Around The Wrekin
It’s a saying that apparently is ‘local’ to me, so the chances are none of you will ever have heard of it before.
If, for example, someone has got lost on a journey and put a good few extra miles on, or didn’t even know where they were, they may say they’ve been “all around the Wrekin” (pronounced “Ree-kin”, by the way).
So when someone in my recent training course came out with the saying, I got myself onto Google to find out just what in the blue-blazing Hell it was going on about!
Wikipedia told me that it was a hill in Shropshire, with a few pictures that got me all excited. I LOVE Shropshire. It’s the closest county that really inspires me, and is chock-full of beautiful countryside and officially recognised Areas Of Natural Beauty (AONB). The Wrekin itself is a part of the Shropshire Hills near Telford, and from the pictures I was reminded of a miniature version of The Malvern Hills, which I also love.
I emailed Lill Boo to tell her that on Saturday we would be going around the Wrekin.
In hindsight, considering the handbrake on my car has snapped the cable, this probably wasn’t the wisest choice. “Oh, I have no handbrake on the car – let’s go to the most hilly -ing area we can find!!!”.
Yeah, I was a breach birth – screw you!
Maybe it’s a little ironic that it was an absolute barsket to find! I was hoping for, you know, a sign saying “Wrekin Hill” or some kind of directions. Ohh no!
The good news was that we spent several hours driving around absolutely gorgeous scenery inbetween poking my bony digit at maps and proclaiming that “It’s right -ing HERE!!!”. Even more frustrating was that I could see bloody hills EVERYWHERE, but just didn’t know which was the right one!!
If you head from Horsehay towards Little Wenlock, you’ll be driving along and suddenly the road disappears to the left whilst you inadvertently go straight on over a junction you can’t see, and then you end up heading towards Wrekin. It’s THAT simple.
Of course I had my Vibram FiveFingers on for this, and I’m glad I did for most of it, too!
Parking up at the base of the Hill, we followed the pathway through the wooded area that goes upwards REALLY harshly from the start. There were a fair few people around heading up and down, and I could see a few fat kids heading down sucking on icecreams and stuff, so figured I could probably survive the trek if there was a shop at the top.
Unfortunately we followed the wrong path, which took us to the option of retracing our steps or pushing on through the woods on the hillside, taking tiny pathways that were almost vertical in some places. This took serious work and a lot of sweat! I found that the FiveFingers are really in their element in these conditions – using your toes to climb very steep slopes covered in loose leaves and mud. It was encouraging to the point that I felt I could attempt to run up these slopes – except I’d have definitely died of heart and muscle failure.
We were also a few feet away from a woodpecker doing his stuff, although much searching never revealed the little bugger!
Climbing over the ridge at the top, we came across all the people who’d arrived there by the sensible (boring) path, sitting on logs and stuff whilst admiring the stunning views overlooking the Shropshire Plains for miles and miles.
Another last effort took us up an easy slop to the very summit, where there is a huge ariel and a trig point.
We followed the regular path on the way down, which was easier on the lungs, but the Vibrams were most definitely now OUT of their element! Hard surfaces covered in medium-sized loose jagged rocks hurt like a mo-fo, as I could feel every single one of them digging into the soles of my feet – much like the way you’d probably feel if someone was caning the soles of your bare feet.
On the way down we did indeed find a shop selling ice lollies and liquids, which was well in order by this time! If you take the ‘normal’ route up the hill you can’t miss it…
Overall it’s a great day out in the sunshine, and worthy of a picnic if you can lug it up the hill – but it’s far from an easy trek.
And WTF were the gang of people dressed in togas about??? Wrekin Wromans???