After a few gloriously sunny few days it was disappointingly overcast as Sue and I set off from British Camp with Julia, Ian, Caroline, Megan, Alexi and Bob. We’ve covered this ground before with Julia and whilst it’s a pleasant enough route over the Malvern Hills to Worcestershire Beacon then down to West Malvern to join the Worcestershire Way for the return trip, this was more of a social day out with people that we rarely see.
Bob soon peeled off (call of the Podcast?), but the rest of us, fuelled with Fudge Brownies (Kate having decimated the usual Caramel Shortbread during a breakfast visit), continued to Worcestershire Beacon, the hill whose summit is the highest point of the Malvern Hills, which run for some 13 km north-south along the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border. The name beacon comes from the use of the hill as a signalling beacon. Even in recent years it has been used for this purpose on special occasions such as the millennium night of 31 December 1999 when a large fire was lit for a public celebration as part of a national network of hill top beacons. On the summit is a viewfinder or toposcope, identifying the hills to be seen on a clear day. Though replaced in recent years (see photo above), it was originally erected in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. The views are very extensive, including to The Wrekin, the location for some of my first ventures into the outdoors, and past Birmingham to Cannock Chase, as well as much of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, the Welsh borders, the Shropshire Hills and across the valleys of the Severn and Avon to the Cotswolds.
We saw little of all this given that today’s visibility extended to all of about one kilometre!
However, once on the Worcestershire Way we did find a nice grassy lunch spot, with Midges! Then we continued past some ‘Fred Smith’ sheep, an impressive and curiously showy ram, a pair of equally attentive pigs, a dead fox that nearly tripped us up, and a gooey ploughed field where Alexi rescued a forlorn potato called Bobby.
So our adjournment mid-afternoon, to the pleasure of Rose’s welcome tea and apple cake, was not without relief to us all.