The Malverns

The Route

After struggling on last week’s Cotswold Challenge, I decided that I need to do a few more hills.

I’ve a few days off this week and was making plans for a walk in the Peak District when Sue suggested The Malverns. I had a poke around t’internet and came across a description for a circular walk on the the Walking Britain website which took in all fifteen Malverns and returned via a slightly easier route. The route can be found HERE.

I arrived in a drizzly Malvern around 8:30 got my stuff sorted and was on the trail by 8:40 after putting a new pair of batteries in the Garmin GPS.

Following the instructions ( which I’d downloaded and laminated ) the first hill was the aptly named NORTH HILL. A path zigzagged so far then it was up a sheep poo covered track, steeply to the first summit with Worcestershire Beacon coming into view.

1395 ft or 425 metres in the new money !

The route dropped ( der! ) then up to SUGARLOAF HILL, down then UP to the 425m high summit of Worcestershire Beacon. This being the highest point on The Malverns it should all be downhill from here on. Shouldn’t it ?

Well it started downhill staying on the ridge as much as possible to reach Upper Wyche via SUMMER HILL. After crossing the road, the ascending restarted and after a few ups and downs I had PERSEVERANCE, JUBILEE, PINNACLE and BLACK HILLs in the bag. Keeping, again, to the ridge a descent was made back to civilisation in the form of the A449, The Malvern Hills Hotel and a very tempting cafe.

British Camp

Next stop ( excluding a few, “to admire the scenery” stops on the way up ) was HEREFORDSHIRE BEACON, more commonly known as British Camp.

Originally constructed in the second century BC, British Camp was an iron age fort and later a norman castle until 1155 ( just before mid-day!!! ). Today, with it’s tiers it looks a bit like a giant wedding cake.
A path was followed down to a toposcope ( posh signpost ) then back up, this time to HANGMAN’S HILL and SWINYARD HILL. The most direct route would have been right from the top but I followed the suggestion in the instructions and continued ahead before dropping down. I’m not sure that I followed the instructions exactly but I ended up in the right place!

Passing an delightful water filled quarry ( Gullet ) it was up again, swinging around and finally to the summit of MIDSUMMER HILL which was, also, a hill fort and home to some fifteen hundred people.

Raggedstone Hill

An, at times, steep descent through the woods brought me out at Hollybush where the road was followed for a short distance before the ascent of RAGGEDSTONE HILL. I nearly used the verb climb there as this was a full frontal attack – no breaks just straight up, all 131m of it !

Topping out, I was rewarded with some magnificent views of Gloucestershire which I used as an excuse to get my breath back. The final hill was in sight 🙂

I dropped down into the delightful hamlet of Whiteleaved Oak which was sauntered through before turning right past a gorgeous cottage then up another steep, but not as long, climb to the final summit, CHASE END HILL.

So, that’s all fifteen summits and it took me 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Profile of outward journey

After a look around and a few photos, it was time to head North. Luckily, the route back tended to use lower paths which skirt around the tops.

I stopped near British Camp to have my sandwiches enjoying a view of the British Camp Reservoir. Fifteen minutes later I was moving again and was back at the car by 15:15 after covering nearly twenty miles and ( according to Endomondo ) over 4,500 feet of ascent.

In summary, it was a tough walk with lots of ups and downs but very enjoyable.

I wore my Scarpa trail shoes and had no pain in my shins at all so perhaps I’ll ditch the Nike running shoes for walking ( see yesterday’s blog ).


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