than it is a challenge, but I have since found something else that can keep my mind occupied. I would still like to do this though, even if it just gets me out exploring more of this wonderful country that we live in. The default for whenever I want to do a mountain day tends to be Snowdon. As much as I love Snowdon, I imagine if I began exploring some of these other areas, I will enjoy them just as much. After all, less than half an hour longer than it would take me to get to Pen-y-Pass, I could be in Keswick and, in a long day in The Lakes, I could knock 8-10 Hewitts off the list in one go.

I’m not sure I ever will end up scaling all 180, but I’d like to, and what better motivation to give other areas to Snowdonia a try than to tick them off as I go. Just 176 remaining…

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