Monday, 4 April 2016

Burton Hill and Hegdon Hill (Marilyns)

Burton Hill SO 394 487
Seager Hill SO 613 389 (this has been called Seager or Hegdon Hill)

I had twenty-one Ms to do in this area at the start of this trip which I had split into two halves:

1. Relative to Ludlow
2. Relative to Hereford

The intention was to do just No. 1 on this trip and No. 2 later in the month whilst staying with brother and wife in Hereford.

Yesterday I pinched three out of No. 2 and today another two which only leaves six to do on my Hereford visit.

After today I will only have eleven Ms left to finish all the English Ms which is my current mission along with finishing Wainwright's Outlying Fells.

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I plotted the starting point on the road for Burton Hill into Tom Tom and off I went. After driving through the, olde worlde village of Pembridge, Tom Tom unexpectedly announced, "you have reached your destination." I had plotted in the wrong coordinates. It is tricky entering lat/long: first for north, then for west to include for each, degrees, minutes (to two decimal places), and seconds, each with their identifiers - lots of margin for error.

I was sixteen minutes away from my proper location, but no matter, it was a pleasant drive. Strange, I felt quite philosophical about this which in latter days would have been a blow to my pride - today all was calm and peace.

The steep ascent was initially on track then on a slippery muddy path through mixed woodland. I was following footprints of somebody with much heavier studding on their footwear than mine, and
considering the deep impressions, perhaps a lot heavier than me. I was expecting to meet a large
 footed giant on top but saw nobody. The summit was an expansive dome with random humps in mature woodland and the highest point not really possible to pinpoint with certainty, except my GPS confirmed that I was on the spot height. The trig point was lower and a couple of hundred yards away and took some finding amongst the trees and brambles.

The muddy descent was fraught. How i managed to avoid a slip to the ground I do not know.

I motored back into Weobly, an archetypal mediaeval English village with timber frame buildings and an air of peaceful existence at a slower pace, with elderly, country tweed, well dressed folk pottering about, shopping and chatting. I had a good bacon sandwich in the upmarket Green Bean café then went across the road to the post office to send a card to granddaughter Katie. The white whiskered postmaster was an educated gent and was tickled to learn about Marilyns (he got the Munro connection straightaway), and more so to learn that he had one on his doorstep. Relevant to further conversation he told me the fable of the robin hitching a lift on the back of an eagle to claim a height record, and then being punished for cheating by lifelong consignment to hedgerows. White Whiskers had posited the question of whether landing by helicopter on a Marilyn would be cheating.

It was a good half hour's drive to Seager Hill, and a bit pointless because that summit is just a high point on a normal motor road. I pulled in a few yards past and walked back up the road and took a photo. A few yards off the road there is a trig point but it is inside a wooded, fenced off electricity sub-station and the whole lot overgrown to twice human height with brambles and the like, and as far as i could tell it is no higher than the point on the road.

I can understand folk thinking the conquest of Marilyns as being eccentric especially with this kind of summit, but for me this is all part of the amusement. How Dawson ever identified them all is a mystery. The definer is a minimum 500 foot drop all the way round the summit, but that could cover an area of several square miles. Without a map that showed only contours and nothing else it would seem to be a daunting task. No wonder there have been amendments to the list over the years.

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