A latitude of little consequence.

You will find no markers on this ring around the earth. It enjoys no celebration. It’s cousin the Equator understandably takes all the credit as the line of latitude we all know best.

The line itself, referred to as a parallel, is the invention of man and was first prescribed in 1884. With the Equator at 0º and the poles at 90º, each degree measures 69 miles (111 km) wide. Subdivided into minutes, each of these becomes 1.15 miles (1852m) wide. A further division by 60 and you are left with seconds, and a width of approximately 90 feet (30m).

53º 49′ 34” does run through my childhood home and the house where my parents still live. As a child I remember looking at the world atlas and wondering what laid east and west of our home. The answer always seemed to be something far more exotic than the unremarkable suburb of Leeds in which we lived. I envisaged everywhere as exciting and unfamiliar.

Some 30 years later I have come to find there are many more unremarkable places on this parallel and vast tracts of wilderness, and perhaps occasionally, something remarkable. The world’s two largest countries, Russia and Canada, are home to the 53rd parallel, whilst smaller countries such as Poland, Germany, Ireland and Belarus also provide a home.

This body of work began in 2006 and is still ongoing. With the magic of GPS I have been able to answer those childhood wonderings and stand exactly on this line and know that a right or a left turn and a journey of perhaps several thousand miles would bring me to my parents door. I am constantly answering my curiosity.