UK has new highest peak after British scientists discover explorers in the 1930s got their measurements wrong

Sophie Jamieson
The discovery was made by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) researchers  - Reuters

The UK has a new highest mountain after British scientists discovered explorers in the 1930s got their measurements wrong. Mount Hope in the British Antarctic Territory is 377m (1,237 ft) taller than previously thought, standing at 3,239m (10,654 ft) above sea level.

It therefore overtakes Mount Jackson as the highest peak in the territory, by just 55m (180ft).

Previous height measurements relied on the work of pioneering dog-sleighing teams, but now cartographers have used satellite technology to measure the mountains in the region, to an accuracy of 5m. 

The discovery was made by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) researchers as they updated planning maps for pilots operating in Antarctica. 

Mt Hope was found to be about 12 per cent higher than recorded in the British Graham Land expedition in 1936.

Adrian Fox, 52, of BAS, said: "It's fascinating that even in 2017 we are still discovering things about Antarctica - the mapping and our understanding of the continent is constantly evolving."

He added: "We think that the previous accepted measurement actually goes right back to some survey work in 1936 by the British Graham Land expedition.

"We've got to bear in mind that this was a pioneering expedition, overland travel with dog teams.

"They were using relatively light-weight and simple surveying techniques in very very harsh conditions."

Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for the Polar Regions Sir Alan Duncan said: "The British Antarctic Territory is one of the most remote and unique British overseas territories and one of the most pristine landscapes on the globe.

"Our world-leading British scientists based there are carrying out vital research on climate change, the effects of which are most acutely felt in the polar regions.

"The discovery of Mount Hope as the UK's tallest peak is a great example of British science making big steps forward in mapping techniques to help us get a better understanding of this fascinating region."

While Mt Hope is the highest mountain in the British Antarctic Territory, Mt Vinson remains the highest mountain in Antarctica, at 4,892 m (16,050 ft).