Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The emptiest grid square and associated hazards

The Ordnance Survey maps of the UK are divided up into 1km 'grid squares'.  The question is  "are any of them empty?"

The normal answer is that there are no empty grid squares on 1:25,000 or 1:50,000 scale maps but that the grid square with the least detail is at SE 8322 on the OS Landranger Map 112 (Scunthorpe and Gainsborough sheet). The only feature shown in this field is a high voltage power line which just cuts across the corner.

The emptiest grid square in UK - but not hazard free!

So is that a fair answer?  After all there is a bit of writing inside the top of the square too but nobody ever seems to claim that this stops the square being considered empty.  It seems to me that since there are no actual pylons within the square, it counts as being one of the least interesting places in UK, but in one of the most interesting ways.

What could possibly be hazardous in such an empty area?

Well . . . speaking of electric pylons and the hazards that lie between them, a young hot air balloonist made the news a couple of weeks ago, by crashing his balloon into pylons in another part of England, namely Northamptonshire.

Whenever I have been in a balloon, my pilot has been very much aware of these hazards, but evidently this one made an error of judgement.

Hot air balloon crash in Northamptonshire.
Everyone survived, but only at the cost of huge inconvenience and risk to the people who came to their rescue.  I suspect he won't be doing that again!  A former owner of that balloon also happens to be a close colleague.  Isn't it a small world!

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