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Jeff’s on top of the world after conquering the county’s peaks

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 17, 2013

Jeff Kent

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HILL walker and author Jeff Kent is claiming to be the first-ever person to identify, list and get to the top of all the county's 65 independent 1,000- foot peaks.

Mr Kent - who is best known for his insight and annual tours of Leek's famous Double Sunset - initially used relevant Ordnance Survey maps to compile the list of peaks and then established the precise heights of all the summits in feet and metres from facilities available on the www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisur e.co.uk website.

Finally, from April 1 to 31 December 2012, Jeff reached the summits of all the 65 listed peaks, becoming the first-known person to achieve the feat.

However, if anyone has achieved the target previously, Jeff is asking that they make themselves and their evidence known.

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The summits included in Jeff's list are all natural features, some of which are topped by tumuli, within the county boundaries of Staffordshire and are at least 1,000 feet above mean sea level.

As in the Nuttall formula for English peaks, Jeff has listed all the 1,000-foot summits in Staffordshire with a relative height of 15 metres/49.212 feet.

The relative height of a hill is the vertical distance between its summit and the lowest contour line encircling it, within which there is no higher peak.

In addition, the 1,000-foot hills named on relevant Ordnance Survey maps, which have a summit, but do not satisfy the relative height criteria, are also included in Jeff's list, for example Brund Hill, which is actually an outlier of Bareleg Hill.

Finally listed is Cheeks Point, which is not a peak at all, being on Cheeks Hill, just south-West of its Derbyshire summit, but is the highest point in Staffordshire.

Excluded from the list are named hills without summits and manmade features except for tumuli, such as buildings, reservoirs and quarries.

The 65 peaks consist of 38 already named summits and 27 which appear to be unnamed.

As a result, Jeff has given provisional names to the latter, which he intends to continue to use in his register, unless persuasive evidence of existing names of the features is forthcoming.

Of course, Jeff does not believe that the hardships he suffered in order to conquer the peaks of the Staffordshire Highlands are remotely comparable with those endured by mountaineers in the Himalayas.

However, his ultimate success was not without its problems, especially having to contend with barbed wire fences, obstructive landowners, marauding animals and the weather of the wettest year ever recorded in England, with the consequent swamps that appeared.

Jeff's journey began in warm sunshine on 1 April 2012 with the ascent of the steep scarp slope of The Cloud, a dramatic-shaped hill, with excellent views across the Cheshire Plain, and ended on New Year's Eve with a trek back to the car from Cheeks Hill in twilight in dense fog and a deluge.

In between were many moments of elation, difficulty, disappointment, astonishment and amusement as the ascent of the 65 peaks became a story in itself.

During the project, Jeff climbed the huge Yawning Stone, with the aid of a ladder, only to find that when he got to the top it wasn't the summit of Gradbach Hill; he encountered a herd of llamas just below Ramshaw Rocks; on a walk to Ossoms Hill, he nonchalantly made notes standing right in front of a bull, without realising it; he and his walking partner, Sue Bell, struggled to stand up in a gale near the summit of Bunster Hill and he stood petrified whilst being photographed (unnecessarily, as it turned out) on the top of Mow Cop Folly Rocks, with a forty-foot drop below.

Being a modest individual, Jeff has decided not to name Staffordshire's 1,000-foot peaks after himself, but in honour of his parents, Cyril and Helen Kent, who loved the Staffordshire hills.

Consequently, Jeff has decided to name the 65 peaks the Staffordshire Kents.

Jeff is currently working on and intending later this year to publish a book about Staffordshire's 1,000-foot peaks.

To prove his achievement, Jeff has posted on www.flickr.com 80 dated photographs of himself on the summits of the 65 peaks and related features.

They can be found on the website under the tags staffordshires1000footpeaks and Staffordshire's1000-FootPeaks.

Jeff is requesting anyone who has knowledge of existing names for any of them to contact him.

For further information, please contact Jeff on 01782 791673 or at witan@mail.com

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