Posted by: suzannetakesyouup | May 28, 2010

Aldbury to Ivinghoe Beacon (233m)

Yesterday I woke up feeling very motivated to have a good day despite, or possibly because of, having had a truly awful time the day before. I set off as soon as I could, driving to Aldbury for a morning’s walk up to Ivinghoe Beacon, one of the highest viewpoints in the Chilterns.

Right near the start I passed underneath some cawing crows, sitting on some telegraph wires. The sound they were making reminded me of the 2 people laughing at me for heading to the hills rather than to the pub in search of relaxation. At the same time I heard skylarks to my left, flying higher and higher, and as they sang I felt elated and made a mild Italian hand gesture at the crows.

The route had many photographic points of interest (hard not to stop for more than 5 shots at a subject but time couldn’t allow) and I met many more butterflies than people which was fantastic.

If you’ve seen the film A Room with a View you may remember that the young Mr Emerson calls ecstatically from a tree: “…Truth! . . .Beauty!. . .” His father describes it as “calling on the eternal yes”. I was inspired by this and for years I have called whatever comes into my head from tops of hills. Only when I’m alone, though! From the top of Pitstone Hill (pictured top left) I yelled towards the Vale of Aylesbury “This is me!”

Why those particular words? Probably because as I was walking up the hill I thought how great it would be to discard things – layers of clothes and pretences –  one by one, and to reach the top with only underwear and walking boots on! For as long as I remember I’ve so often hidden behind outward layers of confidence, calm and cheeriness while inside feeling tense and weary. It was such a relief to be somewhere where I felt truly happy and relaxed; no facade.

I didn’t strip off but, had anyone been there, they would have seen me start running around in every direction, suddenly crouching,  then crawling on all fours and creeping up to bushes. Strange goings on atop the hill. . . it was me trying to get a photograph of one of the many blue butterflies there (my best shown below).

In the whole morning the only fly in the ointment was that my water bottle leaked every last drop over everything in my backpack, including the wildflower book that I’ve made many notes in over the years. I spent ages saving it later in the day by putting a layer of tissue paper in-between each of the pages.

The best thing was that I didn’t get lost. Not even a little bit.



  1. Great photos and a really interesting post. I’ve had a great walk this evening and eventually I managed to stop thinking (ie worrying) and just enjoy what I could see and hear, and walking etc.
    Do you know the poems of ee cummings? Your post put me in mind of this one:

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue dream of sky;and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
    day of life and love and wings;and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any – lifted from the no
    of all nothing – human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    Good luck with the blog and the project.
    (I don’t have any walking boots either, I manage without, but sometimes have wet feet)

  2. Stunning photos, you day sounds like magic. and I like your little friends that you met 🙂 Cheers.

  3. I love your photos! I’m happy you found your way to my blog so I could then find my way to yours. Lovely, lovely countryside you live in. I look forward to visiting your blog often!

  4. As everyone else said: stunning photos! The snail is especially great. I love the “blue” butterfly (somewhere I actually have a butterfly book with all the classifications for butterflies, but it is for the Pacific NW of the USA).
    Reading your blog makes me think that I should learn to stride out and hike by myself, sans husband. I’ve relied on him for directions & companionship all these years when I really could go it alone. And I’d be the nut crawling on my hands & knees taking photos… 😉

  5. Such a delightful idea for a blog, and great way to get motivated! Your descriptions are magical, and the accompanying photos are exquisite. My favorite is the lone tree. Simple elegance.

    I do see we share some of the wildflowers – the hound’s tongue on a prior post, for example. Our bloom in about February, so that part is done.

    Thanks for visiting my wee blog!

  6. Hi! I’ve come a-visiting from Flighty’s Plot. Love reading your summit stories. And that’s a magnificent photo of the blue butterfly (I think it’s a common blue, if you care:-
    I walked a circuit from Tring station to Ivinghoe Beacon one glorious day in June – did not encounter enough butterflies!

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