With a Bob Graham recce – utterly weather dependent, of course – scheduled for Friday, a yomp (with 500 metres of overall height gain) over Worcestershire Beacon was a sensible preparatory exercise. I ran from Malvern itself, climbing North Hill via a zigzagging path to a wind-blasted summit.
It was beautiful. A retreating sun was illuminating Herefordshire. Fragments of snow lay in hollows. Worcestershire Beacon, larger than I recalled when viewed from here, was magnificent. A dog walker ambled onto the summit, spoiling my reverie.
On the downs and ups to reach what I’d call the ‘lower upper’ slopes of the beacon, I mused over my relationship with the giant of Worcestershire. I’d been up here countless times, for Heights of Madness, for the UK’s County Tops, as a child, as a school pupil, as an adult, in sun, in snow, in the dry, in the wet, in the mist, running, walking and everything in between. Hills and mountains are mere lumps of earth and rock; only as humans do we arbitrarily decide to attach emotions to these high, regularly miserable places, and there is perhaps no other hill that I have developed such an emotional attachment.
I felt good. I clapped my hands on the toposcope and plummeted down, turning at Upper Wyche and retracing my steps to the zenith of Worcestershire Beacon again. The sun had now disappeared. I ran down grassy ramps towards North Hill, reflecting, romanticising on the view of the Malverns from afar. Just as Stanley Baldwin said, I imagined, the world’s most beautiful silhouette.