Following the Line

If you start here…

…and follow the direction for the specified 24, 859 miles, you will get back to where you started…right here.  It is not an easy trip – you will have to pack some serious gear to help you cope with the freezing temperatures, at both the north pole and the south pole, on route.

The sign is located on the line of zero degrees longitude, from which all distances east or west are measured.  You would follow the zero line to the north pole, then continue on the 180-degree line, which takes you on the opposite side of the earth to the south pole.  Then you would be back on the zero degrees line to complete your journey back to “here”.

The zero degrees line is also called the Prime Meridian or the Greenwich Meridian because it passes through Greenwich, London.  In Greenwich Park it is quite a tourist hotspot – with everyone taking selfies with one foot in the east and one in the west.

But Greenwich isn’t the only place where you can straddle the line.  The Prime Meridian cuts across Britain, but it isn’t drawn on the ground so you could be crossing it regularly without even knowing…until now!

Although not drawn on the ground as a continuous line, the Prime Meridian is marked in hundreds of places.  Follow this link to find an interactive map and see where your nearest meridian marker is located.  (Use the dropdown list to the right of the map to choose which markers you want to display.)

Now you know where it goes, you can see that there are loads of places on the line.  Next week we will find out why Greenwich is special.