Picture courtesy of The Elf
I had planned this walk in May as a goal to achieve, as part of my recovery from my last operation at the end of March. We have done this walk before but I had obviously been a great deal fitter then and we didn’t find it easy before.
So when I came home Friday I was excited but tense, concerned about my fitness and not at all sure I could complete this walk, but there are all sorts of mind games you play in the fight against the Big C and to me, I had to complete this walk, overcome my demons and claim my hills again. The situation was not helped by a confirmation of my next scan date – September 14th – on the doormat when I arrived home, a reality check and just a little reminder that we haven’t won the battle yet. But the timing of the scan is good as it is just after we return from our next holiday and all being well, our life will carry on buzzing as it has for the last few weeks.
We were expecting seven companions for our walk, my cousin Lorraine, The Elf & Fandango, Aston & Debs and Huw & Sharon. The Elf, Fandango and Lorraine arrived later on Friday evening to stay over, everyone else we were meeting on the morning of the walk.
We met up at North Hill Quarry car park and finally at about 9.45, as my directions had not proved as helpful as I had hoped, we were all at the meet point! We left two cars there and headed off to the start point at Chase End Hill, which is the southernmost point of the Malvern Hills.
By 10.30 we were on our way, the weather was dry but looked a little threatening and had already rained a little before we got going. Here we are on top of the first peak on the start of the walk, full of enthusiasm for the rest of the walk!
We then dipped steeply down through a steep, slippy and overgrown path where more than one of us ended up on our backsides. We began to think “I hope it’s not all like this” but this end of the hills is the most isolated and very unfrequented even in a good summer, and it has been so wet this year everything has grown and the paths have been taken over.
A consequence of this was that we lost the direct path to the next summit – Raggedstone Hill – and I got a bit frustrated when we ended up skirting this peak as that wasn’t my plan and in that wonderful way I have, it was of course P’s fault.
The problem I have is that having made the Grand Pronouncement ie – Let’s Walk the Hills! I then expect my PA – Peanut – to…
- Plan the route
- Know the Start/Finish/Lunch/Toilet stops in her head
- Learn the route in every detail
- Bring the map and carry it with her, folded at the correct place at any time I might wish to consult it, should I think she is wrong.
- Make the picnic
- Carry the picnic on her back all day in a haversack, providing me with drinks when she thinks I need them.
and of course take the blame for anything that might go wrong. Completely unreasonable of course but while you all know that P is the best I want you to know that, make no mistake I know too, so it will come as no surprise that 3/4 of the way through said walk even after I had been irrationally unkind to her, blaming her for getting us lost at the start of the walk, here she is holding my hand, dragging me up the long stretch to the Worcester Beacon.
Picture courtesy of Aston
She is simply the best.
Finally we reached the halfway point of the walk at the Herefordshire Beacon and we had our picnic on the benches by the car park at the foot of the Beacon. There is no doubt that had it just been me and P we would have given up, tired and weary. But the encouragement offered by the others in our gang was fantastic and quite simply we could not have done it without them. Along the way I got to talk to everyone and it was really nice to chat with old friends and new as we walked the hills.
We were both really struggling at the Worcestershire Beacon, me with a painful knee and P with all manner of hip and groin issues, but as we dragged ourselves to the top the sun came out to make it a perfect walk with fantastic scenery, good weather and great company.
One last push was needed now and for this we dipped down from the Beacon and then up again over North Hill, dropping down eventually back to the car park where we started at North Hill Quarry. We then drove back home, after fetching the two cars from the start of the walk, and had tea and cakes in the garden.
I would like to extend a MASSIVE thanks again to everyone who came. Your encouragment, help and company made it simply a perfect day! last but not least a big Thank You to Murphy, Huw and Sharon’s tireless Jack Russell, whose enthusiasm and evident pleasure at his walk was an inspiration to us all!
PS. You can see the approximate route we followed by clicking here!