Marhofn 255.14 - May 2012

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Ten years of the hills database

Chris Crocker

It seems hard to believe that the hills database is already ten years old. In that time it has trebled in size and the number of people responsible for its maintenance has increased from two to seven. To mark the event, the editorial team minus Mark Jackson (who made the rather feeble excuse of being in Fort William to climb hills) met in Brecon for a celebratory dinner and a survey of Fan Brycheiniog on the anniversary date of 13 September. The media took note, with an article in Grough; and an interview with Graham Jackson on Radio Cumbria.

We released the long-awaited version 12 in November. New lists include Scottish 500s, subhumps, subCTs, subGTs, sub-500s, Channel Islands Humps, and coverage of Ireland. Version 12.1 filled a gap in the Irish subs and means the database now covers the whole of Great Britain and Ireland down to 490m/P20m and to P90 for lesser heights.

Of course the database has many other hills with less prominence - Nuttalls, Birketts, Dillons, Wainwrights and County Tops.

We are grateful to Rob Woodall, Alan Dawson and Myrddyn Phillips for preparing the ground, and to David Purchase for his help with the Donald Deweys and Channel Islands hills. Existing data for the British additions was checked on current maps including the OS vector map and sometimes on old maps. Add the need to research many subs from scratch and find thousands of col locations (a skill in which Mark Jackson is unrivalled), and you can see why preparing the new release took almost a year.

Most additions to the database are driven by user demand, and the expansion into Ireland was no exception. We have recruited Jim Bloomer to look after this part of the database, with assistance from Simon Edwardes and John Barnard. Jim has the knowledge, the maps and the contacts and has a listing of Irish Humps to his credit. In recognition of its coverage, the database has been renamed The Database of British and Irish Hills.

The DoBIH has a new home at The move was prompted for IT reasons rather than by rebranding. We have dropped the non-relational Access versions but will continue to provide the other formats. Please note that you can use the Access database even if you don't have Microsoft Access by installing a free run-time version (link on the website). We urge Excel users to try it if they have not already done so, as the Access version is much more powerful for searching and logging. Rest assured that you do not need any knowledge of Microsoft Access to use it. It has a facility for importing your ascent records from a current or previous version in Access or Excel or from

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