Undeterred by foggy weather last week I woke up this morning, noticed that the forecast for the day in Malvern was pretty darned great (I’ve been checking it every day since Thursday) and decided that if at all possible I was going to make sure that my friend (who missed out on the views when we spent the day walking in heavy cloud) finally saw the best that this wonderful part of the world has to offer.
It was a good call. Luckily she didn’t have any plans that couldn’t be dropped and after a quick exchange of texts at 7.30am we agreed to get a move on and head out ASAP. I jumped in the shower and got dressed before popping some coffee on the stove and making myself a bite to eat.
As I was already making some microwave rice with mackerel to take along with me in Tupperware I thought that it would also be a good idea to fill up my slow cooker before I left.
I have two of these – and my smaller one’s low setting (if left on all day) cooks most things perfectly in around 7-8 hours. However, in my larger slow cooker this isn’t the case. On a low setting after 12 hours I’ve been met with irritatingly crunchy carrot and potato chunks and have had to put the food into a large saucepan to cook it even more which really really ruins the whole point of using a slow cooker!
Today as I left the house I flicked my (jam packed) big slow cooker on to ‘high’ and decided to hope for the best.
The traffic was thankfully quite light as soon as we left Warwick, but you can definitely tell that all the school holidays have ended. The roads leading immediately into and out of town were packed solid with annoyed looking people in stationary cars – and I was very very glad to see the back of them as we hit the motorway.
When we parked up by the road side an hour later in Malvern it was clear that we were far from the concerns of commuters and chugging diesel engines. The views today promised to be exceptional.
We had decided at the very last minute to take a slightly different approach to the one we did last Thursday – and instead of starting at British Camp (the old Roman hill fort where I’ve begun the last two times I’ve visited) we instead parked near Earnshaw Quarry – which is further down the range.
The plan instead would be to walk toward the highest point (the monument in the opposite direction to British Camp) – and maybe even do the entire length to Midsummer Hill and back.
It was pretty difficult to get up any real pace to start with though as it was next to impossible to not stop and admire the absolutely breathtaking 360 degree panoramas afforded to us at almost every turn.
By the time we reached the highest point there was only one person that I could see with a better view than we had and they were welcome to it. I don’t think I have the head for heights or intrepid nature that would have been required to join him or her in that teeny little craft.
Where we were standing however was more than good enough!
After stopping to admire the vistas for a while (and looking into the distance at the Midsummer hill monument – which is just visible) we then headed back the way we’d walked and onwards towards British Camp.
It was clear as we made progress that the weather wasn’t going to be anything less than completely awesome today.
The sun was beaming away and being enjoyed by all around. There were loads of butterflies, cows and wonderfully inquisitive little Robins sunning themselves today – all of who seemed to be majorly relaxed by the warm rays.
The Red Admiral in particular afforded me an unusually close up perspective of the underside of it’s wings as well – which were covered with a really surprising camouflage pattern. When it’s wings were raised together the butterfly blended almost perfectly into the autumnal colour of the bracken and foliage all around it.
It was absolutely stunning – and for a while it just sat there, letting me get closer and closer to take macro photos!
We moved on shortly after over a few more ridges – realising that the coffee shop at British camp (which I had thought might be a half way point on the way to the beacon at Midsummer Hill) was actually a lot further away than expected.
Things didn’t seem to be getting all that much closer very quickly – however it was probably because (whenever asked for my choice) I was keen that we take the steeper and more undulating paths that led over the tops of the hills rather than the lower down but level ones on the western side of the hill.
I wanted the absolute best views possible.
Today (of all days) it was completely worth the puffing and panting required to get over all the humps – but it was also noticeably slower than other walkers made the lower routes look.
By the time we reached the coffee shop at British Camp it had taken us a few hours of hiking – and lunch was very much in order. We decided then and there though that this would be the half way point and that we’d head back the way we’d walked rather than going all the way to Midsummer Hill.
That was a challenge for another day.
As we sat eating dinner my companion pointed out that there were some very peckish observers nearby, eagerly eyeing what we were munching on. I suspect they were more interested in my friend’s (rather delicious looking) flapjack than my hastily prepared rice, fish tomato and gherkin surprise though…
Either way the cheeky little robin on a fence post to my left was a delight to watch before it flew off looking for someone else that was willing to feed it!
In contrast the other nearby resident looked like he wouldn’t take no for an answer if he decided that he wanted my lunch…
Once we’d had a second cup of coffee each and rested for a while longer we decided to make a move.
By this time it was after 1.30pm and the sun had started to get a bit lower. The nearby treeline opposite the roadside cafe was making the area both cool and shady. For 20 minutes or so my (lovely and cosy) gilet, gloves and hat had already been back on – and I could see my companion getting all goose-pimply.
It was time to go if we were to miss all the rush hour traffic.
After a pitstop at the loo we briskly made our way back along the hills. This time however (at the risk of avoiding good old fashioned exercise) we took the ‘easy’ paths on the west side of the ridge and enjoyed the views of the fields and town below instead.
I’d be a liar if I said that this made the vistas any less impressive. It was still flipping fantastic – even with the sun getting lower in the sky!
As we drove home later in the afternoon it’s hard to overstate just how chuffed we both were at how the impromptu and completely unplanned day had worked out. We’d managed to get a really decent amount of exercise, seen Herefordshire at it’s best – and felt both warm and satisfied with our lots in life.
The day could only be further improved by only one thing…
This happened to be a beef and chorizo stew – which was cooked to flipping perfection!
It had however reduced in size dramatically though (to around half its original volume) so I added some beans to bulk it up a bit – and got just over two large cereal bowls worth of super tasty and hearty food as a reward for all my effort during the day.
What a winner!
As you might imagine it’s been a great day for #onplanoctober – and yesterday was pretty good as well. I’m managing to keep a lid on cravings and still making good choices.
- 100g pickled onions 35
- Romaine lettuce 25
- 15 pitted green olives 60
- 500g grated carrot 210
- 400g chicken breast 476
- 250g natural yogurt 154
- 100g blueberries 43
- 100g blackberries 43
- 100g raspberries 53
- 500g Aldi slim free spicy Moroccan veg stew 155
- Bunch of broccoli 40
- Large onion 20
- Handful of mushrooms 40
- Small courgette 27
- 2x cans of tuna in spring water 240
- Can of sweetcorn 120
Total calories consumed 1750
- Active/total calories burned 1216 3,783
- Cardio minutes 111
- Steps/miles walked 10.25
Hope your day was as fluffing fantastic as mine internet!