Malvern Spine Walk; Part 1

I haven’t written anything for what seems like an age, but yesterday, the male members of the Ministry of Shrawley walks took to the hills and partook of a pretty long walk; 11.5 miles in total which demonstrates to you the sheer manlimanness of us all, if the human race is in peril, you’ll know where to come but be warned I do not always reply to requests for personal appearances, unless there is some sort of promise of a hat in which case we can come to some sort fo arrangement. The walk yesterday was due to be held in Wales; a walk around Pen y Fan, about 12 miles also but due to the chaotic allegedly ketamine fuelled Government policy process, we decided against the possibility of being questioned by the police, having our photos being taken and becoming whipping boys for the right wing press as trouble makers heading to the hills to spread the pox rather than 3 idiots thinking that walking will change the World. No One Cares, and that’s the sad truth of it all.

So substituting the beautifully rugged Pen Y Fan for the sublime transcendent spine of the Malvern Hills, forming a substantial Topographic barrier between Herefordshire and Worcestershire, which folk are quite easily able to skirt round should they need to pop over the border to get bread or some fags. Armed with 2 rucksacks (one massive owned by M and one day pack owned by me) and a bum bag (that belongs to N) we drove to the southernmost point where we could park a car easily and get stuck into the walk, the steep up hill bit from Castlemorton Common, past a flooded quarry, which in my 20 years down this neck of the woods has become harder and harder to access, now surrounded by barbed wire and countless warning signs telling us we musty limb, jump, talk, heavy pet, walk, shout, sing, bomb, what ever, the fun police have been busy over the last decades taking the spontaneousness out of adolescence, people have died in these flooded quarries, thus it ever was. Castlemorton Common was the setting for the notorious free week long rave in May 1994 and punctured the bucket of free spiritism and free parties as the government bought in the criminal justice act which tried to stop the free parties, in this moment the “Fun Police” were born and I have spent my life fighting against them until I find myself nearly 50 years old and realising that i’m probably unconsciously enrolled in the subliminal training course to become a lower ranking “Fun Police person”. Shit happens and then you turn into your Dad.

The bags packed full of the staple for a walk of such magnitude, 3 food groups; Fruit, Cake and Pork Pies to be washed down with coffee and water, cigarettes optional but since I haven’t had one of those for a long time, he smugly remarked, then I won’t dwell on them. There was a fair bit of intensive uphill and once we got to the top of the first hill; Swinyard Hill and then onto Hangman’s Hill, it promised to be an undulating walk, up and down but not too much. We bumped into a group of blokes, way over 6, which I believe would make what they were doing breaking the law, however a couple of them were drinking cans of Strongbow, while they walked, at about 9:30 in the morning, this showed them up to be a group of anarchists, although N thought a bunch of Squaddies, but he’s wrong, he does that a fair bit. This was at “British Camp” or Herefordshire Beacon which is a really impressive hill top which was previously sculpted into a fortified hill fort, so the hill seems angular in silhouette to the skies, a symptom of various ramparts and moat earthworks, and above all it offers pretty impressive vistas East and West and North and South, there’s a feeling I get when I look to the west, it promises much, delivers much and if you ever have the chance to get to The Shires you really must, it makes me happy to be here.

A short walk down to the main Ledbury road and you find yourself at the finest ice cream shop in the world, which is only marred by the constant flow of traffic, essential commuting and logistics between the metropoli of Ledbury and Malvern, but the ice cream is sublime, even at 10am ask M, I had a bacon sarnie.


 But now I’m afraid trouble has found me and I have to send this post right here, Ivor Cutlar beckons and I need to have a lie down.


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