Where is it? Near Wellington & Telford
In which area of outstanding natural beauty? Shropshire Hills
How tall is it? 1,335 feet (approx)
This is a truly wonderful hill.
I am sure that there will be a lot of diferent ways up ‘The Wrekin’ (pronounced reekin) we took the road which is pretty much straight off the M54 at junction seven. There is a car park there and some space for roadside parking, as we were parked 500 yards away at the Buckatree we had these additional yards in order to warm up – we had just driven almost 100 miles and desparately needed to stretch our legs, The Wrekin gave us both plenty of opportunities for that!
The initial 250 yards – give or take a yard or ten, are absolute killers. No point on Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough or Pendle Hill is as steep as this first vertical onslaught. We had numerous “catch-your-breath” breaks and I cursed my now apparent lack of fitness. And after a 50 (or so) yards remission, it hit us again. Yes this is definately one of those hills where the first stage is far harder than the rest of the walk. We persevered, and pretty soon began to take notice of the fact that most other people around us were also struggling and that people whom had overtaken us at one point were now being caught up by us – this is indeed rare.
One downside about walking The Wrekin is that on the route which we took the scenery was; how could I say this without being derogatory? – Boring! Trees, trees and a few more trees – oh and a wooden shack with cables going into it. Yes, I can definately say that if you are doing this walk on your own then take a personal stereo with you, if you’re with a partner then you will have plenty of chances to gasp at each other. There is the odd oddity to catch one’s attention, providing you are sure about where you are headed.
Once the treeline is left behind and the views open up they really open up. There are outstanding views in all directions for as far as the eyes could see, I thought that I could see Winter Hill mast but am prepared to admit to being mistaken. I only wished that I had known the names for the other distant hills, there is a viewpoint at the top of The Wrekin but this was being hogged by four locals – until they were shooed away in an almost comical manner by a lady dressed in a blue top who’s every footstep had inspired us to get fitter quickly!
There are various stone types that make up the paths on the way up and as this was also our way down it meant that I had to take care – as we all know I descend hillsides like a rhino on stilts and the fact that sandstone had been used on at least some of the path meant for a ‘careful’ descent. For a change this was considerably quicker than the ascent. All told, it took us one hour and fifty five minutes to get from The Buckatree – up The Wrekin and back down to The Buckatree and although we are certainly not walkers who are driven by speed, this did impress us if only slightly.