Jeff’s 1,000-foot peak challenge
Having already become the first person to identify and climb all Staffordshire’s (in 2012) and Cheshire’s (in 2014) 1,000-foot peaks, intrepid hill walker Jeff Kent has repeated his feat with Shropshire’s (197) 1,000-foot peaks!
Jeff started his Shropshire mission on 7 March 2015 by climbing Selattyn Hill and Baker’s Hill, near Oswestry, and by 10 October that year had “conquered” 79 of the county’s 1,000-foot peaks. After a winter break, Jeff resumed climbing on 12 March (2016) with a four-peak bag of Priors Holt Hill, Synalds, Churchmoor Hill and Black Knoll on The Long Mynd, southwest of Church Stretton. By 14 August, he had conquered another 48 hills, which left 66 still to be done. As Jeff was determined to complete the project before the end of the year and preferably before the onset of winter, he then made a determined effort to bag the rest of the peaks and did so in just 48 days! He completed his task on 14 October, with a five-peak haul of Cwms Hill, The Wilderness, Folly Bank, Little Caradoc and finally Caer Caradoc Hill, his favourite peak in the county, northeast of Church Stretton.
Jeff began hill walking as a child and had climbed a large number of hills and mountains before he became interested in 1,000-foot peaks. He became aware of the Munros (the Scottish mountains of 3,000 feet or more) and other British hill classifications, most importantly the (254) Nuttalls, a list of peaks of 2,000 feet and above in England. As there is no land of those heights anywhere near Jeff’s home, he developed an interest in 1,000-foot peaks, initially in Staffordshire, and discovered that most of them had never been identified as such. So he set himself the objective of locating all the ones in the county from Ordnance Survey maps. The criteria for qualification he used were that the peaks must be natural features at least 1,000 feet above mean sea level, having a name or a relative height of fifty feet. By this formula, he ascertained that there were 65 1,000-foot peaks in Staffordshire, 46 in Cheshire and a staggering 197 in Shropshire!
Having identified the 1,000-foot peaks, Jeff’s next task was to climb them all, from the nearest low ground, often in river valleys. With the publication of books on the subject in mind, he did so in a series of circular walks, often climbing several adjacent hills in a single outing. Having completed his conquests of the first two counties, he then published his books Staffordshire’s 1,000-Foot Peaks in 2013 and Cheshire’s 1,000-Foot Peaks in 2015. It is Jeff’s intention that a similar volume for Shropshire will follow next year.
As he did with his Staffordshire and Cheshire conquests, Jeff has posted proof of his achievement in his Shropshire’s 1,000-Foot Peaks photo album on www.flickr.com under his website name of Jeff Kent Witan. The 214 featured pictures show him on the summits of the 197 peaks and associated features.
Jeff was joined on his climbs by Sue Bell, his partner and photographer, although she left a few awkward precise summits for Jeff to tackle, not least the bramble-ridden top of Buxton Hill, to surmount which cut his legs to ribbons! Amongst other problems Jeff suffered were being beset by bold bullocks on his descent of Round Hill, battling a swarm of bees to reach the summit of Henley Nap, developing exposure on the Hope Bowdler massif, struggling to stand up in a gale on the top of Titterstone Clee Hill, almost breaking an ankle on Manstone Rock and having to crawl through an immensely dense plantation to reach the trig point at the summit of Black Hill.
In print – Unfortunately, Jeff’s Staffordshire’s 1,000-Foot Peaks book is now out of print and he only has available his last few copies of Cheshire’s 1,000-Foot Peaks (at £12.75), but is selling end-of-run signed copies of his 137-page colour photo book, Peak Pictures, for £4 (at less than a third of its £12.75 cover price). For further information, Jeff can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01782 791673.