Posted by: suzannetakesyouup | June 11, 2010

Worcestershire Beacon (425m)

I had planned to make Scafell Pike (the highest peak in England) my next climb. But I actually went for Worcestershire Beacon, which is half the height, and half the distance from home.  Scafell felt like too big an undertaking at the moment. For just over two months my home has been undergoing  fairly major renovation. I feel grateful that we could afford to have the work done but much more grateful that it’s over now. I am completely drained. The intrusion, noise and mess has been hard to cope with. There’s still a lot of painting and decorating needed, but I can do that in peace and blissful solitude.

Driving to the Malvern Hills, a song came on the radio that I am curvy yellow fruit about – Paint it Black. I’ve loved the song ever since seeing the Christopher Bruce choreography for it. There was a clear stretch of road ahead. . . .I put the music up and my right foot down by force of habit, until I thought about how with me almost every form of release has involved not being good to my body in some way. I’ve stopped willfully harming myself but here I was going over 90 mph and getting a rush from it. I need to achieve highs that don’t come with a significant risk or low afterwards. So I slowed down, turned the music down and calmed down.

I found the climb pretty easy – the best thing about walking alone is that you can push yourself and then rest whenever you want to. And if I want to stop for a minute here and there to take a photograph it doesn’t upset anyone else’s rhythm.

I reached the top just after midday and enjoyed the wonderful panoramic views, though they were not at their best as it was overcast and misty. And I was close to all the highs I’ve experienced by pushing my body to its limits in many wild ways. Now I’ve really found a way to be exhilarated and free with no risk or negative aftermath. I even get wobbly legs on the way down that make me giggle.

At the summit I found a toposcope and as I read the legend on its side I realized that the ground on which I was standing was not the highest point – the toposcope was! So I climbed on top of it (pic of my boot on it below) And from there, after waiting a few minutes for three anoraks and a flock of crows to clear the area, I shouted towards Malvern town far below: “Right, I’m coming down for lunch now!”

I thought I better warn them as I was coming down with the appetite of a lifetime.



  1. Suzanne, nice story, funny too. Love the photographs. They look like the areas I’ve been hiking in here in California. 😀

  2. High-risk behavior can be pretty addictive, can’t it? I could actually feel how thrilling it must’ve been to turn that music up and put the pedal to the metal. Good you’ve found safer ways to get the high.

    I loved the descriptioni of standing astride the toposcope shouting to the world about your lunch.

    Lovely photographs, taken with an artist’s eye. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Great shots. Brought memories of when I walked th ridge a few years ago.

  4. Those heart-shaped ferns are lovely! We call them “Fiddleheads” because of their curvy shape. Such lovely country-side. Such lovely photos!

  5. Ah memories!….We used to do an annual day out from primary school to the Malverns to climb the beacons.
    Have you thought about doing the County tops before you embark on the Country tops?
    Worcestershire is done!

  6. What a beautiful hike! I am almost jealous (pant! pant!). Your photos do such justice to the country around you, too. (especially love the bumblebee!)

    Someday I want to hike up a hill and not hold back someone else because I’m panting and huffing and puffing so much.

  7. Suzie you have such a talent for wildlife photography – the pics are stunning, I almost feel the sun on my face as I look at some of them.
    Keep up the good work, and if you do ever feel like company I would love to join you. (promise I won’t moan if you want to stop all the time to take photos!!)

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