Brown Clee is the highest hill in Shropshire, standing at 540 metres. On the first day of our holiday, we (my husband, daughter and I) set off to the top from our Air BNB because a previous guest mentioned it was a nice thing to do. There was an OS map on the wall, so we took a quick picture and set off with a couple of snacks and some water.
It was much further and steeper than we thought it might be, so it took us quite a long time to reach the car park where everyone else was starting their walk. The footpath cut in half a farmer’s yard, and we peeked into barns full of sweet-smelling calves too young to leave their mothers. We followed a sun-baked narrow trail through shoulder-high bracken, interrupted only by head-height pink fronds of Rosebay Willow Herb. There was the occasional squeal of ‘Watch out! Dog poop!”. Then, we entered a dark forest carpeted with antiseptic-smelling pine needles. I made everyone stop and listen. We drank in the bird song as it filled our ears in stereo. Emerging from the trees, we found the hills in front of us had been painted with acres of purple heather.
The summit was in sight. We made our way along the unexpected but very welcome tarmac path. Yes! We grinned our best Cheshire Cat smiles and drank in the spectacular view whilst scoffing our last few malted milk biscuits and found someone to take our picture. Proof of a magical day.
Gravity played a helping hand as we descended the now familiar route. We arrived home well past lunchtime, starving but feeling fantastic. I’m glad we didn’t know in advance it would be so far. If we did, we might have been tempted to drive to the car park, and the walk would have been a lot less satisfying. Sometimes it pays to be spontaneous.
We even went up Brown Clee again on our last holiday day. We were up at 7 am, ready for the challenge. Mind you, we started from the car park this time, there was absolutely no need to prove ourselves a second time. I stopped half way to watch a smooth, coffee-brown slow worm which lay across the path. The view from the summit was covered in clouds, but we didn’t mind. Boy, it felt good to be up and about before anyone else. We like to think we were the first people up the hill that day, and for five minutes or so, we were definitely the highest people in all of Shropshire.