Lancaster Minnesota to Lancashire England

On November 18, 2010 · 5 Comments

Slow news day. Let’s see if I can cobble something together.

I opened up Google Analytics in map mode and noticed a small, isolated dot that looked suspiciously near the Minnesota-Manitoba-North Dakota Highpoint. I drilled down a little further and found that I’d received a visit from the tiny town of Lancaster, Minnesota. I’d never heard of this particular Lancaster but I’m always interested in learning about new places so I decided to check it out.

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It seems to be a nice enough place, with wide streets, a water tower and a grain elevator in the distance. There’s not much else to know. It’s an agricultural community like so many others out here on the eastern edge of the Great Plains. The Soo Line railroad laid down tracks through here and someone built a hotel. That led to the establishment of a town in 1904 that grew to 363 people by the time the 2000 U.S. Census took place. It’s a typical story.

Lancaster also receives some attention as the gateway to a border crossing with Canada a few miles up Highway 59. Visitors can cross from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, seven days a week.

So why is it called Lancaster? The ever-powerful Wikipedia explains that "Lancaster was named after an official of the Soo Line, believed to have come from Lancashire County in England."

So let’s cross the Atlantic Ocean to England, and head towards Lancashire County. This serves an excellent excuse to fuse two completely different topics together that wouldn’t ordinarily fill a blog posting individually.

I recently came across an interesting website called The Mountains of England and Wales. Regular readers know that I have a fascination with counties so I went immediately to the site’s County and Unitary Authority Tops page. Let’s take a look at the Current County/UA Tops and examine Lancashire.

It appears that the County Top for Lancashire is Green Hill at 628 metres (2,060 feet). Google Street View provides a decent image of the vista.

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I’m not sure when I’ll have an opportunity to climb any of these county tops but I had a lot of fun wandering around the website. I guess I’ll have to stick with their counterparts, the county highpoints of the United States for now.

On November 18, 2010 · 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Lancaster Minnesota to Lancashire England”

  1. Joff says:

    Hi – thanks for a very interesting article. One comment from a stuffy Englishman: I read mention of “Lancashire County” (initially quoted from Wikipedia so no blame attributed!) and winced slightly at the usage of “county” after the name of the county, which sounds alien to the British English ear. Apart from anything else, a “shire” is already a descriptor for an area of land, so “Blahblahshire County” is slightly duplicative. Interesting and much more erudite summary of the position here: for anyone curious!

    But again – read your contribution with great interest and appreciation!

    • Much obliged for the clarification, Joff. Indeed, Wikipedia is great for a lot of things but sometimes falls a bit short. Culturally, it’s a little more difficult for me to pick up on these kinds of inconsistencies so I depend upon those such as yourself who understand the intricacies natively to help educate me. I certainly understand the minor annoyance — I feel the same way when someone here is the States uses an "ATM Machine" (… "no, the M is for machine… you’re calling it an Automated Teller Machine Machine"). 😉

  2. Tony Moore says:

    I went to school in Blackpool, England , which is a large seaside resort in Lancashire, some 20 miles from Lancaster.
    There is also a town called Blackpool on the US/Canadian border, on Route 87 north of Plattsburgh NY.

    Many years ago I crossed the US/Canadian border here by Greyhound bus, and as a native of Lancashire was delighted to receive a “Blackpool ” stamp in my passport !

  3. Jonathan says:

    I’m sure many Lancastrians would tell you that the highest point in Lancashire is actually the Old Man of Coniston, significantly higher at 803 metres. In 1974, the Government decided to redraw the county map of Great Britain. Part of Lancashire, along with the entire counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, were merged into a new county called Cumbria. Many people are unhappy about this, and continue to promote the county’s historic boundaries. So if you do visit, you’d better climb both to be sure!

    There is a stone marker in the Lake District known as the Three Shires Stone, which marks the point where the historic counties of Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland meet:

    Incidentally, in British English we tend to put the name second, for example the River Thames, not Thames River. Before 1974, counties were formally known as the County of Lancaster rather than Lancashire. Since 1974, the official names have been the County of Lancashire etc. In everyday usage, Irish (including Northern Irish) countries are usually prefixed with “County” because they are the same as the town names, e.g. County Antrim. The only county to follow this convention in Great Britain is County Durham.

  4. Ministry says:

    Hmm. Here’s one Lancastrian who’d have to suggest Jonathan’s stretching the point a bit too far, perhaps into being archaic! Sorry 😉
    There really aren’t many who’d recognise boundaries superceded over a third of a century ago (though, admittedly, never formally abolished) as more than a historical curiosity. Casually interesting, but not meaningful in any practical sense.

    I live in Lancaster (the original and best 🙂 ), within cycling distance of Green Hill, and can offer a few more geographical snippets about it:

    The highest point is usually considered to be Gragareth, 3km to the SSW, as the Ordnance Survey put a survey pillar there! However, I wouldn’t be surprised if modern equipment has found a point 1 m higher on the featureless ridge.

    The ridge forms the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Lancashire-Cumbria border – just: less than a km S of the identified highest point, the counties of Cumbria, N.Yorkshire and Cumbria meet.
    This is a particularly hilly area, so whilst Green Hill is the highest point in Lancashire, it’s not the highest in the immediate vicinity. Crag Hill, ~1km away but in Cumbria, is ~60m higher, and ~3 km away is Whernside, the highest point in N.Yorkshire, at 736m.

    Green Hill is the highest *point* in Lancashire, but not the highest *peak* – so beware, peakbaggers! It’s a fairly anonymous point on a ridge (and, as I said, not the highest point on that ridge), so has negligible topographic prominence. Ward’s Stone, 25km away, is only 561m high, but is recognised as a distinct summit.

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