Archive for December 24th, 2016

I recently spent 19 days working in Great Malvern – just before I started at my assignment I stayed over at a B&B nearby and climbed the North Hill in order to reach the Worcestershire Beacon…the highest point of the Malvern Hills.

wandering the lanes of Worcester

North Hill and Worcestershirebeacon Hill; part of the Malvern Hills

Since then I have used some of my breaks in the afternoon to endeavour to once again conquer this ‘mountain‘.  I managed to get to different levels on different days but each time, time foiled me and I just couldn’t make it.

Great Malvern - climbing worcestershire beacon

3 different days, 3 different achievements, 3 different experiences

But I didn’t give up, and after another week of walking, on 16.12.2016 with a distance of 4.5km, in 1:30:47 & 8651 steps I finally reached an elevation of 230 meters!! Nearly there!!

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

climbing Worcestershire Beacon on Friday 16th, I nearly made it….so near, yet too far

Determined to achieve my goal before I left on Wednesday 21st, I set off immediately my break started last Sunday 18th and strode with determination towards the hills!!!  Without stopping to take too many photos along the way (usually one of the reasons it takes me so long to get anywhere), switching on MapMyWalk I headed up into town, zipped past the Priory, stopped briefly at the water-fountain ‘Malvhina’ on Belle Vue terrace for a drink of water, whizzed through Rose Bank Gardens, staggered up the 99 steps, sloped up the pathway leading to St Anne’s Well, then onwards and upwards to The Beacon……

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

Great Malvern – climbing Worcestershire Beacon

I reached St Anne’s Well in good time…20 minutes ahead of my usual time (taking photos is useful for keeping tabs on when I was where). I stopped briefly to catch my breath and then with renewed vigour I strode up the path above the well and headed for the path that would wind it’s and my way up the side of the hill! Suddenly, to my dismay, I saw fencing and a gate across the pathway…..bearing in mind I had traversed this same pathway just two days before! Where did that come from? Was the route now closed? But before I broke down in despair (LOL) I walked up to the gate to read the notice…..it was nothing more sinister than a warning to dog-owners to keep their dogs on a lead….whew.

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

Please keep your dog on a lead…Oh and close the gate…..

I swung through the gates and set off….before to long I found the reasons for the gate….my way was blocked by a herd of cows, the same herd I had encountered higher up the hill on my previous excursion!! Okay, it was only a small herd, but I am wary of cows…they can, and sometimes do, get a bit belligerent and have been known to mow people down. So, keeping my distance and deciding on an alternative route, I plundered my way along what was a very narrow, and in many places rocky pathway….I didn’t like it at all…a yawning valley opened up on my left and I felt decidedly insecure; but still determined to reach the top.

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

a very narrow and rocky path…and a yawning chasm! Urgh!

I finally reached a wider pathway and with much encouragement of ‘come on Cindy, you can do it’ or ‘come on only 20 paces and then you can rest’ or just simply whipping my ass with – ‘get on with it woman, you don’t have all day!!’ I finally breached the crest of the hill and there it was…..the Worcestershire Beacon!! Hooray.

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

the views from the beacon are stupendous!!!

18.12.2016 Distance walked 5.1km, Duration 1:53:52, Steps 10562, Elevation gained 301m!!

The views are stupendous from that height and I had a fantastic view across the Severn Valley, the Malvern Hills that spread out along the ridge towards the Bristol Channel, and Herefordshire….quintessential England at it’s best. As a bonus!! I also caught a glimpse of an amazing sunset…something I am denied on a daily basis due to the fact that it sets behind the hill from where I’m located!!

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

The Earth is the Lord’s….. Sunset from Worcestershire Beacon

I had a quick whizz around the beacon and then it was time to depart…I was on a tight schedule and it had already taken me just over an hour to get up there!

So tripping and traipsing I first checked out the lay of the land and to where the correct paths were….I didn’t want to end up on the wrong side of this hill….I made my way down.

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

1. Looking towards the Bristol Channel. 2. Finding the right path down… 3. Great Malvern and the Severn Valley, Worcestershire

All went well for a while and I made good progress along the pathway, till just after a bend I spied the erstwhile herd of munching moos. Damnation!! I really didn’t want to test their mettle, so instead I tested mine. Looking around I spied what looked like a lovely green swathe of grass that faintly resembled a pathway that took a rather dizzying slope downhill and disappeared into a void!! Hello!!!

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

a ‘moosive’ herd of coos….and a very slippery slope….

Without many other options I decided well, for better or worse, that’s the way I’m going to have to go….at which point I noticed a rather large and determined cow/bull heading my way with a look of ‘what the fuck are you doing here’ on it’s face. Uhm! I’m just leaving 🙂

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

that grey speckled animal had a determined look on it’s face….I wasn’t planning on hanging around to chat….

With that, I put on my big-girl panties and set off downhill at a rather rapid pace…in fact if I was a horse, I’d say I definitely trotted down rather than walked…..the slope was that steep…I kid you not! In a most ungainly way I slipped and slid at an alarming pace!

Along the way I was ‘forced!’ to bypass a heavily fringed cow that fortunately was more interested in the grass it was busily munching than me! Thank god!!! And with that, still giving it as wide a berth as possible I slipped and slid past.

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

uhmmm…yes mate, you just keep munching….

Eventually my luck ran out, by now the slope was that steep that I was actually sliding more than walking or trotting, so before I actually took a tumble and rolled down the hill, I decided to continue on my journey backwards. All went well till suddenly I came to an abrupt halt….was there anything behind me besides open space?…I looked behind me and by golly, my 6th sense must have forewarned me….I was a few feet away from disaster …the slope did indeed suddenly end there and there was a great big gaping chasm waiting to swallow me up!!! OH.MY.GOD!!!

LOL!!! Actually it wasn’t that bad, but it was enough that had I continued going backwards, I would have taken a nasty tumble. So checking around to make sure the cows were at a safe distance and no longer impeding my descent I headed sideways and down to the path I could see below me 🙂

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

looking back……a steep slope. Putting distance between me and them….

On the way down, and just before I met up with the cows, I heard a buzzing noise above my head. At first I thought it may be a small plane but couldn’t see one. I then thought perhaps a microlight…but no it was a paramotor….the glider came closer and closer and then suddenly with the engine screaming and a whoosh of speed, it swooped down into the valley…..awesome!!! I was wayyyy jealous.

and just before I met up with the cows

a paraglider….soaring above the clouds

From there it was easy peasy and within no time at all I was back at the 99 steps and on my way back to work. It’s always a lot quicker going down than up!! Of course my photo taking surely uses up a lot of the time too, as well as stopping for swigs of water. I had stopped at the Malvhina Water Fountain on Belle Vue Terrace to fill my water bottle from the steady stream that pours 24 hours a day 365 days a year….ad-infinitum (unless there’s a contamination issue). It’s pretty awesome to consider that I’m drinking water that probably fell on the earth as rain hundreds, possibly thousands of years ago.

‘Malvern water, says Dr John Wall Is fam’d for containing just nothing at all.’

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

the slope down from St Anne’s Well, the Priory below Rose Bank Gardens                         Malvhina – dispenser of spring water

In all I was seriously well chuffed that I had achieved my goal of climbing to the top of the Worcestershire Beacon and back down again during my 2 hour break. The climb is murder on the old lungs and my legs burn like blazes, but if I’m to walk the Camino next year then I simply have to improve my fitness. Climbing a hill seems like a great way and I have the added bonus of the views 🙂

Great Malvern - climbing Worcestershire Beacon

Taking the water at Great Malvern; Route to the Malvern Hills

Worcestershire Beacon, also popularly known as Worcester Beacon, or locally simply as The Beacon, is a hill whose summit at 425 metres (1,394 ft) is the highest point of the range of Malvern Hills that runs about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) north-south along the Herefordshire-Worcestershire border.

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