Monday, October 20, 2008

Crickley & Credenhill: I've been both faithful & unfaithful last weekend ...

Posts non-existent in the last few days as I have been away in Herefordshire visiting friends. I've been carrying out the important role of Roman sentry/centurion, being attacked regularly by Celtic spies. During the course of my duties I died several times on the astonishing oval rampart, round the whole of which you can walk, at Credenhill. I cannot recommend a visit enough.  Jonathan (10) and Holly (very nearly 6) had a splendid time constructing Celtic ambushes on the top of the rampart: their mother and I carried out heroically incompetent defensive patrols!  The cleverness of the digital camera means that our rolling about was captured for posterity on film.  All blissfully fun. 

But in the wrong hillfort.

Wishing to be "wright and wromantic" as opposed to "rong and repulsive", I thought, as I drove home, that I should stop by a certain hill.  The Volvo got to the Air Balloon and guided itself left towards the top of the hill as opposed to straight ahead towards Oxford and London. 

Between 3.45 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. this afternoon Crickley was heartbreakingly beautiful, even in the pouring rain.  Visibility north was between 10 and 20 miles maximum, depending on the wind and the rain, down over Cold Slad towards Shurdington.   I met 4 other people on the hill set for Shurdington but was otherwise alone.  Visibility was good towards Barrow Wake. 

The leaves are all on the turn: the rosehips are a beautiful bright red and the hawthorn berries dark.  A few sloes.  The Long Mound has many more thistles at the eastern end as opposed to the western, I suspect because the turf shrank all those years ago and we returfed west to east.

I did something I've never done before and drove back down towards Gloucester and into and through Cold Slad: sitting quietly below the quarries looking up at the top of the hill.  As I write now, I remember Flt. Lt. Southwood, so many years ago, in late July 1976, playing "The Last Post" on a scaffolding pole in the quarry  for Sir Mortimer Wheeler, with a platoon of diggers standing to attention. 

Very peaceful and beautiful even on a rainy day.  Reluctantly, I turned for home. 

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