Call yourself a Geographer ?

If so, can you tell  me what’s wrong with this answer taken from a question asked in the House of Lords via the excellent theyworkforyou website…

UK: Coastline

House of Lords

Written answers and statements, 23 June 2010

Lord Laird (Crossbench)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the length of the United Kingdom coastline in miles at (a) low, and (b) high, tide; and what are the lengths of the coastlines of (a) England, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) Scotland, and (d) Wales.

Baroness Hanham (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Communities and Local Government; Conservative)

Information provided by Ordnance Survey for Great Britain and by Land and Property Services, an agency of the Department of Finance and Personnel for Northern Ireland, indicates that the lengths of the coastlines at mean high water (MHW) and mean low water (MLW), (mean high water springs [ordinary spring tides] and mean low water springs in Scotland) are:

Country Length of Coastline at Mean Low Water (MLW) [Miles] Length of Coastline at Mean High Water (MHW) [Miles]
England 8,417 9,462
Northern Ireland 620 542
Scotland 14,675 13,186
Wales 2,323 1,999
United Kingdom 26,035 25,189

These coastal lengths include all offshore islands, and land areas which are above MLW.

The precise length of coastlines will vary from time to time due to natural and gradual changes arising from coastal erosion and silt deposition.

Written and submitted from Warsaw Airport (52.177N, 20.974E)

24 replies on “Call yourself a Geographer ?”

I think Ed’s more curious as to why England gets bigger as the water level gets higher. 🙂

Good spotting Ed, fractals needs a caveat more than erosion does.

While we’re being Geeky geographers, fascinated to see the coast of England at high water is longer than at low water and its only England that is like this. Initially I thought it was a mistake but it is actually possible.

How can the coastline of England be longer at high tide than low tide? That makes no sense.

When the tide is high we send our troops into another country! Thus artificially extending the coastline for statistics purposes. When no coastline exists we get the Conservatives in to peform some creative number crunching.

Now the interesting question: how long does UKHO (or Seazone for that matter) reckon the coast is. Also what about the Crown Estates? Am I wrong in thinking that the Queen owns this bit? Perhaps an urban myth….

Leave a Reply to Richard Cornish Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.